By Anton Roe, Barclay Meade Operations Director

From a corporate point of view LinkedIn can provide an important first point of contact for a business as it often presents a softer side. The company’s official website may not give very much away about what kind of people work there and the values they may hold. So in one sense LinkedIn provides the chance to get a real feel for the company.

From the point of view of an individual user the bulk of people on LinkedIn are putting themselves in the shop window for recruitment. It is really important for people to follow the relevant groups and to make sure they are engaging as well. It’s much easier to get a measure for what people are really like if they are actively participating.

It seems to me that LinkedIn has created a more realistic set of checks and balances as you can see a lot more about somebody’s job details and what they do and whether they are what they say they are. There is always a danger in recruitment that somebody may try to exaggerate their abilities as it were, but I think you would have to have a lot of front to go on to LinkedIn and make bogus claims that are easily found out by other people looking at your profile.

We feel there is a magic number of connections from 100 to 150 which is realistically manageable and credible.

Anything above that and you start to wonder whether they can really be engaging effectively with their connections. And if you see somebody with thousands of connections on their profile it does make you suspicious.

We feel that with the number of connections at around 150 you can still retain a personal relationship with most people.

There are clearly cost-savings to be made as using LinkedIn has drastically reduced the time it takes us to find the right people. Clearly it is a very strong tool for the recruitment industry and I probably wouldn’t use it if I didn’t work in recruitment. It’s likely that there are people in other industries who are not going to see the value of it.

One tip I consider valuable is to not sell yourself through the portals. People don’t want to see the hard sell and users don’t like to see the discussion boards hampered by people selling themselves the whole time.

The challenge now is where does LinkedIn go from here?
Personally, I think the way forward will be down the knowledge route and sharing much more information, particularly best practise and informed experiences which will be of use to many.