Industry leaders agree that LinkedIn has revolutionised recruiting, but how can you use it to your advantage?
LinkedIn transforms the landscape of recruiting with access to an unprecedentedly large, indexed talent pool. Now that the professional social network has 300 million+ users, what is required of companies who want to compete and how can recruiters make the most of the platform?
The massive expansion of the business-oriented social service has been hard to ignore. In 2006, after just three years of existence, LinkedIn had grown its following to 20 million. Today, the service boasts over 300 million members, claiming the title of “World's Largest Professional Network.”
LinkedIn's explosive growth has changed the way companies find employees, observes Sarah Halzack, who covers “the business of talent and hiring” for the Washington Post.
No longer do recruiters “post and pray,” hoping desirable candidates come out of the woodwork to respond to job listings. Powered by LinkedIn's growing user base and advanced search capabilities, the hunt is on.
As LinkedIn offers new recruitment strategies, it also presents new challenges for employers, especially with regard to employee retention. While some LinkedIn users actively seek new jobs and others have no intention of leaving their happy professional homes, the majority of networkers fall into the category of “passive job seekers.”
Those individuals who are not looking for new jobs but might be receptive to compelling offers have become primary targets for recruiters. Halzack quotes Josh Bersin, founder of Talent Consulting Firm Bersin by Deloitte explaining how companies are “at a point now where all of your employees are vulnerable to being poached. Every single one.”
The New Normal: Companies Must Maintain Quality LinkedIn Profiles
In this new transparent climate in which everyone is looking at everybody, companies can no longer afford to slack on maintaining their online presence on LinkedIn. In order to compete, employers must ensure company profiles are up to scratch.
To be on the cutting edge, recruiters may consider LinkedIn's talent solutions products and should be familiar with LinkedIn's many useful features.
The popularity of LinkedIn inspired ERC, an HR organisation serving Cleveland, Akron, and Northeast Ohio, to collaborate with Amy Neumann, Director of Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engines Marketing and Social Media Optimisation at Cleveland.com to provide 10 tips on how to use LinkedIn to Recruit.
We extract from this and other leading industry guides the practical steps you can take to integrate LinkedIn into your strategy, what actions are necessary in today's evolving landscape, and how to get the most out of this robust recruitment tool.
Milk Your Company Profile
Candidates often follow companies of interest on LinkedIn, so it’s important to keep your profile up-to-date and to frequently share information about your brand, product, and services.
Use the platform to illustrate company achievements with links to other websites, social media streams, employee testimonials, and current career opportunities. Continuously posting interesting content such as articles, videos, and pictures will encourage followers to join and keep candidates coming back.
According to Management Today, LinkedIn company profiles are powerful weapons when it comes to showcasing company goals and values, broadcasting why a candidate would want to work for you. A good reputation can half the cost of hiring so making sure your company page best represents your brand is well worth the time and effort.
Link Up with Current Employees
For your presence on LinkedIn to best reflect your company, after your official page is polished, make sure your employee network is strongly represented. In this social environment, flesh out your human network by encouraging existing employees to maintain their own up-to-date individual profiles.
Existing employees can become ambassadors, helping recruit by spreading the company name. It's worth incentivising them to share their work experiences and to let their networks know about job opportunities.
Data provided by Management Today cites potential candidates as 29 per cent more likely to consider a job when there is a first-degree connection between themselves and the company.
Access Background Information to Screen Candidates
LinkedIn provides more information on candidates' capabilities than traditional headhunting methods. To verify skills, recruiters can view candidates’ endorsements and recommendations, as well as dig deeper into their experience, connections, and interests.
According to US News, recruiters join industry- and skill- based LinkedIn Groups to look at members, carefully following the discussion to see what leaders are saying and who contributes to discussion.
Post Jobs on LinkedIn and Use InMail to Reach Candidates
Companies can post jobs formally on LinkedIn for a fee, or they can informally post them for free within application groups and though status updates. Whichever method you choose, the internal mailing system for LinkedIn, InMail, allows you to get in touch directly with candidates, and sets up recruiters to target specific prospects by pointedly relaying job opportunities.
Interestingly, as LinkedIn grows in popularity, recruiters find this method less effective in saturated sectors. For example, engineers receive so many InMail notifications that the messages cease to be impactful. Be mindful that when approaching highly sought-after kinds of talent, you have to do more to stand out.
Consider Posting in “Sponsored Jobs”
Through “Sponsored Jobs,” LinkedIn has employers bid for the top listing in the “You May be Interested In” section. With this function, companies can advertise job postings on the LinkedIn homepage as well as through candidates' email.
It's worth considering making a bid when, according to LinkedIn, members are three times more likely to apply for a sponsored job.
Work the Q&A Section
Companies can use LinkedIn's Question and Answer section to make connections with influencers and experts to help fill positions. Posting a question about a position or department will invite responses from people within and outside of your network, attracting suitable, interested candidates while growing your audience.
Embrace Advanced Search
LinkedIn has advanced search capabilities that are highly valuable in the recruitment process. Companies can filter candidates using past and current employers, job titles, years of experience, seniority level, company size, locations, interests, education, and references.
These search features are what allow you to recruit the “passive” candidates that make up 80 per cent of the LinkedIn population.
The revolutionary power of LinkedIn lies in expanding the definition of “potential candidate.” Recruiters have access to a talent pool that is much larger than it would be if limited to those who are actively job-searching.
However, if companies are serious about winning over passive networkers, they need to do more than learn how to use LinkedIn's search capabilities to scout: anymore they need to be present and active on the platform to make the most compelling pitch.