Want to move to the top of the job candidate list on LinkedIn? Well, if you are willing to subscribe for a monthly fee, you can become what LinkedIn is calling a "featured applicant"--a way of helping to ensure that you are given preferential treatment. It's a sort of pay-to-play in the search results of hiring managers and recruiters that are outside of your network.
"We spoke with hundreds of job seekers to understand their needs and designed a package of features to help them stand out from the crowd, reach out to hiring decision makers and manage their job search more effectively," wrote Parker Barrile, director of product management at LinkedIn, in an April 13 blog post.
The newly released product portfolio has three levels: Basic ($19.95/mo), Job Seeker ($29.95/mo) and Job Seeker Plus ($49.95/mo). In all three, you are listed as a "Featured Applicant" for viewers of your profile, but the bigger differences come in the number of direct e-mails you are allowed to send to hiring managers in a month, as well as the number of introductions and search results of hiring managers you can view.
In "Basic," the e-mails are paid a la carte for $10; in "Job Seeker" you receive five a month and "Job Seeker Plus" gets you 10 a month. Other differences include the number of folders in the Profile Organizer you receive (five, 10 and 25); the number of profiles of hiring managers you are allowed to view in a month (100, 250 and 500 search results); and the number of introductions you are allowed in a month (10, 15 and 25).
LinkedIn is also including in these products a 60 minute career-advice Webinar that is "a series of specific, tactical tips for how job seekers can make the most of LinkedIn's free and premium features."
Barlile told CIO.com a few additional things about the new premium services:
"When hiring managers log in to their LinkedIn accounts and view who's applied for a job, "they're highlighted and displayed in a more eye-catching way than a non-featured applicant," says Parker Barrile, director of product management at LinkedIn. Hiring managers, Barrile says, have responded positively: "These job seekers stand out to hiring managers because they've invested extra time and money to make their job search successful, so they know they're serious about it.""
What isn't clear is whether you are allowed to see the names of the people who have searched for you. Former premium services from LinkedIn allowed you to see descriptions like "a PR executive at XYZ company viewed your profile," rather than the actual name of the person. LinkedIn cited privacy reasons for not showing names--something a user might expect to see when shelling out monthly subscription fees.
PR Communications blogger Lee Hopkins in Australia said he found the former premium service offered to be a "ripoff" back in December 2009 (to be fair, this was before the latest product release in April). He wrote about his dissatisfaction in the following manner:
"It turns out - and you only get told of this once you have paid for your premium membership - that names are withheld for privacy reasons. But seeing names was the whole bloody reason for upgrading! Grrrrrrrrr......."
Recareered blogger Phil Rosenberg likes the new services, especially being moved to the top of the list in search results of hiring managers. He wrote:
"Will Linkedin's new tools find you a job? No. Will Linkedin's new tools give you more ways to help yourself find a job? Definitely.Linkedin offers 7-8 features fine tuned to the needs of job seekers, depending on the package offered...Top of the list - This is the #1 reason for Job Seeker Premium, in my opinion. Businesses have been able to buy their way to the top of Google for years. Linkedin Job Seeker Premium allows candidates a way to get to the top of the list. When recruiters or hiring managers search for specific criteria they may get hundreds of results - Premium user results are listed at the top. Since recruiters and HR reps might only call the top 10-20 matches, being at the top of the list helps a job seeker stand out. If you're a Java developer, trying to stand out from the thousands of other Java developers looking for a new position - Top of the list is a huge advantage."