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I regret to inform you that we received notification that as of May 24th, 2013 Linkedin is cutting off HireSignals’ access to the Linkedin API for an apparent violation of their terms of service. As HireSignals relies on this API for highlighting candidates’ job search status while browsing linkedin we have no choice but to suspend the platform in its current form.

We started building HireSignals in early 2012 to address what we believed was a serious deficiency in the Linkedin platform – that there was no easy way for candidates to declare job search status and interests and for recruiters to spot those factors so they could time and customize their outreach appropriately. Confidentiality was built into the platform and candidates could easily block their current employers from being able to see their status.

At the time of launch (june 2013) HireSignals was fully compliant with Linkedin’s API but in October 2013 we learned that Linkedin did not embrace the platform or the implementation method (browser plugin). We therefore could not reasonably invest in developing our candidate audience without that support as there would always be the threat of them pulling their API support so we have been in slight limbo since then. The API terms and conditions changed over time and Linkedin is now officially pulling the plug on our access to that API.

We believe that HireSignals still offers a superior and more confidential job search status declaration solution to anything currently on Linkedin. Linkedin appears to be very focused on a proprietary model where recruiters pay to see the candidates and active candidates pay to be seen. The irony is that the customer experience for the rest of the candidates goes downhill – more poorly targeted and badly timed emails from recruiters armed with a spam engine (which Linkedin’s “Recruiter” product can be in the wrong hands) who can’t see job search status unless the candidate is paying for that to be displayed. But hey, I guess that is progress for a public company!

We promise to be back however with a platform that has zero dependence on platforms pursuing a proprietary path liked Linkedin. We will instead focus on where the user (candidate and recruiter) experience is prioritized and services enhancing that experience like HireSignals, are welcome. There are lots of other places where the HireSignals’s model could work – sites like Github as well as browser-accessed ATS and CRM platforms where a personal email address or twitter handle might be exposed so our plugin can recognize the candidate and flag their status and job interests. Those are a few of the areas we want to explore when we retool the platform.

User accounts will remain active but all Linkedin related data all be removed. This means that the browser plug-in will no longer work for recruiters on Linkedin. Please email me if you have any questions.

Thanks for your support over the past year or so. We look forward to retooling and relaunching soon and welcome your feedback on what platforms we should prioritize.




Thanks to Bill Boorman (@billboorman) for his kind review in The Recruiting Unblog. You can read the original here


A new extension that makes LinkedIn better from @HireSignals

by  • 8 September, 2012 • 0 Comments


Every so often you come across an app that is just a great idea. it might not be fully functioning yet, but you can see that what it does solves a real life problem in the market.Today I stumbled across one such app with HireSignals. They have been sharing my LinkedIn posts for a while, so I took a peek at what they actually do and i’m impressed by the simplicity and real need for the product.They have also been quite clever in how they position themselves with LinkedIn, enhancing user experience without competing.When a product is dependent on API access, then this is critical. Just think Pealk!

The problem for people in a job is how do they let recruiters know they are open to approaches without alerting their current employer? It needs a masonic type secret signal that says “ i’m in the market,” hidden from the world apart from the people they want to see them as active. The solution to this problem is the HireSignals platform.

The concept is that the platform sits on top of LinkedIn and enables people to state their intentions in job search. Recruiters sign up for access, which comes by way of a pop-up when they access a LinkedIn profile that has a HireSignals account. A neat feature that addresses the issue of confidentiality is the option to bar users from certain companies to see the status bar. This way users can hide their intentions from recruiters at their own company.

Sign up is one click using a users own LinkedIn profile. Users then register a status:

> Actively networking for jobs

> Passively networking for jobs

> Not networking but open to updates

> Not open to approaches

The user can then add specific information about what they are looking for like salary, benefits, level, stage of firm, and the domain names of firms they want to be hidden from. It is a very quick and easy process.

The app is currently only available as a Firefox extension, with a planned Chrome release for next month. When a recruiter has HireSignals installed and they conduct a search on LinkedIn, any profiles coming in results who also have a HireSignals account are colour coded. Green indicates active, Amber – possibly open to approaches and Red – Not open. Recruiters can then access what additional information is available on the platform. If a user is blocking a company from viewing their details then no color is attached to give away their status. In order to sign up, recruiters must provide a verified e-mail address attached to a firm. Recruiters changing firms need to re-apply. All recruiters are checked and validated to keep the platform clean.

Messaging is via LinkedIn through messages or InMail. HireSignals are not trying to build a network on a network, it is more about benefiting recruiter and job seeking users. The platform was built by a recruiter for the benefit of his own search boutique before going on general release.

This quote from pandomonthly gives an insight in to the thinking behind the platform:

“The intent with this platform is to create something that is both recruiter and candidate friendly but also highly complementary to LinkedIn and a genuine enhancement to their platform for recruiters,” says founder and CEO Feargall Kenny. Future updates plan to add notifications for recruiters when candidate connections change their status from not looking to any of the more receptive options.”

Kenny runs Glenborn Corporation, a boutique search firm for b2b web technology sales and product professionals, based in New York. Kenny is also closely tied in with the NY Technology MeetUp Group, and the PitchOutOfWaterMeetUpGroup, having close ties with V.C. firms in the market. He is clearly one of the new breed of recruiters who do so much more to contribute to the business community they work in beyond recruiting.

I was curious about the business model behind the product. It is free for recruiters and job seekers, so is this a freemium offering ahead of something bigger? This is answered in the pandomonthly article:

“HireSignals is currently free for all parties, although there are thoughts about monetizing going forward. This is a tricky proposition given that the tool is built on top of LinkedIn’s API. As has been proven repeatedly in recent months, building on top of another company’s API — specifically a larger one — is a risky proposition which has come back to burn many startups.

LinkedIn’s API Terms of Service prohibit making “ad revenue” or “subscription revenue” off the platform. This would seem to leave the door open for HireSignals to take a cut of the agency commission or corporate referral fees which are standard in the industry — for example, if a recruiter is paid a fee of 20 percent of the candidate’s yearly salary, HireSignals as the referrer may one day receive 10 percent of that commission.”

HireSignals have set strict rules for how recruiters can use the platform and contact candidates:

Code of Conduct for Recruiters Using the HireSignals platform

Housekeeping rules

  • To protect candidate confidentiality you are prohibited from sharing your access with another recruiter
  • If you move to another firm or to a non-recruiting function within a corporation, you must create a new account
  • You must abide by candidates interests and filters and only contact them with positions that closely match their criteria
  • Do Not contact candidates If they say not to
  • A candidates’s status is highly confidential. It is not to be shared with anyone outside your firm.

Failure to adhere to these rules can mean the termination of your recruiter account on HireSignals.

Contacting candidates

  • You don’t contact candidates through this site or the add-on – continue to use your standard methods of contact – Inmails, phone,emails etc. If the HireSignals’ platform aided you in your outreach you should mention “I saw your HireSignal…” in the title of your email.

If the platform continues to compliment rather than compete with LinkedIn, driving all users back to the original platform, and working as an extension on top of it, then I can see real potential as they expand to chrome and other browsers, I have a feeling they could become a feature of the platform, then who knows where they might go. LinkedIn have a history of buying apps that enhance user experience, Cardmunch and SlideShare being great examples. Could this be the eventual destination for this simple app that solves a very real problem for recruiters and job seekers? I wouldn’t bet against it, and good luck to them, it’s simple, effective and useful to all LinkedIn users. I like it.



Forget what you have read before, this is the guide to leveraging Linkedin to get a job. Getting a job these days is a very involved process and one that requires professional effort on the candidates part. Most articles on Linkedin job searching are focused on setting yourself up to be found. That is crucial and we cover this in detail below but most advisers neglect the proactive aspect of leveraging Linkedin to get a job. We give both equal weighting below.

The reactive approach – Setting yourself up to be found on linkedin.
Recruiters are increasingly solely relying on Linkedin to source candidates. It is important to look at how they approach their searches. A typical recruiter search consists of focusing search strings on specific companies, zip codes, titles and / or keywords. To be found it is therefore crucial to have:

a)      A fully built out profile complete with potential keywords that may be used in a search. Pimping your profile with long lists of keywords will hurt you. Limit them to what matters and use them sparingly

b)      DESCRIPTIVE titles. If your actual job title is nebulous then you should replace it with one that matches what you do and how a recruiter might describe you in a search string.

c)       Your home zip code aligned to where you want to work if you are looking to relocate.

One other trick is to sign up for HireSignals. This platform gives you the ability to send secret “signals” to recruiters about your job search status and your job interests. This platform will allow you to stand out in a search on  Linkedin search results screens. and facilitate really targeted outreach from recruiters.

Once you have their attention, don’t lose it – make sure your profile reads well, is consistent in themes (job function, industry you are in, customer orientation (if appropriate) and most, importantly, don’t play hard to get – be open to InMails and outreach from recruiters. If you play hard-to-get you will be de-prioritized by recruiters.

The proactive approach – leveraging Linkedin for job outreach.

If you are in a sales role, you come up with your target list of accounts, research them and pursue them. Why should a job search be any different? Many candidates wait to be found and contacted by recruiters. As a recruiter, this is part of our value add to you but if you only do this you will miss out on crucial opportunities and you are not in control of your job search. Here is how to change this…

  1. Create your list of target ideal places to work. If you are in the digital arena, start by reviewing the industry-specific Lumascapes and read publications like Techcrunch and Venturebeat to see who has been funded and / or is doing interesting things.
  2. Create a large Boolean string of the list of firms from #1 as follows: “company 1” OR “company 2” OR “company 3” etc.
  3. Upgrade your Linkedin account so you get to see more results
  4. Do an advanced search on Linkedin (put the Boolean string into the company field) to identify who you know in those firms and which friends and recruiters are  your intermediary connections
  5.  Research the available positions in those firm and prioritize those firms that are actually hiring
  6. Leverage Linkedin to ask for introductions to those firms from your intermediary recruiter and friend connections.

This advice is common sense but doesn’t get aired to often in the job advice columns. If you follow both approaches you have covered the bases and leveraged Linkedin to its fullest extent for job search.



LinkedIn: Now With Intent Signals for Recruiters, Courtesy of HireSignals

You can find the original article here


No sooner does a professional worker get laid off or start to think about looking for a new job than can they be expected to utter the phrase, “Time to update my LinkedIn profile.” The professional social network has become the official playing field of job seekers and recruiters alike.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the users on LinkedIn are actively job-seeking or even open to inquiries at any given time — despite doomsday labor statistics. The result is an inefficient system in which recruiters regularly contact unwilling recipients, wasting the time of all parties involved.

HireSignals is a new browser plugin built to operate on top of LinkedIn that solves this issue by clearly signifying intent. Specifically, the Web app adds adds a color coded overlay on top of search results indicating which candidates are “actively looking,” “passively looking,” “not looking (but open to seeing the market)” and “not looking (do not contact).”

Additional pop-up windows can be accessed that include more detailed employment interests for each candidate including, among other things salary and title requirements.

Were this where the tool stopped, it would provide a bit of value but at the same time introduce a tremendous amount of signaling issues for those not wanting to tip off their current employers. Fortunately, HireSignals addresses this issue by allowing candidates to block specific domain names, including that of their current employers, from seeing their status or interests.

“The intent with this platform is to create something that is both recruiter and candidate friendly but also highly complementary to LinkedIn and a genuine enhancement to their platform for recruiters,” says founder and CEO Feargall Kenny. Future updates plan to add notifications for recruiters when candidate connections change their status from not looking to any of the more receptive options.

HireSignal, which is still officially in beta, has been live for nearly one month. The service has more than 100 recruiting firms signed up with an average of one to two registered recruiters accounts per firm. In order to signup for the service, recruiters must be employed by an approved firm and signup using an email address from that firm. Only after registering and passing the vetting process can a recruiter download the browser plugin.

Kenny began developing HireSignals to satisfy his own professional need. The founder also runs his own NY-based executive recruiting firm and has done so for three years since selling his previous digital agency. “Recruiting like any sales process is inefficient but the one thing that struck me was the heavy reliance on guesswork on which candidates I would reach out for specific positions,” he says. “Linkedin has many great features but a key thing it lacks is giving you an understanding of candidate intent when it comes to job search.”

HireSignals is currently free for all parties, although there are thoughts about monetizing going forward. This is a tricky proposition given that the tool is built on top of LinkedIn’s API. As has been proven repeatedly in recent months, building on top of another company’s API — specifically a larger one — is a risky proposition which has come back to burn many startups.

LinkedIn’s API Terms of Service prohibit making “ad revenue” or “subscription revenue” off the platform. This would seem to leave the door open for HireSignals to take a cut of the agency commission or corporate referral fees which are standard in the industry — for example, if a recruiter is paid a fee of 20 percent of the candidate’s yearly salary, HireSignals as the referrer may one day receive 10 percent of that commission.

LinkedIn already allows users to set contact settings defining what communications they wish to receive, including “Career opportunities,” “Consulting offers,” and “Job inquiries.” The problem is that these settings are buried at the bottom of each user’s profile, not incorporated into search, and largely ignored.

HireSignals has created a much more deliberate and explicit intent signal that could work to the advantage of both recruiters and potential candidates. The challenge for HireSignals, as with any new service, is growing the user network to a sufficient size as to realize the value proposition. Kenny has set goals of 1,000 recruiting firms and 100,000 candidates.

To paraphrase a commenter on the company’s blog, LinkedIn professionals may one day soon be “changing their career status like a teenager changing their relationship status on Facebook.”


Fred Wilson blogged today about the benefits of the one-click -to0apply function from sites like Indeed and Linkedin. You can read about it here. Fred’s blog is the first thing I read every day and his commentary is great. I am not with him on this though. My recruiting firm, Glenborn, posts our jobs feed automatically to indeed and we receive many resumes from them every day. To say  that searching through these inbound applicants for quality candidates is like searching for a needle in a haystack is an understatement. There is no doubt that applying should be that efficient for the right folks but the issue is with stopping the wrong folks from doing it without thinking.

Until someone comes up with an answer to dealing with the deluge, the best source of candidates remains (in order of preference) proactively reaching out to the people you know and trust, the referrals from those you trust and finally, cold searching on linkedin based on criteria that you, the recruiter decide matches your requirements. Inbound applicants for my firm has consistently been a case of finding a needle in a haystack- occasionally you get lucky but it isn’t likely.

The third scenario (the cold searching on linkedin and bridge it with the needs of those looking) drove a lot of the reasoning behind HireSignals as it allows the candidates that would otherwise “click to apply” have their active / passive job search status / interests seen only by recruiters on Linkedin. With this extra information recruiters get to choose those that they reach out to based on who they come across in their searches. It is just one small way to avoid the deluge from putting the power in the hands of the applicants and puts the control back in the hands of the searchers. No need to apply – with this tool, we will find you ; )


Feargall Kenny

Repost from Josh Waldman of Careerenglightenment –
Thanks Josh – much appreciated! – Feargall
Jul 16 2012 Shows Only Recruiters You That You Are Looking for a Job is a platform designed to confidentially inform recruiters of a candidate’s job search status on LinkedIn. In other words, you can show recruiters that you are looking for a job without letting your current company know about it.

It does this by empowering them with a Firefox (Google’s Chrome Browser is coming shortly!) browser add-on that allows them to “see” a candidate’s job search status and their job interests on LinkedIn in the form of color coding and pop up-windows. The RecruiterLens view superimposes color codes associated with the candidates search status on the LinkedIn search results pages and provides pop-up details on the candidate’s interests on the profile pages.

I’ve asked founder Feargall Kenny for some more information about their system works. Check out his answers here…

How does it work?

Recruiters that use the HireSignals platform are vetted and approved to get access to a browser add-on. When they are browsing linkedin the add-on compares the relevant page (search results pages and profile pages on Linkedin) with the database of registered users on HireSignals. When it sees a match it does the following:

On Search results pages – it superimposes color codes that match the job search status on the individual profile results (green = actively networking, red = not networking etc)
On Profile pages – it provides a pop-up window detailing the information that the candidate has provided on their job interests and job search status.
You can see the platform in action on the following page -


How do you vet recruiters on the site?

HireSignals firstly verifies the firm’s website, job listings page and submitted classification (agency versus corporate recruiter)
We then verify each recruiter application for the firm with the following checks:

- must use a corporate email domain (no personal emails allowed) that matches that of the firm.
- Recruiters must verify that email address to get access to the add-on
- We check the recruiters’ Linkedin account descriptions to ensure that they match that of agency recruiter or corporate recruiter / HR Manager currently with the firm they have registered under. Hiring/line managers are rejected.

How do I ensure that my employer can’t see my status or job interests?

As HireSignals insists that recruiters use corporate email addresses, candidates can block the domains of their current employer. We recommend that candidates block variations of corporate domains and, where appropriate, the domains of parent organizations. Once this is done the recruiters under those domains will see the candidate as not yet registered with the platform when browsing Linkedin.

How do I sign up?

Go to and login with your Linkedin credentials. Declare yourself a candidate or a recruiter (note that recruiters are vetted and approved on the platform – see below). Then declare your job search status and optionally add details on your job interests, salary requirements etc.


I am delighted to announce that the HireSignals platform is now live and ready to use. The platform allows candidates to declare their job search status and job interests to recruiters on linkedin without compromising their confidentiality. It does this by leveraging a browser plug-in for recruiters that shows that information to them in the form of color coding and pop-up windows. Candidates can block specific domains so that certain recruiters cannot see their status (especially their current employers!).

A week ago I attended a Linkedin recruiters event in New York City. We were told that “research shows” that 20% of the folks on Linkedin are actively looking for a position, 20% are not looking for a position and 60% of the pepole  on Linkedin could be passive candidates. For recruiters though the issue has always been that you had to guess the status of potential candidates. With HireSignals the goal is to eliminate guesswork, improve recruiter and candidate efficiency alike. Candidates get more targeted emails and don’t get outreach from recruiters when they aren’t interested.

Thanks to Rob and Angela on the programming and design side respectively for doing such a great job with getting the site ready for prime-time.

Thanks also for your interest in checking out the site/service. Please sign up – remember the point of the platform is that it isn’t just for job seekers – there is potentially as much value in opting in as opting out. Come back often to check out your actively and change your job search status / interests where appropriate.


Feargall Kenny