Career Change

How To NOT Get Hired Via LinkedIn


Why do recruiters do this to themselves? I don't understand!

Day in, day out, recruiters look at LinkedIn profiles. So you'd think, of anyone, they'd know the mistakes to avoid! But apparently not because time and time again, I am asking job-seeking talent acquisition or recruitment pros why their profiles are s̶o̶ ̶b̶a̶d̶ incomplete.

And I write this because the media seems set on scaring us into a recession, and there are some companies already doing hiring freezes or laying off their TA teams. Plus, I also see a lot of companies 'streamlining' so they can sell. ☹️

BUT... my feed is also overflowing with recruiters and HR pros getting jobs hence my skepticism about a recession but I am not an economist, merely a cynic, and time will tell how wrong I am.

In the interim, my beloved recruiter reader, if you are looking for work this is how to not get hired on LinkedIn! And even if you're not, use this to look more appealing to candidates.

1. Use a profile picture that belongs on Facebook

There I said it. Call me old. Call me outdated. Call me biased, bigoted, and more. Call me the LI police, actually please don't. But I am not the one looking for a job.

A job where you will be representing the company to future recruits. A job where how you present yourself matters because it could/possibly/maybe deter applicants and your job is to be the gateway to the company (or your client's company).

Profile picture of Sjamilla van der Tooren

Let them see your beautiful face - a friendly, approachable face. One that starts to build trust.

Don't keep it at the distance, hide it behind sunglasses, use a selfie in the car or do anything to deter someone from thinking you look trustworthy.

Of course, you can dismiss my thoughts but if you are thinking, put your photo through Photofeeler and see what strangers think of its professionalism.

My photo, which I happen to love, doesn't rank as well as Sjamilla van der Tooren's does. Her face is in the frame, her smile makes her appear approachable, and she looks worthy of someone's time.

And as I wrote in Chapter 2 of The Robot-Proof Recruiter, your profile picture creates the first impression. So give it some focus (pun intended).

2. Copy & paste the job spec into your experience

Nobody wants to read about your boring generic job duties. They want to know what you achieved while carrying out those duties and why they should hire YOU.

Many moons ago Ray Murphy taught me the power of 2 little words: so what? And I have used them ever since when chatting to people about their CVs and profiles. You use them like this:

'I used LinkedIn to recruit ...so what? '...and by tailoring my messages and ensuring relevance, achieved a 75% response rate and an outreach to placement ratio of x:y.'

'I insisted on a proper intake strategy session' ...so what? '...which meant that I could engage candidates in better conversations and I was able to fill more roles.'

Get the idea?

Lose the job spec - write for the reader who wants to know why they should hire YOU and not the next recruiter profile they are about to move on to.

3. Use your actual job title

Not to be confused with using 'purple squirrel hunter' when you are a recruiter because when was the last time you typed that into the search bar? 🤷♀️

I mean not making it dead obvious to the reader that your last x number of jobs were as a recruiter. Because people will scan your profile first, add up the time you have had in a relevant role, think you have less than you do, and roll on by. 😬

For example, you may have been an HR Generalist who focused on recruitment, but if you use an HR Generalist, people will keep skimming. So consider writing HR Recruiter or HR & In-house Recruiter. Write something that will stop the scrolling and get them to read the content of the experience. Then make sure the experience follows number 2! 👆🏻

4. Have a few connections

Not all the (other) recruiters looking for you are using LinkedIn Recruiter so the fewer connections you have the further down the search results you will be. And how many pages of results would you look at before you got bored?

Get connecting!

What areas do you love recruiting in? If you want to commute, what companies local to you recruit those skills? If you don't want to commute, what companies recruit those skills and offer hybrid or remote working?

If you really want to save time, check the news to see how they're doing. Are they recession-proof (if this is of concern)? You can use what you find in a highly-personalized invite to connect and an email to the Head of TA.

5. Ignore skills and recommendations

You may sit on the fence about this, and that's your choice. You may never look at other people's recommendations but others may. 🤷♀️

So if you think of your LinkedIn profile as a marketing flyer, what's the harm in adding some skills and asking for some recommendations? I recommend asking for recommendations from past bosses and people that you have hired.

And don't be offended if they don't give you one, they are tedious to do and people don't always know what to write. So ask several people not just a few and consider giving them some pointers to include.

There you have it, how to not get hired on LinkedIn in 5 easy steps!

I am considering a follow-up post, 'How to not get a new connection on LinkedIn' 🤔😆

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P.S. If this got you thinking or surprised you, check out The Collective, a coaching & mentoring space I lead for recruiters. It's for those who want a safe place amongst peers to improve their hiring manager relationships & candidate experience. We brainstorm real-life scenarios and this is just a taster of what you'll experience!