LinkedIn – LeakIn ?!

With the latest scandal of nude celebrity photos being leaked the importance of privacy cannot be denied. That’s why I was very shocked about my experience with LinkedIn when I recently applied for a job with them.

I went through a total of four interviews and really enjoyed the experience. I even got the chance to meet my potential new colleagues and got the grand tour of the building. So what went wrong?

On the day of the final interview I was told by the hiring manager as well as the HR person that they will be in touch later that day with their offer. We briefly talked about salary to give me an idea what I could be expecting – that’s it’s not the best but competitive and it’s the whole benefit package and unique work culture that makes LinkedIn such a great employer.

I was completely transparent with them and advised several times that it would be useful to receive an offer on that day, as I had an interview at final stage with another company the day after. Again, they assured me they’ll be in touch with an offer should I be successful. I was a happy bunny.

Later that day I received “the call” telling me I was successful, but no mention of an offer. I was told that LinkedIn needs to conduct 10-15 minute phone interviews (!) with two of my former managers. This proved difficult as most of my managers

a) left the companies I worked at and I no longer have contact with them

b) are not able to provide references due to company policy or

c) simply don’t want to give references or don’t have the time

I told the HR person my dilemma and they showed no understanding. I was also asked if I am still going to that final interview the next day (!) and I responded with “As long as I have no offer in writing you have to understand that I will keep all doors open”. They didn’t seem happy, but I just found that question ridiculous.

I emailed HR later that afternoon stating that I tried to obtain a reference but my manager referred me to the HR department instead. Actually, this is standard practice and I have never had a company insist on verbal phone interviews. I sent LinkedIn all my work references from HR confirming dates worked and position in the company. I received no response until midday next day which is when I got back from my other final interview and that company had sent me an offer in writing already.

So I went back to LinkedIn and sent this to the hiring manager directly because I felt that we got on well during my onsite interview:

Hi xxx,

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. I just wanted to say that it was great meeting you and the team yesterday.

Also, I am sending you over my work references since it appears that there are some issues with HR around them. Contrary to what was discussed yesterday I haven’t received an offer yet, but was asked instead to provide contact details of former managers for phone interviews. Also, there is no longer talk of an offer, only “progress to the next step”.

I have actually just returned from the other interview I told you about and they have sent me an offer letter already. If you’re still interested in me I would need to ask you to do the same today as I do not want to keep the other companies waiting.

Thank you again, I really enjoyed my time at LinkedIn.

Kind regards,
Melanie

I basically kickstarted the process of salary negotiation which is normal once you are successful. My email was straight to the point asking for an offer that day, mainly because I think it is unfair to keep other companies waiting. What I got back from the hiring manager was so unprofessional I decided there and then I would not join LinkedIn:

(My thoughts are in red)

Hi Melanie

Thanks for your note. (Note?? I sent you my highly confidential work references and approached you with a concern and request for an offer!)

We absolutely have to go through reference check process prior to an offer being formalised and finalised, which is common best practice. (I never wanted to circumvent this process, I just wanted an offer before I go and bother my references. And by saying this is “common best practice” you’re basically insulting my previous employers which happen to be banks and they have to maintain confidentiality and integrity. So their processes of requesting and giving references is not best practice? So you’re basically discriminating employees from employers such as American Express, I’m sure Amex would be happy to hear that as they are a LinkedIn client, too) 

It sounds like you have a better situation with another company, which is regrettable however we must maintain our process and related standards. (So we have a win-win situation, I don’t want you, you don’t want me, right?)

It’s surprising to me that such a big decision is such a rush in that it could have significant impact on your career longer term. If you feel Linkedin’s process and approach at this point is not conducive it probably is best we leave it at that. (Woah, that’s mean and uncompletely unneccessary to include. It sounds almost like a threat. So basically what you’re saying is that LinkedIn is the best and the other companies are no good for my career? Or are you going to ruin my career once I accept a job at another company and update my LinkedIn profile so you can track and bad mouth me? Plus how exactly is a job hunt of over a month “rushing” it??)

If you would like to discuss I’d be happy to call you however there is no alternative to our reference checking process. If not, I wish you the best of luck. (What you really wanted to say was you can’t be bothered to talk to me and you think I’m bluffing. I wish you the best of luck as well)

Thanks,
XXX

I can’t remember the last time I received an email that exuded such arrogance, especially at hiring stage! All I asked for was an offer in writing confirming my salary, that could have even just been an email from HR. Having worked in Sales for many years at this point I knew that the sole purpose of this ‘exercise’ was to lower the salary once I’ve passed referencing. It’s actually quite common here if you’re not careful and the problem is by the time referencing is done you have committed a lot of resources and probably cancelled all other interviews. That’s when they’ve got you.

HR tried to call me several times that afternoon but I had no interest in picking up the phone. What good would it do? I wanted something in writing and it’s always highly suspicious if someone refuses to email you and is only willing to discuss a matter on the phone.

Not really "in" any more

Not really “in” any more

I was so disappointed but tried to put it behind me and move on with the other fantastic job. Until I got a LinkedIn message later that evening. It was from an employee in that department, telling me that s/he has heard that there has been perhaps a misunderstanding about the process and if I still wanted the position I can call her/him. S/he also gave me the advice to resolve issues via phone in the future as too much information gets lost via email.

I couldn’t believe it. This hiring manager has been sharing my completely private and confidential reference information with other employees and asked them to contact me on LinkedIn to lecture me! It’s not just highly unprofessional but also makes me worry about my details and how safe they are. (I feel sorry for the employee who was forced to write to me, s/he was actually very nice and I would have liked to work with her/him.)

LinkedIn doesn’t seem to have such a great work culture after all. I loved my time there and the people I met were fantastic but when it came to offer stage it was all just lie, after lie, after lie and a narcissistic hiring manager who’s clearly not living LinkedIn’s values, such as:

We are open and honest
We operate from a position of high integrity
We respect others, including our competitors

Oh, and in case of people jumping to the conclusion that I was rejected and I’m now hurt, nope. This is what LinkedIn sent me after my final interview:

Hi Melanie,

Thanks again for taking my call earlier and congratulations on doing so well on your interview! Both hiring managers were very impressed with you […]

I have taken down most of my information on my LinkedIn profile now, only leaving job titles and companies so that I can keep my recommendations. And after that almost threatening email from the hiring manager I certainly won’t update my LinkedIn profile with my new employer!!

LinkedIn = LeakIn

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Featured Image Credit: diginomica

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