Recruiting on Social Media Part 1: LinkedIn
The use of social media by employers as a business tool is a relatively new phenomenon. As with most business solutions, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach and no single right way for an organization to use social media platforms. The benefits and drawbacks of social networking platforms vary based on platform type, features, industry, and the organization itself.
LinkedIn is the website most favored by professional recruiters:
“LinkedIn is an interconnected network of experienced professionals from around the world, representing 170 industries and 200 countries. You can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals.”
LinkedIn is a giant job board. A good way to engage with candidates who are passionate about an industry and a company is to develop a community of qualified individuals who follow the company page on LinkedIn. While there are some specific things employers can do to advertise a job opening, it’s more important to contribute to LinkedIn group discussions and share interesting content to bring a new audience back to the company page and eventually to the organization’s careers site.
Use LinkedIn Job Slots to advertise a job with members when they visit their home page, an employee profile, or the organization’s Career page. Or to advertise a number of jobs, buy job credits and pay less per job posting. Employers can also sign up for LinkedIn Talent Advantage. It’s a suite of tools that expands searches beyond personal connections to access the entire LinkedIn network. LinkedIn also has reciprocal agreements with other websites to post ads.
By purchasing Career pages, organizations market themselves using images, video, and employee testimonials. One of the most important means of keeping candidates in the loop is to encourage them to “follow your company” on LinkedIn. And organizations can customize their message to each viewer with dynamic messaging, based on their LinkedIn profiles. Along the same lines, organizations can purchase ad space on their employees’ profiles using a process called Work with Us. This again allows for customization of ads and using algorithms, the ability to select who to contact for follow-up based upon their LinkedIn profile.
Even without the budget to pay for job postings or to join the Talent Advantage, employers can still tap into the free resources LinkedIn offers. Start by building connections to people already known. This could include former co-employees, current clients, local entrepreneurs, and even friends and family. Sharing open jobs with connections enables them to share it with their contacts, creating a lovely viral effect.
In addition, join LinkedIn groups to connect with potential candidates. Once a member of relevant groups, employers can start discussions with people in the group. Notice that certain people are active in the group; they always ask and answer questions. Not only may they be interested in job opportunities, but also employers can assess the quality of their thinking before contacting them.
A free way to advertise on LinkedIn without actually posting a job is to use the Network Activity Box (also known as a Status Box) to broadcast an open job. Send out messages like: “Hiring financial consultants. If you know someone who might be interested, maybe even you, contact me.”
And here’s where LinkedIn can be truly helpful: once someone who may be a good fit for the job is identified, evaluate his or her LinkedIn profile. Does the person have a complete profile? Does the person have recommendations from peers, managers, and colleagues? Is he or she a member of groups relevant to their field? Employers can find out a lot about a person from their profile before reaching out to them.
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