Stylized image of Pedestrian Crossing Sign

Learn How (and Whether) to Activate the Feature

LinkedIn recently announced a new Open Candidate feature to make it easier for working job hunters to hide their search from their employer and to signal to other corporate recruiters that they are open to exploring new jobs. The program is currently for LinkedIn members in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia (and will eventually roll out elsewhere). Job Hunters need to know the program’s limitations, though.

As a job hunter, LinkedIn’s new system offers you a button to signal those sourcing pros who use LinkedIn Recruiter. You can also indicate which job titles you will consider, the type of employment you want (full-time, part-time, etc.), your experience and more. This info might allow you to be found more easily by corporate recruiters.

LinkedIn also blocks your current employer from being able to see the change. If you want to consider working elsewhere without announcing it to your bosses and colleagues, this is a good thing.

Users of LinkedIn Recruiter will see a new icon (a silly silhouette of a waving worker) if they visit your profile. They can also search specifically for LinkedIn members who have turned on the button and sort (or eliminate) by the other criteria you enter.

Irina Shamaeva, a resourcing pro and creator of the Boolean Strings blog (link below), notes that, if you are not looking for a job with a major employer, the chances of this helping your job search are slim. Why? Because LinkedIn Recruiter is so expensive that only large companies and major recruiters can afford it. Other recruiters and employers with less expensive recruiting accounts on LinkedIn cannot see the icon nor do the specialized searches.

Furthermore, Shamaeva and others have noted that Open Candidate only blocks searches coming from your specific employer.

So, for example, if you work for JerseyWidgets and enable the Open Candidate option, a recruiter from JerseyWidgets will not be able to see that you are an Open Candidate. But LinkedIn Recruiter subscribers in their subsidiary, OhioWidgets, will be able to see it. If both companies outsource their candidate searches to We-Find-Widget-Workers, Int’l, they can search each company to see if any employees have activated the marker.

In addition to searching individual accounts, the new system allows a recruiter to do a quick company search to see how many employees have activated the Open Candidate option. So, if an HR pro at JerseyWidgets wants to see how many employees at her company might jump ship, she just has to ask a friendly fellow recruiter at PrincetonProducts to do a quick search and send her the results.

Likewise, the savvy JerseyWidgets recruiter can monitor the percentage of Open Candidates at their competitors. If the recruiter notes a sudden increase in the number of such people at WisconsinWausauWidgets, for example, that might indicate corporate changes that can make the Wisconsinite workers ripe for recruitment.


Job Hunters need to be aware that, even if their employer cannot see the Open Candidate marker, LinkedIn still won’t hide a burst of activity that indicates an employee is looking for a job. Frugal Guidance 2 has previously noted HR service companies, such as Joberate and NetworkMonkey, that monitor employees’ social media accounts in order to see if they are engaging in job hunting activities (link below). Blocking the employer from seeing “the flag” won’t do anything to stop such monitoring or make it less successful.

In spite of all this, if you are interested in looking for a position with a large company (one that can afford LinkedIn’s expensive top-of-the-line recruiting tools), the Open Candidate system might help you stand out in your job search.

If you really want to keep your job search a secret, I would not rely on LinkedIn to keep your search stealthy – there are too many ways to get around the search limitations. In my opinion, relying on recruiters to find you is too passive. You need to be researching companies and networking in, too. The best way to keep a silent search stealthy, though, is to maintain a high level of LinkedIn activity before you start your actual job search. See the links for our series on silent job searching, below, for much more.

Fall image with Stop Sign

How to Push the Open Candidate Button

You want to activate the new Open Candidate feature on LinkedIn? Here’s how:

  1. Log in to LinkedIn from your computer or mobile device.
  2. Click on your Jobs tab
  3. At the Jobs Area, Click on Preferences
    LinkedIn Screen shot
  4. You will see a slider button under “Let recruiters know you’re open”
  5. Slide the button to the right.
    LinkedIn screenshot 2
  6. There is a short form to fill out for the titles you want to be considered for (a popup may suggest job titles)
    LinkedIn screen shot
  7. Fill out the job type (full-time, part-time, freelance, etc.)
  8. Indicate how soon you can start
  9. Write your own brief introduction of 300 characters or less.
  10. Continue scrolling down the page. There’s another section to “Get more relevant job recommendations.”
  11. Enter the locations you might want to work.
  12. Indicate your experience level on the scale.
  13. Select which industries you are considering.

Finally, there is another button for the option to “Share your profile when you click apply.” If this is activated, whenever you find a opening on LinkedIn and click on the button to apply for that job, the employer will get a link to your profile whether or not you complete your application on their off-LinkedIn application system. If your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, there is probably no harm in turning this option on, as long as you don’t regularly change your mind during the application process.



Now you Can Privately Signal to Recruiters You’re Open to New Job Opportunities by Dan Shapero, Oct. 6, 2016, on the LinkedIn Official Blog.

Looking for a New Job? LinkedIn Won’t Tell by Xuanyan Iris Ouyang, Oct. 6, 2016, on U.S. News & World Report.

A Close Look at “Open to New Opportunities” by Irina Shamaeva, October 13, 2016, on her Boolean Strings blog.

Our Frugal Guidance 2 Series on Creating a Silent Job Search

A good place to start is Confidential Job Search 101.

Run Silent, Run Deep. Keep Your Confidential Job Search a Secret

Your Confidential Job Search on LinkedIn – All Quiet on the LinkedIn Front

Stealthy Job Search Alternatives to LinkedIn

More Stealthy Job Search Alternatives to LinkedIn

Big Data is Wrecking Your Silent Job Search

Thanks, especially, to Irina Shamaeva, Teddy Burris, Des Walsh, Bruce Johnston, Greg Cooper and many, many other global members of the LinkedInExperts group on Google+ for their generous sharing of information and ideas.

Image Credits

“Yield to Pedestrian” and “Stop Ahead” images are by the author, Andrew Brandt. Photos edited in Photoshop and Topaz Labs Glow.

Screen clips are by the author, from LinkedIn.

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