The event began with Rob Humphrey, a LinkedIn Talent Pipeline Specialist, differentiating between the linear process of “traditional” hiring practices and the art of recruitment as an inbound and outbound flow of interactions with a prospective candidate.
The LinkedIn Difference
The “traditional” hiring process he was talking about is not as “traditional” as I would have thought. Humphrey was actually referring to online job boards like Monster.com. The “post and pray” method recruiters have relied upon for the last decade or so is being replaced by the LinkedIn algorithm. In fact, every choice in our online environment has been taken over by algorithms — from our Netflix queue to books we buy on Amazon to the restaurant we choose from Google search results. The key to successful LinkedIn recruitment is making the algorithm do the heavy lifting for you.
The main difference between posting jobs on LinkedIn and posting on a job board, Humphrey says, is the type of person who will see it: active talent versus passive talent. The audience viewing your job on Monster.com is usually active talent searching for a new job. The passive talent, Humphrey believes, are the people you want. These are individuals who are not actually looking for a new job because they are happy where they are and doing extremely well. These people aren’t waiting for perspective employers to come knocking on their door.
Another key difference with LinkedIn is relevancy. Recruiters won’t be viewing a two-year-old resume. Because LinkedIn is a social network, job history and employers stay current and relevant to your search. Multiple recruiters for one company can work collaboratively on a list of prospects so contacts don’t overlap and they can track those whom they’ve reached out to.
Recruiting With LinkedIn
After Rob Humphrey spoke, they brought up a panel of three recruiters who have been using LinkedIn at their company to find talent.
One panelist estimates that the decision of a prospect to accept or not accept your invite takes about 10 seconds. I would guess that decision happens even faster, particularly for social network-savvy young professionals. Here are some of their InMail best practices to ensure a prospect accepts your invitation and reads your message:
- Personalize the message. Identify keywords they use to describe their background and skills and use that language to target them in your message. When they read your message they will be looking for a connection to you, and personalization keeps your message from appearing spammy.
- Highlight your company, not yourself. What can your brand offer them?
- Customize your personal page. Take the extra time to upload a picture of yourself and fill out your skills and job history. People want to know who they’re talking to — this much hasn’t changed in the way we communicate — so make sure who you are is evident in your profile.
- Categorize message. If you are approaching them about a career opportunity, be honest. If you are just trying to network with them or someone they are connected to, so say.
- Don’t drop a job posting. Instead, invite them to start a conversation. Even if they aren’t interesting in a career move right now, they might be looking later on.
In closing, the panelists offered some advice for companies and recruiters new to LinkedIn. They suggested utilizing LinkedIn account managers to understand the site’s functionality and get the necessary training to use key features. You should also develop a strategy for using LinkedIn and educate key stakeholders in your company as well as upper-management on its value to your overall recruitment strategy.
After the panelists, LinkedIn’s Senior Enterprise Relationship Manager Kevin Varadian offered some valuable insights on LinkedIn and how to make the network work for your company.
One surprising LinkedIn statistic is that only 15 percent of its members search for jobs each month on the network. One way to tap into the 85 percent who aren’t looking is to drive inbound leads from employees’ profiles on LinkedIn and your company’s profile.
Employee profiles are the most important piece of the puzzle, since Varadian estimates they generate 10x the amount of traffic that your company page does. More importantly, your employees are connected to the very people you want to hire.
The first step is to acquire the data to generate these inbound leads. Ask LinkedIn for the analytics on your employees, including who they are connected to and who is viewing their page. This sounds a little like Big Brother is watching, but the key message to companies is that you must begin to view each employee as an ambassador to your brand.
The second step is to ask for analytics about your brand. How much traffic is your company getting? What companies, countries or industries are they coming from? What are your referral sources - how are people finding your company?
Another way to connect with passive candidates is to generate outbound leads. Varadian suggests posting as many of your jobs as possible on LinkedIn to increase their relevancy to the candidates they are pushed to. The LinkedIn algorithm puts your job in front of candidates with the appropriate background to act as a conversation before the conversation. Furthermore, LinkedIn constantly tracks all members to determine who’s looking at each job and delivers rich sets of data to recruiters to see how each job is pushed out to candidates.
Companies can find candidates who match a specific set of criteria by searching job keywords, a location radius, etc. Recruiters can even apply filters to pull candidates from specific companies to find an ideal match. Once the best candidates are identified, recruiters can create templates to send personalized messages to prospects.
In his closing remarks, Varadian emphasized that a single-pronged strategy to recruitment on LinkedIn would not work. To truly be successful in attracting the best talent, companies must leverage employee profiles, recruiters and company profiles to drive inbound leads.