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How LinkedIn is Changing the Way You Recruit


Imagine you’re a recruiter looking for a talented candidate to fill a role at your company.

Unfortunately, your inbox is filled with resumes from people who seem neither “talented” nor experienced in any aspect of the role you’re looking to fill.

What’s a hiring manager to do? Disappointed with the applicant pool, you turn to LinkedIn to identify the best possible candidates, even if there’s no indication that those people are actively looking for a new job.

And it works! Not only do you find professionals with the skill set you need, but several of them are willing to discuss the position with you.

Ben Wiant, Business Development Manager at Kelaca, a Raleigh professional recruiting firm, recently saw this exact scenario unfold when his company was contracted to locate an engineer with a unique professional background.

“We found a field service tech who was working 60 hours a week,” Wiant said. “He wasn’t actively searching for a job, but he was willing to talk to our client. Ultimately, we placed him in a position with much better work/life balance. He was delighted.”

Passive job seekers, massive opportunities

According to LinkedIn, 20% of its users are looking for a job. Another 20% are completely happy with their jobs and have no desire to leave.

It’s the remaining 60%, a hefty majority, that fall into the “passive job seeker” category: people who aren’t looking for new opportunities but would be willing to entertain a compelling offer.

Whether you buy LinkedIn’s 60% figure or not, there’s no denying that passive job seekers offer a much larger hiring pool than traditional job boards and classified ads.

Using LinkedIn, recruiters can search for keywords related to the role they want to fill and refine results based on location, industry, and other factors. When they’ve identified a person they want to contact, LinkedIn lets them send that person a message. All in all, the process is very simple.

“The ‘post and pray’ hiring model isn’t effective anymore,” Wiant said. “The best candidates almost always have jobs, so it’s up to recruiters to reach out to them. Social networks like LinkedIn are treasure troves of information that recruiters can draw on to find the best people.”

In Wiant’s experience, passive job seekers are often willing to talk to you about an opportunity, even if they weren’t expecting you to contact them. And while the “poaching” aspect of the practice may sound a bit sly, it’s quickly becoming the norm in the unrelenting quest for talent.

LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions tool

Adding to the treasure chest of benefits LinkedIn has provided businesses, the social media company’s “Talent Solutions” tools let recruiters perform very specific searches across the LinkedIn network, contact anybody they like, and visualize their talent-seeking progress with reporting features. The Talent Solutions suite is now one of LinkedIn’s biggest revenue sources.

LinkedIn also directs paying customers to promising candidates by returning results based on trends its data mining technology has identified.

Consider a sporting goods company in Asheville that’s looking for a qualified product manager. Profiles at the top of the search results might not just include potential hires located nearby – they might also include product managers LinkedIn has identified as likely to move to Western North Carolina.

Not only can recruiters identify the most qualified hires on the market, but they can fill positions more quickly, too.

Like online shopping, but for recruiters

Just as airlines now display their fares online through sites like Expedia and Travelocity for deal-hunting consumers, so too can recruiters “shop around” on LinkedIn for talent.

“Businesses trying to fill any kind of position should be looking for candidates on LinkedIn,” Wiant said. “Together with other social networks and Google, it’s one of the most useful items in your recruiting toolkit. Matching potential hires with our clients is our job, and we’re using these platforms all day, every day.”

It’s hard to ignore an endorsement like that one – unless you want the other guys to make off with all the talent.

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