Improving LinkedIn

It has been announced today that there are lay-offs at LinkedIn. I feel sorry for the people being laid off. It’s never a good thing to go through, from my experience.

With that said, I think I know why it might be happening. Of course, it could be Microsoft is just looking to trim groups across the board regardless of anything else. But LinkedIn has become truly awful for, what I believe, is its core focus; job hunting.

It feels like it has been hyper focused on trying to become a normal social media site. Focusing on selling its services and while catering to people doing their hustle online. Sure, hearing some opinions from people which are related to your job, can be helpful in the place where you are managing your job. When it’s nothing but recruiters posting memes or “thought leaders” posting memes, and it may or may not be related to you, then it’s kind of lost the point, in my opinion.

Then, when you look at what is realistically the primary reason for people to go to LinkedIn (job search), that has become bad. Here’s where I think it’s gone most wrong.

It’s a bad web app. It provides you a list of jobs. Great, that’s what you want and let’s say it provides multiple jobs you want to look at. You click on one, it’s not that good, so you would like to go back and look at the others. Sorry, we’re a web app, so when you go back it goes back to the top and generates a new algorithmically generated list of jobs. That other one you wanted to look at? I hope you remembered the company and the position because you may not see it in this list again.

How would I improve this? Drop the web app style(i.e. Javascript) and allow me to swipe back and see what was there the first time I looked at the previous page.

It wants to look like it has all the options and make more money. What does this mean? I search for “Software Engineer in ‘city of choice’”. It turns out the economy isn’t too hot, so there are not that many jobs in my city of choice. Okay, well, let’s show you a bunch of ads for jobs that are not remote and in other countries. If you’re lucky, they’re in the same country as you, but on the other side. Totally defeating the purpose of searching for jobs in a specific city.

How can this be improved? What I search for should fit my skills and my location of choice. Anything else is useless to both me and the person paying for the advertising.

But even when you’re not searching for something specific, and you want to just look at the jobs it suggests to you. I’ve seen two issues. It knows your skill set and shows you a ton of jobs that are, again, not in your country, and you cannot apply for them. Worse yet, it does know your location and can ignore your skill set. This can happen in searches too, but either way, if I’ve been a software engineer for 10+ years, it’s fairly unlikely I want a job in construction or grocery stores. Great, it is in my area, but what do you think the odds are I want to push shopping carts? Are you assuming I’m totally burned out from development?

Fixing this is easy, always focus on my skill set and, again, location. If I do decide I want to change careers and use a search term that is entirely different to my skill set, then yes, heavily focus on that. Otherwise, you have all this data on me. Use it well.

In its current state, it is basically spewing garbage at me and getting in the way of what I want. That is going to drive people away. It doesn’t matter how hard you cater to recruiters or thought leaders. If there is no one there to listen to these people, then they’ll eventually leave too.

For all its faults, unfortunately it is still the best overall option out there. More local job sites are just awful on a whole other level and, for all the faults of Microsoft in the past, I think they are generally trying to more or less do the right thing or at least are being their old selves in a more secretive way. So I would hope they can see it’s just going down the wrong route.

If they are seeing that, then yes I see why they might start culling people, and hopefully, it is mostly focused on the people who have driven LinkedIn down the wrong path. It’s hard to say, and if they’re cutting back on engineering (which they are) then it’s unlikely to be a fully focused on back actors. It’s unlikely engineering gets much say on how LinkedIn works.

Either way, I hope those who are let go, find their way back into employment quickly, and we can see LinkedIn improve soon.