Well, have you?
If you haven’t, it’s like a normal bar, except with house music and washboard stomachs. Being a fan of classic rock and too much beer, it’s these factors rather than any latent homophobia that tends to keep me away. However, on occasion, I’ve enjoyed the odd sojourn into such establishments. One noticeable difference is the amount of eye contact and non-verbal communication flying across the room. Perhaps it’s the generations of disgusting homophobia, where relationships had to be sparked via furtive glances, but the gay community have become the masters of “catching the eye”.
The clientele of gay bars seem to innately understand that the purpose of looking isn’t just to judge (at which, again, they are exceptional) a potential partner. The lingering stare, and the ability to hold unblinking eye contact, seems to shorten the clumsy heterosexual courting ritual down from hours to mere seconds. It isn’t just about looking, it’s also about being seen to be looking. Getting “caught” staring is both an intentional and lethal weapon. Excuse me for paraphrasing an old English saying, but the result of shoe-gazing in such a place would be akin to falling into a bucket of penises, only to emerge sucking your thumb.
On Wednesday, we had our quarterly sales meeting. During the session, one of our Business Managers gave us a quick training session on the LinkedIn Sales Navigator product. As an aside, we were looking at the functionality of the “Profile viewing options”. This is the tab where you can select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile. It’s not hidden hidden, but it’s certainly not an option you’d accidentally click. On this tab, LinkedIn subscribers can select either their full profile to be visible to the person that they’re stalking, “someone from…place of business” to be visible, or “Anonymous LinkedIn User” to show on the “who your viewers are” tab. Looking at those who have viewed me over the past few days, a surprising number of people are anonymous, or at least partially. They’ve gone through the settings and after deciding they want to look without others knowing that they’ve looked, clicked the button. Have a look at your profile now and see if you’re experiencing the same thing.
During the sales meeting, I tried to come up with a rationale as to why someone would do this, and to be frank, not even I believe the reason I landed on. Maybe if a vaguely-recognised name calls me? Someone who I should remember but can’t without the services on LinkedIn? Am I so sycophantic that I think I can dazzle them by pretending to remember which university they went to or that they’re into “pro-bono consulting”? Chances are, they hear my clumsy fingers bashing my keyboard the same number of times as they have letters in their name anyway. Who are we trying to kid? What about headhunting? As much as the besuited old men at search firms love to portray a particularly cloak-and-dagger approach, how does viewing a profile anonymously give you an advantage over those who are more brazen? Aren’t you more likely to get engagement from those who have noticed you “checking them out”?
As you would imagine, I keep my profile fully visible. If I’m meeting a new client, I want them to see I’ve taken some effort to research them. Sometimes, I want a profile view to act as the most subtle of approaches to a potential candidate. Sometimes I’m just being nosy. And as a recruiter, it’s far too late to be ashamed of that character trait.
Like my buddies in Family Bar, if I view your profile on LinkedIn, it’s intentional and I want you to see it. And in a lot of instances, I might want to take it to the next level, so feel free to drop me a note. If you’re one of those LinkedIn users who takes a more stealthy approach, I’d love to hear how this works for you, so feel free to comment below.
Have a fabulous weekend.