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: 1347

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 7, 2013 at 11:56am

@ Derdriver, @ Martin: It might worry some recruiters, but I don't think it will  make it noticeably better for the poor, over-contacted engineers. Ever hear of the myth of the hydra? It was a dragony-thing, and if you cut off one of its heads, two more would grow back. If you get rid of one annoying recruiter, a couple more will probably come along....



Comment by Martin Ellis on November 7, 2013 at 12:16pm

Keith. You're probably right. I was clutching at straws. Probably.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 7, 2013 at 1:32pm

No worries, Martin. Poor engineers- don't they know they will be assimilated? Resistance is futile.

Of course, all they need to do is wait until they are over 35 and no one will want to hire them anymore, anyway.




Comment by Raphael Fang on November 7, 2013 at 4:11pm

What we do is part of the business cycle.  We are just doing our jobs for the people who hired and paid us.  I understand the frustration demonstrated by the poor engineers.  Why can't they just realised that they may bring value to a another company.  

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 7, 2013 at 7:06pm

@ Raphael: Well said. I can appreciate being upset if they're treated rudely, but not if they are politely and professionally approached in good faith. Perhaps they would prefer to be part of the vast majority of active job seekers who never get approached by us at all?



Comment by Raphael Fang on November 7, 2013 at 7:12pm

I hate to say this, but lots of engineers and IT people don't have lots of people skills.  They don't appreciate stranger violating their space or bothering them with questions. 

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 7, 2013 at 9:49pm

Thanks, Raphael. Many engineers and IT folks are part of the Autistic Spectrum Community, even if they don't identify as such. (I am on the boards of two organizations designed to help members of the community in various ways.) As Temple Grandin says: “Autism is no excuse for bad manners.”



Comment by Tiffany Branch on November 8, 2013 at 1:33pm

We should be using linkedin for it's original purpose....networking. I too will use it to search potential candidates, however, I havbe more success when I use it to netowrk myself to the "right" candidate. Like all recruiting tools, they have their moment, and then they are history when something new and improved comes along.

Remember the days when we actually wrote ads in newspapers, opened snail mail resumes and debated if Resumix or Restrac was the best system to use?????

Comment by Martin Ellis on November 8, 2013 at 1:59pm

Tiffany. I can remember telex being cutting edge!

The problem is it's now too easy to just barge into people on LinkedIn. I'd like to think people would behave like you, but human nature being what it is, it's just not going to happen.

However, I have just found something that could help. Have you seen this before? http://www.recruiterspam.com

In case you think I may have an interest in this, I don't.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 8, 2013 at 2:24pm

Newspaper Ads? New-fangled gew-gaws for wusses and wimps! When I was a new recruiter, we would have been GLAD to have “newspaper ads”! There we were: 30,000 of us in an office the size of a gopher hole on top of a mountain where we had to get up three days before and hack our way through 300 miles of jungle with our teeth. We took our job orders on granite tablets we carved with our fingernails. We got 'em face to face, calling on the clients using a flock of hundreds of passenger pigeons WHICH WE CAUGHT ONE AT A TIME ON OUR OWN TIME. We called on over 5,000,000 clients to get a single job order, it took nearly 3 trillion candidates to get a hire, and we were paid in buffalo chips. When we got a hire, the manager would beat us for 8 months straight with the thighbone of a giraffe, and WE WERE GLAD FOR IT, TOO! Young whipper-snappers, I tell ya….





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