I was thinking of drafting up a quick self-intro/networking request and shooting it off to IT professionals in my area. I've talked to a couple of recruiters who told me they only add quality contacts, but my thoughts are that the more access you have to a community the better your chances of finding candidates you wouldn't normally find through a general search.
What are your thoughts?
I will first say that I certainly don't have much LI expertise! What I have found so far from using it:
I don't think there is a one-size fits all "quality contact". Just like any other method of looking for candidates, sometimes you don't know who ends up being that quality contact. Or maybe that person knows another person who is the quality contact.
I recently placed a hard to find person with a client who had been looking for almost 18 months, and they were close to losing a huge project. I ended up finding him - sort of - because of LI. He actually does not have a LI profile, doesn't want one, and probably has no reason to have one since his expertise in in high demand. I had a connection in LI (on surface, maybe not what would be viewed as a "quality contact"), called them and asked what do you know about this specific skill, as I knew it was somewhat related to what they did. They gave a bit of info and then said... "I know a guy I worked with on a project who is just finishing a project, do you want his number?" Bottom line, from the time the client mentioned how hard it had been trying to find someone to a placement was a little under a week. And it was one of our best fees this year. And it was a newish client who now thinks we are incredible.