LinkedIn Talent Pool Overfished

Just 17% of the nation’s workforce are members of LinkedIn.  What does that mean for employers? If you limit your passive candidate sourcing and recruiting efforts to LinkedIn, you are ignoring 4 out of every 5 potential candidates.

A growing number of employers are investing in LinkedIn recruiting licenses, and for less important roles, it can be an effective tool. However, for senior executive, mission critical, and hard-to-fill technology roles, employers are discovering it LinkedIn does not go the distance. While LinkedIn is a takent pool that spans the globe, it is shallow.  In fact, many recruiters complain that the LinkedIn talent pool has been overfished.

Recently, a number of our clients have observed that an increasing number highly sought-after candidates — the ones you actually want to hire — are experiencing recruiter-fatigue.The minority of passive candidates that are on LinkedIn are getting barraged with LinkedIn InMails from talent acquisition teams. The more they hear from recruiters on LinkedIn, the less inclined they are to respond.

Another disadvantage of focusing passive recruitment efforts on LinkedIn is that you are competing with every other employer that is vying for your candidate members’ attention. LinkedIn candidates are the proverbial low-hanging fruit ripe for talent acquisition’s plucking. By climbing higher up in the tree — by conducting original investigative research to identify and recruit top talent that is not so obvious — employers gain a powerful competitive advantage. Investigative research consistently uncovers candidates employers never dreamed existed. Even better, these candidates are not actively marketing their wares on LinkedIn.  In other words, by climbing higher in the tree, you pretty much get candidates all to yourself.

There are other things you should know about LinkedIn:

  • Only 1% of LinkedIn users visit daily, compared to Facebook’s 76%
  • The more senior the person (SVP, EVP, CXO), the less likely they are to have a member profile.
  • Many profiles like the most basic detail. (i.e. a profile with the title “Engineer” do not tell you what kind of engineer or what level.)
  • Many profiles are abandoned and outdated.

Ask yourself why LinkedIn doesn’t display the “last updated” date, a critical field that is available in every database. In other words, they have that data, but are choosing not to show it. If they displayed it, users would be shocked to discover that the vast majority of members haven’t updated their profiles or logged in for a very long time.

LinkedIn does not tell employers who is interested, who is qualified. and who is able to make a move at this point in their career. More important, it does not tell you who is good. In other words, there is still a lot of recruiting that needs to be done to turn LinkedIn prospects into viable candidates.  We regularly provide additional bandwidth to corporate executive search and recruiting teams.

In passive candidate sourcing strategy, LinkedIn is a but step in the process. To recruit the best talent, it is a step that must be followed by original, investigative research to uncover, map, profile, engage, screen, and qualify the contenders. In other words, LinkedIn is not a panacea. It is a starting place, not the finish line.

We invite your observations and comments.