First let me say that choosing to write this blog post was a tested, and calculated decision which took an extremely long time to make. That being said, my opinions and views are my own however can be backed up with user experiences and experiments.
So now to the issue at hand. I don't think I have ever heard or seen that any of my 400+ connections on LinkedIn have ever gotten hired through the service. Not to say none have, I just have not heard of an instance. It seems that LinkedIn has found it's place in the social media market and rightfully so, the model is sound, but does it work for or against it's users?
Personally, I have yet to really see any personal benefit, aside from letting people know how much experience I have and my various skill sets. All well and good, but does it help me get work? An even better question is, does it prevent me from getting work?
As I was growing up in the 90s, I remember my father being very proactive in determining my style of dress and molding me to have a good attitude, on a far more complex level than my peers. At times I wouldn't really understand why he was so insistent on dressing properly and carrying myself differently, but as I got older, I started to see for myself. Fast forward into my teen years and now it was more apparent, that being a young black male in America was a challenge in itself to merely separate yourself from people's perceptions, especially those who have the power to determine the fate of your career and ultimately your future. My father told me true stories of well-accomplished African-American men and women who had difficulty acquiring employment, because of how their names sounded. As a young man growing up in a progressive society I thought it was absurd. I always thought, it shouldn't matter what race, religion, or ethnic background you belonged to, as long as you are good at what you do, work hard and have earned credentials! None of the other non-essentials should be taken into account.... WRONG! Might I add, my father had worked as a career counselor for students enrolled in high school all the way up to graduate school, and assisted thousands in obtaining jobs and steady careers for nearly thirty years, so he is very aware and knowledgable in these unfortunate truths.
The video above made by http://bravenewfilms.org informs people of the various ways race can effect the way consciously and subconsciously be used to essentially determine someone's fate, based on personal preference. The first part of the video shows how something my father shared with me almost twenty years ago, where the credentials were identical for two different people, yet the individual with the black sounding name was not considered for the job. This goes back to a systemic problem where recruiters and employers base decisions for job placement on whether or not the individual will "fit" the look of the company, or whether they are comfortable with the candidate. As seen, this is done well before the interviewing process, and simply based on a name. Now, to how LinkedIn can be assisting with this behavior.
I will use myself as an example. My name, conveniently for me, is not really a "black sounding" name. Garry Wallace, in all honesty, is a very "white sounding" name...just the facts...let's use a pop culture example. Remember the 1985 American teen classic film, "Weird Science"? Remember the name of the character played by the popular blonde haired, blue eyed actor, Anthony Michael Hall? If you haven't seen it or couldn't guess, his name in the film was Gary Wallace. On paper, I can be looked at as a very promising candidate. I graduated from an accredited University, and have years of experience and work to back up the claim, but LinkedIn has created a vessel to take impressive credentials and flush them down the toilet with one small addition.... A photograph. Now you can place a face with a name, and if that recruiter or hiring manager feels uncomfortable with the person they see, there is a good chance that the experience fields on your profile won't ever be seen. This fact may be very difficult for some individuals to accept, mainly because people may say, "well I would never do that!" And if you wouldn't, much respect for doing the right thing, but there may very well be pressure from the top for some recruiters to screen candidates this way in order to protect their own job security. And what purpose is a resume profile glamour shot anyway? If I am not applying for a modeling gig or to be a brand ambassador, or if you're on tinder; so why is it necessary to see what I look like? Then you look bad if you don't have a photo present and get asked, "what do you have to hide?" Well, I'll counter that question with one of my own. What is the point of having the most non-essential part of my profile (my photo), the first thing a potential employer sees?
Many readers by this point may be infuriated by my claims, and if so, I apologize, however sometimes exposing truths which people deny, can be overwhelming and very unbelievable, but this is not the first time it has been brought to the surface. If you were to Google the phrase "job candidate discrimination" you'll get millions of results about cases, stories, studies, and even loopholes for employers so they don't get caught breaking the law.
In closing, as a result of conducting my own research and pattern studies, I decided to remove my photo from my LinkedIn profile and replace it with my logo, so recruiters and hiring managers can make sound judgments based on my credentials first and foremost. I don't believe the creators of LinkedIn created this to be a tool for discriminating against job seekers, but they clearly did not take the potential negative repercussions into consideration.