After reading Jan Tegze’s thoughtful post from a few weeks ago, something felt a bit off in the data he presented. I’m a big fan of trust but verify and leverage multiple data sources to get a better understanding of what is being presented. As an aside, I’ve found that the search results can vary wildly between LinkedIn Recruiter and Gen Pop LinkedIn when looking for candidates. With that, I’m going to start with the Job Posting data because it’s fascinating to see what happened.  

I pulled up Gen Pop LinkedIn and started a Job Search. I used the word ‘Recruiter’ and Worldwide and got 453K+ results the first time. I accidentally closed the browser and re-ran the search and got 452.8K. Huh? I refreshed the page and got 452.6K and then 452.3K results. I’m not quite sure why the results would vary, but LinkedIn is gonna LinkedIn. Two weeks ago, Jan got 375K results.  

I’m so confused! 

I ran the Recruiter search in other job boards and got VERY different results: 

Indeed: 31,740 

SimplyHired: 22,093 

CareerBuilder: 76,121 

ZipRecruiter: 2.1M (What the what?!)  

I’m even more confused! 

I checked Monster and Talent.com, but I couldn’t see the total number of results, only the top results. I also checked a few country/continental specific job boards, like Recruit.net (Asia), but the result sets were under 1000.   

But even here, take Indeed for example, these 31.7K openings are just in the USA (something that dawned on me while talking about this response). LinkedIn Jobs shows 344K openings in the USA. Still, it’s a big gap between the two data sets. So, even my numbers above are very likely incomplete because I would have to do a search in all of the regional versions of those sites. I questioned Jan’s data and my own. 

I asked two members of my team, who have very different research mindsets, to run the Recruiter job search. One ran the search without the “worldwide” location and got 345K results which is pretty close to Jan’s 375K. However, the other input Worldwide as the location and got 461K results. 

The one that did not input Worldwide as the location, assumed that LinkedIn would default to Worldwide as LinkedIn Recruiter does. The second researcher actually went one step further and selected a few filters. She checked off Recruiter in the Title section and got just shy of 19K+ results.  She was not provided any other Recruiter titles or any of the other titles that Jan used in his candidate search. 

When I ran the Recruiter Worldwide search and used the Title filter, I got Recruiter, Recruitment Specialist, and Technical Recruiter as options. Selecting Recruiter as she did, I got the 19K+ results. When I selected Technical Recruiter in addition to Recruiter, it jumped to 28K+ and to 54K+ when I checked Recruitment Specialist.  

I’m starting to question reality,

so I’m going to pause here and now cover the Recruiter population data. 

Jan used the following Titles in his title search. Here’s the Boolean of those titles: 

"Talent Specialist" OR "Staffing Recruiter" OR "Talent Acquisition Recruiter" OR "Recruiter" OR "Technical Recruiter" OR "Information Technology Recruiter" OR "Sales Recruiter" OR "Talent Acquisition Specialist" OR "Talent Acquisition Consultant" OR "Staffing Specialist" OR "Staffing Consultant" OR "Talent Acquisition Executive" 

Given that he has Recruiter in there, and that will capture all titles with the word ‘recruiter’ in them, I removed the other compound titles that included recruiter. The results didn’t change.  

"Talent Specialist" OR "Recruiter" OR "Talent Acquisition Specialist" OR "Talent Acquisition Consultant" OR "Staffing Specialist" OR "Staffing Consultant" OR "Talent Acquisition Executive" 

I pulled up LinkedIn Recruiter and used both of the search strings, selected Current, and left the location blank. I ran these searches and got 780K+ people in each. It nearly doubles when I select Current or Past. There are other titles I’ve seen, but for comparison purposes, I stuck with the titles that Jan used. 

For the Geographic Breakdown here are the results that I got vs his numbers: 

My Numbers 

Asia – 230K+ 

Africa – 9.7K+ 

Europe – 100K+ 

North America – 430K+ 

South America – 11K+ 

Australia – 5.5K+ (New Zealand – 711)   

Jan’s Numbers 

Asia – 290K+ recruiters 

Africa – 12K+ recruiters 

Europe – 150K+ recruiters 

North America – 440K+ recruiters 

South America – 27K+ recruiters 

Australia – 6.9K+ (New Zealand – 948+) recruiters 

I added up the numbers from the various regions and got 786,911. The search result I got without a location selected was 780K+. In other searches it rounded things up, but to the nearest thousand vs ten thousand. In this instance, LinkedIn would have rounded down to 780K+ instead of saying 786K+.  

I was way off from Jan’s 960K+ people with those titles.  So, I thought, well, I wonder what I would get if I ran searches in Gen Pop LinkedIn. Because that version hates Boolean, I ran each title individually. I assumed that ‘Recruiter’ would return Tech Recruiters, IT Recruiters, etc, and that was the case in the result set.  I ran the others just as Jan wrote them. 

When I added those numbers up, I was unable to replicate Jan’s numbers and got 817,840 recruiters using the Gen Pop LinkedIn. Closer to my overall numbers of 780K+ and 786K+ using LinkedIn Recruiter. 

I asked a team member to run the same searches in his LinkedIn Recruiter as well as two other tools. He got the same 780K+ in LinkedIn Recruiter, 1.1M in Hiretual, and 3M in Seekout. Neither of us got close to Jan’s number of 960K using LinkedIn. 

However, when he altered the search string by consolidating the Talent Acquisition titles to just being “Talent Acquisition,” he got 970K+ as the number. This was the closest we could get to Jan’s numbers. The search string he used: "Talent Specialist" OR "Recruiter" OR "Talent Acquisition" OR "Staffing Specialist" OR "Staffing Consultant"

So what does this all mean? Was Jan wrong? Am I wrong? Was Jan right? Am I right?  

The philosophical answer is: It isn’t about what is right or wrong, it is about what is and what isn’t. 

Seriously though, this tells me that there is an underlying issue with the way that data is collected, structured, and presented by the various tools. There are also issues with how that data is parsed by the people running the searches/queries. We can’t rely on any one tool whether it’s for capturing market data or sourcing candidates. 

Just looking at the data points from all of the resources I referenced above, it’s still a competitive market for recruiting Recruiters, but is it really as dramatic as having 960K recruiters and 375K openings for recruiters as Jan presented? No. What is the actual ratio? I don’t know and I don’t know if we have that ability given that all of the tools contain overlapping information as well as data that is unique to each of their platforms. 

I probably could have just written the previous two paragraphs as a response to Jan’s article, but I truly geeked out over the inconsistencies and wanted to share with you what I saw.  This is why we train our folks to avoid relying solely on LinkedIn and LinkedIn Recruiter. It’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each resource and avoid putting your entire resource budget into a single one.   

We’re all human and we seek out what is comfortable. We all have different ways of solving problems as evidenced by how my team differed in how they tackled the same Recruiter job search. 

So how many recruiters are there in the world and how many jobs are open today?

I don’t know for sure and I’m ok with that. I just know that I can’t get complacent in my candidate research, and I must be creative in solving my clients’ problems. 

Chris Murdock is the Co-Founder and Chief Sourcing Officer of IQTalent Partners, a division of Caldwell Partners.com 



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Chris Murdock is the Co-Founder and Chief Sourcing Officer of IQTalent Partners, a division of Caldwell Partners.com