June 14, 2023

Anyone remember how LinkedIn started?


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

The slow devolution to a transactional platform

Anyone remember how LinkedIn started? Like way, way back in the day?

To contact someone – anyone – a mutual connection needed to introduce you.  Thus the whole “linked” part of the name.

Like all social networks, it promised community. Better networking. An opportunity to make the world a little smaller.

But you don’t hit sales targets by waiting for permission. Thanks for the worldwide “if you don’t join it, you’re weird” company directory. Now we know who to email directly…

And just like that, the original idea died. InMails and DMs were born out of necessity to stay relevant.

Once you open Pandora’s box, there’s no going back. It’s been a slow decline ever since. For normal, everyday users, LinkedIn is a transactional platform.

(I say “normal” users because “weirdo” users like myself i.e. dorks who post content, it’s a different animal with different issues entirely.)

People go there when they need it. Not because they try to proactively network. The spam drove them away.

(Side note: this is the main reason why people are responding to years-old InMails. They’re finally logging back in, just now.)

Spam may be unfair. There’s lots of recruiters (and salespeople) using it for thoughtful outreach. 

But we’re inundated. Plus the automation bots (which are supposed to be illegal but never seem to go away) make it too easy.

Even if you’re “doing it right” it’s a slog. But that doesn’t mean it’s total trash either.

Contact less people. Put more time into your message. So everyone still here knows you’re not a bot or spray-and-praying.

👉Recruiters: Details, details, details. Job seekers expect far more from you up front than they used to.

Even then, they may still flake out on you (reply, but not follow through.) But that’s the reality now.

👉Salespeople: Stop it with the Force Familiarity as a way of finding faux-common ground.

Yes I went to Penn State. No, I don’t give a crap about the football schedule. You’re the 90th person to mention it.

Don’t treat LinkedIn like it’s mass email. You’re contributing to the problem.

👉More importantly: it’s not going to work for you.

Full episode of The 10 Minute Talent Rant “Decoding Candidate Behavior in 2023” here.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

More blogs from James Hornick

See all Talent Insights Blog entries....

Our Latest Featured Episode

Our Shows