Ali Matar is the head of LinkedIn Mena. Before taking on his current post he worked for SAP, Oracle and Procter & Gamble. As LinkedIn celebrates 10 years in business, he explains how the company is transforming the recruitment process.
You started at LinkedIn last July. How did you get the job?
I had a complete LinkedIn profile and was approached by a LinkedIn recruiter. LinkedIn is only allowed to hire through the LinkedIn solutions that we use to support our clients to find the best talent. After a couple of interviews, I saw the opportunities.
What is your typical day like?
I am a morning person. I usually wake up around 6am. If I am in the UAE, the first thing I do is head to the gym for an hour. Directly after that I start checking the news. We have this electronic newspaper that comes to every LinkedIn member called LinkedIn Today and it's very much tailored to the interests of the member. I catch up with all that is happening within my network and within my industry. We cover 12 countries in the Middle East and Africa, so often I am out of Dubai, meeting clients in Qatar, Saudi or Lebanon. I check the profiles of the people I am meeting on LinkedIn to make sure I am very much informed.
How are things going since the Middle East opening?
When we started the office in October we had seven people. Today we have 14 people based out of Dubai. We've just crossed 5 million members in the Middle East.
What's the main focus of your job?
LinkedIn is the largest professional network that matches talent to opportunities. We help our clients to transform the way they market, hire and sell. We help the client find the right talent for the vacancy they have. And we help them advertise themselves as an employer of choice.
What do people get out of joining LinkedIn?
Our members join LinkedIn to define their own professional identity and to connect with people and find ex-colleagues and professional groups. But we find also that people are very much engaged because of the insights LinkedIn provides. The insights help active and passive candidates to be more productive.
Tell me the difference between an active and a passive member of LinkedIn.
Of our 225 million members almost 80 per cent are passive candidates: they are active on LinkedIn but not aggressively searching for a job. These are the people who are very much successful in what they do. Yet if they are approached in the right manner they are open to discuss a different career opportunity. Before LinkedIn there was no single way to get access to that 80 per cent. About 20 per cent of the 200 million are active candidates - actively searching for and applying for jobs in LinkedIn.