LinkedIn Recruiter for Recruitment Agency

Well LinkedIn have decided that the Recruitment Agency market is to big not to service it. The new product called LinkedIn Recruiter is launched that enables Recruitment Agencies to harvest the full power of the LinkedIn Social Network.

Is LinkedIN Recruiter a good or a bad thing for you?

Well, depends from your standpoint. LinkedIn as any other social network is finding hard to monetise it’s service. The subscriptions to Employers aren’t making the desired revenue levels. Advertising Jobs didn’t take up in most of markets. In Ireland for example, there is about 30ish jobs advertised in LinkedIn at one time for the last two years (January 2009: 17 jobs in Ireland advertised in LinkedIN). Obviously not a sustainable business model. Considering and national job board even in the recession times has thousands of jobs advertised.

Therefore from a LinkedIn’s perspective, this is clearly a new revenue stream.

From the Recruitment Agency perspective, this lets them in LinkedIn on a completely different level than before. Built in protection when the staff leaves and being able to share the contacts and the communication is what was always missing element for the recruitment agencies. LinkedIn Recruiter is here to offer all what a recruitment agencies need to use LinkedIn on a larger scale than before.

And then there is a job hunter, the passive job hunter, the ordinary LinkedIn user. How will LinkedIn Recruiter affect him/her?

One thing is for sure – the amount of the job offers sent via LinkedIn InMail is going to increase. In markets where the LinkedIn Recruiter is going to be large, and there is a shortage of certain skills in the workforce, some LinkedIn users will find themselves as a target to job offers. So far it was great – since they wanted Employers to find them when they have a job for them. What happens when the Recruitment Agencies have a capacity to get to them easily is that a great ‘candidate’ will be contacted by every recruitment agency trying to fill the same position. So you might get 5, 10, 20,… InMails from all different Recruitment Agencies who are interested to head hunt you for the same role. If you not like the role – will you respond to all of them saying: ‘No Thanks.’? And when that happens next week when another company has a similar role, and you get XX InMails about it again?

So the success of sales of LinkedIn Recruiter will decrease the quality of the LinkedIn service for the job hunters that have skills that are in demand in their markets.

The trade off that LinkedIn is making with introducing LinkedIn Recruiter is that to increase their profits, they decided that it’s OK to decrease the quality of the service they are providing to their most sought users. The longer term problem for LinkedIn is what if those best users leave, finding they get too much SPAM? And with that crème candidates cut off, LinkedIn all of a sudden becomes not a source of Good passive Candidates, but of just … Passive Candidates? And even those slightly fed up by being hassled by many recruiters for the same job they don’t want in the first place?

Then again, LinkedIn limits the number of InMails that a recruiters can send a month. It is 50 a month (to multiple recipients each). So to reach more candidates and send more InMails a recruitment agency will just by more licenses. That creates more revenue for LinkedIn, so they will turn a blind eye that the top candidates gets bombarded with job offers.

Ireland might be a bit specific in that regard. Ireland is a small country where everyone knows everyone. (Almost) Literally! Online Social Networking take up in Ireland is far lower than in the US (where LinkedIn is from). Ireland is still the country where more people get a job via the traditional Job Boards than via the Social Networks. The ratio is changing, but we are far from the situation currently in US or Far East.

Who will be the first Irish recruitment agency in Ireland to take up the LinkedIn Recruiter offer?

Social Networks Vs Online Job Boards…

Here are just two facts first:
1. Revenues of online job boards are falling
2. Social networks are (still!) gaining popularity

Why are job boards in trouble all of the sudden after being profitable for more than 10 years?

The troubled world economy that hit the recession in the second half of the 2008 and continued well into most of the 2009 (is it over yet???!!!) resulted in the first dip of the volume of the internet traffic. First ever actually. It is the first time since the Internet exists that the volume of the activity on the internet was smaller compared with the same month a year ago. All the iPhones and all kind of internet enabled devices did not help here. There have been far less people working (and surfing in their breaks), and far less people had time to surf during their work.

The combination of the large reduction of the job advertisements (that generate the revenue for the job boards, and also the drop in web site traffic in general – the figures of a job boards in 2009 do not look so rosy!

Social networks are a long term threat to the job boards.

The number of people spending time, and the sheer amount of time people spend on the social networking sites does not really leave much time to search the job boards. Compared to the job boards, the social networking sites are actually extremely boring. There is 0 interaction on the site really. As a job hunter you apply for a job or jobs you like, and what you get back in 99% of the cases is an automated response in the email. The confirmation of the job application. Impersonal and sterile. The social networks on the other side let you publish the content for other users (or anyone on internet) to read and see. Social networks let you say what you think (that your spouse doesn’t!). Social networks encourage you to comment pretty much anything!

You can meet new people. You can catch up with old school mates. You can check the last summer holiday photos of your cousins. You can upload your fancy wedding photos, with all the family in strange dresses in the background! You can grade photos and comment them. You can upload video from your car racing weekend. Your greatest fishing catch.

Social network is like a pub. People are talking. Social network is like a ‘Corso’, the main street boardwalk where you hang out with your friends and their friends. You can also do some business with all this people there if you feel like it. But do not really have to, since you can check how your mates commented the game yesterday. And tell them how YOU think your home club should have played.

After you got used to the way of communication that the social networks or let you by broadcasting YOUR message to the masses, the idea of browsing boring listings of the jobs on the job sites simply isn’t that appealing any more.

Social Recruitment is born simply because people are far more active on the social networks than on job boards. If Twitter wouldn’t have that many visitors and users it would be impossible to hire staff there. But the sheer volume of users on Twitter makes it a platform where you really can hire staff with the most crazy restriction anyone have ever imposed on the recruitment process – communication limited to 140 characters (spaces included!!!). Facebook is probably the platform with the largest number of useless, and distracting applications but the fact that the number of active users is larger than most of the countries in the world – makes it a perfect sourcing application for a large number or positions. LinkedIN is specialising for the recruitment itself – the social network of professionals. Even their Jobs section isn’t visited as much as all the others since it is simply boring. Visitors expect more from the social networks then the boring jobs listings. They want to contribute. They want to read other peoples contribution. They way to confirm their decisions by getting the independent views from other people with similar conclusions.

Free Jobs (freejobs.ie)

Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?

free-jobsI call from a client today about their jobs being published to FreeJobs.ie made me thinking. Their jobs published on the Free Jobs web site are about 3 years old. They got an application for a job advertised there yesterday. Since my client is using the multiple job posting service eRecruit, as a part of our Recruitment Marketing Manager product, they assumed that eRecruit is supplying the jobs to the Free Jobs web site, as it does to all the Irish Jobs sites (and news sites, and blogs, and niche web sites, etc…). Well in this case this was not the case. We in eRecruit have actually never even heard about a site called Free Jobs before.

So jobs published on Free Jobs web site are taken from somewhere. And published on the Free Jobs web site, without the owner of the content – the advertiser, in this case a recruitment agency knowing about that fact. Three years after that, the advertiser receives the job application. And un unpleasant situation really – how to explain to the poor job hunter that the recruiter quoted on the Free Jobs web site does not work anymore in that recruitment agency? How to explain that the company that was actually hiring does not even exist anymore? How to explain why is the job advertised, and invites the job seeker to reveal quite a lot of his private data (in the CV) for something that is not there? Quite unpleasant, isn’t it?

Well, that is the problem with the things that are free. No one is really responsible for the maintenance or the quality of their service. Sometimes it seems one would be better of paying 1 Euro, or some minimal fee, and receive a guarantee of a quality of service. This provides some revenue to the service provider as well, that helps funding the project. In the same time it gives the user of the service a level of guarantee that the service provided will work well.

I like free things. We all do. But unfortunately there are inherited problems with free services. Free Jobs web site is not the alone in the scenario where a free service of advertising jobs simply failed because of the unsustainable business model.

National Recruitment Federation 2009

National Recruitment Federation 2009The National Recruitment Federation Conference today was far better than I expected. To be honest I was a bit afraid to go there knowing what the Recruitment Industry is going through in the last months. There are a number of people I have heard assessments quoting more than 60% of the recruitment consultants been made redundant in the last 6 months. The figure of about 5000 to 6000 thousand recruiters being laid off was also mentioned today during the NRF 2009 conference.

The choice of the venue was excellent, the service was really good thanks to the number of sponsors of the event. There was even a draw for a big, big shredder!

The conference itself started with a bit of politics, changes in the legislations, status in Europe and similar topics relevant to the Directors and the Business Owners in the recruitment industry. After the (quite good) coffee, it was all concentrated about positive aspects and actually quite uplifting! One presenter after another, and I actually felt better and better. I am really glad I was a part of it, since I did hear interesting ideas and thoughts today.

Here is what I scribbled on my NRF Annual Conference 2009 Block (I am a freak for freebies!). It is just a random collection of quotes from various speakers:

Recession Trend: Get rid of the middle man! – Recruitment Agency is a middle man!?

National Recruitment Federation will:
Reduce cost
Publish a new web site
Do more PR and Marketing
NRF Certificate will be introduced for each recruitment consultant. Pilot will start in June, and the real recruitment certification program in September 2009.

Recruitment Agency Marketing consists of:
B to B – Pass the Gatekeeper
B to C – Brand yourself as a place for a job hunter to go when looking for a new job

Premier Group – Positive News Monitor (helps staff noticing and concentration on the positive news)

CPL – ‘…We will come out as a different industry…’ – A comment that really made me thinking, especially with the ‘Evolve’ message from The Chairperson: Rowan Manahan

There was also an interesting choice of presenters, since right in the middle of the conference we had a very good Stress Management presentation. I was wondering for some time – what is this doing in a National Recruitment Federation conference? Then again I felt it actually relaxed me, and felt it helped the people sitting around me as well. So good choice of the presentations – well done the organisers! Irish recruiters are stressed these days. Half of the people in the industry has been made redundant in the last half a year? Actually I cannot think of a better therapy than stress and anger management.
keithbohanna LinkedIN
The LinkedIN was mentioned as well. There is still about 40ish jobs in Ireland on LinkedIN (only). 2 of those have been from the people in the NRF 2009 audience. I am guessing Prosperity?

There is no Irish Recruiter utilising YouTube.

The Targeted advertising that Facebook enables was mentioned. Want quality candidates? Well you can filter by sex, age (is that even legal?!), country and guess what? The Employer!

Recruitment is in a forced evolution and it ain’t pretty!

Recruiters should ask themselves and even more their clients: What other services could we do for you?

The last presentation culminated the uplifting session really. We even heard about the clear and undisputable signs of the start of the recovery of the recruitment industry. I do not know if it was a too much coffee but it really made me feel great!

On the way out I got a copy of the Irish Times papers, with the sad face of the Prime Minister. The rain was sipping outside. The water feature looked sad in the rain, and empty golf course looked like it is Autumn. Sky was so gray. Stepping out of the hotel from the National Recruitment Conference 2009 was actually a bit shocking. Kind of like falling back into the reality.

National Recruitment Federation 2009 - Sponsors

Anyway, I did bring my camera, and yes I made a few pictures. Thanks again to both the organisers and the sponsors!
(Vicky sais that I am like a stalker! :))

I hope to have a longer chat published here with Frank Collins, NRF President. We spoke today quickly about the changes the NRF is going through in the last five years, and about the plans for the future web site, the recruitment certification announced, and the role NRF is playing now and will be playing in the future.