Talent Solutions, LinkedIn’s primary revenue stream, is the perfect solution for recruiters. It offers them a much wider applicant pool, which they can source, classify and accumulate themselves using in-house HR teams. It also makes LinkedIn profiles available for use by recruiters wanting to fill an internal posting and is beneficial to analyse the competition in terms of demand and popularity.
But it has its flip side too. This post covers the other side of Talent Solutions, where it has not yet caught on mainstream, or has resulted in a little too much.
1. Increased visibility to competition
If sourcing candidates through LinkedIn in lieu of external recruitment agencies has become much easier and more convenient, the retention of employees has also become a tad bit more challenging, as employees are now more visible to recruiters from other companies. If the right offer is made, even passive job-seekers will move, possibly causing a dent in smooth flow of operations of an organisation. This increased visibility online exposes a candidate to the competition, allowing easier access and communication. Earlier, a person might not have been in the talent pool of many head-hunters, but with the availability of data through LinkedIn, every profile is publicly visible to most people and recruiters can make the most of it.
At a macroscopic level, there is an influx of candidates from the wider applicant pool available to source but there is also a potential outflow of employees to the competition. Ultimately, this does not benefit the organisation as it expends more time and effort in transitioning itself to stability rather than on achieving its objectives.
The increased visibility to competitors also facilitates, at least in part, the practice of “poaching” employees. As skilled talent becomes more easily visible, competitors snatch onto the opportunity. Facebook and Apple have been accused in the past of poaching talent from Google and Microsoft. They may not have relied on LinkedIn but it does make a strong case for searching for people with the requisite skillset.
2. Sorting and sifting candidate pool
The much wider talent pool available on LinkedIn also results in recruiters spending more time sorting and classifying candidates according to internal metrics of recruitment. Time that was once spent by external recruitment consultants to source and compile a list of candidates is now spent by in-house recruitment teams to do similar tasks.
When more data becomes available, there is always a tendency to keep digging more to find the perfect fit. With only over 300million members, sorting and sifting through the candidate pool is already becoming a hassle. The expanse of data on LinkedIn is rapidly growing by the minute and it is likely to continue in the foreseeable future, thus compounding the problems that recruiters will face in their flurry of activity on the site. Sorting the right talent will become more cumbersome as more stringent filters will need to be applied to limit the search results down to a feasible few.
Moreover, the validation practice of background checks is still, in most cases, carried out by external parties. In essence, LinkedIn just helps to source candidates across the globe, but most of the rest of the work is still carried out by recruitment consultants.
3. Executive Recruitment
An area of operations in which LinkedIn has not been the preferred platform for most companies is recruitment for top jobs. For most of the top jobs, head-hunting firms that specialise in senior executive recruitment are still the favoured choice. This is because executives prefer to have their transactions and dealings discreetly through these firms.
For such positions, LinkedIn has not yet become the platform of choice. In the article Workers of the world, log in, The Economist states that rather than recruitment agencies going out of business as more recruiters and business users rely on LinkedIn for their recruitment tasks, they seem to be thriving especially in the areas of executive recruitment. Most senior-level positions are filled not through sourcing done through LinkedIn but rather in the conventional way of using head-hunters to initiate and handle proceedings.
Thus Talent Solutions has its enormous benefits and some shortcomings as well, with the benefits far outweighing the shortcomings. Now that we have established that LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions is not just another solution in the market, we shall proceed to see in the next post what purpose it serves in the economics of the labour market and how LinkedIn connects (or aims to connect) the dots.