A prolonged recession and lingering unemployment have complicated the hiring process for many small business employers.
Finding people who are looking for work is easy. But finding candidates who have the right skills and experience is a nightmare, especially when every job opening results in an avalanche of resumes and cover letters.
The best job candidates often come from personal referrals. LinkedIn updates the referral concept by creating an online community of business contacts that can be used to cull the most qualified job candidates from the rest of the herd. Instead of listing positions on generic job boards, informed users can work their LinkedIn connections to identify the best and the brightest applicants.
Although a targeted, social networking approach beats a general employee search, hiring through LinkedIn isn't a slam dunk. If you don't know what you're doing, it can be difficult to locate qualified applicants and you can damage your company's online presence in the process. LinkedIn is quickly becoming a favorite hiring resource for employers – here's what you need to do to get it right.
- Reach out to your network. The first step in finding job candidates is to reach out to your connections. Start by sending messages to targeted contacts that are capable of providing candidate referrals. If the response is lackluster, post the opening on your LinkedIn status. Only approved connections will be able to see your status, so you don't need to worry about being flooded with resumes from the masses. In some cases, your connections themselves may express interest in the opening.
- Participate in industry groups. Industry groups are the next best way to locate job candidates. Although you may not be personally acquainted with people in industry groups, you can be reasonably assured that group participants are located in your industry and many will have the kind of skills and experience you are looking for in a prospective candidates.
- Perform searches. Still haven't found qualified candidates? Then it's time to perform targeted searches. LinkedIn gives users the ability to search for connections with keywords based on job titles, career specializations, etc. You'll be going in cold, but if you have an open position the odds that you can succeed with a message or connection invitation are good.
- Paid advertising. Paid advertising should be your last resort. Why? Because when you purchase an ad, you're putting differentiation and selection in LinkedIn's hands. You have less control over who learns about the job opening and the number of inquiries from unqualified applicants will spike.