LinkedIn is a professional networking website that has exploded in growth to over 85 million members in 200 countries by late 2010. The power of such a platform for networking is still being assessed by many of its members, but one community seems to have embraced the networking possibilities of the site and are making it work for them in a big way.
Having ready access to a working population networked in different ways has proved to be a huge bonus for the recruitment profession. All over the world, professional recruiters are embracing LinkedIn and finding that their ability to find people with niche skills and expertise has increased significantly. Many recruitment companies specialise in specific market sectors like engineering, life sciences or finance. Within these companies, some executives will specialise further within the sectors, for example, niche areas like aerospace engineering, microbiology or accountancy. Some of these areas can be very narrow and focused, giving recruiters limited visibility of potential candidates. A platform or database like LinkedIn gives recruitment professionals the ability to discover new, rich seams of talent that they may not have been aware of before in parts of the world they may not have considered before.
Since LinkedIn allows communication between people, even when they are not connected in the same network, recruitment companies can get a feel for the marketplace that will help them inform their clients. Entering into dialogue with people who have the expertise that the recruiters are looking for will help them understand the scarcity of certain skills and the market value of such skills and experience in terms of salaries for the jobs they are trying to fill.
Having the ability to tap into a broad knowledge base like this and to make contact with potential candidates almost immediately, gives recruiters the ability to perform their task more quickly and to ensure their client receives the best and fastest service possible.
If you are a member of LinkedIn, take a look through the connections of some of the members in your immediate network. There’s a good chance that you’ll find some recruitment specialists and headhunters in your network. These links give the recruiters visibility of broad areas of industry in terms of the people available and skillsets that exist. That’s why many recruiters will link up to people they have not yet done business with. Equally, a great many LinkedIn members see that recruitment executives are pivotal nodes in the overall LinkedIn network. They are junctions to parallel industries, other companies and potential seams of talent.
Recruitment professionals have been quick to see the benefit of LinkedIn and to capitalise upon it. As the site becomes the defacto network management tool of choice, recruiters will become even more savvy in their use of the system. It’s clear then that recruiters and candidates alike who are not yet LinkedIn could very well be missing out on significant opportunities.