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6 March 2015

LinkedIn Fatigue: Reaching Epidemic Proportions

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The Unsettling Reality about Talent Retention


by Amanda Fone

A new disease has taken hold and it’s dragging people down. It’s called LinkedIn Fatigue. The only way to alleviate the stress-like symptoms of this irritating condition is to press ‘delete’ each time you get a message from a junior in-house talent recruiter wanting to tell you about a role that bears no resemblance to what you are looking for in your next career move.

LinkedIn started as an online business community and a fantastic sharing opportunity for groups of like-minded people. But, more and more, it feels like it’s becoming a sophisticated Jobs Board. And we have plenty of those in the market already.

A defining trend of 2014 was the breakdown of the impact of LinkedIn on recruitment. Many companies have invested significantly in LinkedIn licences and hired in house recruiters to scour the site to find talent. But many have also found they don’t have the traction they thought they would have in enticing great people away from their current employers.

Companies and individuals tell us they now miss having an informed middle person to broker and manage the interview process, to make introductions and to provide insight into companies on their behalf. Clients that resolutely told us that they would not use us again for roles beneath £60,000 are coming back to us in their droves.

LinkedIn is a superb tool but it’s not the Holy Grail of recruitment and talent sourcing. Last time we asked candidates about it some of them told us they are contacted by in house recruiters more than ten times a week and are fed up with it.

We also have anecdotal evidence that hiring through LinkedIn incurs a higher drop-out rate than hiring candidates found through a search firm that meets them face to face and matches values and behaviours as well as skills. How can you be absolutely sure you’ve met the very best people in the market via LinkedIn?

LinkedIn continues to innovate in its sourcing and recruiting services, including last year’s launch of new search options that try to add a culture fit as well as skills and experience. But the challenge is that the information we share via LinkedIn is relatively limited, particularly when it comes to personality and behaviour. The information individuals share is the information they choose to share – it is self-written, self-assessed and endorsements are written by people who are highly unlikely to publish something that is not complimentary.

I feel strongly that there might well be a “big bang” moment coming for recruitment and talent sourcing but I don’t think it is likely to come from the power and reach of LinkedIn alone. Rather, I think it will come when big data and analytics start to make a meaningful contribution to helping match an individual’s values and behaviours to those of an organisation, and when we can combine those analytics with the savvy application of personal instinct. Now that will be a powerful game-changer.