LinkedIn is an essential tool for recruiters if used to its optimum but it’s not the silver bullet that many think it is. From my observations, having trained many corporate and agency recruiters in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve seen so many people become so dependent on LinkedIn. This dependence means they’re forgetting about other sourcing activities and not being able to cover all their bases when trying to fill those hard critical roles.
I wonder what would happen if we made Fridays a NO LinkedIn Day, and became more creative in our thinking and execution to source differently.
This all reminds me of my agency recruiting days (yes many years ago back in the mid to late 90’s). Back then I managed a large team of recruiters recruiting IT Perm candidates that was reasonably successful but relied heavily on IT job boards. Now just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with using job boards if you are achieving the desired results and confident that you can generate enough candidates for your open roles. My team was one of seven agencies providing IT talent to a very large client and the team ran like a sausage factory, pumping out the candidates, making many placements a week. Speed and accuracy were key and we focused on the areas that we fully understood. We knew the business and the market, we had great relationships and built trust with hiring managers, proving ourselves as recruiters who could provide the candidates they needed.
The sausage factory was working well, churning out candidates until one quarter when everything started to change. Candidates became hard to find. Placements were slow. Management was on my case, wanting to know what was happening. What was happened?
I could see we had become too reliant on job boards. Maybe because we were lazy or tired of working in the factory.
We had lost (or should I say forgotten) all the other skills that are part of recruiting. By focusing all our effort on a job board and rathern than focusing on meeting and profiling more candidates, networking, building market intel better than our competitors, eliciting referrals with every candidate interaction and so on… We assumed (me included) the candidates would keep coming and sausages would keep rolling off the production line at breakneck speed.
Things have to change
Something had to change to get the team’s competitive spark back, and do the things the other six panel members couldn’t or wouldn’t execute as good or as fast as we could. On the Friday morning I decided I needed to act, and changed the password to the job boards so nobody could post jobs. My team were shocked and unhappy and I was met with statements like “so how are we going to fill these jobs?” and “you can’t be serious?”. I was not a popular man.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. This is what we were doing. It was time we all started sourcing differently to see how we could change our fortunes. As a team we mapped out on a whiteboard all the things we can do to source differently and then priorities what would get us the best results. Over the following few days the team became very creative. They applied all the old tools and techniques they had all learnt over the years as recruiters. And the result? Our fortunes did change. In fact, in terms of placements, we ended up having the best quarter. All because we stopped being complacent, harnessed our creativity and sourced differently.
What I learnt
My lesson from this is that you should never rely on a single source and assume the candidates will keep coming. No matter how great your current situation, you can’t fool yourself into thinking that the good times will keep on rolling. I’m not saying to not use job boards, LinkedIn or any of the tools and channels we have at our fingertips today, they are essential and need to be driven at their optimum, the trick is to not get blind sighted. The very best sources I know always have a few tools, channels and networks operating in parallel, so they never get caught out when things change.
Writing this, and reflecting back makes me think of all the recruitment leaders in the corporate or agency space who may be struggling just like I was. My advice? Make Friday a no LinkedIn day.
Now is the time to change the game, and not be afraid of sourcing differently.
You can join Martin and global leaders in sourcing at this year’s #SST15 event in November. Shannon Pritchett, Chris Hoyt, Bill Boorman, and others will be travelling to Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland to distill the art and science of being a modern day sourcer. Register now for the event here
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