Big congratulations to LinkedIn for racking up no less than 20 million users in the UK, this is a 100 percent increase from 10 million members in September 2012.

UK employers from online fashion retailer Net-A-Porter to builders’ merchant Travis Perkins all use LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions products to identify and recruit great talent. They join more than 22,000 other companies worldwide including 76 of the FTSE 100.

What’s different about LinkedIn? Well, for one it gives companies access to ‘passive’ candidates, or those not actively looking for a new job but who make up the vast majority of professionals. This enables employers to pinpoint the perfect candidates and engage with them directly through LinkedIn. This reduces the time and cost involved in recruiting the best talent.

As someone who started their career in recruiting before LinkedIn, I know what an impact it has had on the actual day-to-day recruiter job. To further investigate this, we thought we’d ask some talent acquisition leaders how the professional network has impacted the way they go about recruiting. Many thanks to everyone who helped us out.

How is LinkedIn used by UK companies to identify and recruiting talent?

“In my current role at the Travis Perkins Group, we’re using it to drive candidate pipelines and improve efficiencies in the hiring process. Having used LinkedIn both personally and corporately over the last nine years, I’ve seen how it can help find the right talent, as well as the opportunities it can help create, and have delivered over £2m savings using it.  It facilitates a highly positive candidate experience and the ability to reach far and fast, both in terms of market mapping and individual candidate approach.”

– Toby Barnes, Group Head of Resourcing, Travis Perkins Group

“From a recruitment perspective – the enhancements in the recruiter tools have been drastic over the last two years, the paid for products have opened up many options for us as business giving us the ever important competitive edge.”

– Claudine Edwards, Oliver James Associates

“LinkedIn has become a key part of our sourcing matrix, and PageGroup’s strategic relationship with them gives us the opportunity to reach a wider audience of clients and candidates. We have worked with LinkedIn to ensure Michael Page and Page Personnel consultants across the UK can secure extra placements and revenue from candidates sourced from LinkedIn, through applications to our job slots and from searching using LinkedIn.”

– Eamon Collins, Group Marketing Director, PageGroup

How has the job of the recruiter changed?

“Social media has made a huge contribution to the recruitment industry, empowering brands with the ability to directly connect with potential candidates. At McLaren, we are now able to engage a diverse, yet qualified audience and, through LinkedIn, position ourselves at the heart of relevant social communities.”

– Rob Bloom, Group Online Manager, McLaren

“Technology has both opened up and levelled the playing field for both candidates and employers. The access to data, insights and the ability to communicate across multiple mediums from anywhere has meant candidates can make informed careers decisions and recruiters can really actively source talent. The ability of recruiters to really understand the businesses/brands they represent and provide authentic and engaging interactions rather than “sell the dream” is critical to hire top talent.”

– Lee Yeap, Head of Resourcing, Sky

“The recruiter role has changed phenomenally over the last ten years. When I began in a recruitment agency it was all about face-to-face networking and cold calling reception desks for names and email addresses to build organisational charts. As networking services started to appear online, the industry began to realise their potential for contacting candidates about job vacancies. It didn’t take long for the recruiter’s role to completely change. Candidate inboxes soon flooded with generic emails from recruiters and agencies about job vacancies and the industry lost that personal connection for a while. As some recruiters became dangerously close to spammers, the importance of traditional face-to-face time with candidates is now coming back to the fore. The way we use networking tools and interact with online communities is again evolving to become more personalised, supportive and ultimately valuable for all parties.”

– Lucy Birchenough, Recruitment Manager- Technology & Finance, THE NET-A-PORTER GROUP

“Being a Recruiter has changed beyond belief. It used to be about finding reliable agencies, then we started to move to a mix of job boards and agencies, followed by a burning hunger to reduce agency usage we blitzed job boards, then we realised that job boards were expensive and not always successful in every region or skill set  so we used metrics to drill down to match regions/skill sets with the associated successful job boards, next we ignored the ridiculous fixed price job board blanket posting companies and then we realised that LinkedIn could potentially replace most of our job board usage if we were smart about using it…and we never looked back!”

– Andrew Groves, Head of Talent Acquisition, Hibu

What was your LinkedIn ‘aha’ moment?

“When we were able to map out an entire organisational structure with associated profiles and target them all from one place with individually tailored communications.”

– Lee Yeap, Head of Resourcing, Sky

“Like many brands, entering the social space is a considered decision and initially entered through a trialled period. When we recognised the quality of candidates that we are able to source, enabling the right placements to fill our vacancies at McLaren, it became evident that LinkedIn was a vehicle that could help drive McLaren’s recruitment processes moving forwards, while at the same time lowering the cost per acquisition.”

Rob Bloom, Group Online Manager, McLaren

“Realising that searching LinkedIn with a Recruiter licence was actually a breeze and not an arduous task!”

Andrew Groves, Head of Talent Acquisition, Hibu

What’s been the key to LinkedIn’s success in the UK?

“The platform filled a void initially, both as a professional network for members and a global talent tool (sourcing and brand) for recruiters and organisations that has kept evolving to members needs and changing the talent landscape.”

– Lee Yeap, Head of Resourcing, Sky

“From a recruiter’s perspective, the strength of the technology is the biggest asset, along with a great team of people who help our recruiters get the most out of the LinkedIn features. The specialist recruiter licence is the key tool we use, it allows us to build productive talent pipelines and record a rich database of information on candidates. We also use CheckIn for capturing candidate data at events instantly and automatically from iPads.”

– Lucy Birchenough, Recruitment Manager- Technology & Finance, THE NET-A-PORTER GROUP

“Ultimately, the way that LinkedIn links candidates that are key to our business and notifies the network of roles we currently have. We are able to proactively reach into qualified communities rather than being solely reliant on discovery.”

– Rob Bloom, Group Online Manager, McLaren

“Creating easy to use recruiter tools that work.”

– Andrew Groves, Head of Talent Acquisition, Hibu

How do you see recruiting continuing to evolve?

“As companies become better at retaining their talented teams, the recruitment industry is not just about targeting this passive talent, but increasing brand awareness and building genuine relationships with the right people long term. For instance, at THE NET-A-PORTER GROUP we focus on building long term relationships with niche communities like Perl developers and encouraging our own experts to engage with these groups. We often host events, where we invite developers to hear about our own projects and share their interests in an informal networking environment.”

– Lucy Birchenough, Recruitment Manager- Technology & Finance, THE NET-A-PORTER GROUP

“More and more in house teams will realise that they don’t need agencies if they know what they are doing. The candidate experience will evolve as the central piece of the recruitment process and the companies that don’t realise this will struggle to recruit top talent.”

– Andrew Groves, Head of Talent Acquisition, Hibu

We discussed how LinkedIn has changed the way we do business in the UK with James Caan and other British business leaders, have a listen below or on iTunes.

What are your thoughts on LinkedIn and recruiting? Please let us know in the comments below!

About Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO at Link Humans, a social and digital marketing agency.

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