Here's a new world take on an old-world saying:
"No one ever got fired for buying recruiting services from LinkedIn"
That's a spin off on what our boomer fathers/mothers/grandparents used to say back in the day:
"No one ever got fired for buying IBM".
New world. Same type of saying.
If there's one thing that's true, it's that LinkedIn is ubiquitous these days when it comes to recruiting. As i've written before, the old big job board world got pushed aside by the Indeed (owns the new job board posting, powered by SEO), LinkedIn owns the candidate database and Glassdoor owns company reputation. With the launch of Google for Jobs, this current order is likely to change again.
But the problem for Indeed/LinkedIn/Glassdoor comes back to monetization. What's the best way to get people to pay for the service?
For LinkedIn, it's putting together a package of job postings, company page assistance, display/social ads and a tool called LinkedIn Recruiter. LinkedIn is masterful at selling all this in bundles, because that's the best way to maximize revenue and limit focus on the effectiveness of any one feature/tool. Everyone gets job postings as a concept and will pay for them. Check out my company's breakdown of the major platform's version of social ads and their effectiveness (LinkedIn trails other options) for a deeper dive into that LinkedIn tool set.
That leaves us with LinkedIn Recruiter. Ah yes. Here's the feature set you get when you buy LinkedIn Recruiter licenses, pulled from the LinkedIn solutions page:
- Zero in on the right person with 20+ Premium search filters
- View full profiles for the entire LinkedIn network – all 460M+ members
- Contact anyone with 150 InMail messages per month per team member
- Easily and collaboratively manage your pipeline
- See what your team’s up to with powerful reporting and analytics tools
- Source on the go with Recruiter Mobile, the iPhone and Android app
All that is great and btw, I think LinkedIn is a great service. Love it or hate it, they've built something truly useful. It's what you pay for that can be the issue.
When it comes to LinkedIn Recruiter, you're conceptually paying for a form of access to candidates that others don't have. My company (Kinetix) has onboarded new recruiting clients and had HR and TA leaders provide us access to up to 20 LinkedIn Recruiter licenses. When we go in and look at those, it's shocking to see the level of adoption present.
Bottom line - There's a lot of companies that buy LinkedIn Recruiter licenses because they're bundled with job postings, and the sales people are trained not to remove the bundle. There's a good reason for that - job postings almost always get used, but LinkedIn Recruiter licenses can sit vacant and well, it will just go unnoticed and we'll say those recruiters are lazy, etc.
But recruiters aren't lazy for the most part - but they are who they are behaviorally. Some are hunters, most are farmers. To use LinkedIn Recruiter effectively, you've got to work - and hunt by really personalizing the InMails you send. Here's a clip from a LinkedIn product manager describing how the best recruiters use InMail to get great results over at Fast Company:
This may seem cliché, but using the word “connect” tends to boost response rates for InMail. The same goes for mentioning that you’d like to follow up—using terms like “talk,” “chat,” “call,” etc. can all improve response rates.
But don’t go much further than that! Among the InMail recruiters send, we’ve actually found that phrases related to scheduling (like specific days of the week), salary, and sharing email addresses, all tend to decrease the likelihood of response.
If you're imaging what % of your recruiters have the ability/time/smarts to become email marketers and do a drip marketing campaign to a passive candidate and nurture them over time, you're right to think the low numbers that come to mind in your head...
It's 1 out of 10. That's why so many LinkedIn Recruiter licenses sit dormant. They can't do what's required to make InMail effective, so their response rates crater and they don't use the tool. But you bought the job postings. Hell - you needed them. But there's a reason that LinkedIn bundles it's stuff with such a high degree of urgency.
It's because some of the stuff doesn't work for the vast majority of recruiters. Doesn't mean it's not a great product - but it does mean that you can't provide a $50,000 violin to a county fair-level banjo player and expect them to use it.
Sometimes the banjo player just needs a banjo.
But if your music store is telling you they can only sell you a banjo WITH the $50,000 violin - well, then you have a decision to make.