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LinkedIn: Asset or Adversary? By Richard Prime, co-founder of Sonovate

LinkedIn: Asset or Adversary?

By Richard Prime, co-founder of Sonovate

A decade ago, the arrival of the job board brought with it a sense of foreboding amongst recruiters who were fearful that the technology would render their profession redundant. Yet, far from signalling the dying breath of an entire industry, the job board has  instead provided a breath of fresh air, revolutionising the role of the recruiter.

We are witnessing history repeat itself in the case of LinkedIn. That LinkedIn is killing the recruitment industry is a well-worn discussion; one that I believe is somewhat off the mark but, given the authority that LinkedIn is accumulating, a regrettable inevitability. 

It is difficult to envisage a time when LinkedIn, jobs boards or any other disruptive technology might pose a genuine threat to the future of the entire industry. Through LinkedIn, identifying candidates is now easy, but no technology can ever replace the personal element that forms the basis of the recruitment process. Neither will LinkedIn remove the demand for intermediaries to carry out the recruiting legwork the time spent in sourcing, understanding the requirements of the vacancy and matching the candidate to them, or enticing the candidate to the role. In short, recruiters neednt start clearing their desks yet.

Its time to move beyond seeing LinkedIn in friend or foe terms, and instead ask: how can it best serve the needs of recruiters? Clearly, as a professional network with 161 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn is a vastly important resource, acting as a live database that can be easily searched. As social recruiting continues to gain popularity, the need to build a strong online network of contacts will only increase, and LinkedIn will undoubtedly be the tool of choice for doing so.

LinkedIn has also significantly impacted on the dynamics of larger agencies and network ownership. Rewind five years and individual recruiters would not have dreamed they could get ahead in the industry without the contacts associated with working at a big agency. In the past recruiters working for such agencies were often forced to leave their database of contacts behind when they moved on, but now, thanks to LinkedIn, they have complete ownership of their networks. This, alongside solutions like Sonovate that provide the infrastructure and support needed to go it alone as a recruiter, has made it far easier for entrepreneurial, experienced recruiters to achieve success outside of the larger agencies.

Nonetheless, in the rush to tap into LinkedIns rich reserve of contacts, it can be easy to neglect other tried-and-tested channels. While LinkedIn is an extensive source of candidates there are other, often more targeted and meaningful, channels that shouldnt be forgotten the good old telephone, for example, remains a more personable way of achieving results in the faceless world of social media and shouldnt be forgotten.

It is only when we stop thinking about LinkedIn in terms of friend or threat that we can measure its true value to the recruitment profession. The shrewd recruiter, while bearing in mind that its position may change as it continues to evolve, will recognise the strengths (of which there are many) and weaknesses of LinkedIn, incorporating them into their recruiting strategy.


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