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Does size Matter to agency recruiters?

Community sizes in the agency / staffing market are something that lots of people talk about, Lots of recruiters think that they have a handle on it, but in reality their communities are tiny.  Big data for the staffing world tends to be a very literal statement – lots of data!

Recruiters have small communities

Even though there is “lots of data” out there, many recruitment firms are relying on memories, good will and sometimes serendipity to place talent with their clients.

If you check out the “average” recruiter online, you will find that and their numbers are small! The average number of LinkedIn connections for a recruiter is 940 and on Twitter the average number of followers is 290. These numbers may seem large but in comparison with other social media accounts they are miniscule. Half of recruiters with Twitter accounts have under 50 followers, and an estimated 92% of recruiters that leverage LinkedIn have networks that average 14% smaller than their non-recruiting counterparts.

This is often because:

  • Their leaders don’t hold much stock on online communities and thus filter this down #GetOnThePhone
  • It’s not part of a business’ process to gather data within consultants’ own profiles #ownership
  • Recruiters think that a community of 1000 on LinkedIn rocks! #SizeMatters

Today, the average recruiter’s network is visible and people (candidates, clients and competitors) can compare size.

Who you are connected to will affect who connects with you.  It’ll even affect the social software itself.

All four of the major social recruiting platforms have algorithms that look to your behaviours and existing contacts and try to match you to new prospects. Thus, if you don’t do the “right things” with social tools, and your community is not a true reflection of your offering or talent pool, you’ll have to overcompensate by working even harder than a recruiter who has taken time to grow their online communities.

This is no different to the previous “version” of recruiting which relied upon banks of CVs on desks, great memories and developing strong relationships.

Every recruiter should want to raise their profile.  They know deep down that this helps with talent sourcing and attraction, job filling and client loyalty.

Again the business process of the average staffing company is not geared up to this.  In fact, it is likely to have policies restricting the practice that helps with the very thing that recruiters need to do more of.

For example, lots of recruiters out there have not got a firm handle on Twitter yet. Yes, they are spamming jobs onto it, making their jobs look easy by:

  • Taking a job brief
  • Removing a few words
  • Chucking it onto their website
  • Adding Twitter via a status update #Job #Hiring #Pointless

They are not able however, to demonstrate any real return on investment from this.

I still meet recruiters who feel that connecting their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and posting through LinkedIn on to Twitter is a rock and roll approach.

Size matters

The average recruiter community is tiny.  Even if it’s over a thousand, that’s tiny when you consider that even if you’re niche (and lots of my clients are) your theoretical candidate database is now totally visible. When your candidates and clients can judge you by the size of your community, via your followers and connections, this becomes an issue.

We know that size matters.  In old money, recruiters used size of database as a selling point.  I am writing a lot at the moment about loving your CRM (ATS) as this, for many recruiters could become a massive USP (in a market which suffers from a lack of USPs).  I want recruiters to get back to being able to say “you need to pay me for the privilege of having access to my data”, or “76% of the placement I made last year were through my own internal systems”.

You can’t fake it anymore!

The size of your community is now something that you cannot fake.  Yes, you can use the argument that you are not connected to everyone in your talent pool, but your usual conversations with clients and candidates are now disrupted by you having to explain your visible lack of connectivity.

Recruiters need to get a handle on data – it’s their currency. Simply seeing big data as “big” and not seeing the value of what they could do without at least mining it effectively means that agency recruiters may never be able to demonstrate value (and power) like perhaps they used to. 


By  BarcleyJones

Tags: blog

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