Why Your Ideal Candidates Aren't Solely on LinkedIn

By Ron Stewart

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There’s no doubt that social media has made recruitment a much smoother process. Talented candidates are now just a click away, with hundreds of thousands of CVs available to hiring managers on sites such as LinkedIn. But is all this technology actually resulting in more high quality hires?

Around 49% of recruiters believe the quality of their candidates has improved since they began using social media for recruitment purposes. A figure as high as this certainly suggests that social media is helping narrow the skills gap. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that all other forms of recruitment should be rendered immediately obsolete.

In fact, a study by Jobvite found that the most successful hires traditionally come from employee referral. Whilst LinkedIn provides a wealth of information on each candidate, it seems that trusted referrals are still the most reliable method of recruitment. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from implementing both strategies. Knowing which platform will yield the best results for a particular job, workplace or industry can be a huge advantage to time-constrained recruiters and increases the chance of finding the perfect man or woman for the role.

The Power And Limitations Of Social Media Recruitment

According to Jobvite’s studies, 92% of all recruiters use some form of social media to find high-quality candidates. Of this number, 87% conduct candidate searches on LinkedIn. But how exactly has one social media engine managed to become so ubiquitous in the recruitment industry?


Well, for one, LinkedIn is the only social media platform designed solely for job seeking purposes. Whilst Facebook (55%) and Twitter (47%) boasted the second and third highest user rates respectively, they have only really become powerhouses since LinkedIn hit the bigtime in 2006. As the trendsetter for modern recruitment, there’s obvious reasons why LinkedIn is so favoured. Currently, the site has over 300,000,000 users, opening up an incredibly diverse talent pool for recruiters to tap into. In theory, such a large database of candidates should make recruiting easier, though of course you still have to go through the arduous process of separating the wheat from the chaff.

In today’s job market, the truly passive candidate is a dying breed. Global aggregates suggest that around 85% of the workforce are at least open to talking with a recruiter. With pretty much the entirety of LinkedIn clambering for a job, the chances of you finding the perfect fit for your company comes down to how much time and effort you put into screening them. Suitable candidates may be overlooked due to incomplete or elusive profiles, when, in reality, they are well matched to your criteria. Whilst 48% of jobseekers claim to be active on social media on a daily basis, they aren’t necessarily networking or updating their profiles at the same rate.

?Implementing A More Holistic Approach To Online Recruitment

It would be a massive oversight to believe that LinkedIn is the only answer to online recruitment. Whilst it may be the current forerunner in the industry, it is certainly not the only way to whittle down potential candidates. As has already been mentioned, employee referrals are still the most commonly used method of hiring and, for the most part, more personal ways of connecting with candidates seem to take precedence.

As a rule, jobseekers tend to be wary of unsolicited messages. Even on LinkedIn, where social interaction is to be expected, an email out of the blue can appear ominous to the recipient. Even those actively seeking job opportunities are likely to remain cautious if they are contacted by an unfamiliar company or agency. For this reason, you can’t rely on the power of social networking alone. A tandem strategy, where social media reinforces the work of other recruitment platforms, such as niche job boards, could be the way forward.

At its core, social media is a sharing platform. Whilst LinkedIn can be used independently by recruiters, its main function is to provide more exposure for positions that are already listed on external job boards. Many job owners view social media as the enemy, but there is no real reason why the two can’t overlap.

Job boards are still responsible for around 18% of all external hires. Comparatively, social media only accounts for around 3% of them. However, sites like LinkedIn were reported to drive more traffic to job board listings, with 7 out of 11 recruiters experiencing increased interest in their adverts after sharing them on social media. From this evidence, it seems that social media and job boards are most effective when used to support one another.

Whilst talented professionals definitely exist on LinkedIn, your chances of finding them through the social media platform alone are still relatively slim. When it comes to successful recruitment, hiring companies are much better off pooling their resources and sharing the workload between a number of different platforms.


Author Bio: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He is currently running a medical jobsite, helping medical staff find careers in countries across the globe. You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn to see more of his portfolio.


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