Last year, 94 per cent of businesses used Linkedin for recruitment, according to JobVite’s ‘Social Recruiting Survey Results 2013‘.

It’s a fact that a lot of the hiring process now takes place out in the social stratosphere, whether that’s search, making contact, vetting or keeping track of prospective candidates.

So consuming is this trend, that I’m sure I’m not the only person who struggles to remember the days before Linkedin!

But – now this might be controversial – are we losing something by relying on social media and Linkedin in particular?

Let’s take a closer look.

The dominance of Linkedin

Jobvite claim 96 per cent of businesses use LinkedIn for search, 94 per cent use it to make contact and 92 per cent turn to LinkedIn for vetting in the US.

Of those surveyed, 93 per cent also use Linkedin for monitoring candidates.

The situation isn’t much different in the UK, with 62 per cent using the the social site, according to

LinkedIn is certainly dominating all stages of the funnel, far outstripping its next biggest competitor: Facebook.

So why do recruiters love it so much? Is it just a symptom of a wider trend? After all, 78 per cent of US recruiters now claim they have hired through a social network. Or is it something more specific about LinkedIn?

Stripping away the obvious fact that this network is used solely professionally, when we look at the LinkedIn Recruiter tool it becomes clear why this site is pushing our buttons.

It essentially takes a lot of the time, effort and hassle out of recruitment.

In the first instance, with the most powerful search available, it is possible to expand beyond connections to the entire LinkedIn network. Users aren’t overwhelmed by information either, as the filters help identify candidates worth reviewing quickly and easily.

Recruiters can also reach out to candidates through InMail, which allows them to set templates to save time and, for their troubles, can get a much better response rate than standard email.

What’s more, LinkedIn helps manage talent pipelines, which can be a time consuming task for many recruiters. Using Recruiter, it is possible to create, track and manage talent to hire now and in the future. With access to folders, reminders, to do lists, syncing functions for projects, searches, profiles and applicant notes, pipelining becomes much more streamlined.

Is there a downside?

Of course, as with most things, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to LinkedIn Recruiter and an over reliance on the tool could harm your hiring strategy.

Writing in, Tony Restell, ex-strategy consultant and founder of and, explained that the social site could be undone by its own success.

He claims that because so many recruiters are now using LinkedIn, candidates are facing an unwelcome deluge of inmails/emails. Consequently, recruiters are having to approach more people to generate the same results as just a small number would have allowed just 18 or 24 months ago.

What’s more, Linkedin doesn’t necessarily allow you to access the whole passive talent market. Most people with strong profiles on the site have them because they are looking for a new job and by zoning in on these alone, you may be missing out on some of the best talent.

Top candidates are also more likely to turn you down as they’ll be sick of receiving recruitment emails – if you think they’re good, chances are other people will too.

Consequently, it’s important recruiters don’t lose their ability to search the passive market away from social sites. This way, professionals can really identify people’s strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds and successes – not just what candidates want to be seen.

Should we abandon LinkedIn?

This begs the question ‘should recruiters wave goodbye to LinkedIn?’ – to that I say a resounding no.

It’s all about balance and the site certainly has its uses for hiring and talent pipelining. However, this needs to be accompanied with off-site activity, carefully researching the best talent at competitors and cultivating a pool of people that could step into the breach when called upon – assuming they want to make the switch.

We also can’t lose traditional recruitment skills of approaching candidates and working with them to determine whether the job being offered is the one for them.

Ultimately, social recruitment shouldn’t be a hiring strategy in itself but part of a vibrant, diverse approach to talent acquisition and management.

Ironically, by moving away from social media, recruiters can actually put the personal touch back into recruitment through phone conversations or face-to-face meetings. When recruiting for the most challenging roles, this is what makes the difference and overcomes the increasing ‘noise’ of inmailed job offers.