LinkedIn is starting to turn off the scraping gates and if I were you, I’d be brushing up on my sourcing skills. Stories keep trickling through my news feed with headlines like “LinkedIn sues anonymous data scrapers” and “LinkedIn sues 100 information scrapers after technical safeguard fail.” What I see? A lot of those chrome extensions and scraping tools you’ve been using to get LinkedIn data are about to disappear.
So where does that leave recruiting and sourcing? One word, screwed. From my view, the industry’s reliance on LinkedIn has only grown even while member numbers are starting to decline. You couldn’t tell by looking at the sum of growth but quarter over quarter, there’s been a decline in membership growth and logins. Only 25% of their total database even logs in once per quarter (in a good quarter), yet many recruiters still treat the information as if it’s the book of record. More like The Onion of candidate contacts.
Proof: Dear Linkedin: Mayors, Perverts, and Douchebags by Steve Levy.
I know I can’t convince an addicted person that their drugs are bad so let’s touch on the reality past the fundamental flaws in your precious candidate data. There’s also that whole budget thing to contend with. Just because LinkedIn cuts off the gates for scrapers doesn’t mean you suddenly have the cash to pay for some expensive membership and access on LinkedIn.
So, as is happening more frequently than ever – you’re ending up in LinkedIn “jail” where they ban you for 24 hours. Even though you paid. Even though they appreciate you as a customer. Blah blah blah. Bottom line: You’re kinda screwed, at least momentarily. You just can’t afford to see the number of profiles you need to effectively fill that hiring pipeline and get butts in seats with any efficiency.
So then what? I have a million thoughts but the first one is that we’re going to have to start relying on each other. We’re going to have to ask a lot more questions instead of making assumptions and blasting our way through inMails. We’re going to have to seek out new, low-cost technology and proper techniques to find contact information and skill sets. We’re forced to look for more creative solutions for candidate contact data – information that’s more typically found in the yellow pages than a social media profile. Yes, they still make those.
Things are going to get really interesting and now is the time where you decide where you sit and how you’ll work in the next phase of recruiting and sourcing. There is change coming, it’s just about how you react and prepare.
That’s why we started RecruitingLive and why we have special guest Arron Daniels on the show this week. Arron is a senior recruiting sourcer for H-E-B and an extremely talented one, at that. He recruits some of the most niche tech roles, all without blasting a hundred messages on Facebook or LinkedIn.