Why I Don't Connect With Other Recruiters on LinkedIn

Like almost every agency recruiter out there, I've been using LinkedIn for a while now. It has become an integral part of our business model here at Sun Recruiting and while we don't rely on it - it is certainly one of our more important tools. Back when I started using LinkedIn several years ago, I put some thought into how I wanted to use it. I understood how it worked and had a pretty understanding of the benefits we could derive out of it from a sourcing standpoint. I specialize in placing chemical engineers so I figured my best course of action was to be very selective about who I connected to, so as to increase the power of my niche network.

This got me thinking about connecting with other recruiters on LinkedIn. A few key things happen when you 'connect' with someone. A) You can see all of their connections (unless the person you connect with has that feature blocked), B) that person's activity starts showing up in your news feed, and C) all of their connections become 2nd-level connections of yours. To me, the most problematic of those, as it relates to having recruiter connections, are items B and C. Allow me to clarify.

I consider the people who I recruit via LinkedIn to by my candidates...but what if the only reason I found them was because I was connected to this other recruiter? Or how about we flip the tables? Say you are 1st level connections with this stellar candidate and some other recruiter you are connected to sees you connect with that candidate via their LinkedIn News Feed and then goes and invites that person to connect with them and consequently claims that candidate as their own? Do you see where I'm going here?

When you, as a recruiter, connect with other recruiters, you are inviting this scenario, or some version of this scenario, to happen over and over again. I trust all of the recruiters I work with on split business, and I'm sure that they are very ethical people, but I also want to prevent temptation where I can. I don't want that kind of temptation for myself either...so that is why I don't connect to other recruiters on LinkedIn. It makes the waters too muddy and doesn't help me achieve my ultimate goal of creating a niche network of candidates.

I would be curious to know the thoughts of other recruiters out there. I know we don't all do business the same way and that some recruiters out there connect to other recruiters on LinkedIn all of the time. Has this been a concern for you? If not, why? Have you experienced some benefits from connecting with other recruiters?

Views: 588

Comment by Jerry Albright on May 22, 2014 at 10:59am

I guess I'm missing your perspective here.  The "whether I 'have' candidate X purely as a result of my connection to another recruiter..." - what does that mean?  What dilemma does this create?  

Comment by David Wells on May 22, 2014 at 11:44am

"but the situation I don't want to be in is going to figure out whether I have 'candidate x' purely as a result of my connection to another recruiter."

Why does that matter?  Honest question. If connecting with a recruiter opened the door to a candidate that I previously did not have access too, and I filled my job with that person, my thought is.... "AWESOME."  

Comment by Will Thomson on May 22, 2014 at 4:15pm

This post is riddiculous.  You aren't thinking straight.  In 2 years you may be with another firm or better yet need another recruiters assistance.  Obviously you have been burned by other recruiters.  I say we are all in this together- help a brother out when we need help. 

Comment by Adam Krueger on May 22, 2014 at 4:26pm

How does being connected to another recruiter on LinkedIn help you? Look, I get the whole split-placement model, we use that every day and half (or more) of our business is done via splits with other recruiters. I'm not talking about making splits. I'm talking about forging a focused niche of candidates via LinkedIn. I realize some of my comments don't address that, but that is my overall point. If I, being a specialist in chemical engineering, connect to you, a specialist in IT, how does that benefit me in creating a focused network of chemical engineering contacts? It doesn't. I can see the potential benefit in connecting with other recruiters who also specialize in my area, but as I said before, that also kind of defeats the purpose because we're after the same talent, sometimes for the same jobs.

Obviously many people use LinkedIn in many different ways - that's cool, but I'm not talking about why you shouldn't connect with other recruiters, I'm just giving my rationale for not connecting. Oh, and Will, I own my own firm and have been successfully running it for over 2 years, so I doubt I will be with another firm in 2 years.

Comment by Linda Ferrante LoCicero on May 22, 2014 at 5:05pm

To be honest, I keep my connections private.  Someone I knew went through my list and contacted everyone 'worth knowing' and sent them emails basically saying I said it was a good idea for them to connect.  WRONG.  Now, I'll connect as I need to, but I keep my list private.  If someone comes across a connection and wants to connect, they can contact me and I'll arrange it.  Or not.  

LI has sort of turned into one big high school.  Just because you're in the same class doesn't mean you know everyone.  And those you know aren't always just the popular kids.  Some are just regular kids.   

Comment by Amy Ala on May 22, 2014 at 7:57pm

well, keeping connections private is one option (and totally understandable in Linda's situation). If you're ONLY going to be self-employed and NEVER leave chemical engineering, then it works for you. Doesn't keep recruiters from contacting "your" candidates... but to each his own.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 25, 2014 at 12:09pm
My connections are closed because I got tired of people connecting then asking for an introduction to executives within companies I work with. I don't introduce people I don 't know well.

Keep in mind that the only "ownership" of a candidate is if you are the first recruiter who submits them to a client. If you and I have the same person on our list or in our database neither of us "owns" the person until we submit them. Having someone on a connection list doesn't make them your candidate until you have their resume and submit them someplace. What you seem worried about would be like copying names out of the phone book then thinking that if somebody saw your list they would be stealing your list when they have the same phone book.

I sometimes advise people who are quietly looking for a job to make their connections private because believe it or not, there are managers and HR directors who spend a lot of time checking employee profiles to see if that employee is connected to recruiters or HR -recruiters within a competing company in their industry.

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