June 14, 2011

LinkedIn IPO - Good News for Staffing Industry

LinkedIn’s IPO a few weeks ago was a defining moment in staffing. I took it as a sign that we had reached an official turning point in the struggle to jump-start the economy. Yes, I know, we aren’t there yet – some people say unemployment hasn’t recovered quite yet at 9.1%. Although, I’d argue that if you consider that unemployment among college educated workers is 4.5%, that’s near full employment.

So what does LinkedIn’s IPO have to do with economic recovery or the staffing industry as a whole? Obviously, LinkedIn is not a staffing firm, but many staffing firms have come to depend on it as a resource and I think we will continue to see its prominence in the staffing industry. And we need to continue to hear good news where we can get it – especially with all the negative media hype out there.

Also, I’m hearing directly from IT and healthcare staffing firms that are doing very well. In fact I heard from several IT staffing firms that have offices with 100 job orders on the board! And they need to hire recruiters! Huh?!?! Did you say recruiters? YES! It’s true. They have so many orders they need to hire more recruiters to fill them. And I heard that from several firms – not just one.

I’m on the board for Ohio Staffing and Search Association (OSSA), and we had our annual conference this past week. We were fortunate to have some fantastic speakers including Bill Yoh, Chairman of the Yoh Company – he is also Chairman for the American Staffing Association this year, Fran Goldstein, noted staffing industry expert and speaker, and Sam Mandolfo of LinkedIn, to name a few.

Bill Yoh reminded us that the staffing industry has made a truly remarkable comeback. Many key staffing firms having lost 30% of their year over year revenue have come blazing back and now the industry as a whole is back to pre-recession numbers – around $100 billion as an industry.

Fran made a fantastic point that stuck with me when she reminded us that “nothing stays the same,” that we must always be ready for change and embrace it. A vital point for those of us in staffing.

All the more so when you consider LinkedIn was founded just a few short years ago – in 2003. How about that for making an impact quickly? How vital is LinkedIn to your recruiting efforts? If it’s not, you might want to look at it more closely. How vital are you to your clients’ businesses?

In fact, LinkedIn has recently revised its strategy with regard to the staffing industry. Now, they realize how important the staffing industry is to them. Sam Mandolfo told us that 40% of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from hiring, recruiting, and staffing. And here’s another stat that will blow you away:

LinkedIn did a poll and asked members if they would be annoyed or bothered if a recruiter they did not know approached them on LinkedIn about an open position. A staggering 95% of respondents stated that they were fine with being approached by a recruiter on LinkedIn as long as the position was appropriate for their skill set!

LinkedIn is so serious about catering to staffing firms that they now have a small team dedicated to servicing staffing firms. Now, staffing firms that currently allow their recruiters and account executives to expense monthly membership fees can consolidate that cost at a discount. Contact Sam Mandolfo for more info on that. You can find him on LinkedIn as you may have guessed!

LinkedIn has impacted my own personal business as well. My LinkedIn groups now exceed 33,000 members between the three bigger ones (Openreq, Openreq Healthcare Recruiters and RecruiterTalk). You can check them out by going to groups search or by looking at them from my profile page.

My presence on LinkedIn has also assisted me with launching CardioSolution. CardioSolution is the first solutions firm to offer complete interventional cardiology service lines to regional and rural hospitals nationwide. We deliver the interventional cardiologists, guarantee 365/day coverage and partner with hospitals in their marketing and outreach efforts. Those of you in healthcare staffing with connections to regional hospital CEOs – let’s talk! We are offering a hefty referral bonus!

For all you serious sourcing experts out there, I’ll leave you with a little nugget to take home. My friends at Fee Trader are doing a blog series on LinkedIn searching techniques. The latest couple of blog posts offer some cool search techniques. Using Google to perform an “x-ray search” of LinkedIn, for example, is one of the best ways to find the profiles of people that are outside of your network. This is really cool. Check them out on FeeTrader’s blog:

In summary, I think we all needed a significant event to solidify our official comeback as an industry. I predict that in the next year or two, we will look back to May of 2011 and point to the LinkedIn IPO as at least one indicator that we have emerged as an industry. We were the first to be negatively impacted by the recession and now we are among the first industries to recover and grow.

And as usual, the staffing industry leads from the front. We are a resilient group and we have weathered this storm. Now it’s time to enjoy some better days ahead!

Perrin Peacock

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