Back in 2009, Adam Gordon was working for a company that had him traveling all over the United Kingdom for work. However, his mom at home in Glasgow was sick, and Gordon wanted to cut down on his traveling to care for and spend time with her. The solution? Quitting his full-time job and working for himself.
The business he started then helped companies use social media, and he launched it just as social media was becoming a playground for corporate growth. What was it? In 2009, Gordon was selling LinkedIn lead generation service to help companies fill their funnels.
The business was a good one, but within a few years, Gordon’s customers were asking him for something different: led gen, but for staff, not sales.
Lead Generation for Employment Staffing
Not long after Gordon started his company, the U.K. began to rebound from the crash of 2008. Hiring picked up, employees who had stuck it out at jobs they did not like started to migrate to better ones, and soon employers were having trouble finding workers for open positions.
“Our customers were saying, You helped us define sales prospects and connect and start conversations — can you do the same thing for recruitment?” Gordon told me during an interview for my podcast, Back Yourself.
At the time, LinkedIn was widely used by professional workers, but the site had not yet been commercialized.
“It was like a cocktail party, where everyone had come in and they were being polite,” he said. “But no one had started working the room. We started working the room in a big way.”
Gordon saw the huge opportunity that had presented itself. If recruiters were using LinkedIn, they were not yet using the site in the right ways. No one had the confidence to approach people, he said, and if they did, they did not know the right things to say to get connected or send them after they got a connection.
Key Tenet for Hiring: Know Your Candidates and Mine Those Data
In 2015, Gordon was sitting in a meeting with recruitment pros from Pfizer, and in that meeting, he learned how large companies like Pfizer had enormously complex databases of job candidate information, but that the information was not being used effectively.
At the time, the company had a recruitment database of 10 million people — twice the population of Scotland — and had spent $10 per name, for a total of a $100 million investment. But the recruitment team could not access those data because the internal search functionality did not work. Gordon saw that they needed a system fix and a way to connect with those people. Asking around, he found essentially identical situations at places like Accenture and Thermo-Fisher Scientific.
“There’s a massive problem here,” he said. “Recruiter teams are absolutely addicted to sources of net new candidates because they are not farming their existing candidate data. They are not keeping in touch with these people so they are keeping them as applicants for a job rather than as people they should be building a relationship with for the duration of their careers.”
Basically, what Gordon found was that recruiters were not nurturing their prospects in the same way that salespeople would nurture a lead — no, they might not buy today, but in six months they could be ready to, so it makes sense to keep in touch with them.
Nurturing Relationships Using Marketing Automation Technology
Which brings us to the creation of Candidate.ID. When Gordon understood what was wrong with the world of recruiting, he found that there was no technology available that would help recruiters understand who their candidate pool was, how they were interacting with their content, and how receptive they might be to messaging.
Gordon related the story of a recruiter who advertised for a job and received 800 applications. Of those, 40 would have been perfect for the job. Only one will get hired, of course, but nurturing those other 39 makes business sense. After all, some day, that position will need to be filled again, and it could be sooner than you think. Why throw away all that work?
Gordon’s Top Tip for Using LinkedIn
There are many ways, of course, to use LinkedIn. Gordon has a tip for LinkedIn enthusiasts who are trying to generate business: Make yourself useful.
“In everything you do,” he said, “make sure you look useful and relevant. If you look useful and relevant, most people who you are useful and relevant to will accept your LinkedIn invitation. And once they have accepted your LinkedIn invitation, they are not saying to you that whatever you are selling they will buy. What they are saying is that they are open to hearing from you, and if your follow up is useful and relevant, and if your follow up after that is useful and relevant, and you just don’t think about selling, you are going to get people who will say they want to talk to you.”
Adam Gordon discovered a problem quite by accident. His brilliant solution could one day benefit all of us.