LinkedIn is taking its professional networking services a step further by helping you find a mentor. The new feature, which launched Thursday, mimics Tinder's approach to matching people: letting users browse options before connecting.
"We have done research and found that among the senior ranks of our user base, nine out of 10 people have said they want to give back," Hari Srinivasan, the head of identity products at LinkedIn, told TechCrunch. "All of them received help on the way up, and now want to find a way to give that help back to others."
The new service gives potential mentors options about whom they would match with, including location or whether they want to work with someone from their alma mater. Mentees are offered the same factors and can indicate if they are looking for advice on a particular topic. Once a match is made, you can message each other through the app (similar to Tinder). From there, it's up to the pair to establish the parameters of their relationship.
LinkedIn started the free program with small tests last month and rolled it out to users in San Francisco and Australia. The dip into mentorship expands the company's offerings and gives it a competitive edge against career-coaching sites like BetterUp and Everwise, which both offer similar services for a price. But neither has LinkedIn's bountiful 500 million-member network.