Donna Svei wrote a fully accurate, concise, and instructive article on how to set one’s LinkedIn to best limit talent recruiters’ abilities to seek out one’s employees and colleagues. She listed 5 Ways Your LinkedIn Profile Helps Recruiters Source Candidates. She’s right. And you shouldn’t obey a word of it.
Her argument is sound: recruiters use your profile to identify the best of your colleagues and employees, and the best of your network are either your direct competition for your next job or at risk of being lured away by another company. Donna therefore instructs executives how to “keep [recruiters] focused on your profile and avoid steering [recruiters] to a heap of other contenders for your next job.”
Don’t do it. Not a speck of it.
Employers who try to hide their teams and networks will lose in our continually changing workforce culture. Yes, recruiters will compete for great employees. They will do so – are doing so – regardless of employers’ veils. Employers who champion great team members are employers who attract and retain great team members. Colleagues who recognize and rejoice in others’ great work are people with whom others want to work – and whom great employers want to hire.
The decision to shroud or bring to light one’s team runs much deeper than a LinkedIn profile. This is a matter of your preferred work/life culture.
If the jobs you seek or the workplace you cultivate is severe and, for lack of a more friendly term, cutthroat, then yes – set your LinkedIn profile to obscure your colleagues and employees. Team obscuration fits some workplaces. I won’t cast moral judgment on that as it’s a pragmatic approach to a realistic scenario.
I do reject that culture for my career. Have I lived it? Certainly – but those situations weren’t the right job fit.
Why? That’s not the preferred work/life culture of Millennials. Hiding your team out of fear risks hiding what could be your great personal assets. I want the recommendations I write for my colleagues, employers, and employees to be public. I want my teams and prospective employers to see, know, and analyze what I think. I want an employer who knows that I am constructively analytical. That I am aware of the efforts of others. That I stand for what is right.
Just as importantly, team obscuration is not the work/life culture fostered by present and future technology. Go ahead, hide your LinkedIn recommendations. Hide your contacts. Hide your project partners. I’ll still find them. Any talent recruiter or sourcer operating at such a level will have access to LinkedIn Recruiter, and we’re savvy enough to see with whom you’re working despite your profile settings.
Equally important, if I’m considering accepting an interview or job to work with you… you’d best believe that I’ll find that info before we ever meet. I’ll also find your private social media profiles. I will find your Instagrams of breakfast and your newly painted toenails. I will find the Google Street View of your house (weed your gardens, people). Welcome to technology, friends.
What I won’t find, if you follow the instructions in Donna’s article, is any evidence of you as a human being I want on my team. I won’t find evidence of your interpersonal analytical skills. I won’t find all the people in your life who think you’re amazing. I won’t find you using the tool at hand – LinkedIn – as the innovative, multifaceted social environment that it is.
Shape your LinkedIn profile to accurately reflect you… and the work/life environment you cultivate. Champion your team.
Connect with me on LinkedIn. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the recommendations I’ve written… I’ve been blessed to work with some incredible people. While you’re at it, read the rest of Donna’s blog, AvidCareerist. You’ll find extraordinarily helpful insights for jobseekers, including a great explanation of why you should accept and display endorsements from others!