Recruiters: Are you negligent if you don't have a large LinkedIn network? by Sirona Says
I haven't been too contentious recently, (well, other than a recent conversation regarding a poor career site with a client), so I wanted to share a discussion that I have challenged several recruitment (agency) clients with recently. It usually provokes an interesting debate! Here goes.
First some LinkedIn recruitment 'facts':
1. It is 'accepted' that for most recruiters who recruit in the white collar industries , LinkedIn is THE professional social network to be using, right?
2. As a recruiter (researchers and resourcers included here as well), LinkedIn should be an incredibly important tool to use e-v-e-r-y single day - in fact aside from your own database - it should be the go-to network for your research,sourcing, recruiting, referencing, targeting etc. [ yes, there are other networks, but the size of dataset and excellent search engine make it so easy to use].
3. LinkedIn not only has a large database of professional contacts, it is likely to be more up to date than people's CV's.
4. The search functionality is excellent which means that you can find the exact people that you need relatively quickly. This only applies if you know how to use it properly, of course.
5. When posting content through status updates, the bigger your network, the more people will possibly see it, share it with their networks therefore exposing your content to a much wider audience.
6. The wider your network the more opportunities you have of grabbing those all important referrals and introduction links through to people you are trying to reach out to.
7.You join 50 groups in your niche/sector/vertical and add all the members to your network (for search and connection purposes) - further growing your base of relevant potential candidates for your clients, as well as sector insigjhts and knowledge.
8. The inbound bonus. The bigger your LinkedIn network, then the more chance you have of being found (in search results) by people looking for your skills. And if you are in their network it means they then can then contact you easily.
That's enough for the moment, you get my point - LinkedIn is the essential online tool for recruiters, researchers and resourcers(depending on industry of course). No argument there then I hope!.
Here comes the challenge.........
If you agree with all the above, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect recruiters to be power users with superb developed networks in their niche/sector/industry? And if they aren't, does that make them negligent in their in their role as recruiters, providing their service for their clients?
1. Clients expect the the best candidates available from the recruiters that work with them. Fact. [When was the last time a client asked you for a 2nd or 3rd choice candidate?]
2. Clients expect you to be a specialist in your niche/sector/industry - that is after all how you probably won the chance to supply candidates to them in the first place, isn't it? [Do you remember? Wasn't that how you justified your 15-20% fee in the sales process?]
3. Considering points 1 & 2 you HAVE TO find the best candidates you can and quickly. I would argue you are letting your client down if you don't. If LinkedIn is such an important network (as established above), then surely you have an obligation to your client to make sure you have found and spoken to the best candidates in your network? That network has to include LinkedIn.
Here we have a FREE tool will help you make more placements, keep more clients happy, develop your own expert/thoughtleader/top recruiter brand and connect and help develop your career AND STILL many recruiters out there are failing to grasp the power of LinkedIn for recruiters. That to me is professional negligence.
The responses I get............
Corporates I talk to DO EXPECT recruiters to be all over LinkedIn. They are always surprised when they are not.
Some recruitment business owners/managers think I am mad, and tell me that that all their recruiters use LinkedIn well already. No they do not and it is easy to prove when I am with them. Then the answer turns around to 'fair point!'
Some recruitment business owners/managers (and recruiters) agree, recognising they are not using the platform the the best ability.
Some recruiters I challenge with this, immediately go on the defensive, as if I have questioned their whole existence on this planet!!
Some recruiters agree that they completely under use LinkedIn because they don't know how to get the best out of it or have never been shown.
Some recruiters tell me they don't need LinkedIn, as they have superb little black books. Fools.
What do you think? If you are a client and use agencies to supply you with talent or are a recruiter - what is your take on this?
Caveats: 1. I know for all the super sourcers out there who regularly use the power of the x-ray to open up LinkedIn, they would argue you don't need a big network because you can search for anyone. Agreed, I use it myself. What you don't get though, is some of the other benefits I mention above associated with a large network. 2. A LinkedIn recruiter licence does negate this as well - but it should not stop you building your own network - you will change jobs one day and will still need your own LinkedIn network for the future.