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Mar 12, 2018
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Playing with LinkedIn today I stumbled on a helpful link to a feature that does not currently exist. Until they take this down you see for yourself from this link:

“Need a faster response?

Contact candidates by phone. To filter for candidates who’re open to hearing from you by phone, select “Has phone numbers” under “Phone number unlock” to the left of your search results. Then, in the search results click “Unlock” next to “Phone” to access a temporary number assigned by LinkedIn.”

While LinkedIn is known for dripping features out and early beta tests for some customers, we know this has not been released because they need to begin issuing phone numbers to people in advance for the feature to work.

What’s old is new

This technology has existed for many. Craigslist uses a variation where you can make a fake email or phone number as part of your advertisement.

What does this mean for LinkedIn

In my opinion, this is not just a new feature. This marks a turning point for LinkedIn. InMails have been their currency since the beginning. A way to charge people who are not connected, and a way for them to communicate without actually sharing private contact information. It was easy to scale by charging companies to pool the currency with variant platforms for sales and recruitment.

Before we all go bashing InMails, I have hired many people where the initial outreach was an InMail. Sadly, for the last few years, we have seen LinkedIn release restriction after restriction to InMail use all to reduce pad their stats. LinkedIn claimed mass messaging was the sole reason many companies were seeing a drop in response rates. Good sourcers and recruiter came to the rescue with highly targeted InMails or went around LinkedIn by researching and sending emails instead. Yet the problem persists for businesses when highly qualified people refuse to check their InMails. Quiet chatter of businesses divesting their LinkedIn spending is now a loud din.

LinkedIn’s move to the phone is also a departure from the InMail currency system. They likely will be charging employers phone credits instead of or in addition to existing fees. I hope they don’t try to charge ordinary people, but if the service is popular, I would not be shocked.

What do you think?

Can LinkedIn earn cred with the younger, more technical people who don’t log into LinkedIn often? Will they really want to field calls or text messages from the same recruiters who spammed them previously? If this doesn’t work, what does that say for the future of the platform?

As long as LinkedIn doesn’t send the Yakuza to my door for writing this, I will be rooting for them.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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