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Is LinkedIn The Death Knell Of Recruitment As We Know It?

When LinkedIn opened its first office in Australia in January 2010, Steve Barham, the Director of Hiring Solutions predicted that most of Australia’s workforce would be covered by LinkedIn. By June the same year, 15,000 new people had signed up as members. On the flip side, recruiters Rio Tinto, HP and Vodafone Hutchison were among the first to sign up for LinkedIn Recruiter, a new product that was rolled out.


The seriousness with which this social media business portal is targeting the recruitment industry is evident from Global CEO, Jeff Weiner‘s observation that the recruitment solutions division is LinkedIn’s biggest and fastest growing division.


Having spent several years providing customized LinkedIn trainings to professionals, students, entrepreneurs and businesses, I believe LinkedIn is going to transform the way recruiters are finding talent as well as how they are positioning their business on the most promising digital platform.


A wake-up call to recruiters


The growing popularity of LinkedIn is a wake-up call to recruiters who need to re-evaluate and fine tune their online recruiting strategies. While LinkedIn should be seen as an additional channel rather than a replacement for traditional online recruitment, it provides recruiters a cost efficient outlet to help them promote their brand and also reach a much wider pool of quality candidates than what was possible using traditional online and offline media. To add even greater value, technological advancements that allow recruiters automate posting of jobs and also track responses have made portals such as LinkedIn an even more attractive proposition to recruiters.


Social proof – the new age alternative to referrals


Allowing members to post detailed resume style profiles enhances their LinkedIn social networking experience as recruiters are able to assess potential talent easily and can shortlist candidates that could match their requirements. The short-listed candidates could be contacted directly or be passed on to a recruiter to complete the interview process.


Once the interview process is complete, recruiters call for references from candidates, and often the final decision hinges upon how candidates are scored by the referees. LinkedIn offers the social proof option where recruiters can view “recommendations” made by colleagues, previous employees and business affiliates on the any profiles they may find interesting. This way the strengths of potential candidates can be identified and matched to the requirements of the position that needs to be filled.


One of the most significant benefits that LinkedIn provides is to inform members who the contacts of their direct connections are, and provide access to information about their place of employment, their job title and their professional interests. This information makes it convenient and easy to connect with such contacts for a position that needs to be filled.


Countering the escalating cost of traditional media


With traditional media costs escalating many businesses are turning to online recruiting to find candidates. LinkedIn also offers a paid option to recruiters who are willing to invest to find candidates that they would otherwise find difficult to source. On payment of a fee, recruiters can post jobs on LinkedIn to recruit such hard to find candidates. The value that is offered is the ability to combine job listings, searches, referrals that are trustworthy and the power of social networking to deliver results in hours instead of days.


Climbing the learning curve


Just like any other process there is a learning process associated with using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool. For instance it’s a good idea to get in touch with warm leads from direct contacts. Warm leads are pre-qualified and calling them is far more effective than cold calling. It’s quite likely that an unknown person will not call back, and if the call is returned at all, the likelihood of a worthwhile lead being provided is rather slim. On the contrary the direct connections of first level contacts are a great source of warm leads. First level contacts can suggest which of these are most qualified and a recruiter can then recruit them. To cement relationships with these new contacts, it’s important to connect them directly on LinkedIn. Even if they don’t end up as employees they could be potential candidates for future job openings. Repeating this process will result in a recruiter building a huge database of prospects that are more likely to be the right fit for the recruiter.


Another strategy that many recruiters overlook is building a private network of “tip-toe” contacts. There are always people who tip-toe or get the itch to check out jobs to see if anything catches their eye. Generally they would first look at their primary LinkedIn contacts to check out what’s available. By telling everyone in their network that they would like to talk to these people, recruiters can get the first crack at finding quality candidates.


Here are additional tactics to use for recruiting candidates:


  • Use the advanced search facility to research and find profiles of passive candidates perfectly matched to jobs – searches can be made by job title, keywords, company, geography, industry and more. Learn more.
  • Increasing the size of a network. The more connections a recruiter has, the greater the access to a pool of talented candidates. This is why the most active recruiters on LinkedIn are also the ones who are extremely well connected. This is one of the reasons why being an Open Networker is an advantage.
  • Joining relevant LinkedIn groups One of the best ways to access candidates who are not in a recruiter’s network is to join groups in different industries depending on the requirement of the position to be filled. Group members can be accessed through the advanced search functionality.
  • Active network participation – keeping active through discussion, recommendations and answering questions increases “visibility” and results in a greater level of credibility.


LinkedIn is a great recruitment tool, but is of no use if recruiters cannot be found. Recruiters should ensure that their profiles are made public so they can be found easily by candidates.


In the final analysis the power of LinkedIn lies in the ability of reaching a wider pool of talent through a network of established contacts, a process that is a refreshing change to finding “cold” candidates through job ads, both offline and online. While traditional forms of recruiting are likely to continue in the near future, that day would not be far when social media portals such as LinkedIn eventually usher in a new era in the recruitment industry.


Want to make the most of this exponentially growing platform to get more visibility and have access to the top-notch talent in your industry? Get the right LinkedIn training to meet your business requirements and to empower your employees.