LinkedIn – the silver bullet of attraction?

by in Industry and Markets, Recruitment Marketing, Talent Attraction

Sometimes I’m accused of being a bit grumpy, cynical even. I prefer to call it being wise, but I expect I’m in the minority. Having just got back from South of France, today I’m especially grumpy/wise.

In any case, I looked on the LinkedIn Microsoft acquisition with interest, and it made me think of the current habits of recruiters.

For a few years now, I’ve been told that Job boards are rubbish and that ‘I do everything on LinkedIn’. I always warned of the dangers of over reliance on one particular medium and asked the question what would happen to their recruiting strategy if LinkedIn disappeared? I was often scoffed at as we both knew it wouldn’t just disappear overnight (although stranger things have happened). Additionally you could apply the same argument to many other pieces of business critical software – Salesforce for example.

The recent performance of LinkedIn was concerning though, struggling to attract advertisers, falling share prices, and stagnant growth. Not great signs for the major tool in most recruiters armoury. It’s certainly something that should have been on the minds of those whose careers were reliant on the tool; experience (grumpiness) tells me I doubt if it was. Maybe Microsoft saved it just in time.

In truth this blog is more around attraction strategies than it is LinkedIn, the perpetual temptation of recruiters to look for the silver bullet of attraction. Over the years, there’s been hundreds of initiatives/strategies/fads that will reportedly change the way we attract talent. Nearly all of them failed to lived up to the promise. I can name a few. Online not print, CV access not jobs, Social Media recruiting, Mobile candidates, LinkedIn-only strategy. In isolation nearly all struggle to live up to the hype, soon to be replaced with the next big thing (I except that each of the above have been successful in their own right, to a point).

I think LinkedIn has probably been more successful than previous strategies but the point is there is no shortcut to reaching the talent you are looking for. It is also essential to be mindful of the changing environments and relying on one particular tool above all else is dangerous.

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn

LinkedIn is worth $26 billion to Microsoft

You could argue that the desire to move onto the next big thing quickly is driven by exactly my point of over reliance on one medium, and that in general recruiters tend to be adventurous when it comes to trying out new stuff. I don’t feel this is the case, I feel this is driven purely by the desire to find the next big thing to drop all other sources of talent attraction. Normally in an effort to cut costs too.

A truly effective attraction strategy has to be well resourced, balanced and analysed regularly. There is no cheap fix, but I’m surprised how often this is the route that the majority of people want to take.

It’s not clear what the wider ramifications of the acquisition are, and from what I read Microsoft don’t have a great track record with integrating acquired businesses into the corporation. Early reports seem to suggest that this actually good news for recruiters. Maybe they’ll do something with Bing and the profiles on LinkedIn, who knows, but I’m looking forward to the next silver bullet that will change everything {sigh}.

Ok yes perhaps I am a bit grumpy… perhaps I need to book a holiday.