Times are changing.

It feels like things are changing.

Last week I got approached as part of a blanket mail out by a contact on LinkedIn with what (to all intents and purposes) was a list of demands – “I’m looking for X, at X type of company, paying X+. Please contact me if you have anything suitable,” and it got me thinking. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are hordes of hungry recruiters who relish the fact that the meat has come to the hunter*, but I think this is indicative of a wider problem.

It’s a tough market at the moment, and most recruiter’s reaction is to crank up the volume and adopt the ‘more is more’ mantra, and the message the above sends out is clear – if you’re going to spam, you’re going to get spammed back.  I’ve got a love-hate relationship with LinkedIn – it’s great for background checking people, finding common ground and mapping out the market, but as a communications platform, and as a recruitment tool, I think the dog has had its day*.

With more and more noise and pollution on tired and over-used platforms like LinkedIn, it’s hard to cut through without a clear, compelling and relevant message (and even then it’s amidst piles and piles of background noise).  If anything, we’re encouraging a culture of over-empowered candidates who won’t commit and whose salary expectations are often farcical and unrealistic.  And it’s all our fault.

Meanwhile…  Network agency PSLs seem to be exploiting the power of volume to dictate terms of engagement, control the process and capture (and ‘own’) stacks of data, invariably leading to squabbles. It also serves to conflict with the fundamental role of the recruiter which is to best represent and champion the candidate and the client alike.  As recruiters, we’re being forced into a quantity over quality market and it’s devaluing our product.

If things continue the way they’re going, surely the role of the recruiter in digital media will be devalued into redundancy.

What’s the solution?  A network.  A real network, not a social network.  One built upon relationships, recommendations, expertise and understanding, not on a scatter-gun LinkedIn lottery.  That’s our real value as recruiters – we know people and we know the right people and we know them well enough to act as their eyes and their ears and to act as their guide. We need to up the service, we need to provide advice and value to candidates and we need to put quality and relevancy over quantity and a bucket of wishful thinking.*

* A short apology for the abundance of analogies in this post, no analogies were harmed in the writing of this post.