LinkedIn Strikes Back, and Truthfully Do You Blame Them?

If you got sucker punched in the stomach what would you do? Well, LinkedIn has been hit pretty hard lately. The press has been relentless. LinkedIn Recruiter seats have been dropping like flies. Ever since Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, they are trying to pick up the pieces, and they are doing everything they can not to become another Monster or CareerBuilder fatality.

LinkedIn has been listening to the feedback of the consumers, and slowly and surely they are making changes. The thing about change though is that it takes time. Since LinkedIn has been taking their sweet time making changes, mom & pop competitions have popped up. There have been Chrome extensions such as Contact Out, Prophet, Hunter and much more that have all but eliminated the need for LinkedIn Recruiter.

Until now. Did you really (for even a moment) think this would last? After all, Microsoft spent 26.2 Billion dollars on LinkedIn! 26.2 BILLION DOLLARS! Did you think they would let the mom and pop shops roll all over LinkedIn?

Uhhh… No.

Last week, LinkedIn released new Terms and Conditions to the consumers. If you were like me, you probably just clicked a box and didn’t think anything more about it. Well, I guess it is important to read the fine print. If you have any email scrapers or Chrome extensions to get additional data on the candidates, then LinkedIn can throw you in “LinkedIn Jail” and remove you from accessing LinkedIn.
Let this soak in for a minute.

Yes, the friendly site where you thought you were “building your network” is really not friendly at all. This, after all, is THEIR site and they have all of the rights to the information on the site. Yuck huh? As quickly as you “build your network,” they can “take away your network.”

So, what are you going to do about this? First things first, I would remove all Chrome extensions. Like it or not, we still need LinkedIn. If you are like me, you have spent more than a decade on the site, and if you are a recruiter, you really can’t live without it.

Second, I would start thinking about a “Plan B.” There have been some recruiters who use alternate sites and really and truly if they continue to piss off the consumer and the recruiter, Facebook and Google will move into a more dominant role. Diversify your social media presence.

Third, transfer all of your information on LinkedIn! The less reliant on them you become, the better you will be. Export all the files into an Excel file (which LinkedIn allows) and put them in your ATS.

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You knew that though, right? You are doing that though, right?

If you were doing that, you wouldn’t be freaking out about this. LinkedIn isn’t going to go away without a serious fight. I don’t know what the future holds, but LinkedIn isn’t done with surprises at all. They know they have us wrapped around their fingers and will keep making changes.

As I think about this, recruiting will continue to evolve, and in six months we will be talking about something completely different. If you are going to succeed in the recruiting profession, you need to know about the latest and greatest and be prepared to change your entire process and approach at any given time.

Do you blame LinkedIn? I don’t. I am convinced it is going to get even uglier and they will find a way to squeeze more money from the consumers’ pockets. Maybe they can get people to go back to LinkedIn Recruiter, but I don’t think so.

Competitors are you listening? LinkedIn is scared. Terrified, in fact, and are scrambling. They may have this figured out for the time being, but the future is very uncertain. There will be more mom & pops that will continue to attack LinkedIn and someone will deliver a KO rather than a sucker punch.

Trust me on this.

Will Thomson is the Founder & President of Bulls Eye Recruiting, LLC which is headquartered in Austin, Texas. His organization recruits Sr. Sales, Marketing, and HR talent around the United States.  Will's 23 year recruiting career includes working for recruiting agencies such as Aerotek and also working as a corporate recruiter at Dell, eBay and Rosetta Stone.  Bulls Eye Recruiting was formed in 2012 as a blog which morphed into a recruiting agency in 2014.  His company works on both a retained and contingent search model for finding the best talent available in the marketplace.  


6 Comments on “LinkedIn Strikes Back, and Truthfully Do You Blame Them?

  1. From what I was told from a LinkedIn rep they will continue to dismantle these types of third party extensions. Some will continue to work – but the majority will eventually be unable to work with LinkedIn. Which is a real bummer! -Jonathan #WizardSourcer

  2. I’m shocked, shocked that LI would try something like this. It’s not as if they haven’t tried to limit what we recruiters can do with it practically since day one. Oh well, there’s a tool which claims to have 300M publicly acquired profiles/resumes with far fewewr requirements than our MS-subsidiary friends. Let’s see what happens….

  3. You don’t think this has anything to do with the fact they purchased a company that will be rolled out through LinkedIn for an addiitonal fee do you?

  4. An update: This ISN’T as big a deal as we may think.
    If you have LI or are sourcing LI externally: do whatever you were doing before, and download the profiles.
    1) Use Tool X to go quickly go through them (at about 1 profile or resume/second) and sort/rank them against your job description
    2) Use a non-extension version of Tool Y, Z, AA, BB, etc. to get the contact information.
    3) Go directly after the candidates that are best.

    1. Hi Keith….what tools do you use to quickly go through profiles? And what non-extensions to get contact info
      . Thanks Ken

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