Recruiters! LinkedIn Hates You!

Tim Sackett Don't Feed the Vendors, Job Boards, Recruiting, Social Media, Tim Sackett, Working With Recruiters

I’m sure, like many of you Recruiters who use LinkedIn, you’ve probably been contacted in the last 12 months about one of their “Recruiter” Products. They have two:

1. For Corporate Recruiters – called “Recruiter”, what they call their “sourcing product”. This product gives corporate recruiters full access to see every single LinkedIn member’s information, regardless if you are connected with them or not. Very powerful for a recruiter.

2. For 3rd Party Recruiters – called “Recruiter Professional Services”, what they can’t really define without toally just saying “something we put together because we think you’re no better than a used car salesman.” This product only gives you access to view the data of those individuals you are already connected to, basically one step up from the free access since all you really get to see is full information of your 3rd tier connections. Not so powerful.I have to be honest – I’ve been wanting to write this post for almost a year, but I was scared to. Yes, me, scared – the guy who will say almost anything. Why? I don’t want this post to affect my access to LinkedIn – because I think it’s a great tool for recruiters to use. But, here it goes…

Let me say first, most of you know, I’ve worked on both sides of the fence – so I get how 3rd party Recruiters have gotten their rep. There are too many “headhunters” out there who jump right off the used car lot and onto a phone – thus, corporate HR Pros love to lump all 3rd party into the same bucket of monsters. I get it.

Here’s LinkedIn’s marketing problem with their two products though – they are both disrespectful to both parties. Corporate recruiters listen up – LinkedIn is giving you great access, because they know you won’t use it. That you aren’t as “aggressive” as the 3rd Party Recruiters. They know giving you full access is no big deal, because Post-and-Pray corporate recruiters won’t put the work into the database to really cause any issues with their membership. You are really the biggest joke of all this – LinkedIn doesn’t even see you as a threat to their membership database – so they give unfettered access to you.

3rd Party Recruiters, LinkedIn just wants to pick off the weak ones in the pack – the idiots who don’t get you can put together a simple boolean search string in Google and get the same exact access to LinkedIn information as you can get with their paid product. LinkedIn believes you don’t give a shit about your reputation so they can’t give you full access because you’ll go crackhead-crazy and contact every single one of their 100 million members to try and sell them a Java Developer job in Fargo.

I can’t remember ever seeing a company so unabashedly mock a group of people from two sides, and still ask them for money. Now, I’ve asked LinkedIn to go on record as to why they have the two products for Recruiters and here is the response from Sr. Director of Marketing for Recruiting Solutions for LinkedIn, Francois Dufour:

“Generally speaking, our product development philosophy starts with what’s best for our members and then, of course, understanding what solutions organizations need.

As a result, we provide different markets with different services. Similarly, we offer varying levels of premium subscriptions for instance (which range from the Business level, for all members, all the way up to Talent Finder for recruiters).

The feedback from members and corporate recruiting teams led us to develop LinkedIn Recruiter Corporate edition, available to direct employers.

In the same fashion, we developed LinkedIn Recruiter Professional Services for staffing agencies after collecting feedback from them and after better understanding how it could provide value to their workflows.”

Oh, so now I get it – Recruiting agencies told you we only wanted limited access, and that’s why you developed it that way? I’m sure glad that cleared it up – I thought you might really think negatively about the profession and were afraid we would contact too many members. That’s a relief! WTF!

So LinkedIn wants to make money. I get that. And they’ve developed a couple of different products to show the corporate recruiting pros that they are doing something special for you. I also get that even some of their “Giant” corporate clients would contractually not want to allow agencies the same access corporate recruiters have (allegedly). But taking the stand that LinkedIn Recruiter for Professional Services was bore out of feedback from agencies is somewhat laughable.

One product for agency recruiters to look like they like us, and another product for corporate recruiters that gets the job done. In the end, whether I’m a corporate recruiter or agency recruiter, I’m just trying to offer your membership an opportunity. I also get, being a longtime LinkedIn member, that no one wants constant spam coming to me from LinkedIn (that again assumes agency recruiters are just spammers). On the back side, someone is paying the bill regardless – either corporations are footing the bill by hiring and funding full recruiting departments, or they are paying by augmenting their staffing model by using agencies, RPO’s, sourcing professionals, etc.

So, I ask LinkedIn – why the 2 products?  Why can’t both use the same product? And what about us RPO firms? Why can’t we use the “Recruiter” solution? (Do I see a 3rd product coming “Recruiter RPO Solution”!)

And Please Don’t Cut Off My Access! Pretty Please! BTW – I’m totally willing to buy, at full price, your Corporate Recruiting Solution (LinkedIn Recruiter) – today – if you have somebody call me.