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Is it just me or is the quality of many posts on LinkedIn “dubious”, to put it kindly? I’m constantly getting emails suggesting interesting posts that I should look at. Despite some very tantalizing headlines, when I click to read more I am invariably disappointed.

Is it cynical to suggest that many of these are written purely as a marketing exercise to enhance the user’s profile, to ultimately get “top contributor” status and all the glory and benefits that may go with that?  Who knows, perhaps that’s what I’m doing subconsciously right now, or worse, maybe I’m doing it consciously!  In reality, I think we all accept that posts are, by and large, a marketing exercise but surely they should be in someway stimulating and add some sort of value?

Yesterday I got one such email and top of the list was a post from Top Contributor “Professor X” (not his/her real handle and no intention to insult any individual here) who was offering what might be some good advice on the selection and hiring of new employees.  Read on, I thought, even after 25 years in the business there is always scope to expand your knowledge base, so click I did.

Well, what Professor X published was a 14 line extract from an article written by someone else…   He suggested 3 questions to help weed out those undesirables. Questions like, “Tell me about a stressful situation in work?”, “What would you change about yourself?”, “What do you think your old boss would say about you?”

What I found most alarming was that the majority of the 15 or so comments were congratulating the Good Professor on points well made and a post well written. Is this really the most we expect form a top contributor?  Frankly, if I see the word professor before someone’s name on a post, I expect something a little more insightful than 3 questions that any HR Intern would learn in their first couple of weeks.

Today I received another recommendation from LinkedIn, again Professor X was the star.  Today’s treat was a link to an article on Forbes which promised advice to help you establish whether you are in the right job. So, against my better judgement, click I did. Alas, I gave up after 30 seconds of trying to navigate ads in order to find the actual content. Instead I skipped straight to the comments and was glad to see I was no longer alone in my frustration.  This comment echoes my frustration perfectly.

“I took the trouble to go look at this article in Forbes with the idea that there might be some useful advice. I was wrong. Telling someone their job might be “right” for them if they can be “honest” with their boss, if they like their boss, and a half-dozen other lightweight aphorisms is a waste of time. This quality of “advice” belongs on Facebook, not Forbes. That said, it was clearly an opportunity for Forbes, as they had grabbed your attention with what might be something worth looking at, to push a string of worthless advertising in front of you. Linked-In, you need to recognize that the quality of that which you refer to your customers reflects on you”

I don’t know what algorithms are used to rate posts, or indeed contributors, to make them worthy of occupying our inboxes, but perhaps they need some re-engineering in that department. PS (LinkedIn) if you need help recruiting the folk to do this, I’d be happy to help you..

(Originally published by Bond Personnel on LinkedIn April 2016)

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