Is LinkedIn the silver bullet for talent sourcing?

Eric van Gils, Partner

As a search recruitment business much of the value we bring to clients is the ability to identify the most suitable candidate for an opportunity. I am often asked whether LinkedIn doesn't make this job easy enough for anyone with a LinkedIn account to source difficult to find talent.

LinkedIn is an amazing service and should definitely be used to support any search process.Professionals are increasingly using the site to keep their on-line professional profile up-to-date and to connect with business connections. This definitely improves their on-line profile and our ability to identify them for roles we are working on. However, the fact that not everyone is always looking for a new career opportunity and a large portion of profiles are not detailed or up-to-date means LinkedIn will give you a view, but a limited view, of the potential candidates for a specific role.

As with all systems, the data you get out is only as good as the data that is put into the system.

For LinkedIn to be the silver bullet, the following would need to hold true :-

1) Everyone is on LinkedIn and keeps their profile up-to-date

2) All profiles are detailed enough to understand exactly what experience and exposure all candidates have had

3) Everyone responds to contact made on LinkedIn and it is possible to easily obtain up-to-date candidate contact details when they have accepted an approach

If you consider your own LinkedIn profile and your interaction with people who send you requests, I doubt whether all three of the above apply to you.

LinkedIn is an important tool in the search process and assists the search process, but a LinkedIn search will never give you the entire market or the certainty you have included the best candidates in your research report.