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If LinkedIn is no longer the future of recruiting, what is?

Few sites have successfully transcended their social media-esque status and taken on a key role in international recruitment quite like LinkedIn. Since it’s launch in 2002, the site has revolutionised the way businesses—from startups to tech giants—scout and recruit staff. Today, it is the world’s largest professional network, with 39 million students or recent graduates and a total of 433 million registered users.

Unfortunately for LinkedIn, however, the site is not the useful tool it once was. Many recruiters have become concerned after it was suggested that the platform may favour candidates from certain social backgrounds. But if your business shouldn’t be confining its recruitment drive to LinkedIn, what should you be doing instead?

The problem with LinkedIn

LinkedIn fundamentally ruined recruitment. That attention-grabbing statement belongs to Maury Hanigan, CEO of US-based recruitment site Match-Click. That’s because most businesses choose to reduce costs of hiring head-hunters by scouring LinkedIn to find the best candidates.

For Hanigan, gaining access to LinkedIn’s seemingly infinite candidate pool isn’t always as good as it sounds since businesses “lose the curation and filtering that headhunters provided.” However, headhunters are often shunned for sites like LinkedIn because it allows businesses to quickly, efficiently and cheaply find an ‘infinite candidate pool’. They curation and filtering can be done in house for a fraction of the cost of headhunters.

However, there’s another issue with LinkedIn. It’s not an infinite pool, and there may be many great applicants who are not visible on the site, or are not on the site at all. You risk missing out on people who may be from far less impressive universities, but can offer your business something nobody else can. What if Linkedln isn’t an infinite pool but a puddle populated solely by Oxbridge-educated graduates?

Broadening the pool of candidates from which companies hire is one of the most important aspects of creating better, more-diverse teams. Yet many business just aren’t diverse enough. This is a controversy that has engulfed Silicon Valley—where, incidentally, LinkedIn is based— in recent years.

But hang on… why shouldn’t businesses want to hire graduates from prestigious universities?

What’s the problem with hiring from good schools? It’s not elitism to want the best candidates. Isn’t it sensible to assume that the best universities will spit out the best candidates?

Likewise, if you’ve worked hard throughout your time at school and gained a good degree, why shouldn’t you be the top of the list for companies?

These questions can’t be ignored. Both Oxford and Cambridge rank in the top 10 universities in the Global University Employability Ranking of 2016. This proves that the best graduates are bound to be from the best universities, but, the university itself isn’t enough to guarantee a good employee.

Brett Alpert, Stanford’s Associate Dean of career education, stated that “it is important for students entering today’s workplace to connect with many different people, from a range of professions.” The oaked-panel dormitories of Oxbridge colleges may not always be the best place to do just that. It certainly is not the only way to become a fantastic job candidate.

But again, business leaders will scream at their computer screen: “We’re not deliberately ignoring candidates from certain backgrounds. LinkedIn is the most cost-effective recruitment tool at our disposal, if not LinkedIn, what else is there?”

What does the future of recruitment look like?

Well, Maury Hanigan argues that what is missing in the world of LinkedIn recruitment is the personal touch. It’s not about moving away from hiring graduates from top universities, it’s about finding the right balance.

Increasingly, companies seeking to hire are turning to recruitment agencies to find candidates and provide that all important personal touch. Last year saw the number of new recruitment agencies increase by 10% from the same period in 2015. Such agencies attract job seekers of all ages, backgrounds and industries without depending on LinkedIn.

Graduate recruitment agencies are able to reach out to a hugely diverse pool of candidates by posting student ambassadors at Universities across the country, using social media and online campaigns. One advocator of such techniques is London-based agency Instant Impact, who attract potential graduates hires through an extensive brand ambassador programme. From here, the agencies exercise the human touch which LinkedIn lacks, and informally scope out the candidates on behalf of the potential employers.

This could go some way to addressing some of the major flaws identified in LinkedIn. Dave Foley, the former leader of a global sales unit at LinkedIn, expressed discontent towards the platform, saying that every business ended “typically looking at the same profile”. To remedy this, Foley founded Pymetrics.

The business model of Pymetrics completely rejects what they see as the elitist approach of LinkedIn. They play down the importance of universities or even past experience. Instead, they judge career history candidates on more than 90 emotional and cognitive traits to find out whether they’re suited to the role.

For many businesses, Foley’s method may be taking a step too far the other way. After all, past experience and universities are important. However, one thing is for certain. Recruitment is changing, and your business might not be able to rely solely on sites like LinkedIn to find the best candidates in the future.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Caitlyn Stevens .

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