Remember, LinkedIn is great but it isn’t the only recruitment option


Vanilla isn't the only option in recruitment
Something really interesting has come up three times in separate conversations over the last two weeks, that I believe will become more of a trend over the next 12 months. The subject matter was LinkedIn, Job Boards and Recruitment Agencies – let me explain.

First I need to point out that the conversations I had, was actually with three different job boards – one big, one medium and one specialist [worth noting that all are focused on white collar sectors].The dialogue turned to 2013 and what lies ahead for them in the recruitment industry – “do they actually have a long term future in their current format?”  One of the answers all three gave me was virtually identical, and it involved LinkedIn. It goes like this:
 Over the last 6 weeks while talking to recruitment companies regarding renewing contracts for 2013, we have had a number of them happy to finish their contracts at the end of the year and fail to renew. When asked why, the response was that they have made the decision to purchase LinkedIn Recruiter Licenses for some or all of their consultants. Their rationale was a simple one – for the same £spend or less, they believed they would have better success in finding candidates on the (now huge) LinkedIn database, as opposed to posting jobs on the job boards in the hope the right candidates would apply for their jobs.”
What do you think? It is something that I can’t argue with, as you should always source first and recruit second (starting with your own database!) This does seem to be a quantum shift in attitude from the recruitment companies. I know many recruitment agencies and consultants, and the FIRST thing the majority do is post adverts on job boards when they get a new requirement from a client! Maybe they are learning…… ?
While I agree with concept above, as it makes sense from a cost perspective, there are some things you should consider before you throw all your eggs into the LinkedIn basket:
  1. Have you taken the time to make sure your audience is on LinkedIn, or have you ‘listened’ to the sales patter of the LinkedIn sales team ‘telling you’ that all your candidates are on their network?
    • Not everyone is on LinkedIn. If you recruit in the blue collar space, LinkedIn is not for you.
    • According to LinkedIn 70% of the UK white collar workforce is on their platform, which is great. But what about the 30% that aren’t? That still represents a good few million people in the workforce!
    • If you recruit graduates or alike, then you will (at the moment anyway) find that LinkedIn is substantially lacking in candidates here.
    • If you recruit in some of the digital and technical sectors where demand is high for certain skills, you will find it really hard to even find these people, as there is a trend from people with these skills to actually remove them from their LinkedIn profiles! They have been targeted by recruiters once too often!
    • Unfortunately (some of ) the LinkedIn sales team will tell you what you want to hear, just to close the deal (they are sales people after all). I have first hand experience of this with a client, in case you are wondering! 
  2. What about all the people who look at job boards every day (and there are still millions), and have signed up for the email/RSS/social job alerts? Many of these people don’t even bother with LinkedIn or other social networks – they just want to find a new job and are just not of the mindset (yet) of using LinkedIn or any other socil networks for that matter! In certain sectors this is a real problem.
  3. Brand – using the job boards regularly builds your brand. People get to know who you are, what you recruit for and how to contact you. With the best will in the world and the biggest advertising budget ever, you still may not reach all the active jobseekers in the market at that time. Social channels like blogs, Twitter and Facebook are also powerful alternatives.
  4. SEO – whatever you think of job boards, one thing they all do incredibly well is SEO. If like ,most recruitment agencies, your website SEO is rubbish, then jobs you place on your website (for example) will simply not appear on the first page or two on Google. Job board adverts will most of the time.
  5. Training. This for me is the kicker –  and it is a big one. Invest in new products and technologies -BUT make sure you then train your consultants PROPERLY in how to use them. Don’t not train the consultants – LinkedIn and the other social networks can be such powerful and brilliant tools if you know how to use them correctly!
Now, in case you think I have gone mad and I am promoting job boards over LinkedIn I am not. Definitely not!
The point I am making is that there isn’t one magic solution for recruiters. LinkedIn isn’t the magic solution; job boards aren’t the magic solution and social media isn’t the magic solution.
What is needed for successful recruiting is a blended and integrated approach combining different things:
  • An understanding of your actual candidate audience and where there are – no assumptions or historical thoughts here, find out where they are right now, today!
  • Use your own database first – you have already invested in putting those candidates on it, make them pay for that investment. If your recruitment system is old and out of date, talk to the guys at companies like BullHorn or Broadbean – let them breathe life into your database and allow you to search and socialise it. You are in the 21st century now!
  • Do use LinkedIn – but make sure you get your ducks in a row first. Make sure all your consultant profiles are spot on and make sure your company page is the best it can be. Then and only then, think about upgrading your account.
  • Do use job boards to post vacancies – but not all of them. Be more selective. Use some of the specialist job boards in your industries, after all they just focus on attracting those types of candidates to them. Boards like OnlyMarketingJobs and SimplySalesJobs are good examples of sector focus.
  • Use email marketing to reach out to your database. Do you know what, it still works and it is an efficient way of communicating with candidates. REMEMBER though, if you put links to jobs on your emails, make sure the page you are sending them to is mobile friendly! Many candidates open those links on their iPhones, Androids and Blackberries.
  • Use the social media channels. Twitter and Facebook are the main headliners but there are many other niche networks that you might well be able to use to find, source and recruit candidates from. And of course they are a great way to encourage referrals for your jobs.
  • Try other tools that are better suited to your industry – for example if you are recruiting in the tech/IT space try TalentBin instead of LinkedIn – it is an awesome (and I mean awesome) recruitment product as it aggregates social profiles from ALL the online places these types go to including GitHub and StackOverflow.

So just to bring you back to the point of my post – yes, LinkedIn is a fantastic tool and a given for recruitment, but don’t just focus on that network to the detriment of all other proven channels!

I hope you now get my point – a blend of methods will definitely be better than a pure vanilla model. And for the purists, I haven’t forgotten the most important channel/tool in recruitment – it is of course the telephone 🙂


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We consult, train, tweet, blog, text, post, speak, share, read, update, photograph, video and talk about recruitment. At Sirona Consulting we work with companies, recruitment agencies, RPO’s HR & recruitment technology vendors and conference / event organisers, helping them understand and integrate social media into their recruitment strategies. We have have been doing this now for twelve years, working with many companies along the way, from small independent recruiters right through to large international companies. We are honest, ethical and have experience of working across a range of different industry sectors delivering success in the UK, Europe, Middle East, APAC and the United States.



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