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Linkedin for recruitingAs a corporate recruiter, hiring manager or CEO, you know you have some positions that are far more difficult to fill than others. Maybe you are in rapid-growth mode and you need to hire several people at one time across various geographic regions. Maybe you are rebounding from several rounds of layoffs and people are nervous to apply. Regardless of your situation, crafting a plan to reach out as deep and wide as you can pays off.

How do you take sourcing and recruiting and expand it beyond the hiring manager or sourcer?

LinkedIn can offer you access both to job seekers and passive candidates who might be a perfect fit for your position. Your searches within LinkedIn will give you access to anyone up to a third-level connection. If you truly intend to use LinkedIn for recruiting then LinkedIn Recruiter, LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions flagship product, provides not just a glimpse into a portion of LinkedIn’s users, but access to LinkedIn’s entire network. Yes, that means everyone–all 225 million people.

But regardless of whether you are using LinkedIn Recruiter or not, searching and recruiting on LinkedIn requires effort and above all, strategy. For example:

There are more than 5.8 million business development professionals on LinkedIn, 2.4 million+ in the United States. If you only need to find two or three, it shouldn’t be that difficult, right? Need a real estate analyst? Now this is a different story. My search yielded 5,820 with 4,552 in the United States. Really, in either case you want the right person for YOU and your company, so your strategy here is key.

Here are 5 ideas to broaden and strengthen your LinkedIn recruiting efforts, especially for those hard-to-fill positions.

1. Review your job description. Would you apply for that job if it fit you? Does the job description and company sound interesting or boring? If it’s the latter, start over, tweak it and test it. Don’t settle for a mediocre job description.

  • Check out Jessica Swallow’s post, How To Write A StandOut Job Description
  • Go to, a word cloud creator, and generate a word cloud of your job description, does it make sense based on the type of position you’re looking to fill? Use the largest words from the cloud as keywords in your search for the right people.

2. Make sure your individual Profile and LinkedIn Company Page are complete. If you read my posts you know I mention this often. It’s critical especially for recruiting. There are now over 3 million LinkedIn Company Pages and the more complete your page is, the greater the likelihood that passive talent will want to have a conversation. Put your best face forward as early in the process as possible. And don’t think they aren’t checking you out. I was working with a client the other day and within 10 minutes of sending an InMail to a potential candidate, he had checked out my client’s Profile.

  • Post a job using either a 30-day post or Job Slots
  • Start a job discussion in one of your Groups
  • Consider upgrading your Career Tab
  • Post your position as a status update on your individual Profile or LinkedIn Company Page. Be conversational. “We’re growing and looking for great people, know anyone?”

3. Share the open position(s), job posting and link with your employees. Ask them to share the link and job opening with their social networks, colleagues and industry associates. Better yet, have the CEO share a message with them asking them to become brand and company ambassadors.

  • Consider an employee referral program. Incent your current employees to find good people. They will have a good sense of who will fit in the company.
  • Talk with your employees, teams, divisions about short-term and long-term hiring initiatives.
  • Encourage your employees to build out their networks on LinkedIn. The stronger their networks, the more this will work. Don’t forget that applies to you, too.

4. Plan your InMail recruiting messaging. InMail is a great tool for recruiting both active and passive candidates on LinkedIn. Those who are active on LinkedIn are generally very responsive to InMail messages. Be conversational, friendly, maybe even a bit breezy. You wouldn’t meet someone in person and throw out a long-winded pitch on a particular position so don’t do it here.

  • Craft different messages for active and passive candidates
  • Craft different messages for immediate openings and positions your are hoping to create a pipeline for
  • Determine if and how often you will reach out even after receiving an objection from a candidate

5. Set recruiting goals and look for patterns. Setting recruiting goals might include increasing the number of employees using their networks to share job openings and searches, increasing the strength of your employment brand, or using additional social channels to share open positions.

Can you see patterns in what activities, communities, groups, and people are generating the best referrals and new candidates for you? Understand what they are doing and replicate it as much as possible.

  • Are your employees using LinkedIn well?
  • Are your employees representing your brand well?
  • Are you reaching as many potential candidates as possible?

After all this, remember you are also at the mercy of how well your potential candidates use LinkedIn. Keep in mind that some heads-down types of professionals, such as those in scientific or medical fields, may not be on LinkedIn often and may not fully understand how LinkedIn works. You might need to reach them in different ways. For passive candidates, a simple phone call or a note via snail mail can work…or do the legwork to find an email address.

Looking to learn more about LinkedIn best practices? Check out our LEADS blog. For LinkedIn recruiting tips, start with LinkedIn Recruiter—A Proactive Approach. Let us know what recruiting strategies have worked for you by leaving us a comment.