This post first appeared on LinkedIn.
Ah ha. You clicked on my extreme title that skews negative. I’m curious why.
Does writing get more attention if it first shocks? Is the Internet having a bad week? Are LinkedIn Pulse Posts the TMZ of career communications? (ie. Are we all rubbernecking what could go awry?)
Here’s why I ask. The titles of the top five LinkedIn Pulse posts for this week are:
1. The Top Things You Should Never Do At Work [1.2M views]
2. Google’s HR Chief: The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes… [938K views]
3. Smart Answers to Stupid Interview Questions [723K views]
4. The Four Reasons Working Relationships Fail [694K views]
5. What Interviewer Never Tell Job Candidates, But Should [404K views]
Should. Never. Mistakes. Smart. Stupid. Fail. Never. I am fascinated that we are so fascinated by what could go wrong. By the don’ts vs. the dos.
Now I am aware that LinkedIn has savvy algorithms that influence these rankings. In fact, LinkedIn Influencers occupy four of the above five spots. I also recognize that a post posted early in the week has more time to gain views – so it’s not a fair race.
I’m going to assume personalization is not at play. If only because, in this case, it makes me feel better.
As a rookie poster to Pulse, here’s what strikes me about this leader board:
1. Transparency = author advantage: Access to post stats is like getting access to a brand’s Google Analytics account, media optimization report or CRM results. What resonates is revealed for the taking / learning.
2. Polarize, prowess + practical: The tops posts have these in common. Their titles polarize to gain a click, the authors have prowess in their field and the advice tends to be action-oriented and practical.
3. Snack size: Short, sweet, numbered advice. No one wants their boss to see them job hunting or reading articles about bad managers. Get in, get advice, get out.
4. Mindset as the motivator: In the book Decisive, Chip and Dan Heath talk about decision making mindsets – which apply to career choices. A promotion focus considers positive outcomes – what we have to gain and openness to risk. A prevention focus considers negative outcomes – what we have to lose and avoiding negative outcomes.
LinkedIn strikes me as a blend of these two. Maybe the excitement of networking and opportunity brings us to LinkedIn (promotion focus) and once we’re here we get a bit nervous about giving up what we have (prevention focus). So we click on posts about the nevers and the worsts.
At least that sounds better than rubbernecking.
5. This takes guts: LinkedIn is the working world in one place – which ups the ante on being an author here (am I alone in feeling this?). By the way, I’m aware that my post title is an alley oop for critics to slam dunk. I’ll take that risk. I believe in the power of big team or coach-like comments prevailing.
Kudos to all the risk-taking authors.
A positive note at the end… The top five posts of all time skew solution oriented. The number one and two spots are tied at 2.8M views. If I get to break the tie I’m going with “How Successful People Stay Calm” as the winner. “6 Toxic Behaviors That Push People Away” no gold for you today.
Although there are still two days left in this week.