LinkedIn’s resurgence in the job market as of late should come as no small surprise, given it’s recent acquisition by tech powerhouse Microsoft. Social spheres, and in particular professional ones, have begun to stake their ground and begin fighting over territory, industry, and personnel.
But even if you can find a thousand-and-one jobs online, LinkedIn has never been as successful as home-grown recruitment efforts in matching jobs to qualified applicants. For all its reach and market-penetration, LinkedIn falters on actually connecting job seekers and job makers on a level that’s going to translate to lasting relationships.
Because, in the end: it’s not how many people you know, it’s how well you know the people you do. And recruiters just do that better – no matter how you stretch it.
The World’s Largest Marketplace – and it Struggles to Sell
There’s no doubt LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool for professionals, with over 12 million registered users in Canada (as of 2016). That provides a network where everyone is their own Kevin Bacon – always at least six (though often three) degrees of separation between one another. If connecting with a new employer is as easy as starting a dialogue – how are recruiters not out of a job?
Where LinkedIn falls behind, and where many social media networks tend to lag in general, is the enormous difficulty of Selling Value. Access to the largest professional network in Canada doesn’t do LinkedIn much good if they have trouble connecting talent with employers.
LinkedIn Casts a Wide Net
And how is Social Media lagging behind? It’s all in the statistics:
- By Glass Door’s numbers, 79% of applicants used social media as a primary job source. But only 1 in 5 applicants actually applied to a job via social media;
- Nearly half of applicants (47%) who applied through social media would later reject an initial offer due to unclear or incomplete position information.
- Brand engagement on social media is rather low, with only 33% of applicants returning to learn more about an employer after an initial application.
Statistics can be twisted to tell just about any story, but even at a distant glance, we can see some valuable trends which recruiters and job seekers should take heed of.
Recruiters Cast Deeper Lines
Make no mistake: no matter which side of the fence you happen to be sitting on in the job market: you positively need some connection to professional networks. The tools LinkedIn offers are unmatched and unmistakable: job seekers need the exposure to networks that are recruiting, and recruitings always need a wide net to draw people from.
But where LinkedIn ends, recruiters begin:
- Engagement on social media is low, but networks are broad. Recruiters should take note accordingly and begin transferring conversations off social media platforms and into their own professionally-vetted networks.
- LinkedIn sells impressions, but not value. Workers, particularly knowledge workers, are on the lookout for perks that can’t be pitched online. Perks like culture, benefits, and lifestyles. Recruiters need to be on hand to translate those values to their clients.
- While LinkedIn is always improving its matching algorithms, it does not cater well to niche industries or positions. The platform has been a longtime darling to the IT industry, but doesn’t allow for recruiters to shape and match niche roles in smaller businesses. The volume isn’t there, which LinkedIn treats as a lack of interest or opportunity. Smart recruiters know better that a niche is a more valuable fill.
While only dealing with a fraction of LinkedIn’s reach, recruiters serve far more than merely as the role of middleman. Recruiters know people, while LinkedIn only know their keywords. Recruitment’s personal touch, of knowing the industry and those who work in it, will provide a value to start-ups that larger networks with broad matches just can’t satisfy.
So if you’re worried the growing oligarchy of social platforms is hurting your impact in your networks: your soft skills still matter. Professional recruitment is here to stay, because professionals still need professionals.