5 Reasons to Avoid Recruiting on LinkedIn

September 2nd, 2014 by The Imagination Factory

image of LinkedIn, a tool used by agency recruitersRecently, I read a post on the New York Times’ You’re the Boss blog, entitled Why I Do All My Recruiting on LinkedIn. Employers will read this and some of them will think, “Wow! That’s a GREAT idea! I should totally stop using a third-party recruiter and do all of MY recruiting on LinkedIn, too!” Here are just a few reasons why that is a foolish approach:

1. The people you REALLY want may not be there. Yep, it’s true. Regardless of what you hear, *everyone* isn’t on LinkedIn. If you’re only sourcing for candidates on LinkedIn, you are limiting yourself to the best talent ‘on’ the market, when you really want the best talent ‘in’ the market. No matter how good the tool, you can’t find what isn’t there.

2. The people you want MIGHT be on LinkedIn, but good luck finding them. By some accounts, roughly HALF of all LinkedIn profiles are incomplete. There are a lot of occasional users, those who only check in when they get a connection request. Other users may not be ‘search-savvy’ and don’t know how best to complete their status update, summary, and other profile sections with good, searchable keywords. It’s the old Garbage In, Garbage Out principle. On top of that, job titles are sometimes meaningless and/or subjective, so recruiting on LinkedIn may not be as simple as it sounds.

3. The people you want to hire are probably already employed, many of them happily so, and it’s going to take some special skills to convince them to leave. Recruiters are experts at understanding motivations to move. They can drill down and tell you what are the real reasons and which are not legit. They have partners who can help with housing, a trailing spouse, or any of the other reasons that get in the way of a career move.

4. LinkedIn may not be cheaper in the long run. How much is your time worth, Ms. Hiring Manager? How many hours are you devoting to a talent search? Are those hours that are NOT being spent on your core duties? Is that the best use of your time? We all have many things we *can* do … but that doesn’t mean we *should* do them. How many others are devoting time to this? If you took the time to assign a dollar value to all that time, you might be surprised to find out what the true cost is. And, if you work with a contingent recruiter, you don’t pay unless they produce.

5. A good third-party recruiter either knows the talent, or knows where to find the talent. Assuming that all of the A+ candidates are either not on LinkedIn, or can’t easily be found on LinkedIn, do you know where to go looking? Do you have an active pipeline of talent you’ve been nurturing? Recruiters have connections, tools, and networks that help them find candidates that are truly passive, at the top of their game, and can be “converted” on the idea of a job change.

LinkedIn is a good tool, but it’s only a tool. It can’t magically find what doesn’t exist; it can’t convince a reluctant candidate to consider a career move, and it doesn’t turn people into recruiters. Yes, there are some employers who can probably be successful doing most or all of their recruiting on LinkedIn, but for everyone else … hire a recruiter! If you need more reasons to use recruiters, read this.