LinkedIn “Open Candidates” Is Going To Get People Fired

By now you’ve heard the news coming out last week’s LinkedIn Talent Connect where LI announced a new feature called “Open Candidates”. Here’s how LinkedIn explains Open Candidates:

Open Candidates is a new feature that makes it easier to connect with your dream job by privately signaling to recruiters that you’re open to new job opportunities. You can specify the types of companies and roles you are most interested in and be easily found by the hundreds of thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find great professional talent…

To enable the feature, simply turn sharing “On” and fill in some brief information about the types of roles you are interested in. Who among us hasn’t, at some point, tried to find work without our boss finding out? Now, you can privately indicate to recruiters on LinkedIn without worrying. We will hide the Open Candidates signal from recruiters at your company or affiliated company recruiters.

So, now if you’re a LI user you can let companies know you’re full on looking to change jobs without having to post it in your profile title and let the entire world know you’re looking.

So, is this a good thing? 

I have some feelings on this:

– First, this is brilliant from employer’s perspective! I can now call my buddy over at XYZ company, have him pull up his LI account and tell me exactly which employees of mine are looking for jobs. I can then pull up my account and tell her which of her employees are looking.

– If you want to turn on the “Open Candidates” feature in LI it would be best to assume that your organization’s recruiting/hr team will find out you’re looking like I mentioned above!

– Most organizations freak out when they find that their employees are out looking for jobs on company time. It’s one thing to say, “Oh, I’m just using LI at work because I’m ‘professionally networking’, not looking for a job!” It’s another when they know you’ve turned on the feature and are actually getting paid to look for your next job. That usually gets you fired.

Now, I’m sure LI will say, “Tim is just saying something that very few recruiters will actually do.” They might be right, but it was the actual first thing that came into my mind when heard of the new feature. How to get around it, and I was at HR Tech with other TA and HR leaders who felt the same way.

TA Leaders love this feature! For the first time, they’ll now actually get to find out for real what employees of theirs are actively looking and actually doing it on company time.

So, Open Candidates is not something you should fear as an employer. Embrace it! This might be best new feature LI has launched in years for employers to finally know which of their employees are actually on the market. It’s brilliant!

Check back next week when I start my blog series on how to have conversations with all of your employees who you find on LI actively looking to leave your organization!

9 thoughts on “LinkedIn “Open Candidates” Is Going To Get People Fired

  1. I’ve been thinking it’s time for us all to reframe what “looking” for a job means.

    Back in the day, most people had to make a proactive effort to look for a job. That effort often did inappropriately lap into their regular work hours.

    Now, it is easy to be a passive candidate, open to hearing about opportunities, but not actively looking in a way that impinges on the work day.

    It makes sense for people to update their resumes, optimize their LinkedIn profiles, and turn on the LI “open to opportunities” switch. They can do it themselves after work or on the weekend or hire someone to do it for them. Their employers are open to great business opportunities, why shouldn’t they be as well?

    Employers who think that giving someone a job can make them forsake every other opportunity in the world need to give up the indentured servant model of employment.

    Employees are free agents. They don’t wear shackles. Give them positive, compelling reasons to stay put rather than holding the fear of being fired over them. Build relationships. Don’t damage them.

    And don’t spy on them by asking friends with access to LinkedIn Recruiter to look them up and tattle on them. While it’s possible to intrude on their privacy in this way, it’s also possible to go high rather than going low.

  2. LinkedIn probably has a super-recruiter account that sells for 10x the premium account that will let a company secretly see their own employees who are open. Having to call their friend at the other company is inefficient.

  3. Why would an employer feel it necessary to assume an employee is doing this on company hours. I don’t know about the rest of you but I can access the internet from home (or anywhere if I settle for using a smart phone).

    Just because your pal in XYZ company can pull up this list of people looking doesn’t mean they are costing you money.

  4. LinkedIn have put a lot of thought into the process, especially in not allowing your current company to see your status.
    Of course there will always be ways around it as the post suggest, but I think the likelihood of that happening is limited and if you those are measures your employer has to take, surely that’s a sign of the business and how it treats it employees!
    It’s a much more controlled approach than posting a CV online and just hoping an employer doesn’t see it. Great move from LinkedIn.

    • The power users of LI are recruiters and sales people. The likelihood they use this tech for evil is higher than most professions. I just wanted to get the warning out there to candidates not to get too comfortable when looking for a job, when you don’t want your current employer to find out. No option is fool-proof, and open candidates isn’t a perfect answer as well.

      Thanks for the comments,

  5. OK, I’ll bite. Here’s my take. If you have that much time to call up and do that, then there is something seriously wrong.

    Did this happen when firms had access to the resumes in Probably. Were managers idiots for wasting their time on that? Absolutely!

    • John –

      I disagree a bit. Every org has individuals looking for some reason or another and many times those reasons are so dumb! Why wouldn’t an organization want to know who’s looking and then create some sort of save strategy to retain them. Of course I wouldn’t fire, but you and I both know many orgs and hiring managers that would once they discover someone on their team wants out. I think the better way to use this knowledge is to reach and find out what you can do an organization to keep these individuals.

      Here’s what I know – in the U.S. anyway, TA pros are pretty connected and some, not all, will use Open Candidates to find out who in their shop is looking. Will they then use that knowledge for evil? Some will, I’m hoping most won’t, but it’s one more way to know what risk you truly have with potential turnover. That’s part of TA’s role to assess that risk.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.