An alternative to LinkedIn?
What the future might look like.
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Happy Thursday, folks,
Today’s article will be a future-looking one. More of a wild guess than a “this is something you can do tomorrow”-thing. But that’s what I like to do from time to time, think about how the future might look. Let’s dive in.
There have been, and still are, countless platforms trying, one way or another, to "fix the matching problem." And despite all efforts made in the area, LinkedIn is still our best solution.
The problem is usually not on the opportunities end of the spectrum. Companies are generally pretty quick to try whatever new tool there is as long as it's free (which it always is), and the tool seems at least somewhat ok. Yes, you lend your brand to a new (perhaps sketchy) player, but you also never know; they might send you relevant candidates, and since good candidates are hard to come by, why not try? So companies, in general, usually sign up. They try, and then once they see it fail, they leave.
No, the problem has always been on the candidate's side. Remember the times before LinkedIn? You had to scout massive CV databases such as Monster och StepStone. And then you found the ideal match only to find out that they submitted their CV eight years ago and weren't looking at all now, and oh yeah, they changed careers as well.
This is the stage where LinkedIn entered and swooshed us all (or many of us at least) and the competitors away. Now it's almost hard to remember the times before LinkedIn.
But as the web evolves, so will this space. And as a big web3 believer, the next evolution of the CV database will be a community-owned platform where those involved in the transaction will be rewarded.
If you are unfamiliar with web 3.0, the basic concept is that it's a participating web where you aim to have control over your data and where you get rewarded for your participation, one way or another. I know this sounds very hippie-1960-ish so let's look at LinkedIn as of today and compare it to the Recruitment DAO (or whatever it's going to be called).
LinkedIn is a classic web 2.0 company. It's free to sign up, and that's because you are the actual value for LinkedIn. No other platform sells you as LinkedIn does. Because of you and the additional millions of people signed up, LinkedIn can charge recruiters and sellers premium accounts where they can access your data. The flip side for you is, as it’s told by LinkedIn, opportunities.
The same goes if you are working as a networker or introducing two people to each other for whatever reason. Sure, you probably gain social status and long-term benefits from the introduction. Still, you also strengthen LinkedIn, and the ad money from the inbox visit goes straight into LinkedIn's pocket.
I'm not trying to bash LinkedIn, I still find the network incredibly valuable, but at its core, that's how LinkedIn is making money. You are the commodity.
But does it have to be that way?
I should probably start this with a big, fat, red disclaimer. This is by no means a finished idea. It probably has flaws and impossibilities beyond my imagination. If you find those or have other ideas, I strongly encourage you to drop a comment on this post. Or reach out to me; I'd be happy to discuss this further.
That said, let's start with a short recap of what a DAO is. I’ve written about it in the past. It's a collection of people with a common goal and a (usually) fair incentive model where you get rewarded for your efforts and contributions.
Back to the recruitment DAO. What I envision is a place where the essence is that you get rewarded for what you do. If you recommend someone for a job - you are rewarded for doing so. If you apply for a job that you get, you get rewarded. You get rewarded if you find someone suitable for a job - you guessed it by now - you get rewarded.
There are examples of this already, and we talked about one in the past, Braintrust. Since we last spoke about them, they've added the feature of direct placing, e.g., what recruitment firms do. It's mainly US-centric, and it's still more or less only applicable in the tech sector. But it gives an idea of where a more broad Recruitment DAO could be heading. HUMANS is another semi-similar solution. You get a cash reward for recommending people to web3 jobs. But it's not a DAO.
The essence of a DAO is not only to get rewarded for participating but also that the people on the DAO control the DAO. On Recruitment, DAO should be able to choose between cash rewards to pay your bills and/or a token reward to steer where the DAO is heading. Unlike LinkedIn, a community-owned network gives back to those participating, which offers incentives to be part of the community and to be active in a way that suits you.
The overarching aim should be to break up the almost monopolistic position that LinkedIn holds today. That then incentivizes companies, recruiters, and future and current employees to be and do good. A more democratic and fair approach to placing people at companies and a better way for companies to find people that align with their ways of viewing the world.
Is this all a dream?
Perhaps. But then again, no. Braintrust has proven its business model in the consultancy world. There's something here, and we will most likely see something similar to what I outlined here. I know that there are a million implications to this.
I also know that there's a way to overcome these hurdles.
At first, it will probably be primarily nerds like me on the platform, but if there's a way to prove and give back to people on the forum, mass adoption should be possible. The key is to find an underlying incentive model that incentivizes the right behaviors.
Behaviors that get people to not only post selfies with humble brag captions but instead get them to show what their skills are and what people are capable off. (And offer an alternative to LinkedIn…)
Do you want to discuss how this could play out or even consider building it? Reach out; I'd be happy to chat more about this!