2014: The Year LinkedIn Loses Out to Twitter and Facebook?

By Tony Restell

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Social Recruiting - LinkedIn Loses Out to Twitter and FacebookIf one thing has transformed the recruiting landscape these last couple of years, it's the rise of LinkedIn. Or rather the growth of inhouse recruiting teams - the catalyst for which has been LinkedIn. But has the business soared so high there's a danger it'll now face something of a fall?

Well I predict that 2014 will be the year when recruiters broaden their approach to social recruiting. To date, there’s been a heavy reliance on LinkedIn. This has been largely warranted by both the results it’s delivered and by the modest hiring climate we’ve been operating in. But both of these factors are changing in front of our very eyes.

Without question, LinkedIn has had a dramatic effect on the hiring market over the last couple of years. The way it has empowered internal recruiting teams to find and approach candidates has transformed employers’ reliance on other recruiting channels. Recruitment businesses, specialist publications and job boards have all suffered as a result.

However, LinkedIn is now becoming a victim of its own success. So strong has the uptake of its recruiter offering been, candidates have found themselves receiving an increasing deluge of approaches from recruiters. Some of them desired, others not. The upshot of this – which I’m hearing time and time again – is that recruiters are now having to approach far far more candidates on LinkedIn to generate the same results that just a small number of approaches would have delivered only 18 or 24 months ago. Candidates are now less responsive to these approaches – and some are even scaling back their LinkedIn profiles to the bare minimum in order to “hide” themselves from the eyes of recruiters.

This change is important for two reasons. Firstly it suggests that in a more buoyant market, LinkedIn will be constrained in terms of the volume of hires that it can deliver for employers. If hiring volumes were to double, it’s not at all clear that LinkedIn’s contribution to the hiring total could keep pace. Secondly as LinkedIn becomes comparatively more costly as a recruitment channel, the appeal of other channels will increase. Job boards could very quickly see an upturn in business, as the economics of using them become more favourable. The likes of Twitter and Facebook – to date only modestly used as hiring tools – could suddenly see a surge in recruiter activity. I expect both to be adopted by recruiters with far more vigour as 2014 unfolds, particularly as people aggregators gain traction and make sourcing from these channels increasingly easy.

Of course the second component I mentioned at the outset is the hiring climate. At the time of writing, we are several months into what looks like a significant improvement in the economic climate – with a surge in hiring activity to mirror the improving economic headlines. With most commentators agreeing that these trends will be sustained – and accelerated – into 2014, the need and pressure for recruiters to raise their game will undoubtedly gain momentum too.

So 2014 – the year that LinkedIn’s lead is eroded… and Twitter, Facebook and the People Aggregators are in the ascendency. Check back with me in a year’s time (@tonyrestell) and let me know if I got it right! (and I'd love to hear your own predictions for 2014 recruiting trends in the comments section below)

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