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If you read my blog posts you know how crazy it makes me when I hear good people have lost their jobs and can’t seem to replace them. I also talk with a lot of people who say they are looking to only hire currently employed candidates.  I get why.

But guess what? I think it’s crazy to dismiss and not value those who have spent their careers building their expertise and intellectual property. They are frequently hard working, loyal, have good networks, strong work ethics, and wisdom. They are experienced at making decisions, playing nicely in the sand box, working autonomously, and within a team. Many (not all) but many, have stayed current and at least understand the tools as they exist today.

They understand they are in in permanent beta. So why not talk to them and consider hiring them?

I have worked with so many people this year who are in career transition. Remember my rant on all the marketing people I know who have lost their jobs? But it’s not just marketing, it’s across the board. It’s professional services, medical, nonprofit, government and more. I had the privilege of working with a nonprofit, 40Plus of Greater Washington, that focuses on helping professionals who are age 40+ and are in career transition to help them build new skills, network, and become more prepared and confident. We hosted a full-day LinkedIn workshop and more than 40 professionals came. I am not sure I have seen a more interested and engaged group. They networked with one another, asked strategic questions, and personalized and amped up their LinkedIn Profiles.

These are great people, they will represent any organization they work for extremely well. They will work hard and are looking to contribute in meaningful ways. They are well educated, poised and I know they are wise. They are active learners. They are people with families. They are not ready to retire, they are ready to work.

I understand organizational change. But I am tired of good people being dismissed just because they don’t currently have jobs. You may think their value is less, I think they will work harder to make a statement. You may think they are slackers if they have been transitioned out, I think you may not know the backstory. You may think you can get them cheaper, maybe you can, but is that fair? You may think they could have prevented their situation, I think you may be dismissing the changing tides of employment in the United States.

What should you do?

Remember, before someone is a candidate whether they are employed or not, they are people. Your goal should always be to find good people, regardless of their current employment status.

Go to LinkedIn.

7 ways to vet people through LinkedIn

  • Search for the type of person you are looking for. Search by title, keyword, geographic area. In the keyword area add “seeking” OR “seeking new opportunities” in your search. See who is there.
  • Review your LinkedIn search list.
  • Do you have any common connections, schools, experience, groups?
    • If so, reach out to those common connections and ask them if they know the person who came up in the search, and see what they think of the person.
    • Ask for an introduction for a conversation.
  • Review their Profile, what do you see? Do you see examples of:
    • Their work?
    • Groups they belong and contribute to?
    • Volunteer experience that speaks to their interests, service and community spirit?
    • Their network?
  • Reach out to them. If you want to know if they are current, reach out through LinkedIn. If they respond, they are staying in permanent beta and know how to use social channels to communicate.
  • If you have a Premium Account you can do a reference check inside of LinkedIn. You will find others who worked with the potential candidate and who may be in your network (but don’t have to be). Reach out to them.

Reference Search LinkedIn


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  • Look for good people, and if you are hesitant to hire someone, talk with them about working on a project first as a contractual worker. Create a scenario where you get to know one another and see if your styles fit, because fit is everything.
  • Reach out to me. I have had the pleasure and opportunity to build a strong, diverse network. I may know the person who can make a difference in your organization. If I don’t, I bet I know someone who does.

Today’s point? Give consideration to the person whose circumstances are less than what you deem “ideal,” and have a conversation with them. It will be worth the time, no doubt. Don’t forget to use tools like Predictive Index (call David Lunken) when the first conversation goes well, but you need more information. Disregard labels and search beneath the surface for the right person.

Need more help in using LinkedIn to find the right candidate? We can help.