Recruiters, Hiring Managers, and LinkedIn: 5 FAQ’s Answered
As a former recruiter myself, I can personally say that I never spent time interviewing a candidate who I didn’t first search for online. Recent reports are in line, claiming that somewhere between 90-95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent. Those in charge of hiring are especially likely to use LinkedIn to not only find talent, but also to get a better look at a candidate beyond their resume. In my role as a Career Advisor, I’ve receive a number of questions regarding how recruiters use LinkedIn. In this blog, I address the most frequently asked questions and provide some guidance on how to best go about navigating this super valuable (and free) social media platform.
Do I really need a LinkedIn profile? My answer to this is often “Only if you want a job.” Sorry, not sorry for that thick side of sarcasm served with that response. Hiring managers, recruiters, talent acquisition specialists, and sourcers (yes that’s a job) all use LinkedIn to either find or vet talent. Let’s put it into perspective; let’s say you are one of two candidates up for a job and have equal qualifications with the other candidate. The only difference is that the other candidate has a LinkedIn profile with detailed information about their experience, they are following the hiring manager’s company on LinkedIn, and have recently re-shared a new initiative the company introduced last week on LinkedIn. The recruiter sees all this and believes the other candidate is a better fit. You’ve just lost out on an opportunity because you chose not to do something that could have given you a competitive edge in the hiring process. Just do it!
What do recruiters look for in a LinkedIn profile? They look for your personal brand, themes, and relevant experience to their business. Does your headline, summary, photo, and experience paint a picture of the professional they want to hire, or are you all over the place and inconsistent? Does your LinkedIn profile include everything on your resume PLUS more? Are you following the companies and organizations you’re interested in? Are you adding value to your network by sharing articles, posting about your professional journey, and thanking those people who contributed to your success? Include your past jobs, involvement on campus, volunteer activities, awards, certifications, and even consider uploading a digital portfolio showcasing your work on things like capstone projects, case competitions, or thesis papers.
What should I do if I see a recruiter has looked at my profile? Kudos to you that you’re getting views! Take this as an opportunity to engage with that person and offer to clarify any experience they see or answer any questions they might have. Remember that you can only privately message your connections; so, invite the person to connect and add a message to your request explaining that you look forward to speaking with them in more detail. If someone is looking, there’s a possibility they are interested in hiring you. If you can only see someone from “X” company viewed your profile, go to the company’s LinkedIn page, “follow” it and search for individuals there who are in hiring or recruiting roles. LinkedIn offers some excellent detailed searches; you can find anyone if you look hard enough!
When I messaged a recruiter on LinkedIn, they didn’t get back with me. Should I try again? Recruiters are traditionally very busy people and travel is sometimes part of their work; therefore, it can be common that they may not respond to your first message. Try to strike a balance between persistence and annoyance when it comes to communication. You can send a second message reminding them who you are, acknowledging that they are very busy, and requesting to speak with them at a time that is convenient with their schedule. Furthermore, you could ask who might be a more appropriate person to speak to within their organization. Not all hiring managers or HR professionals hire for the same positions. It’s possible you reached out to the wrong person and need a redirect. Politely ask the person if they have some guidance as to who you could connect with, who’s more appropriate, or a better timeline.
How do employers find candidates on LinkedIn? There are a number of ways that recruiters and hiring managers find talent. They may collect resumes at a career fair or campus networking event and use LinkedIn as the next step to vetting people for phone interviews. Another common strategy is the use of a special tool reserved specifically for recruiters which helps them conduct detailed searches for the students they are looking for. They can select parameters based on major, graduation year, location, skills, past experience, etc. The more detailed your profile, the better chance you have to match with the searches they conduct. One special note about skills – make sure you add as many relevant skills as LinkedIn will allow as this is used as a keyword search.
Now that you know a little more about how recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent, I hope you understand the value of having a well-developed profile. If you need guidance or have specific questions, our team of peer educators are trained to help you enhance your profile and show you how to maximize LinkedIn’s usage as a networking tool.