LinkedIn on LinkedIn: Hiring at Scale with Recruiter

July 27, 2011

Hiring in technology is tough: it’s that simple. Like many recruiters sourcing for candidates with unique skill sets, I’m always looking for ways to speed up the process without sacrificing on quality. And because I can have as many as 40 active requisitions at a time, I need not only speed, but also a real ability to scale.

Between July and August of 2010 I found myself in a sourcing dilemma. I was supporting the Web Development team here at LinkedIn, who needed to immediately fill several engineering positions to ensure an on-time delivery of essential projects. These requisitions weren’t for just any engineer: we needed experienced professionals who had object-oriented JavaScript skills, within the context of a high-traffic consumer website—a complex skill set that many web developers simply don’t possess. To make things more difficult, several other high-profile technology companies in the Bay Area were looking for that exact type of talent, so an already small candidate pool was getting smaller by the day.

Despite the daunting task, within just two months of beginning my search, I had sourced and hired five highly qualified candidates.  LinkedIn Recruiter was critical to my success, and today I wanted to share some of my takeaways from this experience.

Do Your Research

LinkedIn Recruiter works even better when you’ve done your homework upfront and can really tailor your search to the most essential skills. First, reading news related to the industry you’re sourcing for is key to your success. In technology sourcing, I use resources like the Internet and Computer Software sections on LinkedIn Today and tech blogs such as TechCrunch. Also, I’m an active member of engineering-related LinkedIn Groups (like Bay Area Software Engineers and iPhone Developers)—so I already knew some key players in the field and understood the experience that got them there.  This made my search filtering more precise, with better results.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience goes hand-in-hand with doing your research, and it applies to both candidates and your hiring managers. Ask yourself, “If I had this type of experience, what would interest me? What kinds of opportunities and challenges would I be looking for?” and use that messaging in your outreach to candidates.  Similarly, work closely with your hiring managers to understand what skills are essential for their open positions. Looping my hiring managers in early in the process ensured that I understood exactly what they were looking for, and kept me from pursuing candidates that weren’t a perfect fit for the role.

Use Your InMail, and Use It Effectively

For anyone already familiar with LinkedIn Recruiter, this might seem like a no-brainer, but I’m surprised to learn that some recruiters don’t use InMail as often or as effectively as they could.  Here are some of my rules of thumb:

  • InMail templates save me hours a month, and they help me keep my messaging consistent across all candidates.  However, I personalize each InMail with details pulled from the candidate’s LinkedIn profile, which I’ve found greatly increases my response rate.
  • I’ve learned that it’s really compelling to provide links or descriptions of projects the hiring team is working on in my InMails. This is especially crucial for technology sourcing, but really works for all roles.
  • Use project folders in conjunction with your InMail, and share them with your hiring managers.  It will save you both time and help with coordination.

I’d love to hear your best practices for using LinkedIn Recruiter to hire at scale—please share them in the comments section below!