Jason Alba reports on a feature that changed in LinkedIn. Endorsers, the people who leave recommendations on your profile, don't always show up, which means that if you're not using a paid account, you won't be able to recruit endorsers in a broad search.
Last month, I noticed a another new change that affects your recruiting. Being part of a Group no longer allows you to invite someone to connect. This is a real hassle for recruiters using the free service, because Groups allowed you to do open networking in a specialty. You can still connect if you have the email address or if you lie and say you worked with the person (not a good idea if you want to keep your account long), but the ability to create new connections is being restricted for free accounts.
Most people won't notice it, and over time, new work-arounds will be found, but if say you're about to do training on LinkedIn on Thursday, it helps to be current on what is changing.
I've been teaching LinkedIn to recruiters for five years now. I've made good money, and helped a lot of people. And most important to me, the training I gave people years ago is still mostly effective today. That's not easy to do, but it's because I don't teach tactics, I teach strategy. This means that minor changes in the user interface and functionality present annoyances to recruiters who are used to gaming the system, but for those who approach LinkedIn with an open mind, those changes don't hamper your ability to recruit.
Think of it like this. LinkedIn is a tool in a system. That system is your recruiting process. Many people think of LinkedIn as a system unto itself, but your control of that system is minimal. Your control of the recruiting process is total. This means your company is looking at LinkedIn and trying to fit it into their hiring process. If you overbuild your process to work with LinkedIn as it exists today, you'll have to redo the process tomorrow.
If you underbuild your process, you're not getting the full value for your time, and you may lack the experience to adapt to changes in the future. It's quite the conundrum.
Let's make a hard stop here and switch direction. A "hardened silo" refers to the Coldwar Strategy of building missle siloes underground and protecting them from nuclear blast. The idea was to build them so well, nothing but a direct hit would prevent them from being damaged. It was a great idea when missles weren't that accurate, but today's GPS systems are so sophisticated, there is no concern about hitting the target. The money spent on hardening the silos was great at the time, but it led to new technologies that ultimately severely degrade your attempted hardening.
This is LinkedIn as most people see it today. Heck, this is social media strategy as most people see it today, from "Best Practices" to "How-to" videos that can be out-of-date a few days after you release them. There is a lot of value in this approach, but there can be a lot of cost. While training your people to use LinkedIn can save you hundreds of thousands (or make it for you on the outside), that training is only good for a short period of time. You have to extract the value out of it immediately, because that value drops every day.
The flexible strategy is similar to the Cold War practice of using nuclear submarines. They represent a training of people to deal with contingencies, rather than facts on the ground. A nuclear submarine captain (41 for Freedom!) had to be prepared to react to bad data, from lack of direct authorization to making their own judgements about what happened if they fired the missles. They were trained to think and given the authority to act. While recruiters aren't pushing shiny red buttons, the mental model is the same. Training for adaptation means giving up control, a fact that makes a lot of managers uncomfortable (and sometimes with good reason).
Of course, this means that the third leg of the Nuclear Triad would have to be job boards. Archaic dinosaurs and sleek new stealth machines that look cool, and given free rein, can rain down job postings an unsuspecting populace.
Strategy in social media isn't just about picking tools and "Listening." It starts with a decision of how you're going to employ your resources, and what level of control you're willing to give up to achieve supremacy. Also, LinkedIn is making big changes, and you need to be prepped for that.