Candidate Sourcing: LinkedIn and Left Out


As a social network and for candidate sourcing, LinkedIn has a lot offer. With 167 million (and growing) members, you would think LinkedIn is a great place to find talent.

You'd be right. A whopping 65% of LinkedIn's revenue is from recruiters looking for talent. Whether it is in the form of fees for the 3M-plus job ads on the platform, or from Recruiter licenses for searching and sourcing from their membership, recruiters have bought in to the LinkedIn platform for candidate sourcing.

That's a lot of money and most of it relies on the platform staying closed. So if you'd like to search LinkedIn from your ATS or recruitment marketing platform, you're out of luck. If you'd like an easy way to get candidates from LinkedIn to your Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) platform, you'll fare no better.Find The Right People written on road sign.jpeg

Apart for a few exceptions that have very limited access to LinkedIn data, LinkedIn does not partner with third party recruiting apps to search their membership at any price. In fact, LinkedIn has been aggressive in using the legal system to enforce its "no search" policy.

Pay Once vs Subscription

For astute recruitment marketers, the name of the game is acquiring and owning candidate data. When you download potential candidates from resume databases, you own the data and can market your jobs to that candidate in perpetuity. When candidates apply for your jobs or sign up for a talent network or job alerts, you own that data.

LinkedIn's business model is based on you NOT owning that data. It is based on providing you a subscription to access their candidates each year. A subscription that averages around $8,000 per user per year. Though there are many reports of dwindling response rates due to "over fishing" areas like tech talent, LinkedIn is a great service that is relied upon by many recruiters. But the question you need to ask yourself is...

Invest in LinkedIn or Invest in Your Company?

LinkedIn Recruiter licenses are not cheap. They can add up to six figures for an organization of any size. Of course, you will "own" any LinkedIn candidates who apply for your jobs, but today's recruiting strategies rely more on engaging passive/casual candidates and creating long term relationships.

Do you want LinkedIn in the middle of your potential long term relationships with candidates? The only way around that is to capture all the candidate data you can during your interactions with candidates on LinkedIn.

The best strategy with regards to LinkedIn is to treat it as a piece of your overall recruitment marketing mix. Leverage a good CRM to capture all your LinkedIn candidate data and market jobs to them in your way, on your terms.

The bad news is that no CRM or ATS will be able to search LinkedIn and pull results into your database. Despite some limited connectivity with a few ATS providers, LinkedIn does not support full "search and retrieve" capability with any vendor.

But the good news is that you can use tools from your CRM to gather and store candidate data from LinkedIn-sourced candidates. So while it's not search and retrieve, it's not a manual process, either.

And you'll be investing in your talent pool, not LinkedIn's. You'll be building a proprietary candidate database of your own that can reduce your reliance on all external candidate sources, including LinkedIn.Download Free Predictable Hiring Handbook

What to do About LinkedIn?

As LinkedIn Recruiter licenses have increased in cost, and free search tools become more and more locked down, it's time to have a tangible strategy about your reliance on LinkedIn. We advise prospective clients to moderate (not eliminate) their use of Recruiter licenses and invest that savings in a CRM system that will best allow them to grow a proprietary talent pool asset and reduce their reliance on all paid sources over time – whether that's LinkedIn or any other source.

Better to build your own proprietary talent pool than to be beholden to a company that makes its money by standing between you and your next great hire.

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