Five Tips for Recruiters Using LinkedIn

The explosion of social networks has changed the recruiting world forever, and as far as using them to source quality candidates, LinkedIn is the leader. Eighty nine percent of recruiters have hired someone using LinkedIn, and there is no doubt that if you’re not living under a rock, you’re already using it. The question is are you using it to its fullest potential?

LinkedIn has obviously recognized it’s a recruiting goldmine and has cashed in offering several levels of paid options for accessing candidates. But even the free option has a lot of useful functionality. Below are my top five tips to getting the greatest return on your investment in this network.

1. Use Your Network

Remember a few weeks ago when we discussed how to get more referrals out of each candidate?  Connecting and staying in touch with previous candidates on LinkedIn is an important part of that. If you’re searching in a similar industry or for a similar position, search through previous candidates’ contacts and ask them for a referral to the ones that could be a fit for your position. If you’re connecting with every candidate you speak with, your network will grow quickly, giving you a huge pool of potential candidates.

Use the “people search” function to find matches for your positions based on keywords in the job description. You can also use the “advanced search” function to narrow your search based on location, title, job history or industry. When you do find a match, contact your first connection to get an introduction so you can connect with the candidate and then message them.

2. Join LinkedIn Groups and Be an Active Member

Join LinkedIn Groups relevant to the industries that you recruit for and be a valued, contributing member. You can message other members that you are not otherwise connected to. However, you don’t just want to spam open positions to the group. Post relevant and valuable content to establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry and get to know other group members by creating a dialogue within the discussion. It will be much easier to contact them about an open position if you’ve had previous interactions with them.

3. Identify and Follow Thought Leaders

Identify and follow thought leaders in the industries you recruit for, with the goal being to eventually connect with them. Top talent knows other top talent and connecting with one could land you in a huge pool of qualified candidates. In addition, you want to establish yourself as trusted career advisor in your industry and knowing the right people is a good place to start.

4. Upgrade to a Paid Option

Like I said before, LinkedIn knows it’s a recruiting goldmine and charges accordingly. However, if you’re a full-time recruiter and know how to use these options effectively, it can be well worth the investment.

LinkedIn Recruiter, which gives you full access to all members’ profiles and offers advanced functionality designed specifically for large-scale recruiting firms and internal departments, is their most expensive package and feature-rich package.

Recruiter Lite is the next level down down, much less expensive and still gives you extensive access to many LinkedIn member profiles. In addition to getting access to more user profiles and search filters, you also get 25 InMail messages a month, which means you can contact people you don’t have a first-degree connection with.

For both packages, it’s wise to take advantage of the training offered in the Learning Center to maximize the benefits from your package.

5. Use Inmail Wisely

If you are using a paid LinkedIn option, you get the very valuable InMail feature. However, it’s only valuable if you use it correctly. InMail is your first and only opportunity to hook your candidate. Take the time and effort to craft a powerful, compelling message.

Customize your message by referring to details available in their profile and/or connections you have in common. If you are going to create templates to send to a group of candidates, segment as much as possible so you can still include some detail.

Remember, this is an introduction, your first meeting. You’re not trying to  close the deal, just start a conversation. Be patient and purposeful when using InMail.

LinkedIn is an extremely useful tool for recruiters. The more skilled you are at using it, the more valuable it becomes. If a paid version is on your wishlist, take advantage of the free trial (Recruiter Lite only) and prove to your boss it’s worth the investment. Once you’ve mastered using LinkedIn effectively, sourcing will never be the same.

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