LinkedIn has been a primary recruiting platform for over a decade. That’s never been more true than today. In fact, with 765+ million registered users as of 2021, LinkedIn is the largest it’s ever been. That’s important for recruiters, especially as the pandemic pushed cultural shifts to work-from-home, digital communication, and digital hiring.
That combination, plus LinkedIn’s 400+ million daily active users, make the platform a prime part of your recruitment strategy. Of course, any LinkedIn strategy must be multi-faceted. Running ads and using job profiles can get you hires in the short-term. Building networks and connections, sharing your teams on social media, and building a following will help you to gain access to higher quality talent and better hires over time.
Most recruiters should use a combination of strategies, mixing short-term hiring strategies with long-term talent acquisition strategies for the best results.
Recruitment is digitizing & LinkedIn is an ideal platform
Today’s recruitment is increasingly digital. That’s important in a world where the average corporate job listing sees 250+ applications. Filtering technology, AI, and document scanners are crucial tools to help recruiters do their jobs. And, LinkedIn has many of these tools built in, except you’re looking at profile keywords, profile settings, and similar rather than resumes.
LinkedIn is already used by more than half a million people, most of whom only use the platform for work and networking. That makes it an ideal place to connect with the intent of building work connections – because people are actively looking for them. That’s significantly different from other platforms, like Quora, Reddit, or even Facebook, where most people view unsolicited adds and messages as nothing more than spam.
LinkedIn also offers other benefits. For recruiters, it’s a great chance to learn about the person’s interests, views, and ideas and see whether the candidate will be a good fit for the company. For organizations with a strong culture and an established set of values, it is especially important to select people with a similar mindset and attitude so that everyone feels comfortable.
People can also share their expertise on LinkedIn, allowing you to immediately assess whether they are skilled and knowledgeable enough for a certain position. This might be in the form of sharing blogs or projects, it might be in the form of public commentary, or in the form of shared certifications. However, it gives you an at-a-glance look at that person’s workplace behavior, training, and expertise in ways that a resume rarely does.
And, LinkedIn allows you to easily connect with networks. For example, if you need a new software engineer, you can see not only your direct contacts, but second and third contacts as well. You can then reach out to the people who know those prospects to gauge interest, gain clout, or get a referral. That holds true even if you’re building future networks – because not all networking should be about jobs you need right now.
Get your LinkedIn content in top shape
Getting a foot in the door with current or future prospects means using good content, good ads, and ensuring that job profiles, company pages, and your own profile are optimized. This is an important first step before you should even think about moving on to running ads or doing direct outreach.
Optimize your LinkedIn company page
A company LinkedIn page is vital for connecting to talent and opportunities. Having a LinkedIn presence is great for business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer companies since it shows what services are available through your company. A LinkedIn profile is the equivalent of a Facebook profile for the business world and is a company’s social networking “face.” Below are a few simple ways to optimize your LinkedIn company page for great results, aesthetics and connections.
- On creating your company page, get followers by emailing employees and current customers. Utilize email lists, newsletters, and databases to get the word out. Insert a follow button on your website and blogs and promote your LinkedIn profile on other social media channels.
- Make sure your company profile picture is your logo for the sake of brand recognition.
- LinkedIn banner images are similar to Facebook cover images. They are 1128 x 191-pixel images displayed at the top of your company page. Make them eye-catching and they can bring your page to life! A banner can include a call-to-action, your company colors, or your brand.
- Your company “about” information should be up-to-date, free of spelling or grammar errors, and succinct. This is a great place to insert your mission statement and a little bit of history.
- Choose your specialties wisely, and only use relevant keywords to describe your company so that you will show up on relevant LinkedIn searches.
Your company LinkedIn page is the first place most prospective talent will click through from a job posting. It’s always a good idea to optimize it to appeal to customers as well as to prospective employees. That means filling out bios, sharing full details, adding photos, and making it a window into the organization’s culture.
The success of a LinkedIn page is also a team effort. Ask your employees to generate thoughts, updates and contributions. This will result in a wide variety of topics and create interest throughout multiple groups.
Engage with current employees
Get employees and LinkedIn members excited about your page by adding value for them. Share information they need, post company updates, and share employee successes and team highlights on the page. This gives you a place to direct internal traffic for updates – while showcasing company culture.
Provide training and opportunities for employees to create full LinkedIn profiles that they enjoy investing time in. Expose employees to compelling information that they can share on LinkedIn and help them become LinkedIn thought leaders in your company’s industry.
A LinkedIn Company page offers a number of different features to optimize content and convey important information to visitors. The page design has been tested and developed so that a company can feature what they want, and garner attention with well-placed call-to-actions. Utilizing that will help you to improve your recruiting strategy. For example, you can showcase products employees might be working on. You can share think pieces and company culture. You can share photos of the office or showcase employees “work from home” offices. And, you can share content created by your employees.
Showcase your team
That can also extend to incentivizing employees to build their profiles. Top talent will click through employees at a company before deciding to work there. Showcasing your one of your primary attractions, your human capital, can be important for drawing that talent. Provide training and opportunities for employees to create full LinkedIn profiles that they enjoy investing time in. Expose employees to compelling information that they can share on LinkedIn and help them become LinkedIn thought leaders in your company’s industry. If this is too much investment, you can try simply encouraging LinkedIn contributions to the company page by sharing and posting items your employees write to the page.
Go through the tab options, decide which to add to your page, and make sure it’s well filled out. It’s always a good idea to have “People”, “About”, “Content”, and “Posts”. But, adding a products page allows you to showcase a product or downloadable file that could add interest to prospects.
Optimize your personal LinkedIn profile
One of the biggest mistakes many companies make is ignoring their own social media profiles when looking for candidates online. In the world of the Internet, your social media profile is your trademark. It represents the identity of your brand and immediately informs the visitors about your mission, values, and goals.
For example, if someone visits your page and it’s empty, they will most likely leave – simply because your profile doesn’t seem trustworthy. Always make sure your page looks good before engaging in outreach:
- Fill in about information
- Make sure the company you’re hiring for is visible on your profile
- Post content that reflects your company culture
- If you are a recruiter for a recruitment company rather than hiring internally, you can always post specific job listings to your profile to ensure it looks relevant
- Use the right hashtags and tags
- Ask for references
Improving your own profile ensures you look credible when you go to make a hire. If you’re associated with a specific company, simply viewing someone’s profile can send them to look that company up. Make sure the data people need to find you is on your profile.
Build attractive job listings
A good job profile will make or break your hiring – but it has little to do with networking. Job profiles can link to ads, to individuals making hires, and to ongoing hiring campaigns.
- Be thorough, always include as much information as-is available about the role
- Try to include information from the internal job profile
- Share what software and tools people will be using
- List hard and soft requirements
- Be specific about salary ranges, as this is a better way to attract top talent
- Link jobs to company profiles
- Share team data. If someone is working at home over communication platforms, share it. If lex work is possible, state that. And, if you know which team they are going in, share something about the team.
Tips for setting up job listings
LinkedIn offers dozens of tools for creating and advertising job listings. These include resumes, branding, search tools, advertising, and much more. Some do cost more money, but it’s worth considering when setting up a recruiting strategy on the platform.
Use targeted recruitment ads – Ensure that only relevant applicants see your vacancy; this doesn’t cost more than a normal recruitment ad.
Don’t forget SEO – Use good keywords to show up in LinkedIn search and increase your search ranking in Google.
Set the right skills – These come up as part of LinkedIn Search.
Open to LinkedIn applications – Allow prospects to apply right through LinkedIn. This “fast application’ reduces the amount of time the applicant spends on the application. But, while it can mean getting more “spam”, it also means seeing more casual candidates, who might be good fits for other roles as well. Plus, LinkedIn applications often allow you to see a resume plus the LinkedIn profile, so you get a more thorough picture of the prospect.
Add screening questions – These can help you reduce spam, so you get higher quality applicants.
LinkedIn job ads can be a great way to make immediate hires. But they also put your company page in front of future prospects as well.
Get your team involved on LinkedIn
Internal PR is all about promoting the company’s image and brand among the company’s employees. So, what does it have to do with LinkedIn recruiting?
Internal PR is one of the best ways to advertise that you have a great company to work for.
Satisfied and loyal employees usually become the company’s ambassadors and gladly share their experience and ideas with friends and peers. Once you create a strong internal PR culture and enhance the company’s culture, the employees will more actively talk about the company online – thus, attracting new potential candidates. People greatly trust the feedback from friends and family – use it to your advantage.
When your team is highly engaged, productive, and happy at work, they’re more likely to tell those positive stories to their friends, family, and professional networks. By shifting your focus to recognize team members as your very own, built-in influencers, you can further grow your business by leveraging your team’s strongest suits.
Your employees are connected to ten times more people than your brand. That pays off when it comes to recruitment.
A study on employee activism revealed that, on average, 50% of employees share photos and videos on social media about their work, and a third of them do this with no encouragement from their employer. If your employees are already singing your company’s praises, how can you leverage their networks without being heavy-handed?
The answer is pretty simple: Provide them with the tools and resources that make it easier to promote your brand. Create a Brand Bible, if you will, that clearly explains the vision, mission, and history of your organization. Give your team training on the company’s “elevator pitch”. Make brand promotion part of your corporate culture.
Engaged employees are more likely to refer talent to your organization when openings arise, meaning Human Resources gains access to better talent pools with fewer resources spent. Simply leveraging an employee referral program can help you attract – and retain – the best possible talent!
While it’s not necessary to offer stock options to employees to reap the benefits of ownership mindset, it is up to leaders to create positive change and a culture of empowerment by recognizing, fostering, and nurturing internal brand ambassadors.
Use brand ambassadors
A brand ambassador is someone who speaks highly of your business. Today, most people associate brand ambassadors with highly paid celebrities acting as the face of a brand. But, brand ambassadors have traditionally been individuals who are hired by companies to help entrench the brand into the community by leveraging already established networks and market the brand through word-of-mouth tactics.
To identify potential internal brand ambassadors, look for team members who:
- Ask questions aimed at discovering new ways they could be more effective or helpful
- Talk about the brand and may engage with internal branding experts or managers to ensure they’re on the right path
- Share their thoughts and ideas on how the company could improve
- Think about your company and/or their role even while they’re not at work
- Arrive at work each day inspired to do their work and share their thoughts
- Advocate for the organization online such as by sharing content related to your brand initiatives on their personal social networks
If you’re working internally, it’s also important to encourage these qualities in your team on a large scale. As you identify the employees already demonstrating their enthusiasm, curiosity, and engagement, it’s important to support them to help them flourish. Good company culture is just that, culture.
Bring a human touch to the recruiting and onboarding process
- Start with proper onboarding – From the moment you make a new hire, all efforts should be made to welcome your new team member and engage with them – from the time the offer letter is sent to the time s/he walks through the door on their first day. That can be on LinkedIn, or not, but you should always maintain contact through LinkedIn.
- Make a good first impression – Make an excited introduction to the team, share profiles so people get to know them.
- Assign mentors and buddies – Create a buddy system so candidates know who to reach out to for questions, and new hires have support through the early days.
- Get feedback – Check in frequently to see how candidates find the recruitment and onboarding process, and if they have suggestions.
- Keep your team in the loop – Keep the team that a candidate would be working with informed throughout the process, especially during the final stages. They may even want to reach out to candidates they liked to make a connection.
Your employees can only be as engaged as you let them. For this reason, keeping your team close to the action and ensure they’re informed about the business, how it’s doing, and the ways their work ladders up to the strategic priorities and goals of the organization. Eventually, they will likely be your largest source of prospects and new leads on LinkedIn.
If your current team is willing to reach out to their own network, you can ask them to share your job openings and careers page on their personal social networks. Your team is in a unique position to sell the company culture, since they are a part of it. They can share their experiences with the company, how they’ve grown, and other reasons they enjoy working with your business. Just make sure they have good experiences to share before you ask them to advertise an opening.
Use LinkedIn networking
Networking is part of your long-term recruiting strategy. It allows you to build and nurture contacts. It allows you to work your way into groups where you see people looking for jobs. And, it allows you to create leads out of cold contacts by offering them value over time. However, there are always rules and doing things the right way usually means spending more time.
Join existing LinkedIn groups and take part in them. Comment, answer questions, ask questions. Do not, under any circumstances, spam the group with job ads unless the group allows that.
LinkedIn groups are either open or private communities where people can share their expertise and thoughts. Unfortunately, marketers actively use these groups as well as an easy way to promote the company’s content. Because of that, it becomes hard to find one experienced candidate among dozens of marketers or expert wannabes.
While the presence in LinkedIn groups is preferable, do not see it as your only or primary talent pool.
Use relevant filters
Filtering is probably the easiest way to find the right candidates, but many recruiters still seem to ignore it.
Filtering allows you to search the candidates by location, experience, occupation, etc. So, once you have a profile of a perfect candidate, match it to the right filters and it will be much easier and quicker to find a person.
Build relationships with your followers and other professionals in the industry. This will give you a direct line to your potential candidates, and it’ll allow you to interact with them and see how they treat your content. Pay attention to whether they share your blogs, the quality of their posts (their work and insights, not grammar), and how they brand themselves online.
Use Hashtags – Hashtags allow you to see and engage with posts from all over the world. Choosing and following relevant hashtags gives you insight into people looking for work, people hiring, and even education and certifications in the field. You can apply this on a broad level with hashtags like #softwaredevelopment or you can do so on a local level, with tags like #Manilla. You can engage, or just keep an eye on what is going on.
Don’t underestimate cold contacts
Cold contacts might include people who are in jobs now. They might include people who qualify for roles you need in one to five years. But, they represent future prospects. Building networks with them now and investing in them now can lead to you hiring them well into the future. Plus, building relationships with people, while asking nothing out of them, makes it easier for them to decide to send job prospects and contacts your way when you do post job listings.
Try a direct outreach
Direct outreach is a viable tactic, but you have to be careful not to come across as pushy or to spam prospects.
The worst thing that a candidate may receive on LinkedIn is a random and non-personalized message from a recruiter.
On one hand, it is understandable that after screening 100+ profiles, a recruiter can make a mistake and send the wrong message to the wrong person. On the other, if you want to show genuine interest and respect for a person, always take some time to personalize the message and make it interesting for the candidate.
Personalizing messages can mean investing in reading profiles. But that will save you a lot of mis-placed emails and content.
Whether you’re contacting a prospect for a position now or one that might open in 2 years, offer some value. That might be access to free training. It might be valuable information. It might be spending 20 minutes offering a free review of their resume. But, that time investment gets you in the door and works to build trust. When you do approach with a job role, you’ll already have established a relationship.
Running your LinkedIn recruitment strategy
Once you know what to use, it’s important to define how much, how, and how to follow up. You can normally work out LinkedIn recruiting strategies based on budget, team involvement, and total number of hires needed.
- How far forward do you have hiring prediction in place?
- What is your turnover rate? Can you plan to have contacts in place to fill roles as they empty?
- Are you adding on new roles? Can you plan to fill them before hiring becomes an immediate necessity?
- Can you align hiring with teams so that those teams post about and share roles themselves?
Using LinkedIn to research candidates
LinkedIn showcases someone’s interests, hobbies, and even personality. By looking at a person’s profile, you can spot their favorite places, ways of spending time, and even learn about their views on modern trends and culture.
However, you cannot predict whether a person will be a perfect fit for your team or not just by looking at their page. People behave differently at home and at work.
However, looking at posts, content, and personality on pages can give you a good idea if someone will fit into a team.
What to look for
Social media check should not be the primary factor upon deciding whether to hire a person or not. However, a social media profile may have some red flags that you should pay attention to.
All people are different, and all have a different opinion about things. This is perfectly fine. However, if you see poor behavior social media, like an open combative argument online, that should be a warning sign.
People have a full right to agree or disagree with things. But an aggressive imposing of opinion may lead to conflict in the future. If the person cannot handle him or herself on social media, there is no guarantee s/he can be professional at work.
The way a person communicates with the followers may say a lot about the candidate. If a person is rude, arrogant, passive-aggressive, or never agree with the opinions of other people, this should concern you. Most people tend to keep the same conversational style both at work and at home.
If you see that a person cannot efficiently communicate, think twice about inviting him or her for an interview – most probably, s/he cannot work as a team player and could introduce constant arguing and temper tantrums.
Things to look for:
Now, let’s look at what can actually help you determine whether the candidate is the right fit for your company.
Content that supports expertise
While scrolling the feed, you may see the photos from conferences, re-posts from industry leaders, links to the online courses, etc.
These posts support the expertise of a person and show that they are willing to network and grow their skills. But if there are no such posts, that’s OK too. After all, many people prefer not to mix work and personal life.
You should also look at references, recommendations, interactions, courses taken on LinkedIn, and even listed certifications – whether or not they have anything to do with the specific role. This will give you a significant insight into the person’s total expertise and willingness to learn.
Content that showcases creativity
Creativity is awesome because it helps employees make unusual decisions and find unique solutions.
So if LinkedIn posts show a creative mindset, it’s a good sign. Creativity in your personal life can greatly help at work and would become a great asset for an employee. In addition, creative people tend to be independent thinkers who may as well become good leaders.
Content that shows personality
Let’s be honest – you want to know a bit about the person before inviting them for an interview.
LinkedIn can be a great source of information about the person in terms of habits, interests, hobbies. However, it is limited, because it’s always geared towards work. In a way that’s great, because you see exactly as much personality as that person is willing to bring to work.
Taking the next step
Eventually you’ll move candidates and prospects off LinkedIn and hopefully into an interview and then into a role. As you do, it’s important to continue to dedicate the same amount of attention and time. Offer perks to keep hires engaged. Use good onboarding to ensure the hiring experience is good. And, make sure recruiters continue to work with hires to ensure they are moving towards not away from professional goals. Doing so will ensure that they not only stay with the company – but will improve your existing LinkedIn networking.
Eventually, no LinkedIn recruitment strategy will ever be perfect. You’ll always run into issues. Someone will always eventually accidentally send a copy paste message to the wrong person. And, you can engage with candidates for months only to have the role vanish in a restructure. The important things are to set a budget and keep recruitment efforts within that. You also want to ensure that you continue to tweak your strategy over time, so that you invest time and effort into the people and hiring strategies that matter. That always means keeping job profiles and descriptions up to date. But, it also means changing which groups you interact in, tweaking engagement strategies, changing which roles and skills you look for, and otherwise keeping things relevant. And, if engagement doesn’t’ work, it’s always a good idea to stop and look at why, change tactics, and keep moving forward.