LinkedIn's Listening... We Think.

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2016 Sourcecon State of Sourcing SurveyIt was almost a year ago that we sat down with a friend at LinkedIn and said, "There's a problem with your reputation - and we'd like to help."

While it was no surprise to the executives at LinkedIn that there is a level of frustration with the recruiting industry's 800 lbs gorilla, the depth and source of that frustration was a bit of a mystery that they were interested in solving.  The truth is that while LinkedIn still remains one of the most popular, liked and utilized recruiting solutions at large [ref: Sourcecon 2016 State of Sourcing survey - click image to enlarge] they've some growing pains, communication challenges and sales tactics that have many recruiters and executives wishing there was an alternate solution.

CareerXroads | Executive Idea Exchange

That's why when CareerXroads offered to facilitate a conversation with a dozen hand-selected recruiting leaders, practitioners and influencers where the only responsibility of LinkedIn's leadership was to listen (not defend or justify,) it was something that everyone felt could be productive for both the industry and LinkedIn alike.  This crew of top employers and active practitioners collected themselves in late August to take part in the first CareerXroads | Executive Idea Exchange with LinkedIn, which proved to be an awkward, disruptive and potentially very productive conversation.

Over the course of the 8hr round-table, topics included, but were not limited to, challenges around data access and validity, customer care, recent sales tactics, measuring ROI, fake and overly social profiles, 3rd party integrations, market perceptions and of course the popular concern that LinkedIn could, "pull a Monster" if it doesn't course correct.  At the conclusion of the day, the meeting scribe had produced almost 30 pages of minutes and each participant had covered nearly everything they came to share with one another.

Before the meeting concluded, LinkedIn was given the floor to tell the meeting participants what they were walking away with.  The common theme from those executives?  "We hear you."
In an impressive display of sharing versus justifying, the LinkedIn leaders acknowledged that these pain points need attention and that as an organization they have an opportunity to be stronger partners (versus vendors,) more openly communicate with every level of clientele as well as the industry at large and to remain accountable to their roots within recruiting.

CareerXroads has had multiple positive conversations with LinkedIn leadership teams since our August meeting.  While that's encouraging, we're more excited about the nearly one dozen people inside of LinkedIn that have connected with us "off the record" to share the signs of a positive ripple they're seeing within the organization as a result of the discussions that took place.

The reality is that LinkedIn is a relatively young company (just a teenager!) that has seen tremendous growth year over year.  So it shouldn't be surprising that there will be growing pains along the way.  Will this meeting result in LinkedIn "fixing" everything that so many in our space say is broken?  Not likely - but for a number of legitimate reasons related to timing, running a business and priorities.  What we think we are seeing however, is an earnest shift in how LinkedIn is listening to the industry and receiving feedback that's honest and candid.  Will this shift impact their culture and deliveries to a point that is tangible at various levels within client organizations and our industry?  Time will tell.

What do you (as a CareerXroads member) feel about LinkedIn as a partner?  Do you and your teams have growing concerns with the direction of LinkedIn or trying to measure the return on investment that seems to be a challenge so many others are facing?

Your comments here are secured and visible only to other CareerXroads members - so we'd love to hear your thoughts on our CareerXroads | Executive Idea Exchange and if you'd like to see CXR do something like this with other vendors or business partners within our space.

Discuss this article & related topics on the CXR eXchange.