Not surprisingly, today I spent some more time recruiting. It is unfortunate that I am doing this “Week in the Life” series in a somewhat abnormal week. My total time spent in recruiting related activities was about 12 hours, whereas normally it is 2 to 3 hours. Of course, meeting smart and interesting people is fun.
The recruiting activity du jour was a panel of LinkedIn scientists and engineers speaking to some attendees of the nearby RecSys conference. I served on the panel with a few of the top engineers at LinkedIn who are working on recommender systems, search, and standardization. We talked about how we got to LinkedIn, about what we were working on, and took questions from the audience. It is interesting to see how different people view their work – some people emphasize the cutting edge technology at LinkedIn and some people emphasize the collective brainpower. I emphasized that we are in a unique position to transform the way workers and companies find each other. I am old enough to have looked for my first jobs using the want ads in the local newspaper. I submitted paper resumes, and sometimes even paid for that extra fancy heavy paper. The internet democratized the application process by reducing the barriers to apply – recycled electrons are free. Online job postings and applications did create problems, however. There is no way that anyone can find all the relevant openings unless looking for openings is their full time job. I don’t think I should have to find a job – the job should find me. Similarly, my relationship with my employer has changed – I won’t work here for the rest of my career (and they probably would not want me to). Everyone needs to be always looking for their next play at some level (Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn founder, wrote about this in his book The Startup of You).
I did have a very interesting lunch. I met with Sydney Liu, the founder of a company called Talent Trail. Sydney is a student at USC, and founded this company with a small seed grant from USC. They are trying to build a marketplace for internships. I probably shouldn’t be talking to him since they are potential competitors, but I can’t help but admire his perseverance in bootstrapping this startup. I asked him how he paid for the trip to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, and he told me that the trip only cost $20 (cost of Megabus ticket). I think he met with me for the free lunch. He attended an expensive HR conference last week on a similar budget.
I need to cut my post short today – everyone at LinkedIn flees the office early when there is a conference at Shoreline Amphitheater (it can take two hours to get out of the parking lot once the concert traffic starts). I am not going to the Snoop Dog show, so I want to get out of here. Writing these posts was a great exercise for me – it helped me take a real mental inventory of how I spend my time. For each activity, I can assign points. Does it make my team better (+10 pts)? Does it make me better (+5 pts)? Does it make LinkedIn better (+3pts)? Is it a complete waste of time but keeps me sane (+ 1 pt)? I’ll add up my score for the week tomorrow while I am running the Golden Hills marathon in Berkeley (for which I am completely unprepared, but that is a common trend for me.