Leveraging LinkedIn to Recruit Outside Your Personal Network

How Hiring Managers can make the most of their free LinkedIn Account

Every hiring manager in a startup must one day reach beyond their circle of personal connections when seeking talent. So, where’s a good place to start?

Unless you’re a recruiter or HR professional you probably haven’t used LinkedIn other than to accept connection requests and scroll through your news feed - if that. But it can be a great source for growing your startup teams. Here are a few relatively quick and painless ways to leverage LinkedIn to find some fresh talent:

Get Familiar with LinkedIn Advanced Search

Click the search box on the top bar and a menu will drop down: click “people”. When the next screen resolves, click on “all filters”. The variety of filters displayed depends on your level of membership. The three basic filters for talent searching are always among the available filters: location, title, and keyword.

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The keyword field is actually the search box in the top bar on your homepage. Here you can add skills or technologies you’re looking for. If the term is more than one word (e.g. machine learning), put it in quotes.

Location is self-explanatory: unless you are open to remote employees, choose your immediate geographical area.

Searching in the Title field using quote marks (i.e. “software engineer”), gets you the most focused results. Or use a boolean search term like “engineer OR developer OR programmer” for broader results.

A time-saving option for a busy hiring manager is the “Saved Searches” capability. This allows your search to be saved within LinkedIn to pore over later when you have the time. You can also have LinkedIn re-run the search at regular intervals and send you alerts when it finds additional profiles. To do this, click on “Create Search Alert” and it will step you through the options settings in a few seconds. Profile links will then land in your inbox at the interval you select.

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Now that you’ve found some interesting people, it’s time to connect. Assuming you want to avoid costly InMails, here are some options.

Email is generally considered a more effective means of contact than InMail. To the right of  the header look for “see contact info” popup link. If you click on it you might be rewarded with an email address, and/or a personal website address with additional contact information..

You can also reach out to members via other social profiles, like Twitter or Facebook. Searching their name is an obvious option, but if you look at the URL of their LinkedIn profile you might see a unique username. It could be the same username they use on GitHub, Stack Overflow, etc. It might even be what they use for their personal email address or personal website domain. Install a chrome plugin, like Connectifier Social Links, to do the searching for you.  It can show you other social profiles for whom you search to expand your contact options.

LinkedIn Groups provides another option. Once you join a group, you can send a LinkedIn message to anyone who is in that group for free. Scroll down to the bottom of the profile to the “Interests” section, click “see all” at the bottom, and then choose “Groups.” Find a group they belong to that you want to join, and ask to join. (The current limit on the number of groups a LinkedIn member can belong to is 100.) Once you  receive a notification you’ve been admitted to the group, you can search the group membership for the person you want to contact and then send them a message.

In any case, we suggest you proactively join groups that are potential pipelines for the kinds of people your teams need. If you’re in Seattle and will want to hire Java developers, you could join the Seattle Java Users Group, for example.

Finally, Connection Requests are another option for getting in touch with someone on LinkedIn. Caveat: use this option sparingly and carefully, because if 5 people click on “I don’t know this person” when they receive your invitation, you will be required from then on to supply an email address for every connection request. Reduce the risk of landing in the naughty corner by sending a personalized connection request. Here’s a good template:

We’ve never met, but I came across your information while researching (topic). I admire your (fill in the experience or expertise). Can we connect?

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Recruitment professionals like the ones at HireLabs have a lot of tools in their repertoire, but LinkedIn, with half a billion users, continues to be an important one. Hopefully you find these few tips helpful. And when you’re ready to really ramp up your recruiting, tap into the comprehensive set of resources, skills, experience and expertise HireLabs’ professionals can deploy on your behalf. Give us a call!

Authored by Lisa Offutt, Senior Recruiter