Established in 2003, LinkedIn now has over 364 million users in 200 countries and it generates the majority of its income by selling user details to recruiters. It’s easy to think that LinkedIn is just an extension to your recruitment database, and it’s likely that you will make some placements by treating it as such. LinkedIn is a great recruitment tool, but it’s also a very easy to lose credibility with your clients and potential candidates if it’s not used responsibly.
To get the most from LinkedIn, it should really be treated in the same way as face-to-face networking. It’s about making industry contacts, hearing the latest industry news, joining groups and getting introduced to others in order to expand and develop your professional network.
Taking a measured approach and building a quality network will enable you to have access to a pool of people who may not respond to a message from someone outside their network, enabling you to gain a competitive advantage. Building a strong LinkedIn profile, here’s mine, complete with recommendations from people you have worked with will generate more business and credibility with clients and candidate than an opportunistic scattergun approach ever could.
At Bryan & Armstrong we use LinkedIn regularly because it helps us to improve the service we deliver to our clients but it doesn’t replace the need to meet with people, attend industry events and build strong, long-term working relationships.
It’s easy to get lazy if you see LinkedIn as a self-updating database and forget that being a successful recruiter is about more than just sending emails. It’s about working with people, understanding the industry and providing a professional service. There are no short-cuts.
I recently presented a shortlist to a client who was surprised to see the CV of someone he had already contacted via LinkedIn. Dig a bit deeper and we see that “contacted” means “sent a quick message” and then the penny begins to drop… This approach is really just another unsolicited email, so it’s essential that recruiters offer much more than this very basic service that requires no real skill. The client was happy to pay my fee because he knows that we represent his company in the marketplace and take the time to build trust and working relationships with our candidates.
Social networking has grown massively over recent years, but that doesn’t mean that we need to incorporate every channel into our recruitment process just because we can.
Social networking is cheap, easy and immediate, but it’s important to also consider the impression you give and how this reflects on you and your company. Nobody is really interested in what you had for breakfast, what you did at the weekend or your favourite football team – it’s simply not relevant or appropriate.
Steven Bryan is the co-founder of Bryan & Armstrong Ltd, a health and safety recruitment agency based in London. For more information about their services visit https://bryan-armstrong.com/