Secretly looking for a new job? LinkedIn can help.

It’s no mystery that social media has opened up the flood gates to insights into our personal lives.  Be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, our personal information and media is generally accessible at the click of a button.  But with the benefit of being able to share all of this information comes the downside: the potential risk of destroying a job prospect.  There have been countless stories of individuals whose social media accounts have gotten them into so much trouble that offers from companies, athletic programs, and other organizations have been revoked.


So then it goes without saying that LinkedIn, despite being a fantastic networking tool, is a prime destination for an employer to check up on employees who might be looking to switch jobs.  Enter Open Candidates.  The site has created a new tool which allows users to notify recruiters of their interest in finding a new job.  This is significant for a couple of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that a large portion of users go to LinkedIn in search of new opportunities, but it also signals to users that the site is paying attention to their concerns and adapting accordingly.

But certainly LinkedIn isn’t doing this solely out of the goodness of their hearts.  With this new tool the site charges a premium rate to recruiters and it also doesn’t ensure that those same headhunters won’t be poaching colleagues.

Open Candidates.png

Overall this seems to be a highly effective use of the site.  By now allowing users to indicate their search hopes, or lack thereof, you can either invite headhunters to contact you, or send the message that you’d rather not be bothered.

All in all, it’s the site moving in a good direction and taking care of some of the existing problems that users experienced.  And in an age where privacy is limited, it’s  a little less to worry about if you’re trying to get to the next level.


  1. LinkedIn states that they screen out the user’s explorer HR dept from seeing that the user is “looking”. However, there is NOTHING to prevent this same employer from hiring a recruiter or recruiting firm to do this for them. If you state you are looking, it is very easy for your employer to know this. LinkedIn acknowledges this on their site.

    1. wfbagleyiii · ·

      That’s a fantastic point and certainly a deterrence. Most authors who’ve written about this made the point that the mere presence of a LinkedIn profile could qualify as ‘actively searching.’ But this implementation of a tool designed to evade employers who might want to prevent employees from jumping ship clearly needs some work.

  2. finkbecca · ·

    I’m not a big fan of this supposedly “secret” actively searching button. I think it would be very difficult to keep that information private. The comment above from @hcmgr was very interesting too and definitely a concern. I like that LinkedIn is more open, so people can use it as a networking tool and it’s an easy place for recruiters to go to to look at your references that have been posted on there. I’ve never applied for a job directly though LinkedIn though, but I would for some reason, still be concerned to do so if I didn’t want my current employer to know I was searching.

  3. Nice post. Will be interesting to see how LinkedIn changes with the Microsoft acquisition.

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