3 Strategies to Source Quality Passive Candidates on LinkedIn

Due to high skills demand and low skills supply, recruiting high quality passive candidates is expected to be a key trend in 2015. A recent LinkedIn survey revealed that only 25% of global respondents claim to be actively looking for their next role, while a huge 45% are open to speaking with a recruiter. With the right strategies, there is great scope for sourcing quality passive candidates on LinkedIn.


Keyword Searches and the Advanced Search Function

As recruiters, our first move when looking for relevant candidates is a keyword search. LinkedIn profiles are indexed by Google, so actually an initial Google search could prove fruitful. However, there is no doubt that LinkedIn’s advanced search function is a stronger tool. Once the keywords are plugged in, we can narrow candidates down by filtering by location, qualifications, previous employers and so on.

Of course, those initial keywords, and even the second and the third searches, won’t always pull up the best candidates. There are a million ways to express a job position and responsibilities and it’s likely that only the most savvy LinkedIn members will have researched the best titles and descriptions to use. If LinkedIn members haven’t optimised their profiles they’re going to be harder to find in the initial searches.

As well as searching through the whole of LinkedIn’s members database, many recruiters will find they are able to find some ‘warm’ leads from their connections. The suggested connections section will highlight second and third degree connections, some of whom may be relevant to the job role you’re trying to fill. Having a contact in common can make starting a conversation much easier.


Industry and Skills Based LinkedIn Groups

Don’t underestimate the value of LinkedIn’s groups. These groups are hubs for everyone from industry leaders to hopeful graduates. Join groups in the career field which you are looking to hire in and follow discussions. Though for the most-part it will be a lot of questions being asked, you’ll start to see intelligent contributions from some members and those may be worth researching further.

Being a member of a LinkedIn group also means that you are able to message other members of the group, even if they are not otherwise your connection. Search through the group “members” page and filter by keywords to find relevant passive candidates with the right credentials. Approach them via a personalised private message and strike up a conversation.

You can also try using LinkedIn groups from the other side. Instead of sitting quietly in the sidelines, why not contribute to discussions yourself? By posting interesting responses and relevant content, you can position yourself as an industry expert. Not to mention that with your name out there, you may find other group members begin to approach you, or at least will be more keen to engage in a conversation when you message them.


Look for Thought Leaders on Pulse

Early this year, LinkedIn announced that all members would be able to publish articles on their blog platform, Pulse. Prior to this, only ‘influencers’ who received invites from LinkedIn were able to contribute, but now creative and hard working members looking to establish thought leadership in their field can be found publishing there.

Reading industry specific articles can be an excellent way to find really high quality passive candidates. Head to the “discover” tab on LinkedIn’s Today page and look through the channels to find relevant topics where industry professional would be contributing. Scrolling to the comment section of articles from influencers can be another good way to find engaged candidates who want to chime in with the conversation.

As with the LinkedIn groups, also consider contributing yourself. Talent branding is an important part of the recruitment process, so use articles as a way to present the vision, values and cultural experience that an employer can offer to candidates. Furthermore, authoring articles is good way to present yourself as approachable and professional. You may also find that LinkedIn readers feel more comfortable reaching out by commenting on your articles than by private message.

When used well, LinkedIn can be a powerful social network for sourcing high quality passive candidates. I recommend using all three of the above strategies and searching as broadly as you can before narrowing down your candidate list to the very best talent. Remember that while joining LinkedIn groups and contributing blog posts to Pulse can mean an indirect investment of time, the payoff can really make it worthwhile.

About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, construction and medical sectors. He runs the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.

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