17 Dec 2012

The Linked In Conundrum

I did some analytics earlier this month to ensure that I'm spending my online advertising budget in the right place.  In recruitment, it's essential to advertise jobs on the right jobsites and it has been interesting over the past 5 years to see the increased role that social media sites are playing in candidate acquisition.  Incidentally, I don't spend anything on offline advertising at all!

So my analysis showed that along with the usual marketing specific jobsites, I'm starting to log Linked In increasingly as a source for placed candidates.  I started using Linked in almost as soon as it was launched so I've got a lot of contacts.  The placements I've made have effectively been freebies - up until now they're actually candidates who have found me.  Historically I've not 'head hunted' as the agency marketplace is a small one and I'd be shooting myself in the foot if clients found out I'd been poaching their teams.

However, last week, I met a Digital Account Manager who works for a leading agency.  Each week, this candidate receives at least 10 approaches via Linked In.  Fortunately (for me), the candidate felt that the approaches were random, badly worded (one actually did just say 'call me if you want a job') and that it was lazy recruitment. Conversely, she'd got my details from a friend in the industry and had then checked me out on Linked in, read my recommendations and then emailed me and asked me for a meeting.  The 'cold' targeting by recruiters on Linked in could soon start to irk candidates, particularly if they're not actually in the market for a new job.

As ever, there are good and bad recruiters.  There are the cowboys and the relationship builders.  Ultimately the cowboys go at it with a high volume approach and hope that if they make enough contacts, they will find some candidates.  Many of these recruiters operate on a basis of finding a candidate and then marketing that candidate (usually by sending them to each and every agency in the North) and then hoping that one will stick.  As a Relationship builder, I'd like to think I find a balance.  I've got great contacts throughout the industry so when a great client comes to me with a brief, I can find them a great candidate and equally when a great candidate comes along, I'll know exactly which companies will match their personalities, their skills and their ambition.

Obviously I'd prefer candidates always to find their way to my door through positive recommendations - I'm actually too busy managing briefs to spend hours trawling Linked In for candidates.  However, recently, the demand for Digital media candidates, particularly with SEO & PPC skills has become so much greater than supply, I'm looking for new ways of acquisition and using my network on Linked In is proving to be a good method of doing that.  However, it has to be done in the right way and not just to become the 'cold calling' route of sloppy recruitment with candidates being hammered with in-mails on a daily basis.  I now believe that as long as contact is relevant, targeted and appropriate, it would be foolish not to incorporate social networking further into my daily routine - we'll see how it progresses!  I'd be interested to hear more candidate stories (both good & bad) as to how it's working for you too.

PS....If you know any PPC, SEO or online display account handlers actively hunting for a new job, please ask them to get in touch!