Is Your Executive Search Firm Just Now Figuring Out LinkedIn?

If you’re a buyer of retained search, you should check to see whether your executive search consultant is ahead or behind the social networking curve.  Since real world analog and online digital networking is essential to surfacing the best candidates, you want to ensure that your consultant has clocked enough hours in the digital realm to achieve mastery of that medium.  More important, you want to avoid hiring those that were latecomers to the social networking party, a delay suggesting that they are not as forward thinking and as plugged in as they need to be in order to serve your organization well.

One way to calibrate the social networking savvy of a retained search consultant is to simply visit that consultant’s LinkedIn profile page and check the web address for the recruiter’s member number.

For example, if you visit my LinkedIn Profile, you’ll notice that the URL is http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=59572.  My member identification number is 59572, which means I am counted among LinkedIn’s first 60-thousand members. That is no small feat in a network that now totals 80 million members, a population larger than the United Kingdom, Germany and France.  Unlike those countries, the population of LinkedIn is growing by one new member per second.

Social Networking Puzzle

When you do the math, (59,572/80000000) less than one-tenth of one percent of LinkedIn members (.074 percent) managed to join LinkedIn by December of 2003 when I became a member — the same year the social network launched.  If you plug that percentage into the Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle model, this .074-percent is counted among the first wave of users in a technology lifecycle, a wave referred to as Innovators. According to this model, Innovators are more educated, more prosperous and more risk-oriented — the qualities you’d generally want in a search partner. Innovators embrace new technologies before Early Adopters, and well before the Early Majority, the Late Majority, and the Laggards.

So before you engage a retained search partner, do your social networking due diligence and check the recruiter’s LinkedIn member ID.  The smaller the number, the better. Or simply ask the consultant when he or she joined.  If it is long after the network’s official launch in May 2003, then you are at risk of doing business with a consultant who doesn’t entirely get it.  And that, my friends, is a frightening thing.

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