LinkedIn: Remember What It Is

By Bill Opal, CEO & Head of Recruitment, Sails-Up

Recently, I was working with our team of Sourcers on one of our harder positions. Like most roles, the position was for a skill-set that was in high demand and hard to find. Additionally, the search was even more difficult because the client required several very specialized skills that were associated with the main skill set.

Our team utilizes LinkedIn extensively. It truly is one of our favorite tools for finding people. The robust search engine along with the extensive list of profiles makes LinkedIn a powerful and effective resource.

Our team of Talent Sourcers are very good at what they do. They were very methodical in creating the search criteria; it included each skill the client wanted. The results were that two people in the entire LinkedIn database fit the criteria, one of which already worked for the client. I knew there had to be more possible candidates who could fill this job.

LinkedIn may be a great tool, but not everyone has every detail about their work experience in their profile. Most profiles only have basic titles, job history and a couple of facts or bullet points. To the general public, it is a business social network designed to allow them to keep in touch with contacts in their industry. The typical user will fill out a LinkedIn profile when they are home and after their favorite evening TV show. From my experience, I expect 50% of LinkedIn profiles have less then one hour invested in the content by the user. Our hiring results from LinkedIn have been great, so it's easy to forget how the tool originated and it’s purpose for the majority of the public. 

To solve our problem, we as a team talked about widening the search for candidate profiles and the basic skills for the role. We modified our search to hit a much broader group, working the search string to get a manageable number of possible profiles. In the end, it only included 50% of the client's criteria. In a return to Recruiting 101, the team then started calling and emailing through the the larger group of profiles looking for the specialized skills in need. As it turned out, many candidates had the skills the client required but simply did not include them in their LinkedIn profile. The screened candidates were sent to the client with a strong hire as the result.

The experience reminded us that LinkedIn is a nice tool, one of many in our recruiter tool kit. However, you can’t forget exactly what it is. It is not a resume depot of active candidates like Monster or Careerbuilder. Most candidates are not looking for their next job right now. They may not have included each project, skill and certificate they have gained over their career in their profile. LinkedIn is a great way to build a nice list of possible candidates, but in the end we still have to roll up our sleeves and make the calls to find the right candidate.