Productivity

How to find top IT talent on LinkedIn

The problem with job boards, says Nathanson: "They were only engaging an audience that was actively looking for a job." The only option for companies then would be to post a job and wait.

What was missing was a way to target and identify passive candidates who aren't necessarily looking for a new job, but might be interested in an ideal opportunity for career advancement. That's where, he says, LinkedIn has changed things for him.

Now using LinkedIn Nathanson says he is able to identify the huge demographic of talented candidates who aren't necessarily looking. When he feels that he has found a perfect fit regarding skills, experience and culture fit, he engages them in a conversation.

So how can you use to LinkedIn to find your next hire? We've put together some tips to help get you started in the right direction.

Make a Good Impression

LinkedIn, when all is said and done, is a social network. If you are going to use it to recruit, you should have a dynamic, regularly updated presence on LinkedIn. This would include a company page and a high level of engagement with the LinkedIn community. For example, a software company that created a mobile app for runners to log and analyze runs could create a "running" group on LinkedIn where participants discussed all aspects of running.

LinkedIn recently revamped its company pages to offer a new level of engagement. The new company pages offer a more updatable page with cover art and a way to share content. There are tabs for products and services as well, where you can list in detail what your company provides or sells. For a fee you can also post jobs.

The key takeaway here is you have to make a solid impression on people who may be interested in working for your company. Use your company page to show off your company culture and highlight what's good about working there.

Identify Skills and Expertise Keywords

Come up with a list of keywords that encompass the role you are trying to fill. One good way to do this is to search through profiles of people who are already in this position and see what keywords show up with regularity. These can then be incorporated into your search for the right candidate.

Likewise, prospective employees will likely use search to find relevant companies in their area, making it wise to consider keywords when building out your company page.

Dig Deeper

When you find a person with an interesting profile, click on 'People Similar To' in the upper right hand corner of the page to see members with similar profiles. Pay attention to keywords found on those profiles and try a new search using those keywords.

Also, members usually network with other professionals in their field. Try clicking on "People Also Viewed" to see other member profiles members have reviewed. Often, you'll find other relevant candidates within the same field.

Use Your Employee's Networks

Many new hires are the result of internal referrals. Ask your current team members if they know of anyone in their real life or via their LinkedIn network who they think may be a good fit for the role.

"Every study we've seen supports our experience: Good people recommend other good people. And you get a built-in reference, usually with contact information for other former colleagues who will vouch for the candidate as well," says Mickey W. Mantle, coauthor of Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams.

Use LinkedIn Groups

Groups are free resources that are talent-rich. Target groups that you think will have the talent you are looking for and get involved. In an active group, it should take a short amount of time before you start identifying who the thought-leaders are. Who is answering questions? Who are they connected to? Getting involved here will give you a good view of what's going on where the rubber meets the road and help you better understand what's important to potential employees.

LinkedIn Premium

LinkedIn has many free ways to find talent, but you are limited to people within your network or connections. To contact people outside your network, you will need to pay, however.

Prices for LinkedIn Premium range from a basic package at 19.95 a month, a mid-range package at $39.95 a month and an executive package at $74.95 a month. To contact anyone directly via InMail you will need to at least spring for the mid-range package, which offers 10 InMails. The executive package tops out at 25 InMails.

Engage Passive Candidates Thoughtfully

It's important to understand that when engaging a passive employee as opposed to an active job seeker, the hard sell is rarely the right approach. "IT professionals are highly sought after. Simply calling or emailing them regarding a job opportunity may not garner a response," says Joe Roualdes, senior manager of Talent Solutions with LinkedIn.

Next page: Killer tips for searching LinkedIn...

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