I Put My Network At the Service Of Job Seekers – What Happened Next …

My LinkedIn network brings me a lot of things. I invest time to feed it, to help it, I talk to it, I listen to it, I entertain it. In my network, I apply as many forms of leadership as I can. I spread my message and my cause, and I create opportunities to help people.This network brings me so much that I decided to give back to it.

I recently made a call to all recruiters in Montreal because I knew two developers who were looking for a job. I was able to put them in touch with 7 recruiters. And here I asked myself: what would happen if I put my network at the service of job seekers in Montreal?

The experiment

On a Tuesday morning, I shared this image on LinkedIn:

During the 2 days that followed, I received private messages from about 30 people. I told them about what I was trying to accomplish. I asked them what they really wanted to do, regardless of their background. I spent a good part of my Wednesday compiling the details of the candidates and the jobs they wanted to get. On Thursday morning, I posted this image on LinkedIn, with a link to the list of jobs that the candidates were looking for:

This image was obsolete very quickly as other candidates were added to the experiment. In the end, 35 candidates were presented. 28 recruiters or managers came forward on that Thursday. On a Friday morning, I made 71 introductions by email (yes, all by hand or almost). I reused the same message, and customized it according to the position the candidate was looking for, and adding the names of the two interested parties. On the weekend that followed, I sent surveys to both candidates and recruiters to gather feedback. The survey responses are presented below.

The hidden rules

As the experiment progressed, it went from “I can help my network help itself” to “there is something to be learned from this experiment”. So I decided to impose rules on my experiment. They were not explicit for the participants, they were more like my guidelines for myself.

  • The experiment was to serve the candidates before companies.
  • The experiment was to foster human contact and curiosity rather than traditional hiring processes.
  • The experiment was to prevent candidates from being disqualified in advance by companies.

In the end, since all I do serves the promotion of people at the heart of the world of work, the idea was to encourage human contact. To make sure people would have to talk to each other first.

The feedback

Here are the results of the surveys. I did not include all the answers, many were similar, others were less relevant.

Feedback from candidates

22 respondents out of 35 (63%) candidates answered the survey.

What did you like about my approach?

  • Very practical and well targeted. Sincere. Organized.
  • The idea of putting people in touch and the consideration for us.
  • Innovative, there is also a more humane element than presenting resumes. You introduce two people based on common interests, it’s like speed dating. The fact that Olivier took the time to put us in touch motivates us to make more efforts than simply sending a CV.
  • The personalized approach in my case was great. A job search can become long and difficult. This is one of the most pleasant experiments in which I have had the opportunity to participate.
  • The speed of the process: you took 2 days to put me in touch with 2 people.
  • It was simple, effective and easy.

How did my approach differ from what you have experienced before?

  • I have never been offered this kind of help on LinkedIn.
  • This is my first experience and there was a connection with a job giver. I sent a note to the person but they did not answer back.
  • I had answers very quickly after your introduction. You bring trust in the candidate/recruiter relationships.
  • We feel that it is not “your job” but that you really are happy to help us.
  • Simple and straightforward approach. The fact that you do not work for an agency, we go directly to the goal. Much more attentive to what we are looking for.
  • The genuine interest for our success, the authentic side.
  • I had never tried the networking way before. This method was less robotic and allowed more contacts and results in my case than sending a resume and cover letter to open positions on LinkedIn or
  • Normally, people do not want to help and if they say they will, they do not follow up. When I contact them again, I have no answer. A huge thank you to you Olivier. Excellent work!
  • Less formality, speed of the answers, but especially the sharing of your own contacts.

What did you learn from the recruiting world by participating in this experiment?

  • I felt less alone. I feel that my state of job seeker is shared with many others.
  • There are many other ways to connect people. We are trying too hard to put square pegs in a round hole.
  • That networking brings much more potential to finding a job that suits me, and many more opportunities can be considered too!
  • That recruitment starts with allowing others to access our own professional networks.
  • This method is not really meant for new graduates, I think it is more for people with previous experience.
  • Why do we spend a fortune on headhunters who don’t even take the time to meet us nowadays?
  • This approach is different, it is authentic … it changes from “formatted” discussions and tense candidate-recruiter relationships.

Should more people take the initiative of putting their network at the service of job seekers?

  • Yes: 95.5%
  • Maybe: 4.5%

Do you believe that your chances of getting a job following this experiment are good?

  • Yes: 59.1%
  • No: 22.6%
  • I was not selected by a recruiter: 18.2%

Feedback from recruiters

13 respondents out of 28 (46%) recruiters responded to the survey.

What did you like about my approach?

  • Human approach, positive support for both job seekers and recruiters.
  • The sensitivity to the needs of others, a real feeling of wanting to help.
  • The direct offer sent to the network. It’s like jumping over the first step of our process.
  • I liked the simplicity of the approach, based on the professional interests of the candidates.
  • The initiative to connect your network of job seekers with me, spontaneously and without any particular expectations, in networking mode.
  • Your human side, as always! ?
  • The will to help without monetary intention.

How does my approach differ from what you have experienced before?

  • It was “real”. Non-profit objective.
  • It’s more than just sharing on the newsfeed. There is a human commitment behind it: that of simply wanting to help with a little push.
  • Having an intermediary in my sourcing: I usually source directly via Linkedin but it is difficult to target potential candidates.
  • No other interest than to help.
  • First initiative of this type seen on Linkedin (this type of approach exists, but via recruiters attached to recruitment firms only – or in isolation for 1 friend to refer – you have put many people in contact).
  • It is a volunteer approach.
  • Sincere willingness to help without any other particular expectation in return.
  • Often, people expect something in return ($) and forget that it’s good to help people for the simple act of helping.


Olivier Fortier
Olivier Fortier
OLIVIER Fortier is first and foremost a believer in human beings. Owner of the blog Primos Populi -- which is Latin for People First -- his focus is to find innovative ways to bring back (and keep) people at the core of businesses, and ensure they can thrive. A manager, agilist, servant leader, facilitator, and former Scrum Master, all of these interesting titles and roles represent only the means to achieve what he truly believes in: cultivating people's awesomeness. His favorite things to reflect on are leader-leader relationships, psychological safety and the right to fail, career and personal development, humanity in recruitment, and how to lower the center of gravity of decision-making processes. Considering that businesses wouldn't exist without people, can one imagine how powerful it would be if all employees wholeheartedly wanted to be in their organizations, and wanted to do what they do? This is the work world Olivier wants to live in, and the goal he set for himself.

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