Linkedin unveiled an interesting new capability today - Company Follow. This new feature can provide some valuable new help for job seekers.
Let's look at what's included in the Company Follow feature and how job seekers can use it to explore the "hidden job market" ...
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Ben Parr from Mashable described Linkedin Company Follow as "LinkedIn’s version of the Facebook Fan Page." But instead of just keeping up with company news updates posted to the company's page, you can also choose to be notified when employees join, leave, or get promoted. You can also get notified of job postings the company posts on Linkedin.
Ryan Rolansky, Linkedin Director of Product Management described that "The new feature lets you tap into key goings-on at nearly a million companies that already have their company profiles on Linkedin and more that are being created every day."
How Does Linkedin Company Follow work?
- Follow companies from connections: In your connection's profile, hover over a company in their profile, and you'll see a pop-up box. At the bottom of the pop-up, you can click 'Follow Company'
- Follow companies from search: Next to the search box (top of your Linkedin page), you'll see a drop down arrow. Click it and select companies. Now just search for a company that you are interested in. When you click on a company, you'll see the company's page. Just under the company information menu tabs, off to the right of the page, you can click Follow Company.
- Follow companies from "More" tab: Click the "More" tab on the top Linkedin menu, click companies on the drop-down menu. Just as the point above search for a company, click on Follow Company just under the company information menu tabs.
- Select information: When you follow a company, you can select the information that you'll follow. After clicking Follow Company, click it again, and a pop-up box will appear, offering you to stop following or to select notification settings. Selecting notification settings allows you to customize the information on the company that you receive. You can select to get notifications:
- When an employee joins, leaves or is promoted
- New job opportunities
- Company updates
- Notification method - Email or network updates (I'd recommend email for job seekers)
- Frequency - Daily or weekly (I'd recommend daily for job seekers)
- Follow for selected target companies: Be selective. If you follow 100 companies, you'll be overrun with email and won't be able to follow up on the valuable information this feature provides. Suggestion - start with 10 and increase as you expand your search.
- Follow all the information on a company: If you only follow jobs, you'll miss the "inside information." Most companies have already listed these jobs on a job board. The really valuable information comes from trends and from who's coming, going, and getting promoted.
- People joining and getting promoted: Send congratulations notes to those joining and getting promoted. This is a great way to start contact. Don't send a resume yet, just offer congratulations, follow up in a week with a coffee invitation - make sure you have something to offer, namely information to give before you ask (see http://reCareeered.blogspot.com/2008/05/achieve-enlightenment-through.html).
- People Joining: Pay specific attention to executives and managers starting in new positions - these may represent new directions for the company that could mean needed staffing.
- People leaving: This is the most obvious indication of the hidden market. Not all will represent job opportunities in today's environment of layoffs and attrition headcount reductions ... but some of the departure notifications represent openings. The earlier you respond (hopefully before the position is listed in an ad, the better chance you have in getting a jump on the competition. The hiring manager needs the position filled, and if you can solve their problems, then the company gets the position filled quickly - and with no recruiter fees. Recruiters are great at discovering this kind of information through networking, and translating it into job orders. Linkedin Company Follow gives candidates comparable information.
- Org chart: This won't be spelled out for you but when you see people leaving, some will have recommendations from their manager. Use this as a start to map out a "fuzzy" organization chart. It won't be perfect, but it should get you close enough to find people in the right division and right department.
- Trends: Examine the types of positions a company has been hiring, to understand their current needs. Linkedin's Rolansky gives a great example, stating " ...this feature can deliver insights – you may be surprised at – such as the pace of hiring at your nearest competitor or the start of a whole new industry as you see web technology companies hiring geography teachers." These sorts of trends can give you ideas of what's hot and may give you some ideas of how you can use your talents in an area you may not have recognized.
- Jobs: This is the most obvious, but weakest feature of Company Follow. This is information you are likely seeing on job boards already. However, Linkedin is likely betting that companies might want to shift more of their job advertising to Linkedin from the traditional job boards - as more companies make Linkedin their primary job advertising tool, you're likely to find even more information about potential employers.
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