LinkedIn Or LinkedOut? Revisiting the 2016 SourceCon State of Sourcing Survey

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Dec 19, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

I was invited to join a Facebook group “No LinkedIn Fridays” by Jeff Newman. It’s a group of active, innovative recruiters and sourcers who’re exploring new resources, channels, and tools to find a LinkedIn alternative. As advised by the group admins, this group is for people who will commit not just to staying off LinkedIn every Friday but also to sharing our other go-to places, tips, tricks and any other information that will help us get beyond the quick fixes. Later Kerri Mills updated the group photo with a fantastic “LinkedOut” logo as shown in the cover image of this article.

Wait…it’s so familiar, isn’t it? LinkedIn or LinkedOut? It motivated me to write something to share with our community.

When Shannon Pritchett published the 2016 State of Sourcing survey results on SourceCon this October, I felt that I could not admire the SourceCon community more. It’s a community with a deep and insightful understanding of talent sourcing. Most of us owe Pritchett 20 minutes of careful reading of her articles and surveys. I would like to revisit the sourcing survey to argue whether we are leaning towards being LinkedIn or LinkedOut.


How much do we “LinkedIn?”

I summarize the usage of LinkedIn from the survey in table one. Wow! LnkedIn dominates our talent sourcing industry without any doubt. If we combine usage of both LinkedIn paid and LinkedIn free, it’s almost 100% of recruiters who use LinkedIn daily. LinkedIn owns the most accurate and fresh professional data on over 400 million professionals, making it the biggest ever recruiting platform.


Table 1: Usage of LinkedIn job board and candidate search from SourceCon community


However, 100% of usage doesn’t bring 100% successful hires. Table two shows how many hires recruiters can attribute to LinkedIn paid vs. LinkedIn free accounts in the last 12 months.


Table 2: How efficient and effective LinkedIn can be for successful hires.


Almost 20% of recruiters had no hires in the past 12 months. These people are (or should be) looking for better channels than LinkedIn. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is still the best channel so far. Picture one shows the lever of satisfaction with LinkedIn paid and LinkedIn free. Paid LinkedIn takes the number one, and free LinkedIn takes the number three.


Picture 1: Linkedin paid, Indeed and LinkedIn free are the top three most satisfied websites as a sourcing tool.


How much do we “LinkedIn?” The answer is so clear. It raises a dangerous signal that we rely on LinkedIn too much. Homogeneity may not help most of us to be outperforming our peers. At the meantime, LinkedIn seems to have no interests in listening to the recruiter community. Furthermore, more and more people are leaving or inactive on LinkedIn. LinkedIn may lose the principal advantage of having the most accurate and fresh professional data shortly. What should we do then to keep and even improve further our recruiting efficiency? Our sourcing channel should be diversified.


How to “LinkedOut?”

Before getting into this section, I want to be clear that I am not trying to convince you to leave LinkedIn. If LinkedIn is working well, why not keep going and even make better use of it? Having multiple tools and resources is not only smart but also practical. To recruiters and sourcers, it’s always good to explore more and better solutions for talent acquisition. It brings to my memory my Ph.D. advisor. He told me an easy way to be outstanding – standing out. We have to stand out first. Everyone is on LinkedIn now. If we could stand out of LinkedIn for a single Friday, we are outstanding for that day. Of course, the assumption is that we don’t sacrifice any efficiency.

Do we have good database alternatives to search? It’s the first question we may ask. We may have to try Google/Bing X-ray search, Facebook graph search, Indeed search, AngelList search, Github search, Twitter search, Quora search, Stackoverflow search, PDF resume search, etc. If we believe that the Internet has been resourceful enough, we should be confident that we could find more than enough candidates precisely.

Do we have proper channels to engage candidates without LinkedIn InMails and messages? There are a lot of ways to find anyone’s email address. Hiretual, Connectifier, Prophet, etc. are great tools to find contact information. We might also have to find other innovative ways to reach out candidates if we don’t want to be labeled as “spam producers.” At the meantime, this requires more of a commitment to recruiter training and development. I also believe that we might indeed need a new social platform so that we can engage with candidates more naturally and friendly.

Are we allowed to stand out of LinkedIn even for a single day? So many recruiter managers measure a recruiter’s performance based on LinkedIn activities. If we don’t have a free space to explore, we will have to stay at our existing TA workflow/process forever. We get used to it, and our bosses get used to it as well. Stand out, please. If we do believe sourcing can be innovative and creative, why not start to change from now?

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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