The trend du jour for companies seeking talent appears to move to everything social media. The social media evangelists are preaching to job seekers and hiring managers that if you’re not using all things social media, job seekers will lose out on their dream jobs and companies will not find top-rate talent.
Recent articles have spread across the blogosphere stating that companies and job seekers should lean towards LinkedIn and ditch the job boards. I’m not sold.
Since social media gurus endlessly pontificate about brand recognition, let’s touch on that quickly. What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Monster, Dice and Careerbuilder? For me, it’s jobs. When you think of LinkedIn, what’s the first word that comes to mind? For me, it’s networking.
Yes, LinkedIn is shifting their focus and working hard to make the site a full service product for companies and people. The recent Wall Street Journal article that’s been quoted in the blogosphere states that companies are going to use job boards less and move towards sites like LinkedIn.
The article is weak, to say the least, because the survey cited in the article was conducted by an organization whose members consist of 80% Fortune 500 companies. Obviously, that’s not all companies.
The article also states that one of the reasons for the scaling back of the job boards was due to being inundated by too many unqualified candidates. It’s critical that recruiters use their time screening qualified resumes but with an unemployment rate of 9.4% couldn’t we surmise that the high volume of online candidates is directly related to the number of people out of work? In addition, would you say that someone who is out of work and perhaps financially vulnerable might apply for a position they're not 100% qualified for? Of course they will.
Recruiters, living in perfect worlds, would prefer that only qualified candidates apply for open positions but the reality is that human beings are not robots and if they believe they are intelligent enough to do a job, they’ll apply for it. It goes without saying that the masses also think of the word “job” when they think of job boards.
The masses are not on LinkedIn yet. I believe that LinkedIn is an excellent tool for making connections -- but that also depends on the type of connection. If you want to connect with C-Suite decision makers, you might hit a brick wall because only 23% of all LinkedIn users are age 35 or older and the average age of a CEO in the U.S. is 56 years old. From my experience, I know least 5 professionals who fall into this category and have no desire to be found on LinkedIn because they simply don't need to be there.
While I do agree that LinkedIn is a useful aid in recruiting, it's not ready to be a full-blown recruiting tool for all companies and industries. I attended an event sponsored by LinkedIn introducing their new Recruiting Pro tool. The tool provides unrestricted access to the entire LinkedIn network but how useful is it if that ideal candidate isn’t on LinkedIn or has their profile turned off?
For a price tag of around $8,000 for only search capabilities that lack diversity in industries, company size, positions and ages/experience of candidates, I would find it challenging to justify the ROI on that investment.