Before you even get a job at LinkedIn, you’ll be asked what you want to do after you leave the company.
It’s about being transparent and honest in a way that’s mutually beneficial, Brendan Browne, LinkedIn’s head of recruiting, told Business Insider.
Browne has been with LinkedIn since 2010, and he was inspired to take this approach by Reid Hoffman, the professional social network’s founder.
In his 2014 book “The Alliance,” Hoffman said that everyone knows the days of lifelong employment at a single company are long dead, but most companies still operate under a charade where everyone pretends they will never leave.
Taking Hoffman’s advice, Browne decided to incorporate a discussion around this topic into the interviewing process, before someone even has an offer at LinkedIn.
He said that his role as a recruiter is “really building trust with you as quickly as possible, to see if you’re willing to give me any indication, or a large description, of what you want to do with your life professionally and then have a conversation around what aligns with what LinkedIn does. And if it does, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure we paint that picture for you and we can have you join the company.”
Some candidates will say that they clearly do not want to have a long-term role at LinkedIn, because perhaps they want to pursue another line of work or even build their own company. But, Browne, said, “when we align the right things, we want to have a relationship with you that does last forever and it’s going to have different forms over time.”
In “The Alliance,” Hoffman and his coauthors Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh distinguish three different “tours of duty” where hiring managers should place employees, depending on their career goals:
A rotational tour of duty “isn’t personalised to the employee and tends to be highly interchangeable.” This “tour” can be an entry-level role meant to transition a recent graduate to work or a new employee to a company’s culture, and this would last one to three years. These kinds of tours can also be for programmatic positions, where the employer and employee understand the job won’t lead to promotions.
A transformational tour of duty promises the employee an opportunity to transform both his or her career and the company. Goals are negotiated one-on-one, and the initial tour usually lasts two to five years. After the objectives have been achieved, the improved employee can move up in the company or transition to a new one.
A foundational tour of duty makes the employee a “steward of core values” for the company, and is like a marriage, where both parties anticipate that the relationship will be permanent and “assume a moral obligation to try hard to make it work before ending the relationship.” The authors say that top executives of a company should ideally be on foundational tours.
“You don’t need to retire at LinkedIn, but we need to talk about [your aspirations] openly and honestly,” Browne told us. There should not be any surprises in this area after a person is hired.
“There’s got to be a relationship. There’s got to be some trust,” Browne said.
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