UK Perspective: Recruiting Game-Changers

June 23, 2010

Editor's note: LinkedIn's UK membership recently crossed the 4 million mark. Premium LinkedIn customer Lee Cooper here discusses the impact he believes LinkedIn has had on the recruiting scene, in the UK and elsewhere.

Technology is key, Linkedin is the game changer

Historically recruitment was a bricks and mortar model. That model hasn’t changed for 70 years.

In previous blogs I have talked of the threats to the recruitment industry. I have argued innovation is essential not only for our survival but frankly in order that we might evidence our true value for customers by unearthing the talent they need to realise their ambitions.

The key to the future of the industry lies in Technology. Take Skype by way of an example. I have an old business partner of mine who had a great expression: you cannot email a handshake. I couldn’t agree with him more.

I fail to see how you can do your job properly unless you have met and interviewed in-depth and detail the candidate you represent.

We are dependent on so much more than skills and experience. The interview gives us the opportunity to use our instincts, to assess a candidate through the essentials of non–verbal communication and in particular body language.

Historically this would have been done in an office. In prosperous times as markets were driven by candidate shortages the better recruiters recognised competition and went out in to the market to meet candidates on their terms, in a location convenient to them. Consequently we have had a proliferation of coffee bar and hotel lobby recruiters and long may this continue.

However, Skype has taken this on to yet another whole new level. I can now interview a candidate, with video (recorded if of course I have their permission!) on the other side of the world sat in flip-flops and board shorts if that is what suits them best and I still have the benefit of the face to face interaction that I need to do my job properly.

This is now so straightforward that I cannot last recall a time when my location was an issue for my customer. The question has gone back to frankly what this job is all about, and can you deliver the talent I need to meet the vision I have for my business?

The game changer has been Linkedin. A recruiter has only ever been as good as the talent he or she is able to attract to their network. Linkedin allows the recruiter to evidence to the client very visibly the strength of the network from which talent is derived.

Linkedin does what every good recruiter always did, it asks your network who else do you know that you can refer me to in order that I might continue to grow my network and deliver ever greater calibre of candidate to my client. Linkedin removes the need for cold calling. It legitimizes “just staying in touch”. It allows us to maintain the fine line between an appropriate level of contact with the customer and being a pain the proverbial.

It allows us to keep candidates informed, staying in touch with them through our updates. It is the most cost-effective marketing window to the world that we could ever have dreamed for. It evidences our true value as recruiters, a great network populated with genuine, quantifiable talent. It evidences in the simplest of ways our ability to connect people, for that is what we do and in that lies enormous value for people and organisations.

I am stunned to see that there are still recruiters who have yet to embrace the single biggest game changer in recruitment in 70 years. Job Seeker, Hiring Manager, Recruiter, ignore it at your peril.

This article originally appeared in Lee's blog "The Recruiters Little Black Book". (Perhaps he'll need to change that name soon?) For more information on LinkedIn Recruiting Solutions for the UK and elsewhere, go to http://talent.linkedin.com  

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