But they focus on building a social network instead
When developpers wake up in 2021 and discover that Linkedin is a business social network, Sales people have for a long time accepted that their linkedin account is one of their company's communication channel
Linkedin knows your connections, your past jobs, your customers, your main skills, what you are interested in, the number of employees in each company in the world, if a company is growing or shrinking, what companies say, who interact with them. They know as much of a company as the company itself. Seeing how much they prevent scrapping they know their data is valuable. As a result of that you can be sure that they use this data to solve big problems. Well no, they don't, their three main paying features are:
- Make people pay to send messages to other people
- Give a few filters to search people
- Let people post job offers
And they are NOT EVEN good at it!
Despite that, they could help solving the two most difficult tasks of business: Finding customers and recruiting
I'm not going to say that hiring is broken, it is the same thing as dating. People don't know what they need nor want, so they talk to a few people until they find one that makes them feel good and then they hire him. I'm clearly not sure it is a much better process than picking random people in the crowd and hiring them, but at least they are happy about their choice.
There are two parts in the recruiting process:
- Finding qualified candidates
- Interviewing them
Even though Linkedin is not going to help interviewing candidates it can make finding qualified candidates much easier. Today the process to find candidates is the following:
- Create vague job offers that almost use the same terms as Google job offers.
- Publish it in your ATS
- Wait for unqualified candidates to apply to your offer (unless you are Google, Apple, Facebook, Uber or any other trendy company)
- In the meantime go on Linkedin, type a few keywords in the search bar, use a few criterias to get a list of candidates
- Browse the list of candidates and verify one by one if the candidate really match the keywords you typed
- Harass each candidates to get a call with him
Why things need to be so complex when Linkedin knows if a user is available for a new position, knows how much money he needs, what are their skill, where he lives.
- How could Linkedin have not solved the "experience level" filters ? Have you ever used it ? It doesn't even somewhat work, it doesn't work at all. An actual intern can be tagged as an expert, and expert as an intern . Why can't I get a list of product managers with years of experience
- Why Linkedin doesn't help recruiters find candidates by position ? Why recruiters have to know that: front-end engineer, front engineer, UI engineer, react developer, front developer all mean the same thing ?
- Why Linkedin doesn't unify job position titles by company ? Software developers is the name in some companies, in others it is engineers, in others it is developers, in others it is consultants. Linkedin can figure all that, they have the data to do some clustering
- Why when searching for product managers, Linkedin also suggests you people who are "production managers" ?
- Why won't linkedin let recruiters search only people who have logged in on linkedin in the last 3 months and that are actually ok to be solicited ? yeah you can say you are open to work, but that's not the same thing, that's too tough.
- Why Linkedin don't unify the recruiting process ? Let users say whatever they want on their profile but put them in a unified bucket. Is that so hard to do for a billion company ? How many attributes are necessary to classify a sales guy for example ? His years of experience, has a sold service, saas, software, physical stuff ... , how much money he wants. That seems to be far from being an impossible thing.
- Why Linkedin doesn't help recruiters create useful job descriptions ? Why do they let companies say things like :
- Excellent time-management skills and the ability to establish reasonable and attainable deadlines for resolution.
- Have a service-oriented mind, be analytical, and have strong problem-solving skills.
- Strong attention to detail and extremely well-organized.
- Positive can-do attitude & ability to work well with teams.
- Good at communicating complex ideas and reaching out to different points of view. Which company is looking for people who are not positive ? Who are badly organized ? Who are bad at communicating ? Who is not analytical ? Who doesn't take attention to details ? Don't you have more important things to say ? Things like: Work from the office mandatory, can explain his work to non technical people, likes interviewing other engineers...
Linkedin knows really well the candidate and the companies, why don't they actually try to help them communicate ? This market is HUGE. There are billions of dollars of recruiting fees spent every month (150 bn a year in the US) And they are the only one that can offer that, as you need the data on at least the company or the candidates to make a product about recruiting. If you want to help candidates find job offers, you need data on business, and only linkedin has them. For example the number of employees ONLY linkedin has this data (and crunchbase a bit). As for if you want to offer a product for business, then you need to have candidates. And once again only Linkedin has this data.
When I talk about customers, I only mean business customers. Finding consumers is a different thing that I'm not sure Linkedin can help at.
So we are talking about B2B. Here are the different ways to find customers:
- Pay people to tell people they know to buy your offer. ex: Digital marketing, Partnership, Physical marketing, invite existing customers to restaurant, strategic hiring, ...
- Go to a place where people who work for the type of business you are interested in go. Talk to people, and pitch your offer. ex: Marketing events, Networking dinner, Conferences, ...
- Pay people to find and convince businesses to buy your offer. ex: salespeople
Linkedin is today the place most sales and marketing people find contact. And that sucks. A LOT !
Whether you are in 2. or 3. what you want from Linkedin is :
- Let you choose the type of company you are interested in
- Find the employees responsible for the topic you are selling
- Give you their email address
Today it is impossible to filter companies, you can search them by name but that's all. There is an 'industry' filter, but, lol, complete garbage. You can find by location and company size though, and that works, which is pretty remarkable to finally find something that works.
And for finding employees it is pretty difficult for the same reason that searching for candidates doesn't work. With job position titles not being standardized you can't really search efficiently.
But even so. Imagine you found one person that you think may be interested about your offer. How do you actually make sure that this person is interested ? For most businesses the answer is : I will design a loop of 5 emails talking about the topic that I'm trying to sell. And I will send you an email every 4 days until you actually accept or refuse. If at the end of the 5 mails you had no response, I will contact another person in your company and send them the same 5 mails, until someone answers me.
For some of you that method can seem like harassment, and it is. But it is the only method available to find customers. Some are going to say that if people don't answer that's because they are not interested. Well it is impossible to say, sometimes people answer you after 5 emails and are actually pretty interested about what you are offering.
In an ideal world we would have a marketplace of needs and offers. You could push an offer to people who are really in the target group and you could find offers matching your needs. And for that, the bigger the marketplace the better. I'm not going to describe how this should work, or how this could work. But it is obvious that Linkedin is uniquely positioned to create that kind of service.
It is unfortunate that instead of that they are focusing on getting more businesses to pay to send InMail to unqualified users.
The data of linkedin is a goldmine but today it rests unused so that users can annoy their network with stupid clickbaik posts