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Weekend Discussion: ‘Open to Work’ on LinkedIn, Yay or Nay?

a smiling cat with a LinkedIn open to work banner

Ed. note: I feel compelled to point out that my use of “yay” in the headline is intentional and not me being an idiot who doesn’t know it’s “yea” that usually goes with “nay.” Thanks.

I came across this CNBC Make It article the other day about LinkedIn’s ‘open to work’ banner and apparently using this is a red flag to know-it-all recruiters.

When you’re looking for a new job, it may seem like a no-brainer to let as many people as possible know. But career experts differ on their opinions about LinkedIn’s “open to work” banner, the green sign that shows up just under your photo if you choose to activate it.

“It is the biggest red flag” in a job candidate, says Nolan Church, former Google recruiter and current CEO of salary data company FairComp.

“There is a truism in recruiting that the best people are not looking for jobs,” he says, and therefore those people would not be advertising that they’re looking for work either. Former Amazon recruiter and current career coach Lindsay Mustain agrees.

They included some facts, too: 33 million LinkedIn users are currently using the feature that was introduced in the early days of COVID-19 when people lost their jobs en masse and people who have it on are twice as likely to be contacted by recruiters, per LinkedIn data.

Nolan was quoted in a different CNBC article a few months ago saying it makes you look desperate:

When it comes to job interviews, you want to give the company you’re interviewing with the sense that you have other options and that they have to fight for you. “Recruiting is like dating,” says Church. “You have to make the other side feel like you’re exclusive.”

What you’re signaling to hiring managers with the “open to work” sign on LinkedIn is that you’ll take any job, says Church, from whoever reaches out to you, because maybe nobody is. “It actually feels to a hiring manager like desperation,” he says.

As a recruiter, “you want to feel like that person really wants to work at your company versus any company,” says Church. And that sign makes it look like the opposite.

But he also says “the best people are not looking for jobs” and that “you have to go and pull them out.”

This is also him:

To quote LinkedIn “influencers”…Thoughts? Agree?

2 thoughts on “Weekend Discussion: ‘Open to Work’ on LinkedIn, Yay or Nay?

  1. Here’s something I learned a long time ago: Almost all recruiters are idiots. Specifically, regarding finance & accounting recruiters, the vast majority of them are washouts from the profession who were either too stupid or too lazy, or both, and wanted to find a job where they could make a quick buck without having to know anything or work hard. Most of them will even wash out of recruiting after not too long when they realize that it’s necessary to hustle if they want to make enough money for rent and their car payment. Again, recruiters are lazy, stupid, and lack even a basic degree of wisdom, and therefore are not worth taking advice from on anything. Back when I was really young, a senior who took me under his wing referred to recruiters as “tools”, which is the best description I’ve ever heard for them and defines what they are in every sense of the word.

    But back to the subject at hand, the idiot recruiter being quoted in this article is a jackass. If any recruiter passes you over for consideration because you put it out there that you want a new job, my advice is to don’t worry about what a useless tool says or thinks. You’ll get plenty of calls from other recruiters who are slightly less stupid. Humans are not clairvoyant. If you want a new job, put it out there that you want a new job…and then people who are looking to fill a job will reach out to you. This isn’t complex. Too many stupid games are played by stupid people in this world.

  2. One more thing: I’ve heard debates for years over who are the dumbest people in the business world. I’ve heard many arguments that its marketing people, or sales people, or HR. But the truth is that its none of these people. It’s the recruiters. Hands down. Second place ain’t even close.

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