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Job hunting? Try using your connections online

simply hired.gifA new job search engine called Simply Hired offers you away to search for job openings, but adds an intriguing twist: It lets you peer into your own personal contact database to see if you have a backdoor personal connection to the companies listed that maybe you didn't know about.

Here's an example of how it works: When type into Simply Hired that we (randomly) want a job in "software" in "Sunnyvale." The first job opening that popped up was at Align Technology. We then click on the LinkedIn icon at the bottom of the listing, to see whether we know anyone who works there. This links us to our (Matt's) LinkedIn account, which found Matt is only two degrees away from "Michael Wenderoth," a product manager at Align -- meaning, amazingly, that we have a mutual connection though a third person. We're struck by this because Matt's not like many social animals in the valley -- he doesn't have many LinkedIn contacts (a miserable 29 in fact). Yet the fact that we have a mutual connection, through someone named Hunter Walk, and that we didn't realize this before the search, is a powerful one. It means there's a good chance we can forward a job inquiry through Hunter to Michael, and that he'd read it carefully -- that is, if Hunter gave us a good recommendation.

This is the just the latest in a string of new offerings from LinkedIn. See here and Charlene Li's take here...

UPDATE: We just saw this post by Fred Wilson, another analysis of how LinkedIn can be useful. The point about keeping your contacts on LinkedIn limited to your trusted sources is a good one. That way you can be assured the reference system will work, which is why we tend to ignore LinkedIn contact requests from people we don't really know (helping explain our paltry list of contacts). Though there are other strategies on this. People in sales work, who need to get to a client source regardless of the trust involved, may want to sign up as many LinkedIn contacts as possible.

And while we're on the subject of relationships, check out Wilson's posting on the "no conflict, no interest" subject we wrote about recently. We didn't know the "cliche," as Wilson calls it, came from Kleiner Perkins' John Doerr.


Ahh Matt - it comes full circle given that you and I originally met because of an email exchange debating the value of weak ties in LinkedIn-like networks.

And of course I'll give you a good recommendation if you want to meet Michael :-)

hunter on April 27, 2005 8:48 AM
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Hunter, you warm the cockles of my heart with your rhetoric. Long live the weak ties that keep us all interconnected... and help us get jobs! :)

And Matt, get out there and start creating more links, you couchsitting sloth! Right now you're being de-link-quent!!

(Sorry for the pun, I need Cinco De Mayo reeeeeeeal bad... :)

Adam on April 29, 2005 8:18 AM
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This serch engine I think is really not all that creditable. This man named Hunter who passed on this job inquiry to Micheal did not really explain the job inquiry well however, I also feel that the job inquiry may not be a sutible refrence and needs to be investigated.

Nikole Smith on May 5, 2005 7:39 PM
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Nikole, not sure what you meant by that last comment. Can you try again? Hunter doesn't need to explain my job request. I simply ask Hunter to forward on my request to Michael, and Hunter can choose to offer a personal recommendation or not. Pretty clear to me.

Matt Marshall on May 5, 2005 7:48 PM
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