The Recruiter's Soapbox


Are you in a one sided, unrequited, Linked in relationship?

I love Linked in, don’t get me wrong.  It has added another tool to my repertoire in trying to find top recruitment talent across the globe, and quite frankly, I just couldn’t be without it.  I do, however, get a bit confused about the protocol around it and I have lots of questions.

In all honesty, being the Gen X that I am, I do struggle to adapt to technical change (ask my team – I drive them mad!) and the whole social media revolution has my head spinning.  I always feel that I am on the back foot and am racing to catch up.  Despite my recent attempts (I am now on Facebook!!)  I am definitely still what you would call a Social Media Novice.   When it comes specifically to Linked in, one of the things that holds me back is that I feel I am in the middle of a game of which I don’t really understand the rules.

What am I talking about? 

Linked in is now, unquestionably, a major resource for recruiters, but I ask you:  Are the rules around Linked in different to the basic rules that have governed recruiters since the inception of our industry?

Ok, let me be more specific by putting this question to you:   If you are a hiring manager that has poked, inmailed, requested to link in, or even just viewed the profile of a candidate who has a skill set that you are interested in, does this mean that you feel you have some sort of ownership over them even if you have had no response or perhaps even a negative response from them?

My reason for asking is that the following scenario within our business is becoming increasingly common:

One of my consultants will meet a candidate, put them through a lengthy interview, gain their buy in and trust, discuss options, companies, cultures etc and ultimately come up with a game plan to find and secure their next career move.  With shaking hands, due to excitement, and basking in the pre glow of client praise that they feel is surely coming their way, for having not only identified a perfect candidate but also having got the candidates buy in to their business……… we are in fact shot down in flames, we are shocked, we are literally speechless to hear the words “ Sorry…. thanks but no thanks.  This candidate is already known to us”

We question ourselves and everything we know.  We have just spoken to a candidate about this company at length and the candidate never once mentioned that they had a relationship with anyone there.  Is our candidate lying?  No.  What in fact has happened is that the hiring manager has seen their profile, requested to link in with them and subsequently feels that to pay a fee for a candidate who is “already known to them” just doesn’t sit well.

I’m dumbfounded.  If this is how things now work, well why didn’t you just say?   I read a magazine over the weekend and can now claim a prior relationship with Tom Cruise and Ryan Reynolds.  I’m also a follower on Twitter so can now announce to the world that I’m also dating Leonardo DeCaprio – the fact that he knows nothing about this doesn’t seem to matter!

Recruitment is not just about identifying the candidate (we can all do this relatively easily) it’s for the introduction of a fully interviewed, well matched candidate who fits your culture and your requirements, it’s for promoting your brand above others it’s for getting past any hesitations they may have had with preconceived ideas about your company (perhaps this is the very reason they ignored your inmail in the first place), it’s for getting their buy in and its being able to deliver on actually getting that candidate in front of you.  Isn’t it or am I missing something here?

We have many examples of where clients have, put simply, missed out on a perfect candidate, all because they had started a one sided, unrequited linked in relationship with them.  Am I missing something here?  Is this good business sense in a market where it is incredibly hard to find top recruitment talent?  We can all sit on Linked in identifying talent and sending out inmails, but surely it is our ability to engage with a candidate and get their buy in that distinguishes us as recruiters and consultants?

I would welcome your thoughts/comments on this topic.