Profiles databases have gone public with the raise of LinkedIn (and other professional networks like Plaxo, Viadeo, Xing, etc …). Does it mean recruiting has become a kid’s stuff?
Well to the contrary, the profiles’ profusion on LinkedIn has rather complicated the quest for talents. More than ever the basics of every search have to be applied: what type of profile exactly do I need, where shall I find it, how can I best do my selection, are some of the questions LinkedIn is barely giving.
So LinkedIn is a tremendous database (user-friendly, reliable, open …) but can hardly replace the quest for talents.
The influence of LinkedIn on the talents’ identification
Today everybody using LinkedIn or any other professional networks has the impression he could identify anybody in a matter of a few clicks. The reason of this perception comes from the public access given to more than 200 million profiles.
Rather frequently, people tell me identifying talents has become far easier with the rise of LinkedIn (and other professional networks like Plaxo, Viadeo, Xing, etc …).
I believe this perception has to be nuanced for the role played by LinkedIn is more complex than it seems at first glance. The identification process has somehow become more complicated.
Let me tell you why.
Databases before LinkedIn
Databases have long existed before LinkedIn. Nearly every top tier Company and each Executive Search Practice have developed extensive specific database software to file and retrieve CV according to their recruitment needs. These databases were mainly fed by spontaneous CV, prior assignments/recruitments, ads…
Bear in mind that each Executive Search Practice or top tier Company receives hundreds or thousands (Depending on the size of the country) of spontaneous CV every week.
Birth of the professional networks
Clearly, LinkedIn has written a new chapter in the talents identification. It has used a very efficient marketing succeeding in creating a hype, convincing lots of people to join, organising networks and communities.
Does it mean that the identification has become a kid’s stuff?
To answer this question, various aspects of LinkedIn have to be considered:
- The database quality
Every candidate has easy access to his profile and can therefore proceed to immediate CV update. As a consequence, the information has shown extremely reliable (often better than the company databases).
- The search engine quality
Search engines have proven to be very efficient, reliable and offering everyone immediate user-friendly features. They have offered professionals a new way to gain access to nearly everyone in a rather impressive number of companies, in a matter of a few clicks.
- The open access
To a certain extent, nearly everybody has an unlimited access to the entire database
- The price of success
The risk of being drowned by results, inherent to any database, has increased with LinkedIn. The search results often provide too much material (Remember your selection has been made on 200 million members). More than ever you need to know exactly what you wish to find!
In other words, your search strategy has to be well defined. Otherwise, you will take the risk to be lost in a mass of information.
Beside LinkedIn what is left to be done?
Although LinkedIn is very powerful, it is not the ONLY source of information and should not override the basic essentials of recruitment i.e. the SEARCH!
It is well possible that the ideal candidate has not been found via a database for he has decided not to or because he has not come out for imperfect search procedure (Databases can sometimes be very tricky!)
To perform a professional and very efficient research, you still need to:
- Contact and source your own network
- Use your own database
- Refer to Universities alumni, professional associations
- Consult former similar recruitments material
- Directly interrogate the market (cold calls, etc …)
Once this phase of data gathering is finished, you will have to interpret your results. This phase still requires the same talent, extensive experience and a practical understanding of the approached sector (Especially if the result of your request has produced a large number of candidates...).
As a conclusion, I would say LinkedIn is an extremely reliable database but it cannot replace your talent and expertise!
It could turn out to be the better or worse thing, depending on your degree of preparation and experience.