TruLondon 3 part 3 – The Ugly, Recruiters are still not engaging!

Posted on March 25, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

This is the final part of my series detailing my thoughts on the excellent unconference held last month in London.

I know many of my readers are not recruiters so I apologise for another post that is focussed on this sector, I would however really appreciate your comments because much of the material below has been written based on my experience of working with people outside of the recruitment industry.

I call this the ‘ugly’ part of TruLondon 3 because I found that this was one area where I got quite frustrated because nothing seems to have changed since TruLondon 2. This was most highlighted in the LinkedIn track led by myself and Jacco Valkenburg.

The LinkedIn Track at TruLondon Courtesy of Sara Headworth

During the discussion I was making the point that changes to visibility (3rd tier) in recent times were perhaps an indication of things to come from LinkedIn and that it is likely to become more and more difficult to use LinkedIn as a sourcing tool (as a free user) and that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in that it may force Recruiters to think more about engagement i.e. getting more involved, networking and building their reputation in their market.

Comments from the floor included;

“People are not active on LinkedIn, I know people (friends and family) who merely create a basic profile and then do nothing”

“Engagement is overrated”

These comments all confirmed my concerns that recruiters are still often stuck in their ‘recruitment bubble’ and just can’t see what is actually going on in front of their eyes.

Lets dispel a few myths

“people are not active” Yes this can be true, I also know people who are inactive but the facts are as follows;

79 million unique visitors per month which is about 85% of the total number of users.

In truth there are millions of people that are using LinkedIn extensively and this number is increasing (the above numbers were a 23% increase on the previous month)

My experience is that many of those inactive users are actually interested in becoming more active, they are just unsure how to.

“Engagement is overrated” Well it certainly isn’t overrated by those many LinkedIn users who are increasing their visibility and seeing their business grow as a result. Only the other day I was interviewing a user (not a Recruiter) who told me that the history of his business could be clearly split into 2 segments – Pre LinkedIn (when it was a struggle) and post LinkedIn when his business has thrived and every piece of business has come directly or indirectly via LinkedIn. This is by no means an isolated story.

When I tell recruiters that in about 40% of the workshops I run the words ‘recruitment’ or ‘job hunting’ are never mentioned they look at me in amazement! LinkedIn really is so much more than a recruiting tool.

The most exaggerated example of this is in LinkedIn Groups. Groups are a hugely popular feature of LinkedIn, there are over 700,000 groups and every day 100,000 users join a group – the vast majority do this to network and interact with other like minded professionals. Recruiters however, seem to view groups as a lion (a real lion not an open networker!) would view a watering hole in the plains of Africa – a place where plenty of attractive targets can be found!

The crazy thing is that Recruiters could be such a valuable member of a business community. Recruiters by the nature of what they do are likely to be very well connected and this could be of great value to rest of their community.

In my experience the most successful recruiters (in the long term) are knowledgeable, influential and very well connected. Surely a greater involvement in LinkedIn would help them develop all 3 of these qualities yet too few bother to take the opportunity.

Sourcing is an important but fairly small part of what recruitment is all about – finding the ‘ideal’ candidate often leads to disappointment because ‘ideal’ normally means they have worked for the right companies or/and have the right keywords/phrases in their profile or CV. In my experience the most suitable candidate on paper is often not the one who will be offered the job – a recruiters role is to introduce the ideal candidate to the line manager NOT the ideal background and you can only achieve this if you know them, or someone that knows them and have the correct influence with the candidate and the line manager to ensure they get to meet each other. It all comes down to these 3 critical factors;

  • Know your market (knowledge)
  • Build relationships with people in your market (well connected)
  • Be recognised as both the above (influential)

LinkedIn (not in isolation) can be a fantastic tool to develop the above traits but too many recruiters still see it as a sourcing database or just another job board……and that is just plain ugly!


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2 Responses to “TruLondon 3 part 3 – The Ugly, Recruiters are still not engaging!”

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Absolutely correct in two ways that resonate:

1) Too few recruiters embed themselves in the industries they serve. Other than the occasional job posting, I see very little content from recruiters in the 50 Groups I am a member of and 4 that I ‘own’.

2) Yes some people have dormant profiles on LinkedIn but often that’s just because no-one’s yet given them something interesting enough to engage with – not because they don’t want to get involved forever.

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