A Tale of Two Customers: How Adobe and Wireless Vision Find Great Candidates

July 9, 2012

It’s not every month that your company is featured on the cover of Forbes magazine. We find ourselves in that fortunate position with the July 16th edition, on newsstands right now.

George Anders’ article includes a fairly rigorous analysis of LinkedIn’s entire business, but the most interesting part for me is where two of our customers – one large (Adobe), one small (Detroit area-based Wireless Vision) – share how they’re finding the best talent differently in a socially-driven world. You’ll find an excerpt below, though we encourage you to check out the full story on Forbes too.

“In a downtown office tower in San Jose, Calif., Jeff Vijungco bears witness to the reasons that big companies crave LinkedIn’s data. He is vice president for global talent acquisition at Adobe Systems, which employs 10,000 people and at any moment is likely to face at least 750 openings worldwide. Traditionally, staffing agencies handled about 20% of Adobe’s hunts for highly specialized engineers and digital wizards.

“Vijungco chafed at that approach. Agencies were expensive, charging as much as $20,000 for each job filled. Retention rates on their placements could be disappointing. Still, there wasn’t an obvious alternative. Good people at other tech companies didn’t answer job ads; such candidates wouldn’t switch employers unless someone found them and put forth an amazing offer.

“Then a few years ago Vijungco staged a talent-scouting race. One pair of recruiters used the traditional way of finding 50 solid candidates for a technical job. Another pair used LinkedIn. “The ones using LinkedIn were done within hours,” Vijungco recalls with a grin. “The other ones were still going at it, weeks later.”

“Today Adobe leases 70 Recruiter seats. A typical user is Trisha Colton, who leads Adobe’s hunt for digital media executives. On a recent afternoon she needed to fill five positions. With a few clicks of the mouse on her ThinkPad laptop, she could tailor a project-manager search that enabled her to look at possible candidates from 21 leading ad agencies, 15 publishing outfits and a host of other suitable backgrounds.

“A few more tweaks of the dial and Colton had specified what current jobs these people should be holding, how many years of experience they should have and their locations. Moments later she had a list of 148 prospects. Recruiter informed her which candidates already knew people at Adobe, at least slightly. Colton could use that information to help open a dialogue. If no ties existed, she could use LinkedIn’s modified e-mail system to approach each candidate.

“We’re saving millions of dollars this way,” Vijungco says. Search agencies now get less than 2% of Adobe’s business in the Americas.

"Some small-business users have abandoned Recruiter, preferring to get by with cheaper, more limited access to LinkedIn’s data. But power users say LinkedIn is invaluable in finding hidden candidates who wouldn’t show up via traditional searches. One such devotee is Elisa Bannon-Jones, the hiring chief for Wireless Vision, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich., mobile-phone retailer.

"Earlier this year Bannon-Jones was asked to find an accounting manager with entrepreneurial spirit. Regular job ads in the Detroit metro area flopped; all she got were 100 unsuitable candidates. So she crafted a multistate search via LinkedIn. Her target: accountants who had worked in similar retail companies and whose profiles also included magic words such as “launched,” “created” and “built.” Within days she had found an Avis veteran in Virginia who had developed billing systems all by himself. They chatted. She liked his initiative; he liked the job, and Wireless Vision had its catch.”

For more information on LinkedIn Recruiting Solutions, go to http://talent.linkedin.com