I will start out this post by letting you know that I am not in any way nor have ever been a recruiter or a headhunter. While I have been a hiring manager for previous companies, my experience in being able to write this post comes from helping out many recruiters looking for candidates on or off LinkedIn.
Because I am a Windmill Networker, I see great value in establishing relationships with recruiters and helping them out when I can. In fact, my LinkedIn Profile Contact Settings explicitly state:
I also enjoy speaking with recruiters and providing introductions whenever possible as I have a personal database of skilled contacts in the high tech and IT space, both in the US as well as Asia. Please do not hesitate to invite me to connect with you.
With that in mind, today’s post goes out to the wonderful recruiters that I have been able to create a fruitful relationship with, most importantly the great @Animal, @DavidGraziano, and @CincyRecruiter.
The impetus for me to write this post is two-fold. I had one recruiter recently review my LinkedIn book hoping that it would have more targeted information for recruiters. My LinkedIn book is really for professionals of all industries and job titles, so the information is obviously applicable to recruiters as well. But, it is true that I did not have a special “LinkedIn for Recruiters” chapter.
The other reason I am writing this is, just like I get a lot of people asking me for help in finding them jobs, I get requests from recruiters with a specific opening asking me for help in facilitating introductions. I am going to assume that if you have been using LinkedIn for recruiting for awhile all of my advice below might all be no-brainers; but, just in case, this is how I would use the social networking site to find a candidate:
1) Searching for Candidates Always Starts with the LinkedIn Advanced People Search
This should be a no-brainer. Put in the territory, industry, company names, keywords. If you don’t get a lot of candidates, widen the net. LinkedIn is so incredible because it gives you the ability to do all of this for free! Today I received a request for help finding a candidate in Malaysia: the process is no different than for looking for someone in Orange County!
Switching keywords or even enlarging areas to get a good number of potential candidates will require experimentation. This recruiter was looking for a pre-sales engineer. I tried both “pre-sales” and “FAE” in the keywords but got very little. Changed that to “engineer” and got a lot more results. Obviously, not everyone you are going to find are going to be suitable and/or willing to leave their perfect job, but it gives you the opportunity to contact more people with the potential for finding recommended friends of friends.
2) Contact Your Potential Candidates!
This is another no-brainer. You may not be connected with them directly, so ask for a “warm introduction” from one of your trusted connections. This is the same advice that I gave in my post on how I can help you find a job on LinkedIn. You’re not going to get your candidate without trying to contact them! Obviously, if I am connected, let me know and I shall help make the introduction. Some people do leave their email addresses and/or phone numbers somewhere in their profile, so don’t forget to look for those or read their Contact Settings at the end of their LinkedIn Profile. They may very well be open to being directly contacted by you.
3) Connect with Other Recruiters in the Target Candidate’s Industry or Region
Recruiters are often OK in splitting commissions, right? If you’re out of luck, try connecting with other recruiters in the targeted region and/or industry and create a relationship. Since many recruiters also Windmill Network and understand the value of being a LinkedIn LION, you don’t even have to tell them about the open position yet. Because LinkedIn is a huge database, simply connecting with them gives you the ability to cast a wider net. Obviously, if you can’t contact the candidate directly and need to get an introduction from the recruiter, you’ll need to start your commission-split negotiations.
4) Try Increasing Indirect Connections to Your Targets
Sometimes it’s not about the person that you connect with but with their connections. Why not try connecting with people in the target candidate’s industry and/or geographic region? These new connections will help you widen your net and may be able to provide you introductions to candidates that may not even be on LinkedIn.
5) Don’t Forget about Connecting with Local LIONs!
Connecting with LinkedIn LIONs in your target industry and/or geographic region is another no-brainer. Search for “LION” in the keyword or look for LION-related Groups that they are members of. Beware, though: not every LION will accept your invitation!
6) LinkedIn Groups: Join, Search, Discuss, Post!
There are tons of Groups out there for you to join. The objective is not to spam these Groups but to actually engage with potential candidates there. Think of it as a virtual networking event, a chance for you to make connections with people in your industry or geographic area that may be able to help you with introductions in the future. And sure, if you have a job opening, it can’t hurt to post it on a relevant LinkedIn Groups Jobs board, can it?
A lot of the above tips involved actively growing your network to be able to search for more potential and relevant candidates. For more advice on how to do this, please read my blog post which started off this blog: 15 Ways to Grow Your LinkedIn Network. And if all of this sounds like I am making LinkedIn out to be a huge database of professionals, you are absolutely right: Work the database, and you shall find what you seek.
Recruiter friends, did I miss anything here? Let me know so this can become a great resource for all recruiters and headhunters! Thanks!