My LinkedIn network brings me a lot of things. I invest time to feed it, to help it, I talk to it, I listen to it, I entertain it. In my network, I apply as many forms of leadership as I can. I spread my message and my cause, and I create opportunities to help people.
This network brings me so much that I decided to give back to it.
I recently made a call to all recruiters in Montreal because I knew two developers who were looking for a job. I was able to put them in touch with 7 recruiters.
And here I asked myself: what would happen if I put my network at the service of job seekers in Montreal?
On the Tuesday morning, I shared this image on LinkedIn:
During the 2 days that followed, I received private messages from about 30 people. I told them about what I was trying to accomplish. I asked them what they really wanted to do, regardless of their background.
I spent a good part of my Wednesday compiling the details of the candidates and the jobs they wanted to get.
On Thursday morning, I posted this image on LinkedIn, with a link to the list of jobs that the candidates were looking for:
This image was obsolete very quickly as other candidates were added to the experiment. In the end, 35 candidates were presented.
28 recruiters or managers came forward on that Thursday. On the Friday morning, I made 71 introductions by email (yes, all by hand or almost). I reused the same message, and customized it according to the position the candidate was looking for, and adding the names of the two interested parties.
On the weekend that followed, I sent surveys to both candidates and recruiters to gather feedback. The survey responses are presented below.
As the experiment progressed, it went from “I can help my network help itself” to “there is something to be learned from this experiment”.
So I decided to impose rules onto my experiment. They were not explicit for the participants, they were more like my guidelines for myself.
- The experiment was to serve the candidates before companies.
- The experiment was to foster human contact and curiosity rather than traditional hiring processes.
- The experiment was to prevent candidates from being disqualified in advance by companies.
In the end, since all I do serves the promotion of people at the heart of the world of work, the idea was to encourage human contact. To make sure people would have to talk to each other first.
Here are the results of the surveys. I did not include all the answers, many were similar, others were less relevant.
Feedback from candidates
22 respondents out of 35 (63%) candidates answered the survey.
What did you like about my approach?
- Very practical and well targeted. Sincere. Organized.
- The idea of putting people in touch and the condideration for us.
- Innovative, there is also a more humane element than presenting resumes. You introduce two people based on common interests, it’s like speed dating. The fact that Olivier took the time to put us in touch motivates us to make more efforts than simply sending a CV.
- The personalized approach in my case was great. Job search can become long and difficult. This is one of the most pleasant experiment in which I have had the opportunity to participate.
- The speed of the process: you took 2 days to put me in touch with 2 people.
- It was simple, effective and easy.
How did my approach differ from what you have experienced before?
- I have never been offered this kind of help on LinkedIn.
- This is my first experience and there was a connection with a job giver. I sent a note to the person but they did not answer back.
- I had answers very quickly after your introduction. You bring trust in the candidate / recruiter relationships.
- We feel that it is not “your job” but that you really are happy to help us.
- Simple and straightforward approach. The fact that you do not work for an agency, we go directly to the goal. Much more attentive to what we are looking for.
- The genuine interest for our success, the authentic side.
- I had never tried the networking way before. This method was less robotic, and allowed more contacts and results in my case than sending a resume and cover letter to open positions on LinkedIn or Indeed.ca.
- Normally, people do not want to help and if they say they will, they do not follow up. When I contact them again, I have no answer. A huge thank you to you Olivier. Excellent work!
- Less formality, speed of the answers, but especially the sharing of your own contacts.
What did you learn from the recruiting world by participating in this experiment?
- I felt less alone. I feel that my state of job seeker is shared with many others.
- There are many other ways to connect people. We are trying too hard to put square pegs in a round holes.
- That networking brings much more potential to finding a job that suits me, and many more opportunities can be considered too!
- That recruitment starts with allowing others to access our own professional networks.
- This method is not really meant for new graduates, I think it is more for people with previous experience.
- Why do we spend a fortune on head hunters who don’t even take the time to meet us nowadays?
- This approach is different, it is authentic … it changes from “formatted” discussions and tense candidate-recruiter relationships.
Should more people take the initiative of putting their network at the service of job seekers?
- Yes: 95.5%
- Maybe: 4.5%
Do you believe that your chances of getting a job following this experiment are good?
- Yes: 59.1%
- No: 22.6%
- I was not selected by a recruiter: 18.2%
Feedback from recruiters
13 respondents out of 28 (46%) recruiters responded to the survey.
What did you like about my approach?
- Human approach, positive support for both job seekers and recruiters.
- The sensitivity to the needs of others, a real feeling of wanting to help.
- The direct offer sent to the network. It’s like jumping over the first step of our process.
- I liked the simplicity of the approach, based on the professional interests of the candidates.
- The initiative to connect your network of job seekers with me, spontaneously and without any particular expectations, in networking mode.
- Your human side, as always! 🙂
- The will to help without monetary intention.
How does my approach differ from what you have experienced before?
- It was “real”. Non-profit objective.
- It’s more than just sharing on the newsfeed. There is a human commitment behind it: that of simply wanting to help with a little push.
- Having an intermediary in my sourcing: I usually source directly via Linkedin but it is difficult to target potential candidates.
- No other interest than to help.
- First initiative of this type seen on Linkedin (this type of approach exists, but via recruiters attached to recruitment firms only – or in isolation for 1 friend to refer – you have put many people in contact).
- It is a volunteer approach.
- Sincere willingness to help without any other particular expectation in return.
- Often, people expect for something in return ($) and forget that it’s good to help people for the simple act of helping.
What could have I done differently?
- In my case, the candidate is not on the Canadian territory so I suggest to better target or better communicate information. Maybe mention “availability of several candidates from around the world.”
- It satisfies me, given the time it took to have done that already.
- The candidates could have provided a small paragraph explaining their background.
- For a relationship, it’s good. If you want to go further there are plenty of things to do without falling into the services of a recruitment agency.
- You could have qualified a little more your candidates and your contacts. As you know, recruitment, before being a title + a city is a project for everyone with many criteria that are more or less displayed. Not to mention values and the cultural aspect … In short, it is a profession and intermediation will eventually be replaced by machines.
- In our case, it would have been helpful to know if the candidates were in Canada or outside Canada, but after all, it’s up to us to analyze the profiles. 😉
- Being a reference on Linkedin, we could (potential candidates and recruiters) contact you to be put in contact with potential candidates as you did, to facilitate your work, a platform could be put in place.
- 1st very positive experience.
Following this experiment, do you believe that your chances of hiring a referred candidate are good?
- Yes: 15.4%
- No: 23.1%
- Maybe: 61.5%
Two unexpected things happened during the experiment, one that amazed me, and the other that disappointed me.
A touch of disappointment
A recruiter asked me to disclose the identity of the candidates in order to be able to filter them in advance, and ensure a good “fit”, all this to avoid creating false expectations.
I was surprised. I explained that the idea was precisely to put people in touch on the basis of common interests, and therefore, to communicate with people, not to discriminate / favor them upfront. They might have very surprising discussions with these candidates, and the worst that could happen was that would be a time loss of about 10 minutes.
Having had no response from this person, I still sent the introductions by email. I do not know if this person has agreed to talk to the candidates.
No bad feelings, of course. Had I posted the hidden rules of the experiment, it is likely that fewer recruiters would have contacted me. We’ll never know.
The experiment has proven an important point
Another recruiter contacted me. The candidate I sent him had already applied for the position prior to the experiment. They had put his resume aside, judging that his technical profile was too junior.
However, after speaking to the candidate, the recruiter had an excellent feeling, and they reconsidered their decision and agreed to meet him in an interview.
Human contact: 1
Curriculum Vitae: 0
It’s been a while since I decided not to update my CV anymore and not send it to anyone. Those who are interested in my profile can come and talk to me. We now have a tangible proof that the CV does not say everything and can cause more harm than good. For my part, I consider it more like a nuisance. That’s one more step towards the death of the Curriculum Vitae. After all, even its name comes from a dead language.
The fact that it was free made the experiment more noble
In the feedback I got, it is very obvious that both the candidates and the recruiters appreciated that it was voluntary, and that the goal was not to make money.
For the candidates, I understand. Those who do not have a job right now are probably living on whatever money they have left, and being offered help because someone cares about their future must bring back some faith in humanity.
If helping candidates went without saying for me, you can believe me when I say I didn’t do this experiment for free out of pity for the recruitment firms. I know that most recruiters can appreciate a genuine concern for job seekers. On the other hand, I did a part of their work, so of course, the fact that it was free was very much appreciated.
Several people have suggested to automate this service and make a profit from it. I thought about it. But the automation of this initiative would remove the human element of the act, and would risk creating another hiring platform as there are already so many. Also, I must live from my work, and am not interested in copying / pasting emails all day long.
In short, this experiment cost me 15 hours in 3 days and was quite profitable in terms of networking (300+ new LinkedIn connections in one week, and one of my posts having reached 200+ likes and 25 000+ views), for my values and for my curiosity, but absolutely not profitable for my fridge and my mortgage. But that wasn’t the intent anyway.
It was more human than traditional recruitment
Both candidates and recruiters liked the humanity of my approach. I saw it in the survey responses and in the thank-you messages I received from participants.
I did not use a mechanical and dehumanizing process, I was attentive to the candidates’ aspirations and dreams, I did not care about their past experience, their seniority, their technical skills. I was mindful of their potential. And even if I did not know them, I had faith in them and their desire to succeed.
Recruiters, wake up!
I take advantage of the disclosure of the result of this experiment to give a bit of tough love to my recruiter friends. “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, they say.
When I think that an improvized experiment like mine was perceived as “more humane than traditional recruitment”, I feel sorry for the candidates, and I ask the recruiters of Montreal: what are you going to do now?
Will you tolerate the fact that a guy like me, who is not a recruiter and comes out of nowhere, can step on your toes by improvising an experiment, and do part of your work for free only to be told that he is more human, more attentive and more effective than you?
Do something! Right now! Start by challenging your processes and throw your checklists out of the window. You are humans too, not slaves of your tools. Go back to the basics. Who do you do your work for? Who do you serve? Your bosses or your candidates? Would the company still be in business if you had no more candidates? Bend the rules, break them and create new ones. This is exactly what I did in this experiment. You will be astonished by what you will be able to accomplish!
OK, good. Now that you are awake, what are you going to do?
Owner of Primos Populi. As a manager, I prefer to use a “people first, the rest will follow” kind of approach. My favorite topics are organizational culture, safe work environments, and lowering the center of gravity of the decision making process. I cultivate people’s awesomeness.