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LinkedIn Changes and Why Recruiters Hate Them


Live from TA Week in San Diego from the Qualifi booth, the boys chat with Brian Fink, a TA partner at McAfee, and discussed the recent changes to LinkedIn and the impact on sourcing and recruiting. The conversation also touched on the competition between LinkedIn and other platforms like Google, Bing, and X. Specifically, Fink details the recent changes to the way LinkedIn displays profiles, which can affect how recruiters find and engage with potential candidates. He also highlighted the importance of using different search engines like Google and Bing to find candidates and the potential benefits of each.


The role of Microsoft in the competition between LinkedIn and other platforms was also discussed, with the potential impact on recruiters and job seekers being a key point of interest. The rise of alternative platforms like Polywork and the potential for new competitors to emerge in the recruiting space were also mentioned. Fink emphasized the importance of recruiters being adaptable and not relying solely on one platform like LinkedIn for sourcing candidates. He also stressed the need for recruiters to be creative and think outside the box when it comes to finding and engaging with candidates.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:



Intro: Hide, your kids lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.


Joel: Oh, yeah. What's up everybody? It's Sean Carter's favorite podcast, AKA, the Chad and Cheese podcast.


Chad: Really?


Joel: I'm your co-host, Joel Cheeseman. Joined as always, the Scooby to my Shaggy, Chad Sowash is in the house. We're recording live from the Qualified Booth at TA week, and we have with us right now, Brian Fink, TA partner at McAfee, also experience at Twitter, Apple, and AWS.


Chad: Never heard of him.


Joel: And an author, so you're kind of a big deal Brian.


Brian Fink: I'm not a big deal.


Chad: He's a big deal. Whatever.


Brian Fink: No, dude. I stand on the shoulders of great people like Steve Levy or Dean Da Costa, or Shelley Stockwell.


Chad: I love it.


Brian Fink: Maybe that's why I'm so fired up about what we're gonna talk about today, about what we're gonna get into, about what's transforming TA, what's keeping people awake. How are you guys going? What do you think the vibe is like on this floor here today?


Chad: Whoa, whoa, whoa.


Joel: Simmer down for a second. Some of our listeners don't know you.


Brian Fink: Oh.


Joel: Give them kind of the Twitter bio about what makes Brian Fink.


Chad: Just in case. Just in case.


Brian Fink: Okay. So in less than 500 characters, my name is Brian Fink. I'm a TA partner at McAfee Security. We help keep people safe online. I am passionate about finding ML, NLP, Machine Learning pros who want to keep the world safe and make it a better place. What that means to me as a recruiter is that I've gotta teach other recruiters the skills that I employ so that they can do the same or better at different organizations.


Joel: So you're a giver.


Brian Fink: I'm a giver. I'm not a taker.


Chad: He is a giver. So much heart. So much heart.


Joel: A sourcing Santa Claus, if you will.


Brian Fink: I like to think of myself as a Hanukkah Harry, but it's okay. Little John Levitt's here for us.


Joel: We don't discriminate.


Chad: He's excited. I can't keep him off of this.


Joel: He's unbound, unleashed.



Chad: We've been talking about this crazy LinkedIn shit that's happening and...


Brian Fink: What do you mean LinkedIn? People are going to it and they're finding candidates. That's what's going on?


Chad: What? Oh, okay. No, that's not it.


Brian Fink: Oh Okay. So crazy LinkedIn shit.


Chad: Yes.


Brian Fink: So I was talking to Joel and I was really pissed off. That's where I'm at, is that there are a lot of scare tactics that are going around right now because LinkedIn made a change to the code that appears on the page of a profile page. However, in this blow up that everybody is talking about, there's this confusion about whether or not you can x-ray which is site command colon linkedin.com to find candidates or not. I'm here to tell you it still works. If you want, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm more than happy to show you how this still works.


Chad: And they call this operator, an x-ray?


Brian Fink: Well, they call it the site command, but X-ray was a term that was coined by the people at AERS when AERS was rolling out the CDR.


Chad: Oh wow. Back in the day.


Brian Fink: The way back machine. Right?


Chad: Oh, AERS.


Brian Fink: So if you go site command colon linkedin.com/in, it will pull up profiles of individuals around the globe.


Chad: Okay.


Joel: These are queries in Google, correct?


Brian Fink: Google and the bing.com.



Joel: And Bing. Okay.


Brian Fink: And DuckDuckGo.


Chad: Oh, and the bing.com.


Brian Fink: And ironically, we were surfing on this on Friday with Thomas, escaping last name.


Joel: That's okay.


Brian Fink: Runs a recruiter meetup for sourcing and recruiters that specialize in the GovCon space.


Chad: Okay.


Brian Fink: So he was running that on Friday and the question came up, dude, does this still work? And I was like, yeah, let me show you. And I showed them in Google, showed them in Bing. I showed them in DuckDuckGo. And I showed it in Yahoo 'cause like, I don't know why, but Yahoo was some suddenly relevant for the conversation.


Chad: Again?


Brian Fink: Yeah. The yahoo.com?


Joel: Pretty sure Bing runs Yahoo now. So when you say Bing, you're kind of covering DuckDuckGo and Yahoo.


Brian Fink: You are. But the thing is that with Bing, Bing displays the results from LinkedIn in a different capacity, Joel.


Joel: Well, they own LinkedIn, so maybe...


Brian Fink: Oh! Maybe that's why it hasn't...


Joel: Maybe that's why it's... Yeah.


Chad: That could be it. I don't know.


Brian Fink: So all this talk about using Google exclusively has me worried because it brings back different results when you use different search engines. And shout out to my friend Ronnie Bracher, who showed that it shows different results when you use different browsers, right? Like if you use, if you index Google, or use Google or use being, on Safari or on Mozilla's, Firefox, that it shows different results, right?


Chad: Okay.


Brian Fink: Why it shows different results, I'm a recruiter, I'm not an engineering leader. I'm not the guy that tells you why or how it indexes. [laughter] What I am gonna tell you though is that those people who are out there that are interested in selling courses on how to use LinkedIn, they are telling people that X-ray doesn't work. Okay? I'm here to tell you, I'm here to tell your listeners, I'll show your listeners that if you go and you go site command linkedin.com/in, space, "mark@gmail.com" that it's gonna pull back millions of Gmail addresses that are associated with LinkedIn profiles.


Chad: And these are cached results.


Brian Fink: Well, if it's cache results, that means that I've cached the entire internet on my MacBook or on my Dell Inspiron, right?


Chad: No, I mean, 'cause you can actually search off of Google's cached results. They cache the information 'cause they index it.


Brian Fink: Right. But more recent results will come up on Bing. So basically this is a Google cache issue with LinkedIn versus a Bing cache issue.


Chad: Well, no, because it makes sense because Microsoft owns LinkedIn, right? So that ecosystem makes sense. This sounds almost like a squeeze, a Google squeeze to some extent. It almost sounds like we've uncovered, quote unquote "uncovered" a squeeze on Google because they've got the cached information. But if they can't get to the newest information, then Bing wins.


Brian Fink: Chad, that's a good point where I also think there's the squeeze, and there's a monopolistic... Okay. I'm not an attorney. I didn't play attorney last night.


Chad: Yes he did.



Brian Fink: But I didn't stay at La-Quinta. [laughter]


Joel: He played Proctologist, but that's a different podcast.


Chad: Carry on. Carry on, carry on.


Brian Fink: All right. So what we're looking at is there a scare tactic or is there a reality being driven to companies like RecruitBot or hireEZ or SeekOut or HireFind or Apollo to say, well, they're a cheaper alternative, but the publicly available data is not going to be publicly available anymore.


Joel: Here's the ace in the hole, sorry to go back to the Proctology reference.


Brian Fink: No, it's okay. I thought it was a Tappy Gilmore thing.


Joel: LinkedIn will not kill Google. LinkedIn will not stop being indexed by Google. They may give different data or less data or different specifics to Google. But whereas they're more than willing to turn off a company that's scraping their data and giving it back to people for a solution, they're happy to close them down. They're never going to close Google down. So what you're basically saying is the hack to sourcing now is what's the source that LinkedIn will never turn off? And it's Google and in Bing in this case. So that will always be something that you could use.


Chad: But Bing could prospectively provide more data because they have access to more data, right? So therefore, yes, LinkedIn wants to be seen by Google from a marketing standpoint, right? But do you give your other property, Bing...


Brian Fink: An advantage.


Chad: An advantage. Right. Exactly.


Brian Fink: So the other the other question I would ask, as long as we're about indexing, why does LinkedIn have a feature inside of creator mode where you can go in and you can SEO your page or you can SEO your articles or you can SEO your newsletter, if it doesn't want that information to be indexed?


Chad: Well, they want it to be seen. But again, I think it's more access. So let's say, for instance, if I can get more rich data off of Bing than I do Google, that's entirely different. So you're looking at being able to get more, especially if you're a recruiter. Let's say, for instance, if I can get more rich data about Joel's profile out of Bing, I'm going to start fucking using Bing. I'm not going to use Google anymore.


Brian Fink: So I would go back to it and say, why weren't you using Bing in the first place? Because Bing has, as long as we're picking on Joel is if I go into Bing and I index him or X-ray, his profile or profiles like his on Bing, it shows me how many connects he has and how many followers he has. That's information that's not made available on Google. That's why I always say Bing has always been a richer source of information. Now, I do wonder if some of these changes that are taking place to the profile are so Bing can index things better through its use of leveraging ChatGPT and Copilot which is certainly there.


Joel: If I'm getting really in the weeds on this.


Chad: And we are.


Brian Fink: Pull out the weed whacker, we're mowing the field.


Joel: Could the LinkedIn move be a move by Microsoft to hurt Google in some way? In other words, we're going to drive more people to Bing or Microsoft properties because the data is fresher. There's more thorough data. So why would you be using Google searcher when you get much more robust data through the Bing search engine? Am I thinking too deeply into that?


Brian Fink: No, I don't think you're thinking too deeply. And I would insert one four letter word. It's not a dirty word. I know you were excited.


Chad: Damn it.


Brian Fink: I would insert a four letter word that people have... You guys were at HR Tech and Viva, Microsoft had a huge booth for Viva. Right?


Chad: Yeah. Yeah.


Brian Fink: And when we think about skills based hiring and we think of Viva, how do you connect all that information and make it part of the ecosystem? Because Viva is a big play, right? Organizations that are enterprise orgs that have O 365 and have O 365 enhanced by Copilot. They're going to want to be able to take advantage of that as whether or not you believe retention is the new recruiting or promote from within happens to be a paradox that we need to explore. What about Viva? What about the ecosystem? Yeah, we're deep in the weeds. We're playing buzzword bingo. I'm here with Chad and Joel and we're having a good time.


Chad: I love it. Get your dauber out.


Joel: Let me dig into potential competition. Now you served some time at Twitter.


Brian Fink: I did, I did, I did.


Joel: And currently known as X now.


Brian Fink: Yes.


Joel: And Elon is on the record of saying we're going to make a LinkedIn competitor.


Brian Fink: A cooler.


Joel: LinkedIn killer. They obviously have profiles. They have the ability to do it. They just launched jobs. Are you bullish or bearish on Twitter/X becoming a LinkedIn competitor or job destination?


Brian Fink: So for white supremacists, I think it's going to be a great tool. I think that Mr. Levy is giving me the cut it out motion. No, do I think it's... I think there's a lot of data on Twitter, but I don't think it's going to become a LinkedIn competitor. That's like looking at a tool like Polywork. I was really big on Polywork. I thought Polywork was going to be a silent killer.


Chad: Me too.


Joel: I was not.


Brian Fink: Well, then maybe you have something if you're betting the house on Mr. Musk. But I don't think that it's going to be the resource because brands have fled from Twitter or from X or whatever they're calling it and I don't see that you're going to have a company like Disney or a company like Apple that gonna go as hard in the paint as they've gone with building their brand reputation on for employer branding on a Glassdoor or on a LinkedIn.


Chad: Wait a minute. This just in, Twitter just added email alerts to their jobs. Oh my God, it's still 1999.


Joel: That's called innovation check.


Chad: Fuck me, man. Yes.


Brian Fink: I'll fax those tweets to you later. You believe LinkedIn.


Joel: I believe LinkedIn's brand is so entrenched. I don't know if anyone can be a competitor. Certainly not a startup out of the ether like Polywork.


Brian Fink: I'm going to give credit where credit's due. I was on a recruiter therapy session that was sponsored by hireEZ. And Steve Levy called LinkedIn, OxyContin, because so many recruiters are addicted to doing the easy work that comes along with LinkedIn.


Chad: Yeah.


Brian Fink: Even though LinkedIn has all these members that are on it, I would argue that of the crowd that's

here today at TA Week, we've got a great bisection of individuals that do health care recruiting. Are doctors answering LinkedIn messages?


Chad: No.


Brian Fink: No, they're not. Right? Are nurses on LinkedIn? No, they're on TikTok and Instagram. That's where you should go to find them. Alternatively, if you're looking for truck drivers and there is a group that's here that's from pilot centers and they market to them. Are they on LinkedIn? No. You've got to look at all these alternative resources and say, where is the best place for me to meet my candidate? Not for my candidate to meet me. Don't make the candidate come to you. Go to the candidate. Get engaged with them about their interests and speak to those. If they're active on TikTok, right, site command, tiktok.com, quotation marks "@gmail" neonatal nurse and look it up, and you'll find people that are passionate about saving babies. You're not gonna find that on LinkedIn.


Chad: So are recruiters getting too lazy? Because they lean heavy on fucking LinkedIn, man.


Brian Fink: I've argued that for a really long time. If you guys caught Michael Goldberg's session this morning, Michael talked about grit and resilience. I had a talk at SourceCon where I talked about curiosity, tenacity, where you have to go deep in the paint. I don't think, look, I'm gonna say something that pisses a lot of people off. I know there are a lot of recruiters that are outta work right now. We're outta work for a reason. I say we as a community is that we're out because we have a low bar to entry. People are using that low bar and they're activating LinkedIn, they now have messaging sequencing on LinkedIn. They're not doing the heavy lifting, they're not doing the pre-research. They're not going the distance to understand the business, the hiring manager, the need. They're not asking the five Y's.


Joel: And what's gonna change that is, so let me give you my historical thesis here.


Brian Fink: Go for it.


Joel: In the mid-2000s there was a group of you, Shelley, Levy, that knew bullion strings, knew all the search engines, knew how to get the needle in the haystack because of what was in between their ears. A bevy of services launched to take out sort of the brain power into searching these profiles. Now that LinkedIn has inevitably become sort of the one stop shop, they've taken much of the competition out of the equation that the lazy recruiters, as you talk about, if they rely on LinkedIn, what's the breaking point before we go back to the future. And it's guys and gals like you that know how to really like get in the weeds on how to find people and not just leverage LinkedIn. Because I think there's gotta be a breaking point where we're just spending too much on LinkedIn to have lazy recruiters. We're gonna go to like real crackerjack recruiters, or do we still rely on LinkedIn? I guess I'm asking for your perspective on what's the breaking point to where we get off the

Oxycontin.


Brian Fink: Oxycontin. I don't know what the breaking point is. I look at all these different recruiters who find different ways to find candidates. Have you guys had Aaron Matthew on the show before?


Chad: No.


Joel: Nope.


Brian Fink: Okay.


Chad: Introduce us.


Brian Fink: Yeah, I will be more than happy to. Aaron is at PayPal. Aaron's number one source of hire is Reddit.


Chad: For the types of positions.


Brian Fink: Well, she's doing executive search.


Chad: Oh, okay.


Brian Fink: So she's having conversations with people about what's important to them, she's finding their Reddit alias. She's connecting that to their email alias and she's driving that conversation. She's having a conversation like, she loves to talk about bad dad jokes to her candidates. Her and Goldberg have an ongoing battle about who has the worst bad dad jokes.


Chad: Joel's gonna get into that one soon.


Brian Fink: Okay. So you've got something to talk to Aaron about. But that's it, is making that connection. And I think that if recruiters are less transactional, which LinkedIn is a drug that helps them to be transactional, and they get more into the minutiae with their candidate, that they're gonna go deeper.


Chad: Build relationships, people.


Joel: My thoughts are you mentioned unemployed recruiters. My thesis is the recruiters that come back get employed as recruiters again, are gonna be like your friend Aaron who think outside the box who don't just log into LinkedIn for eight hours a day and can think outside of that. That's my own thesis. Would you agree or disagree?


Brian Fink: I agree with your thesis.


Joel: Okay.


Chad: So what about the platforms though? Because now we have a bunch of platforms that are leaning heavily. They say that's not the only place that they go to actually source candidates. Yeah. But when they get cut off, what happens to them? You got some power search tools that are out there.


Joel: They pivot.


Chad: They do search, they perform search so much better than anything that LinkedIn could do. But if LinkedIn cuts them off, what happens?


Brian Fink: Well, I think that's a question that...


Joel: Ask HiringSolved what happens? They go out of business.


Brian Fink: I was just about to say, I was thinking of HiringSolved, I was thinking about chronologically if you don't know what's next and you don't look around the corners, you're gonna be left with nothing to go on, right? I don't know per se what is going to happen to the hireEZs or to the SeekOuts or the RecruitBots of the world. I want to think that they're led by intelligent individuals like Anoop or Steven or Jeremy. And that they're aware of the changes to the profile, and that they're sitting down. I'd like to encourage them to actually work together to figure out.


Joel: That's cute.


Brian Fink: No, I mean... Let's do that, right?


Chad: Yeah.


Brian Fink: Let's have a conversation.


Chad: Well, I mean, at this point they have a common enemy, so they should be fucking working together.


Brian Fink: They have a common monopoly, right? And how do they overcome that monopoly?


Chad: Yes.


Brian Fink: It's a good question. I don't have an answer for that. Build a Google custom search engine. See how it works. See how it breaks, learn from it. Iterate, AB test. That's what I would do.


Joel: Advice to a young recruiter would be what?


Brian Fink: Stay out of the business. Get out of my way.


Joel: And that is Brian Fink, everybody.


Chad: Yes.


Joel: He's the TA partner at McAfee. Brian, for our listeners who want to connect with you, where would you send them?


Brian Fink: I would send them to the linkedin.com. If you type in Brian Fink, I'm the SEO to come up first. Or if you wanna get a little bit more personal, maybe you're gonna check me out @thebrianfink77 on Instagram.


Chad: Oh.


Brian Fink: Yeah.


Chad: I like that.


Brian Fink: Yeah. So we might go that route.


Joel: Love it. Thank you Brian. That is another one in the can live from TA week at the Qualified Booth. Chad, we out.


Chad: We out.


Brian Fink: Are you listening? Whoa...


Outro: Thank you for listening to what's it called? The Podcast, The Chad, The Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting, they talk about technology, but most of all they talk about nothing. Just a lot of shout outs of people you don't even know. And yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese. Not one cheddar, Blue nacho, Pepper Jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Anywho, be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play or wherever you listen to your podcasts. That way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit www.chadcheese.com. Just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. It's so weird. We out.

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