LinkedIn and the Future of Recruiting

By Jerome Ternynck
CEO, SmartRecruiters

LinkedIn kindly invited me to attend Talent Connect, their first large scale customer event hosted this week in San Francisco. Here are some of my key takeaways.

A Crowd of Innovators:

This was not just a crowd of happy customers. It was clear attendees came to learn and to help. It felt as if the crowd was unified around a common quest: to make the world of recruiting a better place.

80 Million Users and Counting:

It took LinkedIn 477 days to reach the one million user mark, but only 9 days to sign up their most recent million for a total of over 80m users today. Their growth in the professional world is simply

Holding 80 million resumes is incredible. Holding 80 million up-to-date resumes is incredibly disruptive. When I left MrTed to found SmartRecruiters I immediately updated my LinkedIn profile. So LinkedIn has my current profile while every headhunter, ATS, job board, and independent database has become outdated.

If you’re still relying on old-school databases (including your own for that matter) you are hunting in a graveyard.

“The Source”:

The question of whether LinkedIn is going to transform recruiting forever is not a matter of “if” or “when” but “how”.

LinkedIn has become and will remain “The Source”. No more resumes, no more databases. Just standardized online profiles. We have entered an era of transparency. Transparency generates trust and it triggers good
behaviors. Now recruiting will have to be social again. And that is
great news.

After years of hunting, fishing, and farming, recruiters (and managers) will now have to start socializing with the people they wish to hire.

Views: 638

Comment by Paul Alfred on November 5, 2010 at 2:42pm
I agree with your conclusion James ...
Comment by Russell S. Moon III on November 5, 2010 at 2:45pm
80 Million is way less than 6 Billion......which is why I am so glad I attended that phone sourcing training this week with Pete Lefkowitz. I saw the other side and just as the computer feeds the phone there were cases where the phone fed the computer.

No they are not equal.
Comment by Jerry Albright on November 5, 2010 at 2:47pm
Gerry - were you asking me what else I learned?
Comment by Gerry Crispin on November 5, 2010 at 3:23pm
Nah! Jerome not Jerry. He was the one at the Linkedin. I know what you learned from making 5 it again next week
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on November 5, 2010 at 4:06pm
Linked in a a TOOL,

that is all
Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on November 5, 2010 at 4:08pm
Jerry glad you go to linked in first, that give me a head start other places.
Comment by Jerome Ternynck on November 5, 2010 at 4:47pm
Gerry, Good to see you here.

Beyond the thought provoking terminology of "The Source", I do think that no one has ever been closer to becoming the standard or universal profile. While LinkedIn will certainly never be the unique source, I can see a time when they are the repository, a sort of master source where profile data is maintained and consolidated. ATS & CRMs would then feed/synchronize as required. This is a few years away and may never happen but again no one ever got that close

The other thing I learned was that the amount of data they collect is starting to be really valuable (or scary depending how you look at it). Their ability to match and predict is increasing fast. The "Find me a job and please be creative" service you and I talked about at HRTech may not be that far away.

Then, their upcoming referral service was an interesting piece. If they do it right, it could turn into a sweet product for recruiters and companies.

Last and probably most important, sitting back at their conference gave me time to think about the true impact of social network or a connected world on hiring practices and how we might evolve towards more social hiring. That's not so much LinkedIn as it is me being passionate about making recruiting easy and enjoyable.

Other takeaways ?

Comment by Sandra McCartt on November 5, 2010 at 6:39pm
If that is really what you are thinking, then quit writing that silly shit about graveyards. :) Makes you sound sophmoric at best. Not to mention irritating as hell as a ploy for attention.
Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on November 5, 2010 at 9:35pm
This post paints LinkedIn as though it were the brave new world going to replace recruiters altogether - just like back in the 90's when Al Gore first invented the internet was going to replace recruiters & hiring managers would do their own research & sourcing.

Paul makes an interesting point about the LinkedIn "database" ownership. Tthis was a topic of a session at the Staffing World conference where agencies felt the LinkedIn connections of a recruiter were the property of the company, not the individual who built their network (on company time). But I digress...

The statement "recruiting will have to be social again" is not news - it always has been, always will be about business networking, referrals, and getting to know a person, not just relying a resume or a public profile. IMO LinkedIn relationship building is nowhere near as strong as a good CRM app for managing contacts, tracking emails and multiple points of contact in a particular industry or within a specific organization.

In fact, for candidate sourcing, LinkedIn profiles are every bit as accurate, truthful and "transparent" as any graveyard of resume databases. There is no such thing as "transparency" really, ask anyone who has ever conducted a background check. You can create a profile & say whatever you want - just like you can on a resume. There are books on the topic of how to lie creatively on your resume or LinkedIn profile. (Do I even need to mention how sexual predators and vice cops can easily pose as 13-yr-old girls to “engage” on sites like facebook etc?)
I get a lot of requests to connect from technical job seekers that mistake me for a recruiter or hiring manager (I'm a software vendor). I imagine real recruiters & hiring managers are inundated with similar requests & once again the inbox runneth over with junk.

Don't get me wrong, since my ATS integrated with LinkedIn a couple version releases ago, I've been building my network like crazy & find it's a terrific resource for business development. I am grateful to LinkedIn and the value for sourcing & recruiting is certainly there. Most of my clients use LinkedIn as a STARTING POINT for building their database and initiating contact - LinkedIn is the new cold call.

The truth is that LinkedIn never HIRED anyone or made a placement, that was done by HUMAN interaction, and like any MEDIA, social media may help build bridges and enable communication. Yet history shows that new media does not replace old media. Radio didn't die when TV was going to replace it; only the landscape shifted.

So what if there's 80 million people on LinkedIn - when the world population is what, 7 billion? LinkedIn also breaks down to some pretty specific demographics, it is certainly not appropriate for all positions in all industries. So how does it fit into your media mix? Any media, including social media, needs to be part of an overall recruiting strategy. LinkedIn is just another tool in the shed. And yes, those with the most tools win.

And while LinkedIn may be the flavor of the month for sourcing, that will surely change in the blink of an eye. No matter what the next big thing is, hunting & fishing & farming have not been replaced by supermarkets.
Comment by Suzanne Levison on November 6, 2010 at 5:30pm
Candidates are found everywhere. LinkedIn, one source.


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