LinkedIn…Where’s the competitive advantage?
“When everybody plays, nobody wins.” Catchy slogan that, not sure where I got it from?? But there is some truth in it. I’ve spent 10 years working with ad agencies and direct employers, and this is not target at you. This is directed at recruitment companies. An old friend once told me that if ad agencies were the coffee close, recruitment companies are the Stella close. No bullshit. No fluff. “What can you do for me and how little can I pay for it.”
Ok, lets put a few facts on the table, and if you disagree with them, stop reading or move straight to the comments section:
- Every recruiter is using LinkedIn
- Most direct recruiters are using LinkedIn (If they’re direct sourcing)
- Every recruiter is trying to make money
- Every recruiter makes money from placing a candidate that their competition or client can’t.
Agreed? Ok, we carry on.
If you agree with the above, answer me this; If every recruiter and direct recruit are using LinkedIn, where’s the competitive advantage to you using LinkedIn?
Don’t get me wrong, LinkedIn is a recruitment juggernaut. For me to sit here and say otherwise would be a show of ignorance on my part and a complete disservice to the people that read this blog. They’re going places. We get it.
But during a recent lunch with a client of mine, I posed the question, “Where is the competitive advantage?” and they had no answer. For me, LinkedIn is like Google, or email. They’re a main stay in the recruitment world and will be..well..forever. Everyone has access to it, most have the premium license or recruiter license, and most will find how to use it to the best ability. Of course they will, because there are enough Gurus to show them how. But what happens when they all understand how to use it like ninja’s? What happens next? Do they all forward the same perfect candidate to their client, which, guess what, they’re client already has because they have in-house LinkedIn ninja’s? What happens then? Who offers the best rate? That’s not a game anyone wants to play. Who’s got the best relationship with the candidate? Well as much as much of a relationship you can have with someone over InMail. That’s if they actually reply to you, because the reality is, not everyone on LinkedIn wants a job. Ok, let’s for a second believe they do and you, as a recruiter, can convince them that they need a new job. It still comes down to the fact that before you’ve had a chance to offer them the interview of a lifetime, the employer themselves have already been in-touch with them, and if they haven’t, a competitor has.
So now what?
When everybody plays, nobody wins.
I love Monster. It’s in my blood and I still believe they’re a product unparalleled. And I remember when their Glasgow team went to work on the recruitment company market and they were the biggest part of the Monster money (probably still are). And then what happened? Everyone had access and the same candidates were getting forwarded on to the same clients and what followed was that every direct employer got wind and took advantage of those candidates themselves. They went from the competitive advantage to the main stay, like LinkedIn will quickly become, and even quicker than Monster, because for the most part, they give their services away.
So where’s the competitive advantage?
It’s the small pockets of candidates that the recruiter can/will/must get to before anyone else does. Maybe that’s a community forum of Dutch speaking Accountants. Or maybe it’s www.ITClowns.com. Or maybe it’s a magazine that only distributes to SE1 Estate Agents. What ever it is, it’s a competitive advantage.
LinkedIn is a main stay, and I’m sure they’ll sort out they’re issue’s with who owns the rights to the candidates their recruiters are sourcing, which is another issue all together.
But a competitive advantage, they’re quickly unbecoming.