By Gemma Morris
20th January 2014

Chances are, you already have a LinkedIn profile. Initially conceived as a social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn provides a number of basic tools for free, including the opportunity to post your profile and CV, and to develop a ‘network’ of contacts.

But increasingly, it has become a tool for employers and job-seekers as well, functioning more as a jobsite.co.uk-style job board. To that end, LinkedIn offers several ‘premium services’ at an additional cost. For a job-seeker, is spending the extra money worth it?

What’s the salary? You’ll have to pay to find out

With premium packages ranging from £12.95 to £32.95 per month, LinkedIn ‘hides’ much of its functionality unless you pay for it. To us, the most glaring example is that you can search and apply for a job with a basic, free profile ­– but you won’t know the salary unless you upgrade your account.

LinkedIn promotes access to salary information as an add-on ‘Premium Insight,’ but to us at KDR, it’s essential information and something we’d expect LinkedIn to share when we’re paying a lot of money to advertise there. Whether you’re willing to pay for it is of course up to you, but we question whether job-seekers should be asked to bear the burden of what should be transparent and easily accessible information.

Straight to the top of the list? Not necessarily

Another ‘premium’ service LinkedIn offers in its paid packages is moving your profile up in the search function used by recruiters and hiring managers (similar to the way paid Google ads place a business on the first page of search results). This certainly sounds as if it would help your chances and would be worth paying for.

However, according to this article on Reuters, there’s not much evidence that the premium account pushes you forward in a search in any meaningful way. And, looked at from a recruiter’s perspective, we’re not more likely to contact someone because they paid to promote their application. For an interesting take on this issue, you can read this article from Forbes.

Moreover, a recruiter can easily find you through your free account, using specific keywords, filters and search data, which is especially helpful in highly technical, niche fields in Information Management. By simply adding your basic profile, you can aggregate your skills, recommendations, and CV in a way that makes it easy for us to find you.

Who should bear the cost of a job search?

Of course, you may wish to pay the premium for functions such as “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?” and additional access to InMail, LinkedIn’s messaging system, to contact people outside your network directly. And there’s no question that LinkedIn and all of its premium services are valuable for recruiters, hiring managers and other business users.

But we question whether job-seekers should have to pay for the added functionality, rather than the burden being on an employer who wants to hire you. Is it fair that LinkedIn takes money from us as advertisers and then charges you as a job-seeker a second time? Does this represent a canny opening up of a second revenue stream or a step too far in the future of online recruitment? As recruiters, we see ourselves as proactive partners in your job search, here to support you and provide you with all of the information you need. 

We’d love to know your thoughts on whether you would ever pay to find a job. Please do leave a comment below.

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