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Recruiting Starts with LinkedIn, Unless You Have a Strategy

A few weeks we discussed two recruiting turnaround tales (which you can read here: tale 1, tale 2). It was noted that both were using the same failing solution at the start. That solution was LinkedIn. Don’t get me wrong, I love LinkedIn. I use it frequently, and for many employers it’s an amazing and critical source for talent. But it’s one thing to leverage LinkedIn; it’s another thing to rely on it as your sole/primary focus.

Just Utilizing LinkedIn? That’s Not a Strategy.

If you identify with this, perhaps it’s time to do some research. There are a myriad of alternatives out there for businesses of all sizes and types. If LinkedIn is your only/primary solution, chances are good you will hit a wall and when that happens we’ll also realize you’ve also been overpaying to solve your problems. When the conversation started with both “turnaround” companies, they felt helpless and frustrated expected the plan would be to add additional strategies on top of LinkedIn. They expected to increase spend to solve the problem. Going in, I really wasn’t sure if they would or would not still utilize LinkedIn, or if we would need more budget to solve their problems. In the end there were other strategies available to serve their needs while also while lowering overall costs.

The Strategies that Worked:

In the case of tale 1, in the end, they had all the traffic they needed for free, including LinkedIn’s free listings via Workable. In tale 2, the company had visibility into the traffic of LinkedIn vs. programmatic pay per click options and they found far less volume with LinkedIn (10X less). LinkedIn was an efficient channel in their specific case. Both companies were understandably apprehensive about leaving the recruiting giant and both waited several months post go-live to pull the plug. I’m happy to report both companies have thriving talent strategies.

These two cases showcased different reasons why sometimes it’s okay to drop LinkedIn. In the first case, the company was a small business with traditional job openings (designer, copywriter, etc). Although LinkedIn was useful for postings, leveraging a solution like Workable was more economic and allowed for a much wider recruiting effort because Workable leverages organic (aka free) traffic from 18 job boards including LinkedIn.

The second case was a bit different because the company needed to spend on recruiting, which changed the dynamics of their approach. We went with a programmatic approach. Fortunately for LinkedIn, and unfortunately for others, programmatic marketing is largely overlooked because it’s still not very well understood.

Finding Your Way:

I will reiterate that LinkedIn may be a very critical and strategic source for your company. The problem comes when you simply throw your money at LinkedIn recruiter seats and slots or wrapping services and hope that everything works. If you want to get the best return on your time, energy, and dollars, you need to find the approach that works best for you. That starts with some basic steps.

  1. Identify your needs. What kind of kind of business do you have and what level of recruitment do you need? What is your budget? What free options are available to you? How involved in the day-to-day analytics do you want to be?
  2. Research the options. There are a lot out there for every kind of business, but don’t be overwhelmed. It’s not as complicated as it seems.
  3. Justify your spend (if necessary). Sometimes a key step is getting everyone else on board. Check out this series from January Finding the $$ for your Recruiting Strategy for more tips on this.
  4. Get started! Depending on your size and scale finding a solution can take one day or one year. It might take less than what you are already spending or you might need to ask for millions of dollars. The most important step is simply to start.

Need inspiration to kick things into gear? Give Mel Robins a listen. Or you can always contact  and we’ll give you a pep talk or discuss further some strategies to meet your needs.

May 3, 2023
April 10, 2019