Once upon a time in LinkedIn Land.........

.......there was a Recruitment Consultant who went to see a client to discuss a new vacancy. This Recruiter understood the benefits of talking ‘outside of the brief’ to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organisation and its values as well as the character and decision making habits of the client. During this conversation the Recruiter asked the client “Apart from the need to fill this vacancy, what else is keeping you awake at night?”

The client admitted that they had a serious challenge in sourcing a very specific and unique packaging material. They didn’t want to have a sole supplier but knew that no other company in the world were manufacturing this product. This led to a need to source ‘capability’ i.e. a company that was not currently making this product but would have the capability of doing so.

This however, was proving to be a very difficult challenge!

During the conversation the client described the unique materials involved – technical terms that the Recruiter could not be expected to understand but he made detailed notes of everything the client said.

On the way back to the office the recruiter couldn’t stop thinking about this sourcing problem the client had described and he came up with an idea. As soon as he got back to his PC he logged onto LinkedIn – not to source candidates for the role but to go into the Answers section where he posted the following question;

“I am a recruiter specialising in the procurement field and I have a client who is looking to find a manufacturer who has the capability to manufacture X (he went on to quote the technical terms the client had stated and explained the requirement in precise detail). Can anybody offer any advice as to who might be able to manufacture such a product?”

He also posted the same question in a few relevant groups as a discussion.

Within 3 days he had over 40 replies with many suggestions of companies who might be able to help. Many of these answers required further clarification and the recruiter entered into a dialogue with all 40 respondents (connecting with them all along the way).

The net result was that he found the names of 3 very suitable potential suppliers, looked them up on LinkedIn and forwarded the profiles of their key contacts to his client with the following note;

I hope you don’t mind but I thought my LinkedIn network might be able to provide some assistance with your sourcing problem. Here are 3 contacts you might wish to speak with – please let me know if I can be of any more help.

The client subsequently contacted all 3 and eventually appointed one as a supplier.

I will let you make your own conclusions to this story but I would ask you to think about the following questions;

  • What effect did this episode have on the nature of the relationship between the Recruiter and his client?
  • What image did the Recruiter project to the LinkedIn community that saw his question?
  • What other benefits did the Recruiter get from this?
  • Is this really a story about recruitment or is it as applicable to your business?
  • Recruiters – Are you sure LinkedIn is mainly a sourcing tool?