LinkedIn, no threat to advisor recruiters?

Professional networking sites help third-party recruiters get their job done, but don't replace the expertise required to find the right candidate for the job, argues one Toronto recruiter.

LinkedIn, no threat to advisor recruiters?

In-house, DIY recruiters may be plugging into networking sites like LinkedIn to track down their next financial advisor, but they don’t have the expertise to weed through the riffraff, argues one third-party financial services recruiter.

“Ultimately a company or bank has a choice whether they use a third-party recruiter or if they do it directly using LinkedIn,” says Steve White, managing director of the Michael Page Group, a financial services recruiter with offices in Toronto and Montreal. “But what we’ve found is it’s not as simple as that. They don’t have the right recruitment understanding and knowledge.”

The missing link between an in-house and third-party recruiter, White explains, is the ability to uncover who is actually looking for work (the main challenge when using LinkedIn), and who isn’t, speeding up the recruitment process. Third-party recruiters also come with their own database of people who they know are looking for work.

“The reality is LinkedIn has given us the organizational ability to contact people directly that previously you had to advertise or go through a recruiter to get to,” says White. “The commercial reality is that it can be very time consuming because you don’t know who is actively looking for work and who isn’t.” (Continued on Page 2)


White, who has embraced LinkedIn, says recruitment firms like the Michael Page Group have no reason to see the professional networking site as a threat, as is commonly perceived, for this very reason. In fact, it’s added value to how they conduct their day-to-day business.

 “LinkedIn is an excellent tool for recruiters and has improved our ability to understand the key decision makers in the market,” says White. “(But) recruitment is complicated and it needs people who understand the nuances that come with each market.”

The danger for LinkedIn, believes White, is if the site becomes just another job board, like Monster or Workopolis. As more and more jobs are posted to the site, the value in finding the ‘right’ connection declines, he argues. Members bombarded by job prospects, advertiser pitches and supplier inquiries may start to log off. 

“If there’s an assumption that everyone on LinkedIn is happy to hear about job opportunities, it will lose its impact,” White says. “You can become bombarded. We  have had a number of senior executives more themselves off (the site).”

In the meantime, LinkedIn continues to make headway in Canada's recruitment market with approximately 7-million Canadian members (20 per cent of the population), 12.5 per cent of which are from the finance sector (the highest of all industries), according to Statistics Canada (2013). Toronto accounts for 24 per cent of all Canadian members with more than 1.6 million residents logged on.

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