If You Think Everyone Is Sourcing LinkedIn, You’re Right

Apr 30, 2013

Bullhorn social media reportIf you’re thinking every one is using LinkedIn to source candidates, you’re close to right.

Nearly every survey on source of hire or use of social media by recruiters shows LinkedIn to be a key part of the mix; often it leads all the listed social media sites. The company itself reported adding 2,400 customers in just the last quarter of 2012, bringing the total to 16,400 organizations under contract.

Now comes a Bullhorn survey to report that of the 160,000 registered users on Bullhorn Reach, 97% use LinkedIn to source candidates. That’s not as surprising as it might seem at first glance. Bullhorn Reach is a freemium site specifically for managing a social media program and posting jobs to the sites and to some job boards. Bullhorn Reach users are all committed to at least some level of social media interaction.

Yet, so strong is the draw of LinkedIn, that almost two-thirds of the Bullhorn Reach recruiters use nothing but the business network to find candidates. Far fewer are exclusive to either Facebook (2%) or Twitter (1%). Instead, these two networks are used in addition to LinkedIn.

For sourcers, what this should tell you is that with so many fishing in the same part of the lake, it’s time to move the boat. One of the more telling parts of the Bullhorn user report (which is data drawn from usage on Bullhorn Reach) is that few recruiters are making good use of either Twitter or Facebook.

Those who do, the so-called power users who have a presence on all three of the sites in this study, are the niche recruiters. Those who recruit for IT are by far the most numerous. Bullhorn says that of the 12% of its users who leverage LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, 3,249 are IT recruiters, which makes sense considering how competitive it is to find tech talent.

Bullhorn social media power usersRemarkably, though, only 12% of the Bullhorn Reach registrants are active on all three of the platforms.

Facebook, which has about five times as many registered members as LinkedIn, is far behind in recruiter use. Twitter is even further to the rear, with half the Twitter recruiters having fewer than 50 followers. Only 2% have networks in the 1,000-2,,000 follower range. On Facebook, 3% have that many connections; the majority, though, have fewer than 500, and 26% have under 200 Facebook friends.

The Twitter average is 290 followers. On Facebook, recruiters average 251 friends. LinkedIn users average 692 connections. More than 20% of the Bullhorn Reach recruiters have more than 1,000 contacts in their LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn also does better with job views and applications. The report, however, credits LinkedIn’s longer exposure, its business focus, and its familiarity, rather than any inherent superiority for sourcing candidates. About Facebook, the report says:

Its perception as a purely personal tool and the lack of awareness of its targeting features (such as friend lists) may account for why recruiters haven’t yet fully embraced it. However, our research indicates that it works better than Twitter for identifying place-able candidates.

Bullhorn’s 2013 North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends Report shows that while 22% of recruiters on Bullhorn reach use Facebook, versus 27% who use Twitter, Facebook produced more placed candidates. According to the report, 16.7% of recruiters successfully used Facebook to place candidates versus just 12.7% with Twitter.

However, 92.9% of recruiters reported LinkedIn produced candidates they placed.

Job postings on LinkedIn also got many more views (179 per) than they did on Facebook (10) and Twitter (45) combined. And LinkedIn yielded more job applications per job application than did either Facebook or Twitter.

Even when the size of the network — connections, friends, or followers — is factored in, LinkedIn is still the bigger producer by multiples. As you might expect, the bigger the network, the more applications each job posting gets. For Twitter and Facebook, thos numbers rise slowly; on Linkedin, even recruiters with fewer than 50 connections average 5.7 apps for each job they post. Those with mega networks of 5,000 or more get 22.6 applications. On Twitter and Facebook, no matter how large the network, the average number of applications maxes out at just under six.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!