As of today, LinkedIn has more than 645 million users across the world. Think your purple squirrel is in there somewhere? Or even just that single candidate you need to fill that one role?
Yes and yes. Today, everyone is on LinkedIn. And with much of its functionality still available to free users, it remains the most powerful, professional platform. This is particularly true for recruiters. Although many businesses and most staffing firms have invested in at least some paid LinkedIn recruiting product, you can still get tremendous results on the platform without those tools.
At the end of the day, LinkedIn is a social network, designed to connect people. So while you can invest thousands in LinkedIn’s premium products each month, the most powerful advice you can take (and use) doesn’t require a premium anything. Instead, focus on these 5 free areas to boost your LinkedIn recruiting efforts:
Sure, there is the literal “connecting” we do on LinkedIn. But where the magic happens on this platform is with real connections. We may be interacting digitally, but we can also form real bonds. Talent today is inundated with InMails and connection requests from, especially ambitious recruiters.
Most of those messages and requests are ignored. The primary reason is the lack of personalization. Candidates can tell when you’re sending a template. They can tell when they are seen as a resume rather than as a person. And they will tune you out if there is any hint of impropriety. Talent is jaded, and there is a bias toward recruiters on the platform, particularly many in-demand roles (this is especially true in tech).
One big step you can take to overcome this bias is simply sending personalized connection requests. You have up to 300 characters to send this message. Keep it short and sweet, yet real. Here’s an example:
We don’t know each other, but I saw you work in X, Y, and Z, and I see a lot of great opportunities for someone like you. Even if you’re not interested, I’d love to connect to help you stay in the loop if your situation ever changes.
If you have connections in common, share an alma mater, or have anything else that sets you apart, feel free to mention that as well and play around with this message. The point is, to be honest, and real. Set the expectation, and don’t be a pest. While you may not have 100% of your connection requests accepted, you’re much more likely to make real connections by being different.
Your profile should not sound like a resume. Instead, it should serve as an online introduction to you. Why do you love your job? How do you help people? Why are you different? Your LinkedIn summary should help tell your “big picture” story so that people visiting your profile feel like they know you. In your experience, dig deeper into your specific role and company.
What are some great things you’ve accomplished? What is your ultimate goal? Pretend you’re sitting down with someone over coffee and sharing your professional story (yes, even with a little bit of your personal story thrown in). If you can bring that feeling to your LinkedIn profile, you’ll easily stand out from the pack.
Let me start off by saying that posting your jobs here does not qualify. In fact, I recommend against posting every job opening you or your business has open. When you post everything (and particularly when you simply post the link and leave it there), you run the risk of your network completely tuning you out. To stand out, your content has to be relevant and helpful.
You should be posting on LinkedIn at least once per weekday. Focus first on providing value. If you’re an IT recruiter, post advice for IT talent with specific skill sets (this could be specific to finding jobs, or even more relevant by helping them be better at what they are currently doing). This builds goodwill and shows you understand them, their goals and their challenges.
Occasionally, you can absolutely post jobs (but not every day). When you do, write an actual post with it. Talk about the amazing person who can fill this job. What does that person’s resume look like? What would make them a total fit? Why is this employer such an amazing place to work? Paint a portrait for your network, and they’re much more likely to engage. Especially since you’ve been building up all that goodwill by sharing helpful content for so long!
I’ve also seen recruiters who use video very successfully on LinkedIn. Take short (less than 2 or 3 minutes) videos, yes, even with your smartphone, and talk about some of the mistakes you see candidates make, offer tips to help them ace interviews, and more -- you see where I’m going with this thought. Video is blowing up on LinkedIn right now, and it can go a long way toward building trust and familiarity since you’ll actually be talking to your network.
Your LinkedIn efforts don’t end with publishing content. Another big part of successful LinkedIn recruiting is actively engaging with other people’s content. Every morning (or maybe before lunch, or around the end of the day), spend 5 or 10 minutes scrolling through your feed. If you see a post that catches your eye, offer a thought-provoking comment. Or if you agree with someone else’s comment, join the conversation.
Avoid simply commenting “Great post” and instead foster or continue the conversation. Not only will you make a positive impression on the poster and other commenters, but you’ll also expand your reach into your 2nd and 3rd tier networks, and can potentially reach new talent. Plus, when you engage with content shared by potential candidates, you further demonstrate your expertise and most importantly, your humanity (which is a big differentiator today).
To that end, when someone comments on your posts, be sure to follow up with them and keep the conversation moving. When you respond to comments and keep the conversation flowing, LinkedIn’s algorithm is more likely to recognize your content as valuable, which increases the likelihood your future posts are seen by more people in your network. Plus, you build additional goodwill by showing your network that you value their input and conversation.
LinkedIn is just one piece of your recruiting puzzle. To really ramp up your results, choosing the right technology partners -- and particularly, your ATS -- is critical. At BrightMove, we are proud of our robust, innovative ATS technology and we’d love to show it to you. Check out our guide to successful recruiting with BrightMove for insights and advice on leveraging our platform.
About the Author, David Webb
David is the CEO of BrightMove and is a seasoned technology executive & entrepreneur noted for creating successful businesses. Over his 25+ year career, David has developed multi-platform expertise in the domains of computer science, data analytics & business transformation. Starting in 1995, David worked with his best friend, Jimmy Hurff, to develop one of the world's first Internet job board and resume bank applications. David is the primary architect of BrightMove and has an active role in the product's evolution to this day. From then to now, David has been consistently helping his customers to build great teams, using best practices and world-class technology.