LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned social network for the working world with over 500 million users, has put a lot of effort into new areas of business like content, education and bringing on new users in emerging markets; but today it’s embarking on the roll out of a new service that plays squarely into the bread and butter of its business: looking for work.
Today, the company is debuting a new service that identifies potential mentors and people who might be looking for mentorship in a specific area, and then helps match them to each other. The service (which started with a small test last month) is free and will be available first to users in San Francisco and Australia, Hari Srinivasan, Head of Identity Products at LinkedIn, tells me.
Initially, LinkedIn has tapped a hand-selected list of potential mentors, who will come up as a list, Tinder-style, to people who indicate that they are interested in getting some mentoring, so that a match might get made. Mentors are given options about who they would prefer to mentor, be it people in their first- and second-degree networks, in their region or their former school. Over time, Srinivasan said that the option to become a mentor will be open to everyone, which makes sense: we call could stand to learn something from everyone.
On the mentee side, after you indicate that you are interested in getting some advice or feedback on a particular topic, LinkedIn then gives you your own potential parameters to narrow down your search (again, initially these are whether you want people near you, or from your alma mater), or if you potentially want a list of potential mentors that is as wide as LinkedIn’s user base.
Once you match, you can then message each other, and either side can terminate the communication at any point.