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?