The Art of Finding Scientists on LinkedIn

April 12, 2010

Have you ever had to find a slew of great candidates with deep, demonstrated knowledge of next generation sequencing and micoarray technologies? No? Consider yourself very lucky.

At Illumina, we apply innovative technologies to the analysis of genetic variation and function, enabling scientific studies that were not even conceivable just a few years ago. As you can imagine, talent is the cornerstone of our success, and we often have to recruit very specialized skill sets within the area of genomics.

Those of us who recruit in the biopharma and life sciences arena have our work cut out for us. Almost every position can be hard to fill. The people we are looking to hire are simply not on the Monsters or CareerBuilders of this world. That’s where Linkedin Recruiter comes in, by allowing us to not only network directly with this highly skilled group of individuals, but to target passive candidates as well.

Since we began utilizing LinkedIn Recruiter, our agency usage has gone way down. Also, we have been able to hire the right people without having to settle for those outside our domain. I have personally been able to use this tool to fill positions of all levels and all types, and I’m impressed with its user friendliness. It offers all of the options a recruiter would need and want in order to do a specialized search (boolean, industry, company size, location, etc.).

Without giving away all of my secrets, here are a couple of tricks that have worked for me in recruiting for scientists via LinkedIn:

  1. Choose the right search criteria. There are many useful search filters in Recruiter that I use to guide me to the right talent. For specialized positions, the quickest path is often to search by company name.  The ability to pinpoint people with particular skills and network with them directly via InMail is a big driver of my results.
  2. Make sure your profile sets a credible tone. I assume that every candidate I contact is checking out my LinkedIn profile, so I’ve built multiple recommendations from my recruiting positions over the years. My profile is the ideal way for these candidates to get to know me as an industry professional.

Bottom line, this is the by far the best sourcing tool I have ever used. And while there’s still plenty of art in what I do, I’d say LinkedIn Recruiter has helped me get the pipelining and sourcing part down to a science.

Sean McHugh is Senior Recruiter at Illumina, the leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and biological function. He is based in San Diego, CA.