Danielle Bermond is the senior human resources business partner at LinkedIn in New York, which means she spends a lot of time recruiting for LinkedIn’s various ad sales and marketing teams.
LinkedIn has 280 staffers in its Empire State Building offices in Manhattan. The company did more than $258 million in “marketing solutions” sales last year, up from $155 million the year before — so clearly it’s a growing business that’s in constant need of new staff.
We asked Bermond how to get a job at Linkedin, and here’s what she told us:
BI: What type of people apply to work at LinkedIn?
Danielle Bermond: I’d say it runs the gamut. It’s an attractive place to work with exciting things to do. The type of people who I’d say apply here most often would resonate with our values and our mission, and what we do here versus another social media site.
New York being primarily a sales-oriented office since its opening, we do get a lot of people who have that kind of pedigree and background. Sales in general, not necessarily advertising sales, but also people from talent agencies and HR, and people who just have an affinity for the products that we’re selling for our talent solutions business and our market solutions business.
But then there are always people who really just want to come and work here because something resonates with them about what we do here and how we do it, so there have been people who come through with a more unusual profile. We don’t look for just results from our sales people, we also look for things about their life, things about the type of work that they’ve chosen that would make them stand out from the pack.
The potential audience here is “I want to work at LinkedIn, and instead of just sending my resume out I’ve decided to do some research and watch a video first.”
BI: What must applicants understand about the company’s internal culture?
Bermond: The culture is very strong and it’s maintained some integrity over time, so we want people to understand that they’re coming into something where we appreciate the whole person. And personality matters, it’s not just about “can you sell?” and “can you drive results?” or “can you code?” It’s “how you do it?” “Can you build relationships?” “Do you have a track record, and can you tell stories about success that you’ve had where you’ve addressed a problem head-on?” Have you taken on challenges that other people hadn’t wanted to? Have you made something greater than the sum of its parts, did you see potential to really add value and scale something beyond what you intended? Do you learn from others? Do you have an open mind and collaborate well? Not just because that makes you a good consultative sales person, but also internally we’re a very team-oriented culture and collaboration is key.
We also look for people who have that entrepreneurial spirit; that goes back to our founder Reid Hoffman, serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. As we’ve scaled and grown over time, it’s remained amazingly consistent that that’s a hallmark of a successful candidate.
BI: What do people get wrong when they apply to work at LinkedIn?
Bermond: When people come here it’s surprising if they haven’t looked at the profiles of the people that they’re going to be meeting with or have not read up on something that’s just hit the press. I mean this is social media, it’s a fast-paced environment. It’s a knockout factor, but then it could also really be a standout factor if you’re connected to somebody you’re meeting on LinkedIn. It’s a real wealth of information about connections and about the job and environment you’re going to be working in so that’s something that really makes people stand out.
BI: How many open jobs do you have at any one time? I’m guessing you have to recruit continuously, right?
Bermond: In the New York office, vacancies at any one time could vary from five to 25 depending on the time of year and when budgets have been released, whether we’re building a team. I think that at the end of the year we have openings that are open pretty consistently and in the beginning of the year. In some of our more mature businesses, like Talent Solutions, there’s career progression, so after a certain time and role, people who have been performing well move on to new roles and that’s the wonderful thing about LinkedIn culture. We really are transforming individuals’ careers while they’re here as well as having an impact on the world at large through what they do. So I think internal career movement is one reason that we could have jobs open.
We’re also in hyper-growth mode, so in New York, I think right now we have 20 jobs, and that’s everything from account executives to sell our products pre- and post-sales support, insights and analytics, agency relations, and things like that.
BI: Is it hard to retain talent at LinkedIn? Here in New York, Facebook has an office, Tumblr has an office; how competitive is the environment for employees?
Bermond: I’d say the environment to acquire and recruit the right level of talent is challenging. At this point we haven’t had a retention issue, but that’s not something that we would ever take for granted, because to bring somebody on board we’re investing in them as much as they’re investing in us as a place to grow their career, so I think that there are a lot of things that we do almost innately now without saying “this is a retention initiative.” It’s not that serious, but it’s just natural and organic as part of the culture. It’s very team-oriented. People at LinkedIn work hard and are intense, but they also play hard. We laugh a lot here and we like spending time with each other.
BI: Last question. What should a candidate who’s applying for LinkedIn absolutely not do if they want to work here?
Bermond: If an applicant is coming to LinkedIn for an open role, one big land mine that I’m really surprised people step on is coming in without having a 100% complete profile on LinkedIn, not having looked up people around them and not having put their best foot forward and engaging with what we do.
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