Candidate Resources, Q&A

Make Linkedin Work for You & Embrace the Strength of Weak Ties

I recently did a Q&A with Remote Daily founder, Felix Zeltner, to clear up some misconceptions on how recruiters work and share some tips to improve communications while job searching on Linkedin. We barely scraped the surface at this Job Hour Virtual networking event, so here’s a deeper dive into some of the content we covered that our guests were most interested in. On behalf of my Team at Clarity, we understand it’s a challenging job-market, despite confusing labor reports. Interview processes are still lengthy and can leave candidates in limbo for months. Not to mention coping with the grief experienced when you lose your dream job, or a deeply meaningful years-long career. Often, it can only be perceived as an, “it’s not you, it’s me” breakup by a company. The majority of layoffs today have nothing to do with your performance, skills or achievements. It’s plain tough, and we see you. Hopefully this can help guide you toward some useful tactics to deploy while navigating Linkedin. Be sure to check out our website, too, and submit an application if you’re looking ー our recruiters are stacked with jobs and will reach out if your experience is aligned with an active opening with our clients.  The bright side is that lots of companies still are hiring, and there are a few things you can do today to get noticed.  

What are some of the biggest financial misconceptions job-seekers have about working with recruiters?

The cost!

It’s absolutely free to work with an agency like Clarity and others. If you’re speaking with an agency recruiter today, chances are you hold access to a person with real job-openings and strong relationships with hiring managers, decision makers and founders. Less publicized in mainstream media is that the recruiting departments of many big firms and big recruiting agencies are also undergoing layoffs ー this happens when companies are downsizing, restructuring and on hiring freezes. Recruiters who are active and reaching out are generally working on real positions and not simply pipelining candidates which can be a common practice in different employment markets. 

Salary implications

Another financial misconception that you may be getting a lower salary because part of the allocated salary budget is given to the agency recruiter as a service fee or commission by a firm ー this is NOT true. Companies that use agency recruiters are simply smart. They understand the time and cost of recruitment and that they can actually save money working with agency recruiters over hiring one or several salaried or temp, full-time internal recruiters for a hiring push that will be over in 6-12 months. Placement fees are built into the long-term cost of hiring the wrong person, which… is actually the most expensive mistake a business can make. Pay is not coming out of anyone’s allocated salary, and recruiters ー at least Clarity recruiters since I can only speak for my Team ー work very hard to advocate for the needs and wants of talent. They want you to earn as much as possible… it’s a win-win situation. We’re also passionate about closing the gender wage gap and advocating for underrepresented candidates.  We communicate with them when their experiences indicate they should be at a higher salary bracket, and aim for them to get there if they’re not already.

What are some tips to stand out on Linkedin and make sure you’re presenting as marketable?

Don’t fear publicly indicating that you’re “Open to Work”

“Open to Work”, which is a setting you can apply to your profile, can work to your advantage. When recruiters are using tools like “Linkedin Recruiter”  ー a paid advanced search tools companies and recruiting agencies power their recruiters with ー this is part of the search criteria they often select in order to sort folks that are open vs. passive candidates. Passive candidates are great, too, but depending on the opportunity and project timeline, those that are ready to engage can be at an advantage on tight timelines, and this feature makes that clear. Best part? Today, there is no longer a stigma to indicating you are open to work. Personally, my feed is filled with folks announcing they’re embarking on job-searches, and the collaborative Linkedin sharing economy is very vibrant and helpful to many of them right now.  It’s impossible to avoid the news ー we know people are getting laid off for reasons completely out of their control and that are not performance-driven. Recruiters and talent seekers are not holding negative judgements toward folks that are unemployed, or whose employment has a known expiration date. Own it. 

Update your Contact Info

Make it as easy as possible for a recruiter or hiring manager to get in touch with you. Too much back and forth can drive people mad, simply put, on both sides. Include your updated email addressー one you actually check daily ー not your outdated professional email, or one you use to sign up for promotions that you ignore. And then, check it! Set your Inmail settings so that you’re receiving message notifications right to your inbox so you don’t need to be tethered to Linkedin or your phone app when you’re waiting for messages. People are often really surprised when they realize they haven’t been getting notifications because their app is off, or they never updated their primary email address. This is very common if it has been a while since you’ve been on the job search as well, so get ahead of it today. 

Include your Recent Achievements and Experience

Promote yourself! This is your tool, your platform, to really shine and toot your own horn. Don’t hold back! Did you increase revenue on your Team by a staggering percent? Did you ideate and execute an initiative that drove growth of your business? Did you spearhead an ERG or “extra-curricular” culture-building initiative that shaped your company culture for the better? Let it be known. 

Include Keywords in your profile

Keywords ー words related to your work, your achievements, your industry and what you’re seeking in a new role ーare what recruiters are using to search through millions of profiles and curate short-lists of candidate matches. One easy way to grab top keywords is to pull job descriptions for your ideal roles and look at the key words that are repeated and that classify the skills you have. Include them in as many sections as you can. This is how you can optimize your profile to be picked up during detailed searches conducted by recruiters and hiring managers.

Go easy on Inmails from recruiters that are less than perfect

Did you know: If you ignore an Inmail because the opportunity isn’t one you’re interested in, it limits a sender’s ability to Inmail you again if you’re not already a connection? Linkedin tracks if you ignore an Inmail and then indicate the message was unwanted because you don’t know the person. If it’s wildly off and the person that reached out to you is inappropriate, or vastly mis-classifying your experience, you certainly can ignore it. But, if it’s 60-70% interesting, not entirely perfect but not terrible, something you’ve already applied to, or something in your industry but for whatever reason you simply don’t want, don’t rush to “ignore” the message. Consider accepting it and saying, “Thanks for reaching out. I’m actually targeting XX and XX and will only consider jobs above XX salary. If this is something you might have on your desk, I’m available to speak at the following times. Please email me to confirm at Every single recruiter on my Team is working multiple openings at once. Being transparent about what you’re open to, and accepting that a recruiter may be able to be a resource beyond their initial message, can open up new possibilities for you and new relationships. Don’t let your frustration get the best of you ー recognize recruiters work directly with internal hiring managers and decision-makers. Recruiters are also juggling a ton at any given moment, and they don’t know what they don’t know. And neither do you!

And here’s some final — and seemingly counter-intuitive — inspiration to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone…

Consider the Strength of Weak Ties

Mark Granovetter, Stanford sociologist, coined the sociological term, “Strength of Weak Ties” in his 1973 paper from The American Journal of Sociology. Its core principle was that weak ties can be more valuable than close ties when it comes to establishing new professional connections and landing new employment opportunities. Contrary to what is commonly believed to be true ー that strong ties will get you the best opportunities ー it posited that weaker ties can actually be the key to success in your job search. Granovetter’s study was mostly correlation-based, but MIT and Linkedin decided to put this to the test using the Linkedin platform. They conducted a massive experiment and study that was completed in Fall 2022, which resulted in the first causal proof that this theory is in fact true. It resulted in a follow-up paper by experts at Linkedin, MIT, Apple, Harvard Business School and more, called, “The Causal Test of the Strength of Weak Ties”.

How did they do this? They flexed the Linkedin algorithm with a particular focus on the “People you may Know” function. They observed 20 million accounts over the course of 5 years and collected data on where their new jobs came from. They had served some people they “may know” as people who shared many mutual Linkedin connections, and some people were served people they “may know” that had far less mutuals, around 10. These were folks that had in many cases never met or worked together, but simply had some vague, loose ties through mutual connections. Turned out, they were the most powerful for landing new jobs in certain industries. They were particularly beneficial in digital industries and those that use remote and  hybrid work compared to “analog” industries that required in-person presence.

Why am I sharing? To encourage you to get out there and connect with folks you don’t know well ー the worst that can happen is they ignore you, and let’s face it, as recruiters and business developers, we’ve all been there! The best case however, is that they open your network and lead you to that amazing new opportunity you’ve been seeking but could never land through your closest ties you’ve already tapped. Are you a recruiter reading this that’s seeking a new role? We are hiring and I’d love to hear from you!

Happy connecting!

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