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LinkedIn in Danger of Becoming a Victim of its Own Success

  • Publish Date: Posted over 7 years ago

Recruiters and other human resources professionals have been warned about becoming overly reliant on the use of LinkedIn as their primary headhunting tool.

LinkedIn, a business and employment-oriented social networking service, reported that revenue in the third quarter of 2016 increased 23 percent year-over-year to a record US$960 million, the majority of which came from the recruitment sector. Overall, LinkedIn’s premium subscriptions increased 17 percent year-on-year to $162 million, with a total of 467 million users, up 4 percent from 450 million the previous quarter. Revenue from its “talent-solutions business,” which primarily serves corporate recruiters, rose 24 percent to $623 million.

Felipe Hirschberg Feldman, managing director of executive recruitment company Monroe Consulting Group Chile, said that while LinkedIn contained many important features, it should not be considered a primary resource for dedicated recruitment professionals.

“Despite the increasing number of premium subscriptions, total profiles and the revenue derived from its talent solutions business, the total number of members accessing LinkedIn each month has declined from 24 percent to 23 percent,” Felipe said. “This is very much in keeping with the anecdotal evidence we are hearing that key executives are being turned off by the number of approaches they are receiving from recruiters.”

In short, he said, the increased activity from the recruitment industry has driven many to stop using LinkedIn on a regular basis.

“Many users now look at LinkedIn only if they looking for a new job, which makes it no different to any number of regular job boards,” said Felipe, who recently presented a talk, ‘LinkedIn and the Labour Market: Experts Looking for Experts in Social Networks,’ at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile is Santiago.

Andrew Hairs, the managing director of the wider Monroe Consulting Group, which specialises in executive recruitment in emerging markets, said this was one of the key reasons his company opted not to use LinkedIn’s Recruiter platform.

“The reason we decided against using the full recruiter platform is because it encourages ‘lazy recruitment’ – if you are going to engage a recruitment company then you should expect to see some profiles that aren’t in the public domain.”

Andrew said that successful companies that were able to deliver the best candidates for high-profile jobs with leading businesses needed to take a wider look at candidates within the industries in which they operated.

“In many respects LinkedIn has been a victim of its own success in recruitment. Recruiters flocked to the site as it offered easy access to a wide range of professionals. However, the overuse by recruiters has caused many of the best people to stop using LinkedIn as they are growing tired of being bombarded with ‘exciting new job opportunities,’” Andrew said. “Because many recruiters have become so reliant on LinkedIn and are daily users of the site, they have ignored the reality that 77 percent of all the profiles on LinkedIn aren’t being used on a regular basis.”

The best results, Andrew continued, were the result of “putting in the extra effort required to do the research necessary to headhunt top performers from the industry.”

Tina Nugraheni, the head of Monroe Indonesia’s Technology Division, said she had given a recent presentation at a leading university in Jakarta in which she discussed a number of issues related to LinkedIn and the wider recruitment industry.

“For candidate’s searching for new opportunities it is important to have a LinkedIn profile that is as complete as possible as it is a great place to put yourself in the shop window, there is no doubt about that,” Tina said. “But on the other hand, many candidates, particularly in areas where there are shortages of qualified candidates, including information technology, the sheer number of approaches are off-putting and have caused many talented people to walk away from LinkedIn as a networking tool.”

Tina said the best results for companies or businesses searching for key executives or highly technical staff was the use of direct search (headhunting) methods as it ensures access to the people who are not actively seeking new positions.

“LinkedIn allows members to block messages from known recruiters so this is where professional recruitment companies can really make a difference,” she said. “Our team of 10 tech recruiters in Indonesia, by way of example, prides itself on its industry knowledge and recruitment in general. We have a pretty good understanding of who is happy in their jobs, and who is not.”