LinkedIn can be regarded as a networking site in its simplest form. It is not your regular social networking site like Facebook or Twitter; I know that you can still see lots of pictures of food, cats, quotes or math equations that only geniuses (fifth graders) can solve, but it is still more formal than other social sites.
LinkedIn helps locate business professionals, and professionals from other fields. Say you want to find a job, look for people within a circle or network, gather information regarding market strategies or sales, then LinkedIn is the site to visit. When it comes to recruitment, LinkedIn has become the main source of hires for many employers. LinkedIn is preferred because of its formal nature, its easy access to qualified individuals, and the ease of trying out recruitment methods such as sourcing candidates.
LinkedIn has become a great avenue for networking and recruiting, but one mistake that many recruiters make is to assume that every individual on Earth has an account with this site. LinkedIn has definitely helped in the recruitment process but recruiters err by over-relying on it while ignoring other sites and sources.
How LinkedIn made recruiters blind?
In today’s world there has been an emergence of technology which makes many processes smooth and easy. This advantage of technology has been experienced in the recruitment process too. Unlike the past, when an organization had to use traditional methods to hire, today we have witnessed the rise of sites that make this process easier. LinkedIn is one such site. After the development of this alternative way of operating, recruiters found it important to exploit this avenue, not least because of the professional nature of LinkedIn discussed above. So this professional nature then ensured that recruiters threw their hat in with LinkedIn when searching for prospective employees.
Blind aspiration here means that recruiters feel they can get all the answers to their questions and especially every candidate for their roles on LinkedIn. This leads to the neglect of other social sites and sources. The allure of professionalism, the feeling attached to using easy technology, the amount of traffic the site gets; these are some of the reasons why recruiters began to focus on LinkedIn as the sole means of recruiting.
To put this into perspective, let’s examine the following statistics: LinkedIn has over 400 million members, one in every three professionals on earth is a user of LinkedIn, and more than 25 million profiles on LinkedIn are viewed every day.
In view of the above-mentioned statistics, it is understandable why recruiters have dwelt more on LinkedIn as a major source of recruiting. But because we blindly believe that every person can be found there, most recruiters focus only on this source and in so doing miss others. Also they learn how to source on LinkedIn using Boolean search, but they don’t learn how to use Boolean search methods on other websites.
LinkedIn: a good place to find people.
Let’s work our imagination a bit at this point; imagine there was no LinkedIn and your organization had to employ new people, so you advertise on the television and radio, people then apply and the interview day arrives. During the day, you begin to ask each applicant questions about their qualifications and the work they have done in the past. These processes take a lot of time. By using LinkedIn, most of these processes become non-existent. All the information you need about a prospective employee is there, and even some of their work is uploaded on the site if you are seeking to hire based on academic achievement.
And because of that we start believing that with LinkedIn we have become faster and more effective than before, that all we need to do is visit the site, send some messages, get some candidates for the interview and then we find the right people for our open roles. As recruiters we have embraced LinkedIn as our own. Provided statistics are the reason why recruiters prefer using LinkedIn and why it is a good place to find people. We also know from the statistics that one out of every three professionals on Earth is a registered user, this alone tells a lot about the desirability of the site and why it is attracting so many recruiters.
But what if LinkedIn were to have some major outage for few days? What you are going to do during that time? Wait?
How LinkedIn has made recruiters miss vital information about candidates.
Yes, LinkedIn is a good avenue for recruiting, but it could also lead to misinformation. We know how people love to sugar-coat their achievements and this could mislead recruiters. Additionally, LinkedIn has made traditional recruitment methods redundant. This can be seen as a disadvantage, because traditional methods bring recruiters into close contact with applicants, thereby getting to know them personally and not only through LinkedIn or the phone.
LinkedIn has removed this personal element from the recruitment process. Since most contacts are internet-based, it is not easy to discern a candidate’s level of sincerity when switching jobs. In some situations you don’t even know if the person is real, or it is just some fake profile made by agency or company, trying to get more information about their competitors. Plus, you are assessing the candidate based only on his LinkedIn profile. A personal interview could disclose some things that they omitted from their LinkedIn profile, because they think they are not relevant for companies, but they turn out to be relevant for you.
Another dilemma is the over-reliance on LinkedIn by recruiters. There is no general rule that states that one cannot locate prospective employees elsewhere. By ignoring other sites like Twitter, Facebook, MeetUp, Ello, Google, Bing, Yandex etc. recruiters condemn themselves to ignore the fact that people using these sites could be more qualified to handle the job at hand.
Social sites provide a competitive advantage. If you want to beat your competitors, use not only LinkedIn, but also other social sites.
Has LinkedIn really made us blind?
Well you can answer this question yourself. Just ask yourself what sources you use during your search for new employees and the percentage of your time spent with LinkedIn compared to other sources. Do you even use other sources?
One of the questions that I ask during the interview with any new applicant for my recruitment team is: “If we are looking for XY role, tell me how you locate the candidate?” It’s a very simple question with many possible answers, but very often the answer goes like this: “I will visit LinkedIn, contact people there and wait for the results.” The second question after this answer is: “And what if you don’t get any answers or all of these people reject your inmails?” Once again very often I hear this: “I will send out inmails once again to those who didn’t respond and try to find more candidates on LinkedIn for this role.”
Based on many of these interviews, it seems to me that many of recruiters have been blinded by LinkedIn; They are missing the fact that there are other sources they can use. Not everybody is on LinkedIn, but almost everybody uses internet and can be found!
“Even with my eyes wide open I can’t see a thing.”
— Zatôichi (The Movie)
Remove the LinkedIn Blindfold
If you are recruiter you may be thinking right now: “Well, it is not true that LinkedIn has made me blind”. Let’s try this little test: for one week try working without LinkedIn when you are sourcing a candidate, don’t use it at all, try to find candidates without it. I know that week in recruitment could feel like an eternity, but try it and you will see some interesting results. You will learn new things and discover great new sources. There are already some roles for which is useless to search on LinkedIn, it’s better to go directly to Twitter or some other specialized website where the professionals meet.
Recruiters and organizations must synergize the traditional methods and the ‘LinkedIn method’. Using these two will ensure that recruitment becomes personal and more professional, and hopefully it will stop many recruiters from spamming every single potential candidate with irrelevant job offers.
The emergence of LinkedIn has brought about a change in recruiting. This change has threatened the traditional method of recruiting while having a positive and negative impact on recruiters. But don’t let yourself be blinded by LinkedIn, there are so many places where you can go to find people who don’t have any profile there.
Start thinking outside of box and stop saying: “If the candidate is not on LinkedIn, such candidate doesn’t exist.” Because they do exist, they are simply not on LinkedIn and you are missing them.
Originally published at LinkedIn