My 2 cents on Linked In and its impact on recruitment industry

Before I start I should establish that this post is purely based on my personal experience and I am not trying to pass it as factual information. I am solely sharing my experience and will hopefully be able to hear from others who have the same or perhaps a different opinion.


I have spent the good part of the past 6 years in building a decent network on Linked In. A network that has a large number of executives and decision makers in it but is also wide enough to span across a range of candidates with different calibers. The result of that is somewhere close to 16 k direct connections with another 12 k invitations sitting in my inbox (which I cannot access to accept and their technical support has confirmed that is a bug and have said to me that “they are working on it”).


I have seen countless articles (both well written and not so well written), on how Linked In is going to spell doom and gloom on the recruitment industry. Some articles confirm (to my surprize very firmly) that Linked in will be the end of recruitment industry as we know it while others have been somewhat less conclusive.


I personally think in these situations time is perhaps the best truth teller. However I cannot help but to remember the late 90s when monster came about. Though a student at the time, I remember there were newspaper articles about how recruitment industry was worried about the fact that employers now have a very reliable source of advertising their jobs directly. Not to mention other forms of online media that followed such as myspace and orkut and countless others that were all unstoppable as a result of massive changes in internet and technology. But where is monster or myspace and where is the recruitment industry now?


I don’t know about you but I personally think recruiters ended up taming monster to become a tool that helped their industry become bigger rather than the other way around.


I am not here to deny that Linked In (like many other forms of media) has changed the way we do things (at least slightly). However on a good day, Linked In is a bug-ridden tool filled with technical errors. Apart from yes, no and maybe and some very obvious questions their technical support cannot solve a lot of existing issues and don’t even know where the issue is coming from (And I have been a paid member for a very long time). What is even more of a problem is that the size of linked in worked against it!. I remember back in 2007/2008 for example I used linked in to find candidates a lot more than I do now. The reason?  It is filled with over-exaggerated (and at times out-right dishonest) information of employee performance. When Linked In was smaller 90% of the candidates who signed up were the top breed in their relevant industry and even if they were not it was much easier to filter through them. As time went on not only everyone and their pooch signed up on linked in, their search engine lost its initial quality to the degree that if I want to search linked in for a candidate today, I use google’s search engine.


Furthermore the main reason linked in came about was to provide an online networking tool for professionals who could share ideas in their relevant industry, organize events, update themselves on the changes, ask questions, contact each other, and form an association online. The reason it turned into the so claimed recruitment solution that it is today is because recruiters saw this as a great field that could be harvested for candidates which drove linked in into that direction.


I have seen many companies investing money in putting campaigns together on linked in to attract candidates and demonstrate how cool of an organization they are on linked in. Whether they get any results or not I don’t know but here is my conclusion:


Linked In is not going to be an exception. Like many other forms of media that bubbled up in their prime time and later either completely vanished or experienced reduction in their operation, Linked In is destined to burst. Also I can almost guarantee that Linked In wont be the last entity that will have an influence on the recruitment industry. Much like Monster was not the last one. Sooner or later there will be something else.


The cowboy recruiter, who knows little about their industry, barely understands what the client is talking about and rather hope that they have found the right candidate with little to no knowledge of managing the process will fail just as miserably even if linked in and other forms of media were not there to compete tomorrow.


On the other hand the head hunter that invests time to understand their niche, listen and understand the client, think about how they can contribute towards the growth of their client rather than making a quick buck, and also invests time to build relationship with top of the line candidates, track them through their career, gain their trust, understand their personality and match them to the right opportunity when it becomes available will always be successful. No amount of Linked In or anything else can change that, now or in future.

Views: 1591

Comment by Julia Briggs on November 26, 2012 at 8:40am

I think with 16k connections you are actually part of the problem.  That's not niche.  And it's not a network, it's a database.

Comment by John Comyn on November 26, 2012 at 9:08am

The fact is sourcing candidates off Linedin is extremely time consuming. This is a large part of the reason companies use recruiters. It's not core to the business so they outsource it. If anything trying to use Linkedin is a reminder of why they use recruiters in the 1st place.

Comment by Tiffany Branch on November 26, 2012 at 12:12pm

16K connections???? Wow. I agree with Julia. I'm a corporate recruiter with low-volume so while linkedin is "time consuming" it works great for me from a sourcing perspective. Will it ever "replace" a recruiter....NEVER.

Comment by Bill Schultz on November 26, 2012 at 5:12pm

12k invitations is quite a feat as well.  is your first name barak, by any chance?

Comment by Navid Sabetian on November 26, 2012 at 8:56pm

Thank you for your comments.

Firstly there are people with much more connections than I, so I don't see it as anything "special"

Secondly I don't use Linked In as much as I used to but I also don't overlook it. Having a large network enables me not only to find candidates but also have a better visibility in different markets and more importantly through 2nd and 3rd degree connections I come across people that I should network with who otherwise I would have never come across.

The point of what I have written above is not how many connections I have, I have just mentioned it to indicate how much I have been invested in Linked In.

I am interested to hear your experience in using Linked In.

Comment by Ron Kubitz on November 27, 2012 at 9:38am

Having been an executive recruiter (15 years) and now on the Corp side for 6 years I can share LinkedIn and its impact only on my world. With my present employer LinkedIn has enabled me to reduce job board fees (large and small including Monster) by 75%. Headhunter fees have dwindled from 50k per year to one fee in the past six years (of course this may have more to do with my background).


I have also built a large network on LI and find it to be a great sourcing tool which is a bit part of my overall recruiting arsenal. Have found (sourced) and hired 8 folks alone from LI so far in 2012. I find it a great tool to souce hard to find niched candidates related to my industry that I cannot find in abundance elsewhere.


It is also a great tool to get my name out (as well as my company name) abnd it has greatly aided us in the branding sense. Is there garbage on LI?? Of course there is but there is also garbage on the job boards and I get a good deal of garbage from headhunters as well.


It is a tool..a good tool at that..but not the be all end all or waste of time that some envision!

Comment by Tiffany Branch on November 27, 2012 at 9:44am

@Ron, I feel the same way. I don't pay for LinkedIn, (perhaps in 2013) sp even when I can't "connect" with folks, knowing where they work, I can usually track them down by figuring out their company email or calling directly into the office. It also helps me identify other companies that may have the talent I am looking for by viewing where folks hae worked in the past.

Comment by Navid Sabetian on November 27, 2012 at 9:36pm

Thank you for sharing Ron.

From what you have mentioned it does appear that you have a lot of experience as an exec recruiter ( 15 years in recruitment should really turn you into a smoking weapon) . In my experience, from commission perspective at least, exec recruitment pays quite a bit more than internal for someone experienced like yourself. I'm just curious as to why you went and became a corporate recruiter.

In terms of your post what I would mention, and I suspect you have not come across this as yet, is often when a company finds out that HR/Internal recruitment from their competitor (or any other company for that matter) is knocking on their door to headhunt their top employees they usually return the favour by offering people from your company an enticing salary and headhunt them which essentially turns the two companies into a revolving door. I have seen it happen so many times that I have lost count. Most internal recruiters I know rely on online databases and advertising boards rather than directly contacting employees via linked in.

I am not sure why my post has been interpreted as though I am a part of the problem. I am merely a person who connected to many people on Linked In but didnt encourage them to join in the first place. The reason I did this was , at the time, I saw a great potential in Linked in. Right now however, having the amount of investment I have put into Linked In I can tell that as time goes by it becomes less and less reliable as a source of finding candidates for the reasons I have mentioned above.


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