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The decline of LinkedIn: Why are Recruiters and Candidates looking elsewhere?

For recruiters, the rise of LinkedIn was met with mixed feelings

Many of us use LinkedIn to connect with relevant people in our industries and make contacts when looking for a new job or career change. As a recruitment tool, however, it is now declining as a result of a fundamental shift which is altering the way in which executives find and appoint talented staff.

According to a study in 2013 from the Society Of Human Resource Management, 77% of employers use social networks for recruiting, which was up from 56% just two years earlier. 94% of recruiters said they used LinkedIn in 2013, but the number of users has declined rapidly from the peak figures it enjoyed just a few years ago.

Data of applicants that was stored in private databases became available to the general public, which did away with the need for old-fashioned head-hunters who had previously acted as exclusive middlemen between candidates and businesses.

This large volume of data, however, encouraged recruiters who were less experienced to engage in what’s known as a “mass-blasting” of possible candidates based upon overly simple searches. This often resulted in inappropriate targeting and inaccurate results. As a result this has put off countless job seekers who may have considered a given company if they were approached correctly.

As a tool, LinkedIn was a breath of fresh air when it was launched and recruiters used it extensively. With the existence of a growing number of tools and with technology moving at such a fast pace, many candidates are now moving away from LinkedIn.

So what other tools are out there that candidates are using? Github and Entelo are newcomers to the online arena, with Entelo in particular billing itself as “a new and better way to recruit”. This platform is straightforward and allows users to find a candidate’s email, phone number and everything you need to know in order to approach them directly instead of going through LinkedIn.

Github is another new player and favoured by software developers and engineers for creating, collaborating and sharing code and open source projects. In addition to competing social networks, there are also many other platforms that can be used to find high quality candidates. Companies can even find those who write white papers and book reviews.

None of this means that LinkedIn’s days are numbered, despite its recent significant drop in numbers. It remains a useful tool, and many recruiters still use it for research and for making connections. There are more online tools now available to recruiters than there were a few years ago, with more being launched. In order to compete with these new online platforms, LinkedIn will need to change its game plan accordingly.

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  1. It’s no surprise that it has changed. Yes, it’s still a tool. I mean, there’s never really a silver bullet in Recruiting anyway. But, it is ABSOLUTELY not as useful as it once was. It has changed dramatically over the past year. LI hasn’t been able to keep up with those changes very well. I used to be able to post my career opportunities (either in my status updates / groups) and I would see an abundance of people contacting me to inquire. Now, I get nothing. The newsfeed is too overwhelming. It’s too filled with pic / math problems / half-naked women (one time I had a fully naked woman on my feed), political cartoons that have no business being on LI. I do love my network and that’s the best thing about LI but it’s lost much of its value in terms of recruiting. It’s moving from being a professional networking site to another run-of-the-mill social site that is millennial-driven and millennial-focused.

  2. There are fewer reasons to join linkedin today. The level of functionality has diminished significantly since I joined linkedin in 2006. Gone are the third party apps, the rich reports on your personal network by industry, sub sector, region. Within linkedin groups you can not even identify group members location from the member list anymore.

  3. Whilst I agree with the state of LinkedIn declining and becoming more of a “standard” social media platform I don’t think we can say its usefulness has disappeared. Until another viable platform for professional networking arises LinkedIn will retain its status.
    In regards to GitHub and Entelo – GitHub is great for the developer community but what about everyone else? LinkedIn is not just used by developers. Entelo is good but it gains most of it’s database from LinkedIn profiles so without LinkedIn what use is Entelo? I’ll not go into the other flaws of Entelo as this isn’t the right platform for that.

    I seriously feel that LinkedIn needs to be “fixed” or an alternative platform is required but for now it’s still the go to platform for recruiters AND candidates – most people still use LinkedIn for searching for a new role in almost any field.

  4. My preference for Sourcing is Resume Database. Cheap = $1 per contact and you know that those people are more open to opportunities because they have posted their resume instead of a social profile.

  5. I’ve been on LinkedIn in a number of years. I see the same companies posting the same jobs. Over and over again, never hear from them , I don’t think they even hire. But it’s there. I’ve never got a job from them, I’ve heard your CV is impressive at interviews. End of the day, they hire some foreign worker.

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