Excessive Use

Job applications might suffer if you search too much

Job-seekers who use LinkedIn excessively to search for new jobs are less likely to be successful in their job applications, according to new research from emlyon business school.

The research, led by Nikos Bozionelos a Professor of International Human Resources Management, and conducted by students in the Master Grande Ecole Programme at emlyon business school, shows that using professional social media platforms like LinkedIn excessively to look for a new job is likely to lead to fewer job offers than expected.

This is likely due to the fact that a jobseeker who launches job applications with high frequency may lack selectivity: she or he launches job applications regardless of whether the advertised positions fit his or her skillset or experience. Launching many job applications is also likely to lead to applications being not thoroughly put together, for example lacking sufficient detail or a persuasive cover letter, which therefore fail to impress recruiters.

Professor Nikos Bozionelos says,

“The findings suggest that people who prioritise professional social media platforms like LinkedIn as a way to find a job tend to spend disproportional amounts of time searching and sending out applications and are less selective in the jobs they choose to enquire about or apply to. As a consequence, there is less chance of identifying those jobs that suit them best and they have less time to prepare their application well to maximise their chances to succeed.”

The student researchers conducted this study in order to determine the specific role that professional social networking sites play in the career management process and hiring decisions of talent recruiters.

The findings come from both online surveys with working professionals and job seekers, and semi-structured interviews with experienced hiring and recruitment managers.  The online survey focused on both French and international workers who had active LinkedIn accounts for an average of 3.6 years, and were currently in full or part-time employment. The interviews were held with hiring managers and HR professionals, with over 85 years of working experience between them, to gain a recruiter’s perspective.

The study also revealed that 71 per cent of recruiters think that an applicant’s LinkedIn profile is important and will look at this as part of the recruitment process, even if the applicant has not applied for the job via LinkedIn. However, 78 per cent of recruiters feel that social networking sites are more useful for networking and creating further opportunities which could in turn lead to job offers, as opposed to directly applying for jobs.

Professor Nikos Bozionelos says,

“Rather than using professional networking sites such as LinkedIn to search for jobs, it appears that job seekers should look at the social media platform as a way to network with as many relevant people as possible. Putting a name to a face and having general conversation increases the chances of being informed about or applying for a job that fits their skills, experience and desires. This is more effective than just applying for any job that is loosely related to their desires or skills. The findings suggest that sites such as LinkedIn are more beneficial when they are used as a personal branding and self-promotion tools, as opposed to job advert sites”.

The student researchers note that a less aggressive approach to applying for jobs through professional networking sites such as LinkedIn apparently offers more benefits because it allows: (1) sufficient time to carefully select those job openings that best suit a person’s skill set and knowledge, and (2) sufficient time and energy to prepare a convincing and attractive job application. In the meantime, when not looking for a job, LinkedIn should be used in moderation as a personal branding, self-promotion and impression management tool – making it easier for recruiters to see the skillset and knowledge you offer and making you more accessible to these recruiters too.

Professor Bozionelos adds that what we learn from the study is helpful under any circumstances, including the one we have been experiencing with covid-19 when volatility in the job market is high, hence, existing contacts and preparedness are important for success in launching job applications.

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