When LinkedIn recently announced its membership had cracked the 200 million mark (up a whopping 39% over the year before), it not only proclaimed its arrival as a leading social media business on the web, it also heralded the impending doom of the traditional executive search business model.
For decades, headhunters and recruiting agencies have filled a vital role for organizations looking to fill key positions. In a classical and disconnected world of imperfect, incomplete or inaccessible information, they have been a vital link between employers with unfilled positions and job seeking candidates. They brought people together who otherwise would never have met or heard of each other.
My, what a difference the Internet, technology and social media can make. Today, social networks like LinkedIn are democratizing, networking and hyper connecting the world in ways that were simply unimaginable as little as 10 years ago. It’s no surprise that 98% of today’s headhunters regularly use social media to scout talent. Similarly, some 93% of staffing professionals claim to have specifically used LinkedIn to recruit and place a candidate in 2012.
But the trend is still gathering momentum. Another chart from eMarketer points out that some 82% of recruiters plan to further INCREASE their usage of LinkedIn in 2013:
So lets do a quick recap here: Almost all recruiters use social media today; almost all have used LinkedIn to place a candidate (way more than any other SM service); and almost all plan to increase their usage of LinkedIn in the future (again, way more than any other service, including Facebook and Twitter combined!).
Implications for Workers and Job Seekers:
Get your profile up on LinkedIn today!Don’t delay and don’t wait until you are out of a job. Even if you are not actively looking to make a career move, get yourself out there and get connected.
Regularly update, enhance and tweak your on-line profile. Don’t let your first profile update be your last and don’t let it get stale. Make a point of regularly adjusting it to keep it current and to make it richer & more compelling.
Make a point of identifying new connections and reaching out to current or former acquaintances. Don’t wait for others to reach out to you. Actively build your network whether it be coworkers, clients, friends, or even recruiters.
Join and regularly participate in on-line (professional or personal) communities that interest you. Comment on people’s messages, share articles, join discussions, ask questions, do surveys, etc… Become more involved in communities that interest you or which are pertinent to your profession.
Create original content for your network and communities. Start a blog and/or publish original material on subjects you care strongly about or in which you have particular expertise. Make sure that what you create gets shared with members of your network so they can see what you know and what you are up to.
Implications for Hiring Managers
You can do your own recruiting! If headhunters consistently and increasingly use LinkedIn to find talent, there is no reason you can’t do the same. Why should you pay commissions when you essentially have the same access privileges they do at your disposal? Recruiters generally have 3 key things that most managers don’t: time; expanded service/access privileges to services like Monster and LinkedIn; and experience (finding, recruiting, screening candidates). The good news is that several of these (though not all) can be overcome for many positions waiting to be filled.
For example, paying $499 per month for the LinkedIn Talent Pro option allows you to send up to 50 emails to prospective candidates you have identified. While $6K per annum is not cheap, it more than pays for itself with the first hire you bring in. Meanwhile, getting into the habit of scouting and reaching out to the LinkedIn talent pool has several advantages for you as a manager:
The more you do it the easier it becomes and the less time it takes.
You inevitably expand your own network of contacts along the way.
You quickly and easily start showing your value to the organization by single handedly bringing in new talent and saving the company big money.
You quickly learn the ins and outs of personal online brand promotion and recruiting via social media.
Not a bad set of skills and competencies to develop and distinguish yourself with.
More and more companies are doing exactly that and cutting the “middleman” out of their recruiting process. But don’t just take my word for it. Brian Burkhart wrote a fascinating New York Times article recently (“Why we Never Use Headhunters“) in which he lays out his strategy and how his firm successfully hired 80 people using LinkedIn minus the headhunter. And its not just the small or start-up businesses doing this. Even the big corporations are getting more active. Pepsico, for example, announced that it is expanding its recruiting activities through LinkedIn.
That said, the role of the traditional headhunter is not disappearing. It is merely evolving. Focusing more on pre-screening, advising and long-term partnering with organizations/executives, headhunters can add considerable value for niche or especially challenging profiles. They can work very fast and can “sniff out” potential prospects quickly using their established network and extensive personal relationships. This all takes an incredible amount of time and for the manager who has little of it or is uncomfortable soliciting strangers via LinkedIn, they are often the best solution. Also, many pre-millennials are reluctant or uninterested in setting up a LinkedIn profile. So who’s gonna find them?
I don’t want to come across as a LinkedIn shill or spokesperson. I am just a strong believer in the service and of how it is enabling millions of users to find each other, keep in touch, share information and find new jobs along the way. It is also helping companies around the globe save millions while speeding up and simplifying the recruiting process for many positions. Talk about disrupting an industry!
Do you have any personal recruiting experiences using LinkedIn or headhunters you want to share? Leave a comment!