Talent Acquisition

Recruiters: Don’t Expect a Return on Investment from LinkedIn!

I am a massive fan of Return of Investment (ROI) when using social media, and I’m not talking about silly “like”, “follower”, ”share” metrics. I get why marketers think these are important (I know they are), but the majority of my agency recruitment clients want £$€ stats.

Do you know how much LinkedIn is worth to you?

Now if you are a good boy / girl, you’ll know that what you find on social media in terms of leads needs to be recorded on your lovely CRM (no excuses, it’s your job!) If I came in to your business now and asked you for report on how many opportunities / leads / placements you’ve made from LinkedIn, would you be able to tell me? And would you know how many grade A candidates you’ve found on this platform?  Would you know how much £$€ you’d lose if the CEO of LinkedIn pulled the plug, or worse made your free license totally chargeable?

Most of the recruiters I work with are working on that metric (phew), but many more out there are not. They see using LinkedIn as a given; they don’t measure its success apart from the “it just takes one placement…” (yawn… I’ve heard this mantra since the early 2000s when job boards were a massive expense to recruiters, and it didn’t wash with me then).

Placement fees are down – Cost of hire is up:

I have a horrid feeling that just like placement fees have been going down in recent years, the cost of hire has gone up (or worse recruiters don’t know what their cost of hire is). This is not good when you consider that most users of social media are not even paying for the privilege. Worse, they are spreading themselves so thinly with more systems / processes / devices, and their leaders have low expectations of these things that it’s just a total mess and the risks are massive. Time wastage, data loss, brand erosion is common.

So, I think that the average recruitment director lives in the following world:

  • Your staff are simply “on” LinkedIn – zero strategy for what they need to be doing with it
  • You have little idea what activities your staff are undertaking online
  • You are not measuring these activities (input or output)
  • You have a low expectation of their online activity
  • Your CRM has no clue that LinkedIn exists
  • Your risk is massive – lots of recruiters behaving like hair dressers renting chairs, zero visibility over the data they are collecting on your watch and an assumption that your contract covers this (rumour control: the data they collect belongs to LinkedIn, not your recruiters or you!)

If this is you, how do you feel about this? Are you are happy or do you think you deserve better? What would you do if LinkedIn removed free licenses? Are you actually in a position to constructively evaluate the value of LinkedIn Recruiter license without focusing on the cost? (Rumour control: I’m totally impartial but am nagging all of my clients to review the LinkedIn Recruiter product so they are better educated and ready for the inevitable change that their business faces).

Although I don’t think that recruiters will ever be forced to pay for LinkedIn, I do feel that you get what you pay for. After all, there’s a reason why many recruiters don’t rate free job boards! There are some pretty decent functions in the Recruiter system and they are giving many a recruiter a competitive edge.

I think that the era of “free” social media is coming to an end. The time spent on using it needs quantifying (many recruiters measure phone calls, sendouts, in branches, placements). Recruitment directors need to raise their expectations and implement business-process-led activities which are visible, measurable and the output of which belongs to the business. This will not only help the progression of the business in the digital world, but will also help with business cases for the competitive use (not free use) of social tools.

What do you think? Are you a recruitment director/manager/leader? Do you have social media “nailed down” in your business? Do you know its £$€ value? What are your expectations of it? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

By Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones is a Director at Barclay Jones, a Consultancy working with recruiters advising them on the most effective use of technology, web and social media to improve their business processes, recruitment and bottom line. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaMariJones.