“I have LinkedIn, so why do I need a recruiter?”

ImageI was at the RCSA ball last week. It was a good night – a few too many speeches and not enough dance floor action for my liking, but a fun night anyway.  I like to keep shoptalk to a minimum at these events – and thankfully most others do. But at one point I found myself talking to “Gordo” from LinkedIn, a fantastic chap who was passionate about telling me that LinkedIn was not the enemy of recruiters. Hanging on the edge of this conversation was a not so fantastic chap – the sort that loves the sound of their own voice and causing trouble.

“So you are in Rec-to-Rec Luke. Well you are screwed now LinkedIn is here. I mean, why would any decent recruiter need to use you to find  a job when they can do it all themselves?”

There has been an endless discussion about LinkedIn and the part it can play in recruitment. Most of these discussions have been from the point of view of the hiring manager or agency recruiter.  But this chap was talking about it from the point of view of a candidate looking for a new job.

His question had been specific to him as a recruiter looking for a new job. But I think the discussion that followed is relevant to more or less anyone seeking or considering a new job – and therefore relevant to any recruiter.  In fact, if I can justify why a recruiter should use another recruiter to look for a new job, then anyone should be able to justify it to their market………

So, if you were considering a new job, how would you go about it?”

“ Well Luke, I would reach out to my network and approach people directly. But in any case I get approached all the time via LinkedIn”

“So you are only going to talk to companies that you already know of, that approach you or those that are advertising. That is a small section of the companies out there who could potentially offer you that next job? What about the rest of the market, including those that you have never heard of?”

“Well, I haven’t got the time to speak to everyone. And if I haven’t heard of them I am not interested.”

“So, how much time do you think it will take you to secure a new job doing it yourself”

“Mmmm…well…not sure” 

“I am tipping it will take you a lot more time than you think. Have you got the time to do it properly”

“And I presume that your colleagues and bosses know you are leaving already, so there is no danger if they find out?”

“How would they find out?”

“Well. It is a goldfish bowl out there and so if you start flinging off your CV here and there, or speaking to people who knows where it will end up.”

“And when you get offered a job, how do you know what the business is really like? Just because you liked what they said in your interview and a few mates told you good things about them, is that enough information to make a big decision like this on?  You wouldn’t buy a house without getting a survey done would you?”

By this point our friend was starting to make a beeline for the bar, clearly unimpressed with the forehand cross court winner I had just returned to him. 

“Gordo” on the other hand simply said “Nice one. Spot on”

In essence, what our friend was saying was that he would rather look for a new job in a small pool of potential employers, run the risk of his boss finding out, make a decision based on maybe not very much more than a gut feel or a good sales pitch, and spend quite a bit of time doing all that.

Alternatively if he was to use someone like me he could consider a much larger part of the market including companies he doesn’t know of and companies that aren’t actively hiring. He can assure himself of confidentiality, make an informed decision based on expert advice, and spend a fraction of his time achieving all that…and of course for free.

I might be biased,  but if a recruiter can do all that (of course not all of them can) ….. why wouldn’t you use them? I always would. What about you?

Luke Collard

11 thoughts on ““I have LinkedIn, so why do I need a recruiter?””

  1. If the world were black and white, then perhaps one of you would be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in this situation. In my experience, there is more than one way to get a good job! Going through a rec2rec does not guarantee that your resume won’t end up in the hands of strangers, who could route back to your boss. Using a rec2rec also doesn’t guarantee you’ve got an accurate picture of what the company will be like on the inside – there is no crystal ball whether using rec2rec or going direct. You’re not guaranteed to spend less time searching (and when hunting for your perfect job, do you want it to be quick?) and I would agree that if I’m being presented companies I have never heard of, well… there’s a reason I have never heard of them… How will that influence my BD and success if I worked there? I think you’ve grilled this guy and missed a chance to have an interesting conversation about the role of LinkedIn (with the LI guy there!) and the evolving value of recruiters (rec2rec and other). It seems like you have an axe to grind – I don’t see a really persuasive argument for recruiters to use rec2recs here. Do you think more recruiters will use rec2rec if they see guys like this getting an ear-full?

    1. Thanks for the comment Alex. To come back to you on the first half of what you are saying, obviously it absolutely depends on who the recruiter is. A bad recruiter will make your job search more difficult and you are better doing it yourself. So, I agree there are no guarantees that using a recruiter will work. As for missing a chance to have an interesting conversation with him, well I was responding to his initial comment with my thoughts ..which I hope are interesting to some. And let’s be honest, his comment was somewhat inflammatory so I don’t think he was interested in having an interesting conversation. As for not seeing a really persuasive argument for recruiters to use rec2recs…..I am not sure if you are a recruiter but if you are how do you justify your service to candidates. And to answer your last question – I am meeting this guy next week to help him look for a new role.

  2. Really enjoyed this article. The last time I looked for a job I went through a couple of really good rec-2-recs and have to say they were great. Presented me with opportunities I had never considered before. Also I think you are spot on with the confidentiality. I went direct with one company and within a week my boss had found out I was looking.
    If looking again I would definitely use a rec-2-rec.

  3. Spot on article again ! Always like to read more. I agree that rec2rec is the way to go if you have a job and you are in “Career Change ” mode.

    – it is a different story for Job Seekers who have lost their job ( short or long term un-employed ) and I guess Luke would have a different approach there.

    I think recruiting needs to change and it needs more regulation and quality control or candidates and hiring managers will continue to swarm to quick fix online or mobile solutions.

    The industry will suffer further if it fails to organise this. as online – loop and quick fix solutions will spread faster and faster.

    I think it is time, that the truly passionate and organised recruiters get their act together to organise a regulation process to ensure more quality and service for both client groups. -JobSeeker and Hiring Manager.- But – seriously ? Does anyone out there actually care?

    Who wants to make the first move?….

  4. Recruiters play a valuable role as middlemen. As one seeking to move my career upwards (Data Science or management if you want to know) I find them valuable in producing new opportunities which I would never have time to find, and of course telling me if I am being unrealistic or underselling myself.

    From the point of view of the hirer the recruiter saves them a lot of time and has more experience qualifying candidates

    But cowboy recruiters do no one any good, as do hirers who go for the cheapest regardless of quality.

  5. If you do not understand the features, advantages and benefits of using an agency, r2r or otherwise, and you are working for an agency trying to sell the features advantages and benefits of using an agency, I would suggest that you are in the wrong job.

  6. That all sounds very impressive, How ever I do not have a lot of regard for your industry, I have used one person only from your industry to find me a job, And that lady was exemplary in her approach and her feed back and follow up and was not only successful in finding me a new Consultancy she also obtained a nice commission for placing me.
    As for the others, It would appear that placing my resume in front of them does not even warrant a reply., . Yes even the writer of this Blogs Consultancy, I still get approached by varying Industries for short term Contract work, so obviously I am employable, I was a very experienced and Successful Recruiter who excelled in cold calling and worked successfully through 2 recessions and came out the other side smiling. I am a team player and through my referees and Contacts I am highly regarded as an Employee. and Recruiter.. I still have fire in my belly and would relish the opportunity to show case my Skills. If the Courtesy I received from my fellow recruiters is the same courtesy they extend to their Candidates, Our Industry is indeed in poor hands.

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