This is not intended to come across like a marketing ad for LinkedIn, but after my recent experiences with hiring a senior consultant for our company, I’m a believer!
When hiring, we have tended (like most organizations) to use three approaches:
– The grapevine
– Professional recruiting agencies
– Online job boards
The first option can yield the best candidates but usually works well with clearly defined or commodity-type roles. It also has the benefit of having the lowest cost. A big challenge is limitations on the quantity of suitable candidates.
The second option reduces the burden of initial qualification, and, with the right agency, can provide access to talent that may not be available through any other channels. The challenge with this approach is potentially significant cost, but also, significant effort and frustration when a new or slightly different type of role is being staffed.
The third option works best when a commodity role is being staffed or when cost is a major constraint and sufficient time is available to weed out the high percentage of “outliers”.
I am now happy to say that a fourth option – that of using a professional-oriented social networking site such as LinkedIn seems to have addressed all the weaknesses of the first three. For under $195 U.S., and with less than three hours of my time invested in initial qualification of submissions, we received 61 applications of which 19 were worth considering. This is just under a 1:3 signal:noise ratio and I would wager that any of you that have done a similar job posting via one of the dedicated online job sites would be hard pressed to beat this ratio.
So why is this the case? Here are some thoughts:
1. The economy is poor so there is a greater supply of qualified talent for all open positions – if this is true, then either option 2 or 3 would likely have been equally effective. Of course, it would have been hard to beat the price we paid…
2. LinkedIn is still catering towards professionals – true, but I’ve also seen some “jokers” out there in LinkedIn-ville.
Here’s one theory – dissatisfaction with traditional staffing methods is causing qualified candidates to leverage communities such as LinkedIn where they can network, establish credibility, research potential employers and apply for jobs without having to wade through overwhelming or confusing search engines at dedicated job sites or without being hounded (or ignored) by recruiting agencies.
So the question is, what can option 2 & 3 learn from LinkedIn?