LinkedIn Talent Connect London: Conference in Review

June 29, 2011

Last week, LinkedIn Recruiting Solutions hosted more than 250 Talent Acquisition professionals at our first European customer conference, Talent Connect London.  As LinkedIn now has more than 25 million members in Europe, this was an exciting moment for us to bring our European customers together for best practice sharing, networking, training, and plenty of lively discussions.

Here’s a rundown of highlights from the day and a half event:

LinkedIn’s VP of Strategic Initiatives, Ellen Levy, hosted a session on the challenges of hypergrowth with panelists Karl Gregory of; Sherry Coutu, serial entrepreneur and angel investor; Shakil Khan of Spotify; and Anil Hansjee, former Head of Corporate Development for EMEA at Google. According to Coutu, a staggering 54% of recent growth in the UK was driven by six percent of the country’s companies. However, the advice the panel shared applies to those companies in hypergrowth mode as well as those that are not.  Panelists agreed that more than ever, bringing the right talent into your organization is essential: and in order to do so, recruiters need to build an emotional connection with candidates, have a clearly defined and relevant employee value proposition, and hire people who truly believe in the company’s mission.

Career expert Daniel Porot shared his thoughts on hiring in a delightfully different way—by using Microsoft Paint to quite literally illustrate his points.  One of the most salient: just as the 26 letters of the alphabet can be combined to produce thousands of words, so can individual skills combine to compliment thousands of potential roles.  Porot’s advice: professionals should focus on perfecting three to five skills, with the understanding that they can combine in myriad ways to serve them well in many opportunities.  Likewise, the best recruiters are the ones who focus on those three to five skills that are essential to the role for which they are hiring.

In the panel on “InSourcing,” Talent Acquisition leaders shared the incredible results they’ve seen as a result of shifting to a direct sourcing model, cutting agency spend and leveraging LinkedIn to find and contact candidates.  Jon Hull of RS Components reported a savings of £350K in the past year, Ewan Sangster of SABMiller reported an annual cost savings of over £3.5M, and Nick Turner of Polycom reported £2.2M saved with direct sourcing.  Meanwhile, Matthew Jeffery of Autodesk reinforced that in order to successfully transition to a direct sourcing model, recruiters need to build skillsets in PR, direct marketing, sales, social media, and candidate engagement.

In a panel on global expansion, Maureen Solero of Novartis made an important point about authenticity in employment branding: “no one knows your employment brand like your employees.” Her take: include the voices of your employees in your branding initiatives (through videos, your website, and the like) to make the experience relevant and engaging for your candidates.

In one of the conference’s most highly anticipated sessions, Jon Tait of BP shared how his organization leveraged social media and LinkedIn solutions in particular to revitalize BP’s employment brand in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon crisis. They started with an initiative to understand what was most important to individuals within their target candidate pools.  Doing so helped them build a business case for investment in their employment brand, and gave their candidate engagement strategy direction.

While you’ll hear more product updates in this space in the coming weeks, it’s worth noting that LinkedIn’s VP of Product Management, David Hahn, announced a significant product update that’s already live in LinkedIn Recruiter: Similar Profiles.

Ted Meulenkamp of Roche shared his organization’s learnings as they integrated a global social media strategy into their existing recruitment strategy. My favorite point: “content is king, but your fans are the emperors.”  According to Meulenkamp, creating a content agenda for your social media efforts is important, but it’s not enough: you have to create value for your fans through that content, and educate, inspire, inform, and entertain them. (On a related note, Meulenkamp emphasized that simply posting a link to an open job on a social media channel does NOT count as having a social media strategy—it’s about engagement).

LinkedIn will next be hosting our corporate customers at Talent Connect Las Vegas on October 17-19. It’s sure to be a great opportunity for more learning and networking, and we hope to see you there!