As all HR managers know, the recruitment industry can be fraught with difficulty and it's challenging to find employees with the right 'fit' for your company. LinkedIn is a great resource; with 300 million members worldwide, it's a melting pot of professionals waiting to be tapped into.
So how can you maximize LinkedIn to its full potential for your recruitment needs and get the staff you want without paying a fortune in agency fees?
Firstly, create your own profile including links to your company website. Encourage others within your organization to create their own profiles and 'connect' with each other. This way, potential candidates will be able to read about you, your colleagues and the company, which saves time for both parties. If they can see what your business is about upfront, then if they're not interested, it saves going through a long interview process only to discover that they're not suitable. Linked with this, is the need to identify your company's requirements before you begin searching for talent. Ask yourself questions like:
· What job-specific skills are needed?
· How many years experience?
· What level of education is needed?
· Is there a particularly relevant company/industry that the ideal candidate might come from?
· Do you have clearly defined progression opportunities for their likely career aspirations?
Until you've painted a picture of who you're looking for, it's pointless to use LinkedIn – a clear strategy will help you to weed out those employees you don’t want, and highlight the ones you do.
Another key step is nurturing and maintaining relationships with new contacts, previous colleagues and peers. A strong network can be established from almost anywhere; adult learning courses, sports clubs and even as early as school. LinkedIn has the function to refer recommended candidates, so the more you network with professionals in your industry, the more chance you have of receiving good recommendations. People can proactively send referrals, or you can send requests to people who know the candidate you've found and ask for their comments. This again illustrates the importance of identifying your company's needs in order to align your recruitment strategy. Make the company's future plans clear, both on and offline, and let your staff know what sort of people you want on-board. Ensure clear job descriptions and structures are planned before you search - vague ideas could result in unsuitable hires that move on quickly.
Once you're confident in what you're looking for, you can use the keyword search to look for people with relevant skills and qualifications in your area. If you find someone promising, you can contact him or her using the private In Mail function to progress it further. There are a few other things to look out for to ensure the candidate is the right one:
Are there any gaps in their employment history that need to be investigated?
Does the candidate have any recommendations on their profile? (If anyone has recommended them previously, it will show how many people have done so). This could be a great sign but also means you might have to consider the package you're offering and whether there is any room for man oeuvre if they already have attractive prospects).
Is their profile picture professional and profile well written? The way a candidate presents themselves on LinkedIn is a sneak preview of that first impression you get when a candidate walks into an interview; it can give you an idea of whether they would be a good fit for your company.
Above all remember that social media can be very useful for making contacts in the modern business world, but to make the most of it, it's important to decide exactly what you want from a potential employee and target your search based on those characteristics. Good luck with your recruitment!