WARNING: LinkedIn Candidate Fatigue Approaching...

Let's be honest with ourselves. All recruiters are using LinkedIn - whether they admit it or not. They won't be using it as the only search tool - or at least I hope they're not!

And when I say "all recruiters", I don't mean only those in the recruitment sector like myself. Everybody and their dog looking for people are making a beeline for LinkedIn and seeing a way to find people and save money. There's a movement to in-house recruitment as a consequence, and not all of it is good. It's beginning to have an impact on how LinkedIn members respond to the advances of those who think they might have found the perfect candidate.

Let me draw a picture:

HR are asked to find a new Marketing Manager. They're keen on the concept, but struggling to get the annual appraisal review underway. However, a new a recent recruit is keen to make their mark and volunteers. Fame beckons if they get this right. They dive in.....

They search for every marketing manager within 35 miles. They find 1144 current Marketing Managers (that's how many there are within 35 miles of me). "This is going to be easy......."

Because it's so easy, they contact as many as they can. They cut and paste a general message into the 50 Inmails their account allows them. They also reach out to another 50 by trying to link with them and by using the email addresses some members leave open on their profile. Total 100. Could be more.

That's a lot of people. And if every company is doing this, you can see that the number of approaches being made to potential recruits is growing exponentially, and because the people making these approaches are busy with other things, the approaches aren't well-considered or followed up. This is magnified as organisations who used to advertise roles try to find people on LinkedIn to cut corners and save money.

The upshot of all this activity is that, from the candidates perspective, what used to be a rare event and an ego boost, is becoming increasingly common and, in some cases, a pain in the arse - It's the consequence of what used to be a targeted approach turning into a recruiting blunderbuss. And I'm picking up ever more comments from candidates who've been approached that these approaches started well, but fell into a black hole as the sheer weight of numbers has swamped the recruiting-person, or a candidate has been found, and everybody else is simply dumped without being told what's going on - HR are busy people you know... and the recruitment industry in general is poor at feedback already.

I haven't kept any firm stats, but it's happening more and more, and candidate caution is measurably on the rise. And this caution is spreading beyond LinkedIn, quite simply because potential candidates are understandably lumping all approaches in one basket - no matter the source.

Of course there are ways around this, but you don't think I'm going to share them here do you? I may look like a cabbage, but I'm not that green.

But this isn't going to get any easier - especially for those recruiters with neither the time or the skills to communicate directly on a candidates level and speak their language. And it's going to be an increasing challenge to LinkedIn to address this. They are becoming a victim of their own impressive and rapid success.

It would appear you can have too much of a good thing.


(Image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/)

Views: 1357

Comment by Tim Spagnola on November 5, 2013 at 11:55am

Martin - nice post and thanks for sharing with the RBC. So suggestions on what LinkedIn can do to address this? I mean in reality what can they actually do? I'm sincerely asking these questions, not purposely taking an opposing view. I think the points you raise are valid. I think candidates always run the risk of falling into the black hole, but that is also where a very good recruiter can shine and really stand out. Curious to see if others are hearing more and more feedback like this from candidates. Cheers.

Comment by Martin Ellis on November 5, 2013 at 12:29pm

Not sure what they can do about this Tim. I'm just becoming increasingly aware of candidate caution, not just directly via LinkedIn, but in most forms where I'm making the initial approach. Making highly targeted individual approaches helps, but I suspect that has a limited lifecycle.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 5, 2013 at 1:38pm

@ Martin:: Just said this about the time you posted:

LI is a near-monopoly at what it does, and as long desperate and not-yet insolvent recruiters and their superiors are willing to spend lots of money pursuing a very small subset of the total members, most of whom are happily and securely employed where they are and have no interest in ANY new position (even when they say they do), but merely haven't "opted out" of the default setting. Furthermore, I believe LI will continue to make money even if the vast majority of desirable candidates leave, as long as the perception exists of those same desperate and not-yet insolvent recruiters and their superiors that you CAN get desirable candidates that way. The only thing I can think that might change things significantly in the future would be a well-broadcast public announcement that some very big players have decided to stop using LI Recruiter, etc., thus causing their fellow  "brave recruiting innovators and disruptors" to do exactly the same thing,...

Comment by Martin Ellis on November 6, 2013 at 2:45am

@Keith. Don't think I disagree with you, but can't see that happening. It's use goes beyond finding candidates, but also works as a general research tool. Why would anybody turn their back on that, at least until there's an alternative. LI's monopoly will be shaken. It's how the market works.

Comment by Tim Warson on November 6, 2013 at 11:32am
@keith @martin I can see both sides. From a candidate perspective, skillsets highly in demand have got to be annoyed by the sheer number of horrible and irrelevant pitches they are bombarded with. I am never surprised when talented sw developers stick to their more esoteric networking sites.

That said, as mentioned, as a research tool it is phenomenal and should not be discounted. A targeted cold call can be warmed up considerably. LinkedIn has been a great help to me, and I can only hope more candidates join. That said, inmails are quickly becoming worthless because of mass mailings and inbox overstimulation.
Comment by Martin Ellis on November 6, 2013 at 12:35pm

Agreed Tim in every regard. As long as we stay aware of these developments we can at least try to counter the bad stuff and work with the good.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 6, 2013 at 12:52pm

Thanks, Martin. I don't think may companies will quit, either.  It IS a valuable research tool. The question remains: how much will recruiters pay  and how many of them will do so for something when it ISN'T any longer an effective recruiting tool? My main beef (as often mentioned) is the misleading status of people, since they have to opt out of Bring open to opportunities, the great majority of people who are totally uninterested in ANY job indicate that they actually are, simply by not doing anything... I'd have all settings (not just jobs) as option every 30 days or it goes to the "NOT" setting... One final thing: if a customer is paying $8,000-$10,00/yr, why should we have to deal with ANY bad stuff?

Comment by Martin Ellis on November 6, 2013 at 1:03pm

Keith. Good final point.

Comment by Derdiver on November 6, 2013 at 2:11pm

Well, smart ones are tracking recrutiers now and deleting the ones that are wasting there time. .http://www.linkedin.com/nhome/updates?topic=5803858347669069824&...

Comment by Martin Ellis on November 7, 2013 at 8:06am

Thanks for that link Derdiver. I found a link to http://www.recruiterspam.com/  - that should worry some!


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