We have been getting a lot of questions recently about turning on the Open Candidates feature for your LinkedIn profile. This switch allows you to “privately signal recruiters” that you are open to new opportunities. While Open Candidates should work for most people looking for a job, it’s worth taking a closer look at the details or how it works.
The way it is supposed to work is that LinkedIn will not show your status to recruiters at your company or to affiliated recruiters. That said, it can be difficult for LinkedIn to identify every affiliated recruiter among the more than 100,000 Recruiter licenses. The most obvious example is recruiter working on a contract for your firm. There is no way to know that your firm is a client, so that recruiter will be shown your “secret” data. While many recruiters will do the right thing, it will be on “the honor system” and you will not be in control of this critical piece of data.
While it depends on your corporate culture, a recent CXO-level client told us that it would effectively end their career if the rest of the executive team knew he was looking for new opportunities. Another client is between jobs and turning on the Open Candidates switch for his LinkedIn profile can only help.
Massive data breaches over the last decade and WikiLeaks postings make it clear that there can never be a 100% guarantees of privacy on the internet. Given that, it comes down to a question risk versus reward. For most people the Open Candidates feature should pose no special issues and is worth activating. On the other hand, If you are a key executive at a publicly traded firm, Open Candidates may not be the best choice for your LinkedIn profile!