One of the first groups that really wrapped their arms around LinkedIn was the HR crew, and specifically the recruiters. On LinkedIn, where everyone is posting what amounts to their resume on their profile, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. If you are looking for candidates, LinkedIn is the place to find them.
I’ve gotten to work with professionals from all fields, industries, and departments on how to maximize their LinkedIn presence – and that includes a lot of HR folks. Heck, Ajax WM even set up a booth at LinkedIn’s TalentConnect conference the past few years to work one-on-one with recruiters on refining their profiles.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize. While recruiters are some of the most avid users on LinkedIn, they also make some of the biggest mistakes. Now recruiters, I don’t do your job, and I’m not in your industry, so don’t get testy I don’t “get what you’re trying to do”. I think I have a pretty good sense about how the rest of us feel about you on LinkedIn. And because I want to help, I’m going to tell you.
Here’s what you are doing wrong:
Too many of you have crappy profiles.
You got so excited about all the cool things you can do on LinkedIn (groups, status updates, the job section) that you forgot that all of your activity points back to your profile. In your candidate-induced frenzy, you forgot that candidates, and the rest of us, were going to check you out too! I’ve seen recruiters with thousands of connections who have only a skeleton profile with a photo taken on a colleague’s smartphone and the bullet-pointed text taken straight from their resume.
When someone gets an Inmail from you, or looks at one of your job postings, they are deciding whether or not they should trust you with a precious commodity – their career. Would you call you back if you looked at your profile? Don’t get trapped in the “I might have a job for them so it doesn’t matter” thinking. If you wouldn’t go to an offline job fair in sweatpants with unkempt hair and bad breath, don’t do the equivalent online.
Stop posting status updates of all of your job postings all of the time.
It’s irritating to anybody who isn’t actively looking for work; and if they are actively looking for work, they’ll seek you out. We get it, you’re a recruiter, you have jobs available. When you blast out your job postings indiscriminately, it shows that you aren’t being conscientious of your connections’ time and bandwidth. By annoying your network, two things happen that hurt your chances of filling positions.
First, people start ignoring all of your status updates. I have a lot of recruiters in my network, and my eyes glaze over when I see their postings because all they post are job openings. What’s worse, those that have a habit of posting 10 in a row get hidden from my newsfeed altogether. It’s like they showed up at a networking event and just started interjecting all of their position openings into a conversation that I was having with someone else. Now, they have lost to opportunity to show up in my newsfeed at all and they’ve effectively dropped off my radar for good.
Don’t assume a relationship – actually take the time to build one.
If you want to really use LinkedIn effectively, don’t think of it as a job board, think of it as a place to build relationships with your candidate pool and with the connections in your network. I, for example, am not a good candidate for most recruiters. I mean, I’m a great candidate, but I love what I do already and I’m not looking for something new.
However, I also have an extensive network and know a lot of professionals who are looking for the next opportunity. If you use LinkedIn to stay top of mind, demonstrate expertise in a specific area, and bring value to our relationship…the chances that I can bring good people into your process improves dramatically. There’s always competition for the best people. Prove to me that you should be the one talking to them.
Hopefully, you read these and they don’t apply (but don’t BS yourself if they do). Even if you are guilty of all three, though, it’s fixable. Starting today…
…spend some time improving and refining your profile.
…post job openings sparingly, and point those who are actively searching to other listings you maintain.
…engage your network!
You’ll find that when you do, the payoff from your LinkedIn activity will go through the roof!
See you online!