A recent RBC article shined a light on the concern many recruiters have about connecting with other recruiters on LinkedIn. I was perplexed as I’ve always considered public profiles (on LinkedIn or elsewhere) to be, well, public and therefore easy to find. The article said “I consider the people who I recruit via LinkedIn to be my candidates” and expressed concern about other recruiters finding these stellar prospects. What if another recruiter “invites that person to connect with them" and consequently claims the candidate as their own?
So what if they do?
No seriously, so what? Am I missing something here? If I’m up against other recruiters searching for Data Scientists (and I am… Oh God help me I am) odds are these other recruiters are going to find the same LinkedIn profiles… no matter how I feel about it. They certainly aren’t relying on me and my connections to find these people. In fact, I can’t remember the last hire I made who didn’t have other recruiters calling them or other opportunities on the table. Even the most “passive” (vomit worthy adjective right there) candidate is usually getting hit on by my industry brethren on the regular.
I can get behind tagging and sharing rules within a corporation. I work for a really big company with a lot of recruiters. We run into each other all the time in scoping out talent and have some guidelines on how to play nice. I’ve shared many a candidate, lost some and won some but the focus is on winning the talent for the company. There’s none of this “my” candidate stuff, at least in terms of limiting opportunities for the potential employee. I’ve never won a deal based on some perceived ownership. Last I knew people still had free will and could think for themselves. I’m willing to bet if they thought accepting my connection request meant they were MY candidate, many would think twice. Aren’t we really doing candidates a disservice with this mindset? It’s not just about LinkedIn the “connect or don’t connect” conundrum. A recent question posed to a recruiter group on Facebook suggested shopping candidates around to the highest bidder if a client wanted to haggle fees! That right there is the bigger issue – we’re treating people like commodities. You’re MY LinkedIn connection, MY candidate, and I can’t put myself in a position to inadvertently let my competition get their eyes on you. I’ve been a candidate before, I’ll likely be one again before I retire and I’d be pissed if I was talked about in such a cavalier fashion.
Maybe I’m just not “niche-y” enough. I may see things differently if I was working with a very specialized skill set that… oh wait never mind. I DO. How about we win by wooing? By understanding what makes a prospect tick, and delivering on that? If you're the recruiter with the opportunity that can make shit happen, they're going to want to work with you regardless of who else they're connected to. My final thought on the subject – if recruiting is running a marathon, connecting with a prospect on LinkedIn is tying your shoes. Anyone over the age of 6 can do that - you have to actually slog through those 26.2 miles before you get the medal.