“LinkedIn is NOT a recruiter’s friend.”
“How much damage has LinkedIn caused your recruiting business?”
These are all phrases I’ve recently heard from agency recruiters. There seems to be a growing concern that LinkedIn is intent on eliminating the need for third-party recruiters and that it’s only a matter of time before it happens.
Does anyone remember the similar sentiment about Monster? Or job boards? Or the Internet? What about the fax machine?
All of these tools were “game-changers” in the recruiting business, for sure. They were radical new tools that changed how recruiting got done. Monster, especially, was viewed as the “enemy” of agency recruiters and likely DID drive some recruiters — those who “specialized” in low-hanging fruit — out of business. But the best recruiters adapted to the changes, adopted some of the tools, and moved on. The angst over LinkedIn sounds to me like more of the “same old, same old.”
Here are five reasons why agency recruiters don’t need to fear LinkedIn:
- LinkedIn does not magically turn anyone into a recruiter. As I’ve said before, having a hammer at your disposal doesn’t make you a carpenter. Yes, there are “dime a dozen” jobs that don’t require particularly special skills. Some companies, especially larger companies, won’t use agency recruiters to fill these roles. They can likely use LinkedIn or other tools to find suitable candidates who don’t need to be wooed away from their current employer. If those types of roles have been your primary focus, you will need to adapt. Strategic roles, jobs with a unique skill set, or roles that employ an emerging technology, are still extremely difficult (and slow) to fill.
- Recruiting ≠ Sourcing. Having access to a list of names is not the same as recruiting. If it was, the phone book would have put all the agency recruiters out of business back in the “old days.” Even if the names have been keyword-qualified, they have not yet been recruited.
- Recruiting is an art, not a science. It requires persuasion, sales, and other soft skills to successfully convert a name into a candidate, broker the offer, make sure the candidate’s family supports the change, help with relocation, and guard against counteroffers, among other things. No matter how great LinkedIn is as a tool, it CAN’T do any of those other things.
- Lots of people don’t use LinkedIn. Having a LinkedIn profile isn’t the same as being highly engaged on LinkedIn. A lot of people have outdated LinkedIn profiles. There are a lot of other people who don’t even HAVE LinkedIn profiles. No one, whether an agency recruiter, a corporate recruiter, or a hiring manager, will ever find EVERY candidate for EVERY role on LinkedIn.
- Jobs and skills evolve more rapidly than recruiting tools. Employers are hiring people for jobs that didn’t exist five years ago. The jobs include using tools that didn’t exist 18 months ago. There are many instances where there isn’t an existing talent pool that can be easily found and tapped. If you are keyword searching for a word that isn’t included in a profile, you aren’t going to find the profile. Period.
If you need more convincing that agency recruiters aren’t facing imminent death, here is another great read.
What are YOUR thoughts about how LinkedIn is changing recruiting? Please comment below, and share this blog with others.