We Need To Talk About...LinkedIn's Job Matching
Updated: Mar 26
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but job searching is, like, hard. Real hard. I’ve been looking for a new job for almost a year now. Every morning before I even get out of bed I look through LinkedIn and Indeed job postings, trying to match my degree and experience with a new position. Thankfully we live at a time in history when we have access to thousands of available jobs and the technology of job matching algorithms. (Is it algorithms that do this? I don’t know. Clearly I won’t be getting one of those algorithm jobs…)
I prefer Indeed to LinkedIn for job searching because the actual searching is easier and Indeed has better options for keeping track of the status of each saved job. I still use LinkedIn, though, to see if I can network with any connections at the companies I apply to. LinkedIn also notifies you if your profile matches a particular job. This specific tool, however, is, well…flawed.
I assume that the algorithm (still not sure if this is how it works) used to match jobs to profiles just searches for matching key words in your profile and in job postings. For example, I search for positions in the oil and gas industry. Therefore, the algorithm (just pretend with me!) looks for any job that includes the words oil or gas. My education, skills and experience, though, may not match the requirements of the job at all. Below are a few examples of such job matches.
A few disclaimers first:
1. I am, in no way, knocking LinkedIn. This is all in good fun, and to point out an area for improvement.
2. The companies that post these positions are not responsible for the algorithms (…) responsible for matching profiles to jobs. And there is nothing wrong with any of these jobs. I simply am not AT ALL qualified for the positions.
3. I took screenshots of these jobs and cropped out some of the unnecessary information, so these are not the full job postings. Regardless, I would still not be qualified.
Americas Sales Manager - NobleClad
NobleClad’s Americas Sales Manager is, as the job title might suggest, a sales position. The closest thing to sales that I’ve ever done is at my first job. I was a secretary/bookkeeper for a Brother office equipment sales and repair store. Occasionally I was left alone at the store and would have to stumble my way through a sales pitch for a printer. I did it, but I was not good at it. My sales skills go something like this:
Me: Hello, customer. May I interest you in this absolutely essential life need that you came
here to purchase?
Customer: No thanks.
Me: Excellent. Have a great day.
And yet, LinkedIn feels that I am perfectly qualified for the Sales Manager of the Americas.
Not just do I have zero sales experience, I definitely don’t have the “5+ years’ experience in a sales management role.” This job was matched to me due to NobleClad “offering multi-metal solutions for complex industrial markets, including oil & gas.”
I did not apply to the sales manager position.
Assistant General Counsel – Gevo, Inc.
This job match makes SLIGHTLY more sense. Gevo “develops bio-based alternatives to petroleum-based products.” (Gevo - Wikipedia) Those petroleum-based products would include oil and gas. Therefore, the job match.
The actual position, on the other hand, is a straight up lawyer job. Have I passed the bar? No. Is my Bachelor’s degree in law? No. Have I ever taken any law courses besides the required Business Law course for my accounting degree? No.
Sooooo….I did not apply to the general counsel position.
Business Development Executive – Nexus Staffing Solutions
First, I am really unsure as to why my profile supposedly matches this job. There is no mention of oil, gas, petroleum, or accounting. I also have less than zero experience with the posting’s mention of “world domination.”
Please refer to my sales skills above for an example of my total lack of “sales & persuasion techniques” required for this position. Also, I hate making calls of either the cold or warm variety. Just thinking about 40 hours a week of networking, client visits and other Business Development Executive job duties makes my social anxiety cry with sadness.
I did not apply to the Business Development Executive position.
Chief Engineer – Aloft
No. Just no. No hotel experience. No engineering experience or titles. No maintenance skills or knowledge. No familiarity reading blueprints. No HVAC experience. No NYC FSD certification, whatever that is (New York City Federal Safety Design? I just made that up.) No, no, no, no, no.
I think the ‘match’ came from the mention of the Chief Engineer’s responsibility to monitor oil and gas consumption.
I did not apply to the Chief Engineer position.
Public Relations Manager – Novitas Communications
Public relations is closely related to sales in that it is a job that I never, ever, ever want. I don’t think I even need to mention the ways that I’m completely unqualified for this position, being that I’ve never done anything in the public relations realm, but I will anyway.
I not only don’t have “5 to 10 years of experience in public relations,” but I have zero years. I also don’t have either of the other two “must have” qualifications: experience in a creative agency setting and employee management experience (though I don’t feel like not having management experience should keep me from getting management positions – I can’t get this experience if no one gives me a chance (please, someone give me a chance!!)).
The job posting mentions that Novitas Communications works with the oil and gas industry, so that literally is the only reason this position could possibly be a match for my profile.
I did not apply to the Public Relations Manager position.
So there you have it – several examples of how LinkedIn’s job matching algorithm (doubling down here) doesn’t work at matching profiles and jobs as well as we would like.
LinkedIn should review the parameters for the matching algorithm thingy and add a few more requirements before making the matches. For example, if a job posting states that it requires a law degree, let’s say, someone who has an accounting degree should not be matched to that job. And a person without the word ‘sales’ anywhere in their profile shouldn’t be matched to a job where the entirety of responsibilities involve sales.
Get on it, LinkedIn! In the meantime, I will not likely be applying to any jobs that LinkedIn says my profile matches. A for effort, though, algorithm writers.
On a side note, I technically won’t be posting this blog until March 1st, but it’s still February 28th to me since I haven’t gone to bed yet. That’s how it works, right?
Thanks for reading! Leave a comment if you’ve had similar experiences with job matches on LinkedIn, or you’ve struggled with your job search as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts.