Telling a Firm, and Everyone Else, You Want Its Job

Frustrated by a frenzied job market, some candidates are making naked appeals for roles in social-media posts. Will it help or hurt them?

The book publisher didn’t advertise on LinkedIn for a new vice president of global communications and marketing, so the longtime public-relations executive didn’t apply for it there. Instead, he used the popular professional-networking website to very publicly state why he’d be a fit for the role. Then he tagged the publisher to increase the chance their HR people would see his post. “This is literally (not metaphorically) my dream job. I'm going to shoot my shot, right here on LinkedIn,” he wrote.

In the latest sign that candidates have reached a new level of frustration—if not desperation—in today’s overflowing job-hiring market, some aspiring applicants are taking their case to the public on social media. In what HR pros call a high-risk, high-reward move, they’re posting everything from their résumés to direct pleas for colleagues’ help. To be sure, candidates have been attaching “open for hire” buttons to their LinkedIn profiles for years, but some are now taking a more naked approach, tagging firms, pleading for assistance from their professional peers, and in some cases, running family photos alongside lists of skills. “I’m eager to get back into the workforce full time. I need to. Please and thank you,” says one poster on LinkedIn.

For their part, candidates say they have little choice but to resort to such measures, since hundreds of people using new “easy apply” buttons on social media can now dispatch their résumés within minutes to a single job listing. And while recruiters say the novelty of these posts does catch the eye of some firm leaders, many worry that it can also create a sense of desperation that can turn off potential hiring managers. “For some people, desperate times call for desperate measures,” says Flo Falayi, a Korn Ferry associate client partner and executive coach.

To be sure, 2024 has become the Year of the Job Frenzy, with both candidates and hiring managers frustrated by the effects of technology and AI. In one survey, more than 40% of candidates described their search as “frustrating and long.” In another, half of job seekers described themselves “completely burned out” by the process. Meanwhile, according to one 2023 survey, 93% of hiring managers say they are having problems finding the skilled professionals they need. All this is occurring even though job openings in the US are plentiful and the unemployment rate is near a record low.

Interestingly, some of the vulnerable posts go beyond a plea to be hired. For instance, the publishing executive made the case that book publishing needs to change how it communicates. Then he dove into his love of books. Experts say it was a wise tactic. “It enabled him to showcase his courage, creativity, humor, and sociability,” says Val Olson, a career and leadership coach for Korn Ferry Advance. It also caught the eye of many LinkedIn followers: The post attracted more than 300 comments, including dozens of endorsements of his skills and qualifications from former colleagues. Many of those endorsements, in turn, also tagged the book publisher.

Still, experts say publicly declaring one’s desire for a particular job can backfire. “It has to be well done and sparingly,” says Tamara Rodman, a senior client partner in Korn Ferry’s Culture, Change and Communications practice. Candidates should consider the type of role they’re applying for. Someone looking to fill a high-energy creative position might value creative tactics; someone hiring for a behind-the-scenes accounting role might not. Displaying vulnerability in a very public way isn’t something that some job seekers might be willing to do, either, Falayi says, since it might open them up to ridicule.

Also, using this strategy more than once could backfire spectacularly. After all, why would a talent manager hire someone who’s openly pining for a role elsewhere? In addition, talent recruiters might not appreciate feeling pressured into having to consider a particular candidate, Olson says.


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