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 Mitch Sullivan on November 9, 2013 at 6:53am

I agree that this is an issue that broadly probably isn't going to get better, but I do think it depends on who the target candidates are. 

Most of the time I see recruitment talked about from the candidate perspective, it does seem to mostly be IT/Engineering candidates that are used as examples.  Quite apart fromm their already mentioned spikier social skills, these people probably have more right to be jaded, given the evolution of technology over the past 20 years and the fact that many seem to work on contracts rather than perm employment.

Has anyone else here tried to use LinkedIn to source agency recruiters? 

I have and it was an eye-opening experience.  Many of them didn't seem to even understand what the 'Career Opportunities' contact option meant.

I mistakenly made the assumption that the biggest users of the inmail function would also have the biggest sympathy to it being used as an initial contact option.  On the few occasions I'd previously used LinkedIn as a primary sourcing channel for other roles, I had a response rate of around 40%, but with agency recruiters it was around 10%.

I think what surprised me the most was how unprofessional some of those responses were.

Comment by Martin Ellis on November 10, 2013 at 9:49am
Hi Mitch. Have to admit I too am surprised, but then again, I think many of them/us were slow on the uptake using LinkedIn. And thinking again, the quality Inmail approaches I've seen are generally very poor.

Perhaps we're both guilty of too high a level of expectation?....
Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 11, 2013 at 2:19pm

Here's a thought experiment:

Let's say that instead of the "Fab 5%" of candidates receiving an overwhelming number of quickly-crafted, unprofessionally-presented, marginally-relevant opps, they received an overwhelming number of carefully crafted, professionally-presented, highly relevant opps. Wouldn't there STILL be a problem? Wouldn't it be like elite universities getting large numbers of really qualified applicants for a very limited number of admissions? It's not easy for the admissions officers...


Your thoughts....

Comment by Martin Ellis on November 12, 2013 at 5:13am

Keith. You're right of course, although I think that anybody sending stuff that's carefully crafted would be less likely to be so indiscriminate about who got their messages.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 12, 2013 at 1:26pm

Quite true. At the same time, the pool of applicants isn't going to accordingly increase- the same "Fab 5%" would be getting the overwhelming majority of solicitations.


Comment by Sunil Kumar on November 13, 2013 at 9:55am

Good point and the problem with our domain. We all do it in the same talent pool, just the medium change, and we call it the change... :)


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