LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index Could be Trouble!

Ok, let’s be as transparent as possible:

1. I’m pissed at LinkedIn like a scorned girlfriend because they won’t let me buy their corporate version LinkedIn Recruiter (not that I need it – I know you can do x-ray searches or use a great product like Scavado for a fraction of the price and get the same info. – but it’s the racialist mentality of it all – “No, you can’t have it because your a bad staffing company and we only give it to good corporate recruiters) – see – scorned girlfriend.

2.  I use LinkedIn every day. Mostly to recruit employees from one company to another company, and someone pays me to do this.

3. I like using LinkedIn – solid U/I and a great recruiting tool, inexpensive.  (we call that a triple threat)

OK – On with the show!

Last week LinkedIn announced a new product at their annual Talent Connect conference, called Talent Brand Index or BrandConnect – or something like that – as you can see I wasn’t invited (which I’m actually not pissed about – I mean I’d like to go – but it’s not like the scorned girlfriend thing). Basically this is a tool/measure of how much your brand is engaged on the LinkedIn site – but it has a number of components baked into the algorithm that make this less than black and white.  I have 3 opinions of this announcement that range in 3 very different psychosis:

Pessimistic View (LinkedIn Haters)

Holy crap – this is just another way for LinkedIn to hold companies hostage over their brand!  Basically, the Talent Brand Index, if I want a higher score, forces me to encourage my employees to get on LinkedIn – the more employees I have on, the higher score I get.  Also, the more products I buy from LinkedIn, the higher my score.  I don’t want my employees to be on LinkedIn because my competition will be pimping them non-stop and I’m bound to lose some.  Plus, they keep using the words “Brand Engagement” that invariably will get confused by people as my “employee engagement” when it really has no correlation.

Optimistic View (LinkedIn Lovers)

This tool is great at showing me where I can increase my “engagement” of my brand within the product.  We trust our employees and want them to network professionally and share our brand with as many people as possible – it’s good for them, it’s good for us.  We believe we have a great place to work and increasing our brand engagement on LinkedIn will only help our recruiting efforts.  Plus, this new tool really, for the first time, gives us great insight to how people outside of our company feel and interact with our employment brand.  It’s great data!

Pragmatic View (The Middle)

If you have a “great” work environment and strong employment brand (let’s say 10% of companies) this is wonderful.  You have low turnover, high employee engagement – this will only help you recruit more folks – and more employees you have on won’t hurt you because they aren’t leaving you.  The other 90% of companies could see some impact from this – if they go out and encourage their employees to actively get on LinkedIn, in hopes of raising your Brand Index score. You have pockets that aren’t pretty and you’ll have folks that get picked off by your competition.  This will then cause you more work.  It’s not to say those people wouldn’t leave on their own – some will, regardless, but I don’t want to throw them a job fair in the lobby of our building. Reality check – most HR shops/companies don’t have the people, the money or the desire to really move the needle on increasing their “LinkedIn Brand Index” score – so this will be a non-issue for most.

Final thought

I would like those companies who really think this is a great deal to do just 1 thing for me. Will you do that?  Today, go to your CIO and tell them you are going to have the entire Software Development team put their profiles up on LinkedIn – because you want to raise your Brand Index score.  Then let me know the results – if you still have a job, or are conscious.


5 thoughts on “LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index Could be Trouble!

  1. I’m late to the game on reading this post—but Tim, I really like your comment about the state of the brand. No measures, no tactics, no social media invention, no kick-ass creative will help if you don’t (a) research to understand your brand and (b) create/evolve/adjust your brand expression to reflect the brand that exists. This is what is so frustrating to me about employer brand. No one does the research. They create a brand based on assumptions, which means the measures, like Linked In’s talent brand, won’t be accurate or helpful.

  2. I know that LinkedIn is the iPhone/Droid of the recruiting world and consists equally of die-hard fanboys and equally passionate haters. And while I appreciate the article here, it feels a little rushed (but catchy with the whole scorned girlfriend thing) so I’d like to just address two quick thoughts…

    It might help to read again how the index is scored and created with some pretty basic (if not oversimplified) math in this first version. It doesn’t directly have anything to do with how many products you purchase and isn’t related directly to how many employees at your company that have profiles. It’s a combination of a few various things that don’t certainly don’t “force” you to push your employees to do anything.
    Keep watching – I suspect more insights will be released and we’ll see not only patterns emerging around scores as this gets refined but also talent “engagement” scores that lead to sweet spot recruitment messaging and solicitation in various functions and geographies. (granted, all within the bubble of LinkedIn!)

    I’m not sure what ‘lazy trap’ you are referring to, but solid hires from LinkedIn are as good as solid hires from a job board, a referral, a coffee house, a bike shop. (until someone proves otherwise) So to that end, there isn’t anything wrong with a recruiter grabbing a hire or two that would have otherwise gone to an agency (for some orgs) at ~15-25% annual pay and having leadership put just a fraction of that savings into another LinkedIn license. I don’t see anything lazy about that – in fact, I’d argue that it’s smart recruiting resource management as long as the quality hires are being made.

  3. Hi Tim

    I don’t hate LinkedIn, I think they do some great stuff but fall into the middle view. Too many “recruiters” are falling into the same lazy trap they did with job boards using 3-4 direct hires from Li to justify the spend on yet more recruiter licences.

    Long live LinkedIn; until their prices treble and then see them all moan!


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