Why LinkedIn is a recruitment disaster

Just imagine that you are bombarded with job offers that hold no interest because you are: perfectly happy and fulfilled in your current job; not willing to relocate; at the wrong level for the job you’re being offered; unqualified or lacking relevant experience.

If you are on LinkedIn, it won’t be hard to imagine. In fact, it is highly likely that the scenario above is familiar. And that’s the problem.

There are many organisations that have taken the recruitment process in house because they believe it is more cost effective to have an internal department sifting through LinkedIn profiles and approaching potential candidates than to outsource the recruitment to a professional.

What’s wrong with that?

Firstly, are those internal employees knowledgeable about the market, with their ear to the ground and their industry knowledge up to speed? Do they have a wide range of close connections and contacts in the sector? Are they really a well-regarded connection within the networks of high calibre individuals? Do they have the credibility and gravitas and are they regarded as a trusted advisor?

Secondly, not everybody on LinkedIn is a job seeker. Far from it! Do you believe that a LinkedIn approach will solicit a response from people who are simply not looking? This means that using LinkedIn as your primary approach to the market limits your pool of potential candidates to just those who are actively looking, whilst a headhunter addresses the whole market (and in my experience, more often than not, the individual placed didn’t realise that they might be interested in a new opportunity and would not have responded to an email approach).

Thirdly, by approaching individuals who are just not interested, not qualified or operate at a different level of seniority than the vacancy requires, there is a real reputational risk to your brand as an employer. How often have we heard companies being dismissed ‘because they clearly don’t have a clue’, whilst the opposite might actually be true. Too often headhunters are engaged because the internal recruitment process ‘went wrong’ and as a result a large part of their activity is damage limitation and changing the perception that individuals have of the client!

A candidate’s perspective

For those that are actively looking, how frustrating is it to have to repeat your salary expectations, your ideal role and responsibilities, your location criteria, your vision for the future to each and every potential employer?

It is far more efficient for a candidate to be selected and interviewed by a headhunter who then matches them with suitable positions in line with the employers’ brief. Surely you’d much prefer to be represented by someone who has taken the time to get to know you and has an understanding of where you might fit and where not?

Scratch the surface

While on the face of it, LinkedIn seems like an easy way to find your next talent, it takes a lot of false starts to find a suitable candidate for interview, let alone fill a position. In one example, a major retail organisation advertised for a senior Digital Marketing professional on LinkedIn which resulted in over 300 responses. Ultimately they still had to resort to a headhunter to find the right talent and fill the role.

The personal connection is ultimately still key when it comes to efficient and cost effective recruitment.