"The Business of Recruitment" Series - Using Professional Networking Sites as Candidate Sources

Professional Networking Sites as Candidate Sources 

In the early 2000’s we entered into the era of social media an era that is very much alive and growing at quite a rapid rate, actually, and although the advent of social networking has been around for at least the last 20 years, the last 10 years have marked its full blown integration into most areas of our networking lives and more recently our business lives. There are many books and writings on the subject of social media sites and many writers give different estimations of how many people actually have a social media presence in the professional population, that being said the world's largest professional network on the internet, LinkedIn has over 175,000,000 users, now that’s a lot of professionals for just one site and they are not alone in this field. This means that we can safely say there are a HUGE number of professionals who have an online presence through their profiles.


This fact in itself is both good and bad news for the recruitment professional, the bad news is that because there are a large number of users of these sites, you will need to have a "Professional Networking" strategy that fits your business or desk and will depend on your “Core Market” as well as your candidates. The good news is that because there are a large number of users of these sites, you will need to have a "Professional Networking" strategy that fits your business or desk and will depend on your “Core Market” as well as your candidates…it depends on which way you look at it, I guess.


As a recruitment professional, you should look at using Professional Networking Sites (PNS) to work for you in at least four critical areas of your business in recruitment at any level.

  1. As a personal marketing tool to “showcase” your profile to others and your “Core Market” through a detailed profile and involvement and participation in related groups on the site as well as “Core Market” related updates on your profile.
  2. As a “Client” tool to identify and contact existing and potential clients and stay in touch with job and market activity with a view of developing new business.
  3. As a “Candidate” source to identify new candidates, stay in touch with current candidates and keep in up to date with candidate activity.
  4. As a “Job Opportunity” tool to showcase, market and advertise your existing opportunities to your “Core Market”

There are other uses that most professional networking sites are capable of providing but before you formulate your strategy you have to identify which professional networking sites you are going to use that will give you the best results based on your “Core Market” Although LinkedIn is certainly the most popular and has been an invaluable candidate & business tool for me since 2006,(and is certainly the "best" in my eyes for a number of different reasons including the "quality" of contacts you can generate) you may not find that it is a great source of candidates for you as your target candidates may not utilize it, you will have to do some research and find out which sites will work best for you and use them, keep your Professional Networking Sites to, at most, two or three sites that way you can effectively implement a strategy for the ones you do use. In my opinion LinkedIn should be one of the two or three sites you choose to use.

As a recruitment professional you should have your own Professional Networking Strategy, your strategy should guide you on how specifically to use professional networking sites to generate revenue, through candidates and business development for your "Core Market"

Your strategy should include how to go from "Profile to Placement" in other words how do you actually approach and work with contacts on Professional Networking Sites, your 1st, 2nd, Group and Network Connections( thanks very much LinkedIn!) to generate placements on each job assignment you work. You should be able to answer If someone asked or better still if you asked yourself, "What are the specific result generating activities that I carry out on LinkedIn for each job requirement that I work on?" 


Professional Networking Sites really do "improve" the way we are able to connect and do business and LinkedIn takes this "improved way of connecting in business" to a level of their own and hence they are in a "class" of their own, professional networking sites are excellent sources for candidates and candidate leads if used strategically and I don't just mean posting your jobs on them. In talking with recruitment professionals across the Country, I find that one of the main areas where people need help and have questions is in the "How" How do I use these sites as tools to help me in my role as a recruitment professional?, How can these sites help my personal brand? How do I approach potential candidates?, How do I attract the types of candidates I may be looking for? How do I build an active database of candidate contacts on these sites? How do I track candidate movement? How do I grow my business using a professional network site? And whereas I help professionals answer these questions, it's interesting to note that the underlying question always is centred around "improvement", How can I be better? and that's always a superb question to answer for any professional.

Speaking with your "Recruitment Representative or Account Representative" from your chosen Professional Networking Sites will help you in planning your individual strategy as well as actually talking with a coach or strategist. 

Every professional has tools, and successful people know how to successfully use the tools they have at their disposal, Professional Networking Sites are a superb "Tool" for the recruitment professional if, and this is a key, if like any other tool, you learn how to use them effectively...

Gerard Ezinwoke is an award winning recruitment professional, recruitment coach, and strategist to individuals and organizations with experience working in Europe and Canada.

"The Business of Recruitment" Series aims to provide productive strategies for each aspect of recruitment & staffing for recruitment agencies and headhunters. These strategies are based on experience of high performing recruitment professionals across North America and Europe.

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Tags: #Networking, #Recruitment, #linkedin


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