Using LinkedIn to Search for Talent


In our previous post, Finding Partners on LinkedIn, we continued our series with a discussion on how to find partners for your business on LinkedIn.  In this post, we continue with a look at how to find and recruit talent on LinkedIn.


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Using LinkedIn to Search for Talent

If you’re recruiting in the current economic downturn, you’re well aware of the perils of posting a job requisition on even a single online job board. The result is likely to be dozens or hundreds of resumes, many of which are not only not in the ballpark, but not even the same solar system as your requirements.

This growing deluge of eager jobseekers has accelerated an already growing trend in talent acquisition (AKA finding people to hire). More and more enterprises are de-emphasizing offline and online job posting and turning to social media sourcing, using social media sites such as LinkedIn to locate top candidates and invite them to apply, for free.

This new emphasis is akin to a fisherman changing from casting a wide net in hopes of catching a single prize fish to using sophisticated mapping and sonar to fish where the fish are.

LinkedIn is an ideal environment for finding those trophy fish.

If you’re an enterprise of some size and you’re serious about recruiting on LinkedIn, you can sign up for a LinkedIn Recruiter[1] account. This type of account drastically improves your ability to search on LinkedIn, adds the ability to create alerts, gives you 50 InMails (ability to email anyone on LinkedIn) per month, and allows you to check references instantly. As part of their Talent Advantage program, LinkedIn also offers features such as employment ads, annual subscriptions for job listings, and customizable company profiles you can use to display different job information to LinkedIn members based on their profiles.

Be prepared to shell out some money for these features, however. Although details on cost are sketchy, it’s been reported that $29,800 is the minimum investment for the LinkedIn Talent Advantage Starter Package. You can go a bit cheaper by upgrading to one of LinkedIn’s regular paid accounts, which range from $24.95/month to $499.95/month, with discounts for buying a full year.

If you’d rather not commit that much money before getting results, here are some less-expensive ideas for finding that perfect hire:

  • Advertise in Your Profile
    If you’re looking for talent, say so in your LinkedIn profile. Adding a simple line such as, “Looking for an outreach manager” or “Need a policy researcher,” or even adding, “hiring” to your professional headline can attract interest. Of course, we assume you’ve already described your business in other sections of your profile, so prospective applicants can learn more. This is often more effective than blind job postings, and is more likely to attract passive candidates — those who are not actively looking for a job.
  • Ask Your Network for Help
    If you’re trying to fill a position, let your connections know. One good way is to change your LinkedIn status, indicating what kind of candidate you’re looking for. Another good technique is to contact your connections, either through LinkedIn or via email, let them know about your talent search, and ask them to recommend people in their networks.
  • List Your Job in a LinkedIn Group
    Most groups have an active Jobs section, where members post jobs and find jobs. It’s free for group members to list a job in these sections.
  • Post Your Job on LinkedIn
    You may have noticed there’s a Jobs link on the LinkedIn toolbar. You can post jobs on LinkedIn, but it will cost you $195 for a 30-day posting, or you can save up to 40 percent with a multi-job pack.
  • Use LinkedIn Answers
    The LinkedIn Answers feature lets you ask a public question. Any LinkedIn member can answer the question, plus, you can directly message those who answer. So your question could be, “Who’d like to be my next Project Manager?”
  • Use LinkedIn’s Email Signature Tool
    LinkedIn has a free tool that helps you create an email signature — that bit of contact information you see at the bottom of people’s emails. One useful function is the ability to include a “We’re hiring” link. When an email recipient clicks on the link, it opens and searches LinkedIn Jobs for open positions at your company. Two other interesting links you can add are:

    • “Professional Profile” link which displays your profile
    • “See who we know in common” link which displays your profile, and focuses on common connections

All of these ideas, however, share one thing in common: They’re very similar to the post-your-job-and-hope model of talent acquisition by casting a wide net.

One of the advantages of LinkedIn is that you can find out lots about other members from their public profiles. So to find those passive candidates, or to avoid getting inundated with resumes due to public job posts, use the techniques discussed in the previous section to find candidates to invite to apply for your openings.

In fact, you may find a passive candidate may be a better choice than one who is actively looking. A LinkedIn poll found that 60 percent of employers said that passive candidates made better employees. If you believe, as unfortunately many do, that the best talent is always employed, then you can understand these poll results.

One final tip: use Google to search for people with a particular number of LinkedIn recommendations. The following search produces a list of 24 highly-recommended candidates:

site:linkedin.com +”7 Recommendations ” +”project manager” +minnesota

These 24 folks are likely to be not only highly experienced but, ahem, come highly recommended.

Power Tool: Mozenda

One technique you might use with LinkedIn involves scraping the results of searches right into Microsoft Excel. Using Mozenda,[2] a versatile screen scraper that starts at $99/month, you can run the LinkedIn people search and have results exported as a CSV or Excel file. Of course, since free LinkedIn accounts only return 100 name results per search, this is another incentive to upgrade to one of the premium accounts and get 300, 500, or 700 results per search.


Using LinkedIn to Search for Talent is the 85th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 251. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

Infinite Pipeline book cover

Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

Next up: Who is on LinkedIn?


[1] LinkedIn Recruiter page: bit.ly/cjZwqU

[2] Mozenda: bit.ly/nUCISj

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About NextPhase Selling

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
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