Recruiting is Dead And It’s LinkedIn’s Fault.

Prospects KNOW you are a crappy recruiter. Candidates aren’t stupid even though bad recruiters think they are.  So corporate HR quit recruiting. Now.  I think the recruiting industry is officially dead. Maybe the one, true and only trusted hiring method is through internal referrals.  It’s who you know, right?

The final nail toward the demise of recruiting:  Social Media. Specifically LinkedIn.

Daxko’s CFO sent me a great blogpost from the Adzerk team blog called “How not to be a shitty recruiter”.  Adzerk’s team blog writes about start-up life in general.   In this case, the author, Kasy, who I presume is a software engineer, had some things to say about his and other techie’s experiences with tech recruiters. And it highlights the same complaints we’ve heard over and over and over about lazy recruiting including: lack of researching the candidates career needs, too much spam, selling the salary of the job not the culture, and get this……not being active in the community! Wow…techies wanting you to actually meet them in person.  What a concept.  The personal networking touch is gone.  That’s what happens when you SPAM.

Candidates have lost the trust of the recruiters.  That is the only real reason they can’t find leads. 

Recruiters are the James Spader to LinkedIn’s Molly Ringwald.  LinkedIn (and other social media) is getting used-and-abused.  LinkedIn for all of its fabulousness has bred a new kind of recruiter, the spammer.  And as more and more people register on linked, the abuse gets worse. Just like some job-boards solicit a post-and-pray mentality, LinkedIn has encouraged a “spam-and-pray” philosophy.  Which is just lazy.

Meet the new boss…same as the old boss.

In a nutshell, it appears so many recruiters, in-house and external, don’t give a crap for good and bad reasons. But this post is focusing on the bad controllable’s including:

  • The recruiters are sales reps and not researchers (sourcers)
  • They are inexperienced and are learning from other bad recruiters
  • The recruiters are sales reps and not matchmakers
  • Candidates are unavailable to place because they don’t trust you or your spam

For goodness sakes, how many of you call your job candidates “Prospects”…. A sales term if I ever heard one.

Here is another example about the bad state of recruiting.  Take ITT Tech for instance.  They call the employees who try to get students to enroll in school “recruiters”.  But a majority of their time is spent fielding leads from lead generation programs.  They then have requirements to close the deal (aka enroll the student within days).  The enrolled students make ITT Tech their money. Feels like, in this case, it’s not about placement but revenue generation.


FOT Background Check

Dawn Burke
Dawn Burke is an HR Leader, speaker and writer, specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture.  Her HR career has spanned the last 20 years, most recently serving as VP of People for Birmingham, Alabama's award-winning technology company, Daxko. That’s right – the very DAXKO that our very own KD is an alum of, because there are only so many people in the big B’ham who are worthy of a VP of People title. A true Generalist, she’s done a little bit of everything, but recruiting and training is where she gets her mojo. She’s based in the good ol' blogging capitol of the south, Birmingham, Alabama, where you can frequently find her listening to the Beatles and REM, watching Breaking Bad reruns (and Snapped and Dateline), enjoying serious amounts of coffee (and cheese, but not together!), dreaming of where she will travel next, and wondering how in the world this theatre grad ever got into football or HR…Check out her blog at or talk to Dawn via emailLinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter


  1. KD says:

    Hi Dawn –

    BASH em!!!! I mean really, this is on your mind in a big way… We just recorded next week’s podcast, and you had Sackett and I on there and you couldn’t help yourself – you took a shot there as well.

    Here’s what I’ll say in defense of good recruiters – and they do exist. A good recruiter sources candidates and from the moment they start attempting to interact with them – positions themselves as an agent for the candidate. Doesn’t matter who’s paying the bills, it’s the only repeatable way to develop trust and make good things happen. Like Johnny Cochran said, “if it doesn’t fit, you must admit”. Ski cap optional.

    Example: I told someone awhile back that the VP of HR job I was running the search for was a crappy match to them – would have hurt their career brand. As it turns out, that person gave me a big piece of business down the road.

    If it doesn’t fit, you must give gifts. The gift of being a candidate’s agent. We exist. Don’t hate all the players.


  2. Dawn Burke says:

    Good points! You are a good recruiter because in your example you built trust w your candicate. Yoy did not treat them like a “prospect”.

    Btw: this was including Corp recruiters as well as agencies… See I’m equal opportunity…

  3. Dawn — great post, but do you really think this is so different from what has happened in the past? New tools are always coming out that can be used to help recruiters, but that over time get overused and turn into noise rather than results.

    At a recent Tech Recruiters Meetup I attended in San Francisco, I talked to a number of the more innovative and savvy Tech recruiters and one said something really interesting. He siad, LinkedIn worked 6 years ago but he stopped using the service entirely about 4 years ago. 4 years ago!

    Why? Because given the demand of technology candidates, and a lack of ability to list skills or cultural fit on a site like LinkedIn, all of the engineers were getting spammed and the best candidates left.

    Recruiting isn’t dead, it’s that recruiting continuously evolves, For those recruiters who aren’t evolving it might feel dead, but for those who are constantly looking for the best new tools to build real relationships with candidates and have already moved on to the next best technology to help them help their clients.

    Onwards! Enjoyed the article and discussion!

  4. Steve Guine says:

    Great article and I hope you repost this again in the near future.

    Having sat on both sides, it is clear that there is little emphasis on learning about the people and the industry. IT professionals are more than just skills and a paycheck. These are living and breathing people with the same challenges the rest of us have.

    It would not hurt some of my peers (on both sides) to open a book about technology or even attend I understand Mayor Bloomberg of NYC is doing just this. If he can, why can’t the so called IT recruiters do it?

  5. Cory says:

    Moral of the article is recruiters have become complacent. It’s too easy to SPAM hundreds of techies, sit back and wait for a handful to reply because their current situation is dreadful and they simply want to move on to another company (I’m always hesitant of that since I recruit for fit first, then skills).

    Recruiters have a multitude of tools to use at their exposure, however from my own experience it’s best to tailor your message specifically to the person rather than SPAM. We all have great search skills (or so we all think), so writing personal messages AND researching their current situation is all better than a SPAM email.

    Example: Find Jane on LinkedIn — Jane works for XYZ company — Research XYZ company —- Oh, their benefits are sub-par from ours and I know we can offer Jane the same salary if not more — Research Jane a little more, a little more, a little more — Oh, Jane lives 3 miles from our office, but is commuting 25 miles now — BAM! Three selling points to reach out to Jane with…. better company (obviously), better benefits (I wonder if she has a family) and better commute.

    Now, if only I can get the hiring managers to listen to me more….

  6. mazapoint says:

    At a past Tech Recruiters Meetup I attended in San Francisco, I talked to a ascertain of the writer innovational and savvy Tech recruiters and one said something rattling unputdownable

  7. Vipul says:

    Like any other industry the people who know how to think for themselves, come across as authentic and trustworthy, and have some drive are going to be good and succeed. The problem isn’t that good recruiters don’t exist. The problem is that as long as recruiting is treated as a cost center, it will never have the ability to be in synch with long term strategy/vision.

  8. Jason says:

    How about picking up the phone? NOW that’s a idea!!!! If you spam LinkedIn / emails and hide behind your computer all day… this job is not for you.

  9. johnny bocchetti says:

    I got into recruiting in 1984, and worked until several years ago. What happened? I used the IEEE database as a foundation for my direct recruiting style. I put myself into the technical society that I wanted to penetrate; Optical Fiber/systems and components. I called people at work and had detail info on their background dating back at least five years. Now everybody want to press buttons, nobody that I can tell issues lots of phone call from companies your sourcing from. Within a month I would have everyone’s situation down pat, all in the poor man’s computer. Resume hunters are not headhunters…There not even recruiters…just button pushers..

  10. M says:

    Think no matter how you slice it where LinkedIn is concerned, or any other tool or trend, it’s about bad recruiting. There is only one reason bad/hack recruiters exist…

    Hack managers use them.

    When managers stopped wanting a recruiting relationship with professionals who operated that way, and just wanted resumes, from anyone who had or could get them, that’s what they got. And now the complaints from everyone because of the hack recruiter influx they themselves caused.

    It isn’t that there aren’t good recruiters. It’s that most managers and firms, however much they insist otherwise, don’t want them. They hate hack recruiter calls and emails, but come time they need talent, who do they go with? Hacks they hate. And then complain about the poor quality of recruiting. Most don’t even know what good recruiting is. Try to explain or exemplify, try to establish a solid working relationship, they get itchy and just go for the resumes off some hack they hate getting emails or calls from.

    It’s up to managers. It’s up to firms. It’s up to the clients. Period.

  11. M says:

    PS. “This is dead, that is dead” suggestions, 99% of the time, are absolute garbage. Junk. Not fit for print. Such deaths are normally suggested by someone selling a product that works against it. Recruiting, Paul McCartney, and 10 million other things pronounced dead are alive and well. Or just alive, but much so.

  12. Its Interesting post, Good article its useful to all job seekers and employees thanks for this post sharing one. have a look over to this blog articles these are fantastic, get them from this blog sure it will help us

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