Scouting for talent on the social Web? For most recruiters these days, that question begins, and often ends, with LinkedIn. The massive social network for business has come a long way since its introduction as a clunky networking tool in the early 2000s. LinkedIn currently signs up two new members every second, adding to an existing user base of over 200 million people worldwide. And it has evolved into a vibrant social engagement hub, with thousands of industry discussion groups, original content and news, personalized newsfeeds, and other features.
"LinkedIn has become ’must have’ within our industry," Jason Smith, senior vice president at recruiting firm KNF&T Staffing and Resources, recently toldThe Boston Globe. And companies agree: The Globe reports that LinkedIn’s corporate clients have increased more than 40 percent from 2011 to 2012.
LinkedIn’s ubiquity can be both a blessing and curse to hiring managers. On one hand, LinkedIn is virtually a one-stop-shop for talent: you can post a job on a site where the candidates already are. On the other hand, sifting through dozens of prospects can be both confusing and frustrating, especially when many LinkedIn users are already employed. Following are some proven tactics that can help ease the frustration and streamline your recruitment process.
Get Your Employees Talking About Your Company
According to LinkedIn, the most common activity on the site is viewing member profiles. Encouraging your current employees to create a discussion around your company culture is a great way to showcase an inside look to your workplace. In addition, let your current employees know when you are looking to fill a position at the company. This way they can use LinkedIn (and Facebook and Twitter) to network for you.
Talk About Yourself, Too
Your company page can (and should) convey your culture in order to distinguish itself. Use this space to illustrate how people work at your company and what it’s like to be there. Include pictures and videos from the latest talent show or an office volunteer day. Use this page to post jobs as well. If someone is excited about the things your company is doing, they are more apt to be excited to click on the job options you offer. Set up an option for email notifications that will inform candidates of openings. If they love your company culture, they will want to hear from you about opportunities not only now, but also in the future.
Find and Engage with Passive Candidates
LinkedIn identifies two types of users on its site: active and passive. 20 percent of LinkedIn users are active, meaning they are looking for a job, while the remainder is comprised of passive job holders. The 80 percent, says Joseph Roulades, senior manager of communications at LinkedIn, is the group of talent who recruiters should try to engage with. Because LinkedIn isn’t primarily a job board, it’s not enough to simply post a position and hope that your best candidate will automatically apply. Again, your current employees can be a big help in discovering talent. New recruiting technologies can help you tap into the social networks of your current employees to discover active and passive candidates—this allows for quick and efficient social sourcing.
Use the summary section of your LinkedIn page to fill out your competencies and the qualities that make you stand out from other companies. Be sure to include keywords in the specialties section that can map to passive users and will broaden your scope as a company (for example, a PR firm may find their talent under Writing/Editing).
Search other social networks for workers with whom you can connect and who have experience relevant to the position you’re looking to fill. People often list their job title and experience on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, as well. This information is generally accessible for free and can lead to better matches for your open positions (as well as give you insight on the candidate’s personal character).
Highlight Impact in the Job Description
Quality prospects are unlikely to bolt from a current position without compelling reasons beyond a salary hike. Roulades reports that passive candidates on LinkedIn are 120 percent more likely to want to make an impact at their place of work (current and future). Stress the job’s impact in its description -- tell future candidates why this work means something or will allow him or her to make a difference. Remember: Always keep your writing simple, direct and friendly. Highlight the qualities ideal candidates should have and make sure you’re using them in the job description.
Avoid Overly Creative Titles and Descriptions
While it’s important to engage with potential employees online by showing them the human side of your company, there are a few ways to turn off potential talent. One way, says Roulades, is by creating overly wacky job titles. Wacky is fun, but it’s not good for search purposes. If a job candidate is looking for a job in the sales field, they won’t actively search "Kick-Ass Seller," for example. With simple, more conventional job titles, LinkedIn’s algorithms can go to work for you and filter your job to the appropriate talent.
Being too cool can be a mistake. A tech startup recently went a little overboard when posting a job description for an office manager. The media had one look andripped the company apart. Convey your company culture through voice instead of trying to be web 1.0 and failing miserably. Remember it’s not the 90s—there aren’t raves at bungalows in Silicon Valley every night of the week anymore.