Have you seen any of these kinds of targeted job ads on LinkedIn recently?
I am not sure exactly when these kinds of personalized ads started popping up on the professional networking site, but over the weekend while I was scoping out who had viewed my profile, connecting with like minded HR and Technology professionals and contributing to industry discussion and dialogue, I noticed the ad to the right. Like a moth to a flame, or a bargain-hunting performance car shopper to Ashley Schaeffer Imports, I couldn't help but notice my own mug staring back out at me from LinkedIn's right margin.
Picture Yourself with this New Job, the tag line reads, (interesting use of BOLD and capitalization), and with the addition of my profile picture to the company name, logo and position title, the ad attempts to make me feel somehow connected or even invested in not just the job, but of me having the job.
Which are entirely two different things.
And since LinkedIn is a modern, social, Web 2.0 deal, Apply Now and Share Job buttons come along for the ride. Confession - I did not think to click either one when I first encountered the ad, and now I can't seem to convince LinkedIn to show it to me again. But let's assume, for now, both buttons work as expected, for the purposes of this post, it doesn't really matter.
What does matter, at least what I find interesting about this kind of targeted and personalized job ad, is the way it attempts to use information about me, (in this case the information is primarily where I live, as M&T Bank is a Northeast regional bank, with lots of presence in Western New York), my actual image from the site, and some suggestive copy to make me think more about inhabiting this role, rather than just simply clicking a link to a sterile, impersonal ad (that I was not searching for in the first place).
What the ad immediately made me think of are the recruiting tactics that are often employed by major college athletic programs and coaches in their pursuit of targeted top High School athletes. Often these athletes have lots of options in their choice of college and team/coach to play for, and to help make their case the competing colleges frequently employ custom videos of imagined highlight packages or simulated stadium scoreboard displays or PA announcements that include the recruit's likeness or name. These videos, announcement, and other strategies are designed to make the high schooler think not about being a star Quarterback generally, but being a star Quarterback at that school specifically.
Trish McFarlane had an excellent post earlier in the week about recruiting needing to be an individual process, and I think these kinds of personalized, targeted ads, (while admittedly still kind of crude), will eventually serve as an important first step in what becomes the custom, individual process that Trish describes. It is not hard to imagine the LinkedIn ad getting way more intelligent about what roles you could realistically picture yourself in. Using insight from career paths from similar profiles, career history of members you are connected with, and macro analysis of jobs, industries, or locations that are 'hot', pretty soon I'll bet LinkedIn can map out a realistic and reachable career path for anyone.
Interesting times for sure. Meanwhile, have a look at a bit of a takeoff on the college recruiting tactics, courtesy of ESPN, (email and RSS subscribers will need to click through).