7 Deadliest Sins of Sourcing & Searching on LinkedIn Recruiter

Most recruiters aren’t surprised when they hear that LinkedIn is the number one social recruiting source on the internet. It’s the go-to tool for recruiters looking to quickly source candidates for nearly every job opening. The simple fact that it offers a quick way to connect with candidates had led to massive amounts of abuse. Recruiters, business owners and professionals are abusing LinkedIn using it as a business marketing platform that’s focused on spray and pray.

And that’s my biggest gripe on LinkedIn. It’s become a self-promotional tool where millions of members are shouting from their soapbox saying, “Hey you, pick me!” LinkedIn is an amazing platform. I’m a fan of their search and sourcing functionality as well as their paid recruiter product, LinkedIn Recruiter. Having been a long time user of LinkedIn, it’s not LinkedIn that is the problem, its the egregious offenses users commit when engaging on the professional social network platform that is LinkedIn.

On second thought, maybe it is LinkedIn’s fault. They have built a platform and technology that has made connecting with professionals based on experience, keyword and business too easy. Remember the days when we had to attend coffee meetups and spend time on the phone with a potential candidate prospect or business partner before LinkedIn? LinkedIn just makes connecting too easy.

LinkedIn Recruiter Rule Changes & Restrictions

LinkedIn recently has begun cracking down on some of the below listed offenses. LinkedIn Recruiter users with an InMail response rate of 13% will be suspended from sending messages for 14 days. Earlier this year, Recruiter users were no longer allowed to send group messages to second and third degree connections. I’m certain we will see more restrictions and guidelines with regard to messaging and recruiting on LinkedIn.


LinkedIn Recruiting Deadly Sins

You read correctly that LinkedIn is suspending users who have a thirteen percent response rate and lower for a period of 14 days. Job seekers are getting fed up and talking to other social networkers publicly to share their bad experiences (Example pictured above.) Most any developer, engineer and data scientist has stories of bad LinkedIn recruiting that could go on for days. I call these egregious offenses that users commit, the 7 deadly sins of recruiting and hiring on LinkedIn.

  • The connect and sell. I accept your LinkedIn invitation and am inundated with a request to demo, buy or purchase your product. Recruiters often send InMail messages looking for referrals in this way. It’s generic, boring and uncustomized. This is the surest way to earn an unconnect and an obscenity filled message immediately from me.
  • The email newsletter. Users export their connections email addresses and add them unsolicited to their email newsletter. My favorite <insert sarcasm> is a monthly newsletter that addresses me as “Dear LinkedIn Connection.” I feel very special, indeed.
  • Abusing LinkedIn Publisher platform. From job postings to press releases, I am being bombarded by stuff that is purely promotional. The publisher platform is about sharing content amongst a community that is business related and helpful to the audience it is intended to reach. I don’t mind promotional updates and shares via the LinkedIn’s update option, but the publisher platform is for actual content and information sharing.
  • The message all. Unfortunately, you might be committing this cardinal sin of LinkedIn without even realizing it. Some services use their LinkedIn API access to spam and message every contact in your community. It’s just downright annoying. See my above note about LinkedIn suspending Recruiters who have a 13% InMail response rate.
  • The canned spam. Many recruiters and multi-level marketers are the worst offenders. This is where one bad apple spoils the bunch. These groups seek to quickly cast a wide net for their job opening or newest eye cream. Please, for the love of all that is social networking, don’t mass message a large group. Keep your community special and close. Quit mass messaging large groups of your connections and community.
  • The marriage proposal. Whether its an actual proposal (yes, these have happened) or a request to do business together, let’s quit desperately pimping ourselves and outright begging for business. Let’s try this little thing called a conversation before we you request or propose to put on that ring. This goes for recruiters as well as marketers too. I don’t promote blog posts, job openings and share posts from complete strangers. Let’s get to know other before we get intimate, if you know what I mean.
  • The message and run. I know as recruiters we are juggling multiple job reqs, but spending the time to customize a message only to disappear off the face of the earth is the worst way to make an impression. If you are going to take the time to send an InMail, take the time to respond and/or keep the scheduled phone call or appointment. I won’t name the two companies who have reached out to me in the last month and then fell off the face of the earth after we put a meeting on the calendar. It leaves people with an unprofessional impression and feeling. Aside from venting on social media and blogging, there’s this site called Glassdoor and other sites are places where candidates can report their experiences for the job seeker community.
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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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