The LinkedIn Way-The Game Headhunters Are Losing

Recently, LinkedIn dazzled us with a new tool that they are hoping will create a positive buzz and generate a new stream of revenue to their brand.  This new tool is “profile viewed”.  If you did not receive an email regarding your ranking, then you are probably not a (Recruiter) serial LinkedIn user. 
Also, there were many articles written on this particular subject, specifically LinkedIn’s marketing strategy, so my intention is only to bring one issue to your attention.  The issue is that if you are recruiting talent via LinkedIn-your LinkedIn profile can help, but it will mostly hurt your brand especially during the telephone sourcing aspect of your recruiting efforts.

How is this possible?

I got a phone call from an old friend whom I have not spoken to in quite awhile.  During the conversation, I realized how seldom this event occurs today-someone actually picking up the phone and calling you to stay in-touch and get updated on what going on in your life.

 When the “how’s business” question came up, I tried to carefully explain the challenges I was encountering as a headhunter so that a non-headhunter could easily understand.  What I wanted to emphasize was that I make a living on the telephone by presenting unique career opportunities to targeted individuals.  However, today I find it very difficult to the get those individuals to pick up the phone or return my phone calls. 

The analogy that I used to explain this frustration was the GEICO commercial, not the one with the lizard, but the one with the sarcastic antelopes with night vision glasses.  This commercial is the perfect example of the challenges recruiters face now that almost everyone is visible on LinkedIn and can be found by anyone.  In this case, the headhunter is the lion and the antelopes are the individuals that the headhunters are trying to connect-with via the telephone, I explained.

I couldn’t believe what I heard next, as my friend (a bartender) transformed into a HR/social media/talent acquisition guru.  And with a voice like the “Allstate Guy” in so many words he said incredible things.  Let me translate what he said:  

In recruiting, the telephone is the main tool that separates the men for the boys!  But people won’t pick up the phone anymore if they don’t recognize the person who is calling them.  And, if you leave a message, they will view your LinkedIn profile to determine if you are someone they would want to talk with.  The problem is that all the headhunter profiles look the same, so how will they know they will be in “good hands” with you compared to  the other poor souls who has called them, sent them In-mail, request to connect with them or leave the same tired voice mail pitch?

You need to step-up your game because you are now dealing with a totally different mind-set.  If folks are getting contacted everyday with offers to make their lives better by people they don’t know: after a while they will have a false sense of security that they are in high demand and they can easily get any job if they really needed to make a change.  That may not be the case, but it has become their perception.

Also, LinkedIn has now convinced the average Joe into believing that he has everything he needs and a headhunter no longer add value to his career because he now has connections at all the potential employers.  He can simply follow interested employers and get their latest job updates and if he really-really needed to find a new job, all he has to do is to update his status-it’s that easy. 

The other problem is that if they can’t find your profile on LinkedIn, you are dead in the water in terms of credibility because no one will trust anyone who has something to hide.  That may not be true, but it is the perception.

And if all the poor souls are using LinkedIn as their primary recruiting tool, then they are all probably recruiting the LinkedIn way: viewing profiles, sending in-mails, leaving voicemails.  Wait a minute, isn’t that the same strategy the unemployed use to search for jobs-viewing job descriptions, submitting resumes, wait to get a call?  Where is the creativity that will make you stand-out from the rest?

And, do you know what the worst part is?  They can see you just like the antelopes can see with those night vision glasses!  You didn’t get referred to them, you didn’t work very hard to find them-you don’t even know anything about them other than what you learned from reading their profile.   They saw that you viewed their profile and are relying on the bogus information that made them appear younger and more successful, including the outdated photo.  If you are as good a headhunter as you want them to believe you are, wouldn’t it make sense not to use the same strategy that the other poor souls are murdering?

Here is the reality, if you are recruiting the LinkedIn way-they can see you.  Your intentions might be in their best interest, but what they see is just another poor soul who is simply out to make a killing.  So, that’s why they don’t return you calls or respond or connect with you.  They are afraid of making a mistake with their livelihood by listening to someone who is only hoping to make a killing.

Here’s an idea!  Instead of pitching them a job similar to the one they presently have, why not make it your mission to find out what they are looking for in their next job.  This might take a while, but you will now have a legitimate reason to stay in-touch and learn of the changes taking place in their lives. 

Views: 983

Comment by Tim Spagnola on February 27, 2013 at 9:59am

Great read as always Ken! Thank you for sharing w/. the RBC.

Comment by Ionut Roghina on February 28, 2013 at 6:14am

Informative article Ken, nicely written.

Comment by PAUL FOREL on March 1, 2014 at 3:02pm

"Here’s an idea! Instead of pitching them a job similar to the one they presently have, why not make it your mission to find out what they are looking for in their next job. This might take a while, but you will now have a legitimate reason to stay in-touch and learn of the changes taking place in their lives."

Strange....I've been doing this since I started in this business (1980).

It has never made sense to begin a recruiting conversation by presuming anything when initiating a conversation with a recruit.

Common sense, given time, becomes a radically new idea.

Who knew?



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