Meet Bill. Bill is a Systems Engineer who is in full-speed job search mode. He put together his LinkedIn profile a few months ago, and ever since then, he has had nonstop calls from recruiters.
Sounds pretty good, right? Well, it might be if the calls were relevant to Bill and his job search goals. But they’re not. He is flagging several calls a week from recruiters about jobs he is not a fit for (over- or under-qualified) or interested in pursuing.
Bill is suffering from “recruiter mismatch.”
Yet, Bill still thinks his LinkedIn profile is “working” because he is getting calls. But he is still unemployed, and the calls are getting him anywhere.
Bill doesn’t understand niche marketing. Why should he? Bill is an expert in systems engineering, not necessarily in marketing.
Now meet Ava. Ava is a Business Analyst. Ava is happy with her current position, but she would like to make the jump to Project Manager and wouldn’t mind getting calls from recruiters about possible opportunities in that area. She cut-and-pasted her old resume into her LinkedIn profile about a year ago. She’s heard from two recruiters during that time, but once it was for another BA opportunity and the other time it was for contract work. Ava doesn’t want that.
Ava is suffering from both recruiter mismatch and lack of response.
Yet, Ava thinks she should just wait it out a little more. After all, she likes her current job. She just knows eventually she needs to move on. She just hopes at some point the right recruiter will come along with the right opportunity.
Ava doesn’t understand social recruiting. Why should she? Ava is a busy professional who also happens to be a mom of 3 kids. She doesn’t have much time to learn the ins and outs of “LinkedIn optimization.”
Perhaps these two scenarios sound a bit familiar. They certainly do to me. I spend a lot of time talking with my LinkedIn contacts, and many of them are Bills and Avas or someone in between. And whether they are the active Bill or the passive Ava, they are both frustrated with recruiter mismatch. They’ve heard that LinkedIn is the “place” to meet recruiters and get noticed by them, but they aren’t getting the kind of notice they were hoping for.
First and foremost, recruiter mismatch is not new to social recruiting.
Many recruiters or head hunters have been notorious for this even before social media and the Internet changed the recruiting world. Why? Well, there are two main reasons:
1. “Some” recruiters don’t read effectively. In fact, I have had several of them brag about their lack of reading to me as if this makes them look good in some way. They do keyword searches, and when they get a hit, they “skim” over your info for more hot spot words (like certain credentials, etc.) and then start contacting you if they see most of what they are looking for. In their defense, the ones who do this the most are the ones who are being pushed to find candidates and to find them fast. So, really, who has time for reading? (It would seem to me to take more time to waste their time and yours than to stop and read over the profile in more depth, but I digress…)
2. “Most” candidates don’t write effectively. Putting together your LinkedIn profile, much like putting together your resume, is about understanding audience. Therefore, the profile needs to be optimized to that audience and to how they are searching for you. Now, yes, as I said, some of them don’t read very well, but some of them do. And those are the ones you really want to attract. If you are only hearing from the other kind, who didn’t really read your profile and who don’t sound like they even understand the type of work you do, then yes they are frustrating, but there is also something wrong with your profile.
Because the good recruiters are out there, and they are not contacting you.
Now, this is hard to grasp because what’s the big mystery, right? You write down your background, publish your employment history, and showcase your credentials. How hard is that?
Harder than you think, apparently. Here is what I see:
- LI profiles with old or inaccurate information. I meet professionals all the time who tell me certain things on their profiles are outdated or “not quite right.”
- LI profiles that are incomplete.
- LI profiles that are poorly written. Unlike resumes, LI profiles can be written in a more narrative form. And truthfully, most people are not that great at this. They spend their time these days writing quick-hit emails and texts with abbreviations. Let’s be honest. English and grammar skills are poor, really poor. That isn’t to say that recruiters are writing gurus, but you’re asking a lot when you’re asking people to muddle through your poor writing.
- LI profiles with the wrong focus. Much like with resumes, many of us see our LinkedIn profiles as a list of achievements. It’s a “here’s everything I have ever done in my career; now you figure it out” kind of thing. In actuality, that is not at all what resumes or LI profiles are about. They are meant to match you up as a candidate with the needs of the potential employer. So, the more you understand what the employer is looking for, the more you focus your materials on that. (It’s great that you went to Harvard, but if the employer doesn’t care about that, then you are barking up the wrong tree. So you need to know your audience.)
Listen. Even the good quality recruiters are still using search algorithms and rankings to find you, and chances are you aren’t coming up in their searches…even though you should. A lot of that has to do with how you are presenting yourself on LinkedIn and on a lack of understanding about how LinkedIn works. I wrote a post a few weeks ago called “With LinkedIn, Size Does Matter” addressing this very topic.
Bottom line: If you want to avoid recruiter mismatch as well as lack of response on LI, then it pays either to get help or to get educated from someone who does have the time to keep up with the latest in social recruiting trends. Like it or not, social recruiting is on the rise, and LinkedIn is the primary avenue.