Why applying for jobs on LinkedIn can be dangerous
LinkedIn has revolutionised job hunting. Gone are the days when browsing through the careers section in the paper was classed as a feasible way to find your dream job, even job sites seem dated in comparison to the opportunities that can be found through the professional social network.
The key to its success is the sheer simplicity at identifying jobs and applying for them. Your LinkedIn profile acts as an online CV, and so with the click of a button you can ‘apply now’ for a multitude of vacancies – this is where the danger lies.
Recruiters are able to source a wealth of information about you from your LinkedIn profile, such as what you have done in your career, what you look like and even what other people think of you. Should you apply for a job they can reach out to you at anytime, knowing more about you than you will likely know about them (especially if you’ve been using the ‘apply now’ function a little too liberally).
As I sat working from home the other day my phone rang. Not recognising the number, I answered expecting it to be a salesperson. “Hello, this is Felicia, I am calling in response to you recent application to a role at LDH.” Crap, I couldn’t remember what company she was referring to, or what job. “Er, yes, hi, thanks for calling.” I quickly headed for my computer to see if I could find the list of confirmation emails I had received for the jobs I had applied for through LinkedIn.
“So, I take it you are well aware of what we do, so I won’t go into all that. I wanted to talk to you about your experience and how you would suit the role. Are you able to speak?” Felicia said, confidently. “Yup”, I said, sheepishly.
I was in a dilemma. Lie, and tell her I was unable to speak and to call back? But I had just said I could speak. I was sure that I had the email that would solve all this, and so tried to find it as she continued to talk.
“So, this role is very much around developing a team and helping us to achieve our wider business objectives through your involvement with multiple departments, can you tell me about your experience and how you would help us to achieve that?”
I heard only half the sentence as I was still on the hunt for the email telling me what she was talking about. “Yeah”, I said, “Could you repeat the question…it’s a bad line” – that one always buys you time. Felicia repeated herself, and as she did I found the email.
So, I gave her a text book response to the question, feeling quite smug that I could multi-task so well.
“Ok. It sounds like you have some good experience. So, what do you thoughts on the work we do at LDH?”
I was stuck and quickly headed for the website, praying that Google would return the answer I required. Bingo, I was on the website. I searched for the ‘about us’ section, but couldn’t find it. “Well I have to say that I like your website, it is really, really great”, I said trying to buy more time. “Hmmmm, yes, we are proud of it”, Felicia answered.
I picked a piece of recent work that was highlighted on the website’s portfolio section and quickly read what the campaign was about and what they achieved. Oh, I spotted the stakeholder policy, if I mentioned that she would know doubt think that I’d done my homework. It didn’t. It sounded ridiculous. I sounded like someone reading her web content back to her, and that is what she thought.
“Ok, well I’m not sure this role would be suited to you. We are looking for someone with, with, more of an agency background.” That was Felicia’s way of telling me I was an idiot.
“Well, it has been lovely speaking to you, good luck with your job searching”. “Yup”, I replied. Feeling like I’d just been told off. Why did I feel so bad – she was a woman on the end of a phone who I would no doubt never speak to again. Either way, I felt like a tool.
After I had put the phone down I remembered that I could see the roles I had recently applied for on LinkedIn. Shit. Why didn’t I think of that before?
I found the company and the role and sighed. I shut my computer, shook my head, and went to make a coffee promising to never again use the ‘apply now’ function with such disregard.
BTW, LDH is a made up company name. Felicia isn’t, sorry Felicia.