The LinkedIn Way-How to Take Creativity out of Recruiting

Recently LinkedIn dazzled us with a new tool that they are hoping will create a positive buzz and generate a new stream of revenue to their brand.  This new tool is “profile viewed”.  If you did not receive an email regarding your ranking, the rest of this post might have very little meaning to you.
Also, there were many blog posts written on this particular subject, specifically LinkedIn’s marketing approach, so my intention is only to bring one issue to your attention.  The issue is that your LinkedIn profile can help, but mostly hurt your brand during the telephone sourcing aspect of your recruiting efforts.

How is this possible?

I got a phone call from an old friend whom I have not spoken to in quite awhile.  I immediately realized how seldom this event occurs today-someone actually picking up the phone and calling you to stay in-touch and get updated on what going on in your life.

When the “how’s business” question came up, I tried to explain the challenges I am encountering as a recruiter so that a non-recruiter could easily understand.  What I wanted to emphasize was that I make a living on the telephone by presenting unique career opportunities to targeted individuals.  However, today I find it very difficult to the get those individuals-to pick up the phone or return my phone calls.

The analogy that I used to explain this frustration was the GEICO commercial, not the one with the lizard, but the one with the snarly antelopes with night vision glasses.  This commercial is the perfect example of the challenges recruiters face now that almost everyone is visible on LinkedIn and can be found by anyone.  In this case, the recruiter is the lion and the antelopes are the individuals that the recruiters are trying to connect-with via the telephone, I explained.

I couldn’t believe what I heard next, as my friend, the bartender transformed into a HR/social media/talent acquisition guru.  And with a voice like the Allstate guy, in so many ways he said incredible things.  Let me translate what he said:

People won’t pick up the phone anymore if they don’t recognize the person who is calling them.  And, if you leave a message, they will view your LinkedIn profile to determine if you are someone they would want to talk with.  The problem is that all profiles looks the same, so how will they know that they will be in “good hands” with you compared to  the other poor souls who has called them, sent them In-mail, request to connect with them or leave the same tired voice mail pitch?

You need to step-up your game because you are now dealing with a totally different mind-set.  If folks are getting contacted everyday with offers to make their lives better by people they don’t know: after a while they will have a false sense of security that they are in high demand and they can easily get any job if they really needed to make a change.  Why would they need you if you if they don’t know what’s in it for them?

Also, LinkedIn has now convinced the average Joe into believing that he has everything he needs and a recruiter no longer add value to his career because he now has connections at all the potential employers.  He can simply follow interested employers and get their latest job updates and if he really-really needed to find a new job, all he has to do is to update his status-it’s that easy.

The other problem is that if they can’t find your profile on LinkedIn, you are dead in the water in terms of credibility because no one will trust anyone who has something to hide.  It may not be true, but that is the perception!

And if all the poor souls are using LinkedIn as their primary recruiting tool, then they are all probably recruiting the LinkedIn way: viewing profiles, sending in-mails, leaving voice mails-where is the creativity that will make one recruiter stand-out from the rest?

And do you know what the worst part is?  They can see you just like the antelopes can see with those night vision glasses.  You didn’t get referred to them, you didn’t work very hard to find them-you don’t even know anything about them other than what you learned from reading their profile.   They saw that you viewed their profile and are relying on the misleading information designed to make them appear younger and successful, including the outdated photo.  If you are as good a recruiter as you want them to believe you are, wouldn’t it make sense not to use the same approach that the other poor souls has used?

Here is the reality, if you are recruiting the LinkedIn way-they can see you.  Your intentions might be in their best interest, but what they see is just another poor soul who is simply out to make a killing.  So, that’s why they don’t return you calls or respond or connect with you.  They are afraid of making a mistake with their livelihood by listening to someone who is only interested in making a killing.