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Recruitment on LinkedIn finds favor in Indian CIO-dom

Anuradha Ramamirtham, Principal Correspondent

Tired of the traditional hiring methods like operating in sync with job consultants (without getting the desired results)? Well, going online is a great option. Many Indian CIOs are already leveraging recruitment using LinkedIn in a

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big way. CIOs are now happy that through LinkedIn they can connect with interested professionals without going through job consultants.

When it comes to the use of LinkedIn for recruitment of IT professionals, Pune City has been one of the early adopters in India — even if inadvertently. Its ‘CIO, Pune’ LinkedIn group started out as a means to collaborate and tap community knowledge on shared information systems for Pune City. The city-centric group facilitated the process of employing experts to contribute to information issues, and it now attracts a major pool of IT professionals.  Anupam Saraph, the CIO of Pune City feels that recruitment using LinkedIn has enabled the group’s effort to the reach out to the right man. He says, “Recruiting through LinkedIn provides an opportunity to established professional networks and opportunities that stretch beyond traditional job descriptions.”

Leveraging LinkedIn as a recruitment tool is very effective, especially when it’s used for hiring professionals beyond the middle-management level. S Shivashankar, the Vice President and Head IT of Infrastructure & Security Operations at Reliance Communications has been a member on LinkedIn for almost five years, and has been handling recruitments for the last 15 years. “In the case of defined segments, for instance, if I want to a hire a General Manager or a Deputy General Manager who will be a direct report, or even at the VP level, we use LinkedIn.” says Shivshankar.

During his tenure with City of London Telecommunications (COLT), Shivashankar used LinkedIn to recruit an IT professional from the US. “Other than his social security number, the candidate’s LinkedIn profile was so detailed, that I was able to talk to some of his seniors,” says Shivshankar. One of Shivashankar’s very senior hires and his direct report at that COLT, the recruit still works with him at Reliance Communications.

The Calcutta Medical Research Institute too has achieved great results by using LinkedIn for recruitment. “For the last one year, we have been following an outsourced model. So, whenever personnel from our outsourced vendors move on, we evaluate profiles of possible replacements for that person on LinkedIn. Then we ask our outsourcing partners to get in touch with the identified persons,” says Vishnu Gupta, CIO of The Calcutta Medical Research Institute.

 

Benefits of using LinkedIn for recruitments

Opens up opportunities: Social media flattens the opportunity space, since it is possible for enterprising recruiters to reach and find suitable candidates far more easily at almost no cost. In this context, LinkedIn is effective for recruitment as it creates open spaces and encourages serendipitous connections. It offers an opportunity to turn contacts into recruits, and creates spaces for conversations that make it possible to look for candidates outside the traditional segments.

Targeting gets streamlined: Targeting becomes very easy when using LinkedIn as a recruitment option. Every industry has a different expectation while hiring a skillset. For example, the requirements from a DBA or an architect to be hired for a telecom group will be completely different from equivalent job roles of a BFSI vertical or pharma industry. With LinkedIn, an employer can easily search for candidates with his own keywords.

Effective segmentation capabilities: LinkedIn can be used for recruitment at every level, across boundaries. If a CIO is looking at hiring a database architect, he can get a whole range of people — right from a person working with Oracle to another employed with Infosys. After selection of the candidate, the HR department can take the process forward.

Cost effective to leverage: LinkedIn offers many free as well as premium services. Free features such as adding new contacts, joining select groups, and discussions will help get good results. On the other hand, the networking site offers privileged accounts (like the InMail feature). With such features, the CIO is able to access detailed information like people seeing his profile, and even contact people who have kept their contact details private.

If the CIO hires through job consultants, he ends up paying a lot more in the bargain. For example, this could be by way of a percentage on the candidate’s CTC, a month’s salary, or the salary bracket in which the candidate falls into. “Attrition in any industry is anywhere upwards of seven percent. It could even be as high as 22 percent in verticals such as the IT/ITES,” says Shivshankar. So, if it’s a 100 people organization, the business needs to hire at least 22 people to compensate for attrition. Furthermore, with the economy bouncing back, all verticals are hiring again. Since CIOs need to account for all these unexpected surprises, LinkedIn as a recruitment tool is more valuable than going through traditional means.

 

Using LinkedIn as a hiring tool

Even LinkedIn’s free features are very rich in terms of capabilities, so it can be used effectively as a recruitment tool. “If you look at LinkedIn, there is a concept of groups,” says Gupta. “Whenever we want to hire new people, we post our requirements in these groups and we get great responses.”

The networking site can also be used for verification purposes. LinkedIn offers shared information about contacts, thereby building greater trust. “Everyone sees the same information about a contact,” says Saraph. “Changes made to the contacts profile are also visible to everyone. In traditional hiring, the recruiter has to seek out multiple ways for verification. A higher level of basic trust is possible with a shared information system like LinkedIn.”

Gupta adds: “Nowadays, whenever we have to evaluate a CV, the first step is to search in LinkedIn to get hold of the candidate’s profile. Seeing the profile, we can check whether the guy is stable, has experience claimed in the CV, and also look at the recommendations.”

Additionally, it is possible to use conventional advertisements and non-conventional groups, as well as target specific segments, communities or individuals in a short time as candidates. This is difficult (and often impossible) using the traditional hiring methods. Companies can also subscribe for premium accounts, where it can make use of ‘InMails’ to directly contact prospective employees.

LinkedIn also has a premium service called ‘Talent Advantage’, which is an exclusive suite of tools for recruiters. CIOs can also search for candidates with their own paid keywords, and get excellent responses from across the globe.