Recruiters and sourcers are panicked about the changes on LinkedIn. It started with limiting free access to candidates and now there are rumors of recruiters ending up in LinkedIn jail for using Google Chrome extensions to ferret out contact information. The site, smartly in many ways, continues to find alternatives for monetization, and typically that monetization is seen as a penalization to recruiters.
But what about the job seeker? As recruiting professionals we’ve encouraged them to be on LinkedIn (and bring their friends, family and co-workers). We’ve connected, and kept them warm via the site. And now, unless we are fortunate enough to work at an employer that will pony up for an annual LinkedIn Recruiter license for unlimited access and InMail ability, recruiters are kind of stuck. We can’t view the entire catalogue of people within the walls of LinkedIn, and now if we attempt to use a Google Chrome extension to locate an email to reach out to anyone we do find, we may get our hand slapped…hard. Ruler hard.
We can moan and groan about the whole scenario, and probably will for months to come. As an industry we have been complaining for years at every LinkedIn tweak. But what do we do, as recruiters, now? We’re all working on honing alternatives, reintroducing our boolean search skills to do more than just x-ray LinkedIn profiles. We’re downloading our networks, backing up our contacts, and seeking alternatives.
What we’re not doing is communicating alternatives to candidates. An absolute fail if we’re thinking about improving the candidate experience. As a job seeker, how in the world do they begin? Ideally we want to promote something that is free for recruiters to access, and enables candidates to control the information flow. In an ideal world, whatever the “site” is, it will actually allow for recruiters to reach candidates, not just send messages into a black hole that no one can easily access or review. I know, Facebook would seem to be ideal. Except for the fact that very few people put their job title in, or update it, or check it that regularly. And as far as messaging via the platform, that’s pretty locked down as well. Does anyone even know how to access messages they can’t see? I mean it’s like a tree falling in a forest…how do do you know you have them?
We could tell everyone to go on Indeed. That seems logical. But…it’s not free and easy on the contact end. Some job seekers are savvy enough to include contact information in their Indeed resumes but many leave it to Indeed to process outreach. Which is limiting for recruiters and monetized by the site. And it’s really not very dynamic. Functional in a very good way, but no flash, no sizzle.
Let’s circle back to the idea of digging into boolean. And looking for resumes online. And finding them for free….wouldn’t we want to guide our friends, family, and co-workers to create their own online domain? Their virtual home? Filled not with the personal, but all of the professional. A stake online where they can highlight their resume, their portfolio, any and all notorious accomplishments?
I’m inclined to direct people to revisit domains like About.me or Wix or Weebly. Something ridiculously easily to create and maintain and allows for a contact page, or specific contact email to handle all networking and potential job inquiries. I don’t want to send people to niche sites, one for graphic designers, one for accounting pros, one for recruiters. I want everyone in the same place, publicly, where all can be found. The playing field will be level, all recruiters will be able to dive into the pool and some will adeptly surface the candidates they seek. It will definitely change the game for recruiters that have heavily relied on networks like LinkedIn.
Do you think as an industry we can change the game? Wouldn’t it be exciting to be the leader, rather than following the lead of someone else? Wouldn’t it change the candidate experience?
Maybe. Your thoughts are welcome.
***Note: The postings on this site are my own opinions and do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.