LinkedIn – Friend or Foe?

When LinkedIn came on the scene in 2003, it was one of the many emerging social networking sites along with Orkut (by Google), Friendster, Plaxo (where are some of these players now?). Since the 2009 global financial crisis, I have seen the emergence of LinkedIn as a true force and the decline of career portals such as Monster, JobsDB, Hot Jobs etc…

Today, LinkedIn reported they have 100 million users and is the place to go for professional social networking. Recently, LinkedIn recently launched an IPO on NYSE and on the first day more than double its IPO price (I smell dot com bubble 2.0?)

As a recruiter, I am in 2 minds about LinkedIn, is it a friend or foe?

What I love about LinkedIn is that is a “live” database that I am interacting with. Users proactively update their current status, share info and thoughts thru their update postings, join groups, connect with people they know and people in a wider network that is unlimited. Unlike a resume on the database of a career portal or in a recruitment company, where the resume or data is mostly outdated.

With 100 million people connected in LinkedIn, I can search and read up on almost anyone’s profile. Not in a creepy, stalker way but it is extremely useful to “know” a person’s background before meeting them for the first time. I can’t tell you how many times, my clients have been impressed that I know about their background and career history when we meet for the very first time.

As a recruiter, I am able to search for talents using multiple search fields such as position titles, company names, skills. Within a few minutes and playing with different combinations on the search fields, I am able to locate my target talents anywhere in the world! LinkedIn has launched  a paid service that that I can pre-set certain search fields and LinkedIn will update me as soon as someone changes their job title or company. That way I can track people movement within my target audience/industry as well as follow up on potential business because when someone leaves a company, there is a high potential that the company will need a replacement. All that valuable information available at the click of a few buttons.

The blessing is also a curse at the same time and here is why:

Pre-LinkedIn, our clients have to come to us because as recruiters, we were identifying top talents thru research, headhunting and assessing and creating relationships with the target talent pool, That was a key value proposition to our clients. Our clients were not connected and engaging in dialogue with the talent pool in the market because they had limited knowledge of who and where all the best talents are and simply had no way to get connected to them. With LinkedIn, all the good things that I wrote about why I love LinkedIn, our clients have the same access to them. To put it simply, as a recruitment business our “black box” is completely and forever opened.

As a result, I have seen a trend of our clients/companies setting up their own internal recruitment teams and using LinkedIn to source for talents to good levels of success. Recruitment businesses have definitely felt the impact of this phenomenon.

So, instead of sitting on our hands and moan, we have to evolve with the trend. As the ol’ saying goes “if you cant beat them, join them” on the social media band wagon. Hence, at Firebrand, we have been very active in using social media to develop and communicate with our community of potential talents, existing talents and clients. We are blogging, twittering, linkedin-ing our way to create strong connections and relationships.

Going forward, I believe for a recruitment business like Firebrand to be successful, we have to use LinkedIn and other social media channels to our advantage to stay in the top of minds of our talents and clients, create and develop trust relationships in person so that we are the first and only call our talents and clients have to make for career consulting and recruitment needs.

BTW dont ask me why an aircraft black box is orange in colour!

Photo courtesy of Google Images

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