Missing Features: LinkedIn

I use a lot of software, and I spend a lot of time using most of the applications I use.  Sometimes I am particularly frustrated with missing or poorly implemented features.  Other times, I’m not necessarily frustrated, but still stumble upon thoughts or ideas about features I think would be a great addition to a product.  Since I periodically post about the clever or well-designed features I notice, I thought it appropriate to write about the converse as well.

First, let me start by saying I think LinkedIn is a great company.  They offer a very useful service, and in the past year or two, I have relied almost entirely on LinkedIn when searching for job opportunities.  There are a couple of areas where I think they fall short, though.

Saved Searches

The concept of saved searches and associated email notifications of jobs that match your search criteria is a must-have for any job posting service today.  LinkedIn offers this feature, but it doesn’t seem to consistently work.  I have found that over time, I stop getting emails, and it’s not because there are no jobs that match my search.  While I can’t prove this beyond a doubt, my experience is that I can run the saved search from the LinkedIn site and see results even when I’m not getting emails.  If I delete and recreate the saved search, the notices will start coming again.

I imagine that the volume of automated emails that LinkedIn sends is significant, but that’s a feature that has to be absolutely rock-solid.  Too many professionals don’t have time to come to the website to run searches on a regular basis, especially if their interest in new opportunities is fairly passive.  Not to mention, those emails don’t simply provide a service to users – they represent a significant channel through which LinkedIn gets people to come back to their site.

My last complaint about saved searches is that they are not editable.  The ‘Settings’ link below each saved search allows you to change only the email notification frequency.  None of the search settings themselves are even viewable, let alone editable.  Some simple features that allow users to copy and modify saved searches would be very welcome.

General Search Features

When you run any job search on LinkedIn, you have a variety of ‘Refine By’ options to narrow down your results if you so choose.  This is great and also necessary from a feature perspective.  What would be even better, though, would be the ability to EXCLUDE certain values.  For instance, there are some recruiting companies out there that I’m not particularly a fan of.  I would really love to be able to exclude them from all of my searches.  To be fair, when I run my search, I can go down to the ‘Refine By … Company’ section, un-check the box for ‘All Companies,’ then re-check the boxes for all the companies except the one I don’t want to look at.  But, that’s crazy.  There’s no way I’m going to do that for every search I run.  If I could store some global search settings, though, I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  I’d extend this ability to other search criteria, as well, like City.  For those of us that live in major metro areas, we might want to do a 25 mile radius search, but filter out some particular cities or areas that fall within that radius.

As a side note, if you combine a feature like this with a feedback mechanism, you could end up with a new value-add service for employers posting jobs.  If I chose to explicitly exclude a particular employer from my searches, I’d be happy to provide the reason why I’m excluding them.  If I were an employer that relied heavily on a service like LinkedIn, I’d want to know why potential candidates didn’t want to see my job openings in their searches.

I’ll close by saying again that I really like LinkedIn, and I think they are the premier place to look for jobs, build a professional profile, and create and stay in touch with your network in an increasingly distributed professional world.  I’m excited to see where the company goes in the future, and I think they have a lot of opportunities to develop additional features to make their service even better for both job seekers and employers.

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