Search by Ideal Candidate? #LIR

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An “ideal candidate” is a notion of importance when sourcing talent. When we source, we always ask for one, or better, several profiles of “ideal” candidates. Even with a well-written job description and clearly specified parameters, such as location, target job titles, years of experience, salary range, must-haves and nice-to-haves – there can be some unverified assumptions as to whom the hiring manager and her team want to join them. We know from studies and experience that an “ideal” profile or resume is always of help, narrowing down what we are looking for. An “ideal profile” facilitates our communications with the employer, our client who is hiring.

An ideal profile can serve as the starting point for sourcing. Sourcers would study the profile and get a better understanding which keywords, title, and companies to look for. When we source, we’ve liked to look up LinkedIn member profiles “similar” to the one that is given. Too bad we no longer see the “similar” search in personal accounts. Whatever the algorithm for similarity was, it did provide some results worth reviewing, always around 100 profiles or so – that we knew how to narrow down to a location. LinkedIn Recruiter still shows “similar” profiles on request, and it’s a useful feature.

LinkedIn Recruiter also offers us to point to one or more “ideal” profiles and give us “matching” results. But this newest “search by an ideal candidate” available in LinkedIn Recruiter, while being heavily advertised, is not something that I am excited to use for sourcing. All it does, apparently, is extract several job titles, skills, and companies from the given profile(s),  put in the search dialog, and search for a Boolean OR of the terms. That may sound good on paper, but it doesn’t work well in real life. Old job titles go into the search along with new; important skills are mixed with unimportant. The number of results varies, to say the least! Here are some number for you – see for yourself:

  1. David Galley has only 4 (four) people “like” him (I knew David is unique!)
  2. Martin Lee is even more unique – three profiles (I knew that too!)
  3. So is Julia Tverskaya – three profiles (yes!)
  4. Me – less unique – 52 profiles
  5. Glen Cathey – 511 profiles like him
  6. 1,070 profiles like Suzy Tonini
  7. 10,868 profiles like Jim Stroud 
  8. 170,944 profiles like Phil Tusing
  9. 1,469,952 profiles like Balazs Paroczay (are you kidding?)
  10. David, Martin, Julia, and I together produce 13 (thirteen) profiles that are similar to the four of us. (What does that mean?)

Do these numbers (and suggested profiles) make sense? Sorry, LinkedIn, not really.

The question is, whether searching “by ideal candidates is a feature helpful to Sourcers in any particular circumstances. If LinkedIn simply extracts titles, skills, and keywords from the “ideal” profiles, without any extra intelligence – or machine learning – to improve how well it “understands” what we are looking for – this feature would not help those who search.

Which features are helpful, and which, just misleading? Join me for the webinar about LIR (LinkedIn Recruiter) and its variations such as Lite and RPS, this Wednesday, April 12th, to find out!