How to Captivate Candidates with Your LinkedIn Presence

January 16, 2014

The future of HR/recruiting is the history of marketing

Ask an HR professional or recruiter what they want to be when they grow up, and they’ll tell you that they want to be taken seriously—like those marketing professionals who get all the budget and have a seat at the… well, you know.

And the market is definitely pushing HR and recruiting in that direction: we know we can no longer push information to candidates (either current or prospective); we must appeal to them, draw them in, and offer them information that solves a perceived problem.

Sound like a familiar model?

It’s the same model marketing departments have been using for decades.

And if they’ve been using it to engage total strangers (i.e., prospective buyers), you can certainly use it to engage people who have a vested interested in what you’re offering!

To get the full scoop on how to win over candidates with your LinkedIn profile, register for my webinar: New Year, New You: How to Build a Knockout Recruiting Presence on LinkedIn on January 22nd at 11am PT.

In the meantime, here’s the 3 basic keys to captivating candidates:

1. Know how the tools support your goal.

Your overall goal is to recruit the best talent possible, and there are a lot of ways you can do that; what social media and LinkedIn do is give you the opportunity to make your voice in the market more powerful. Specifically, social media offers 4 levers for you can pull to increase your impact. You can:

  • increase reach
  • increase relevance
  • decrease cost
  • decrease effort

And you can design your LinkedIn profile to help you pull each of those levers.

2. Figure out which lever(s) to pull, and in what order.

Most people think about expanding reach. That’s the sexiest thing to do. But there can be only one Most Connected Woman on LinkedIn, and that position is taken… so what are you going to do?

The answer is, you’re going to take a page straight from the marketing playbook and adapt it to recruiting so you can move forward with surgical precision to attract the exact people you want to connect with. Recruiting is about way more than reach… in fact, what separates great recruiters from the rest isn’t the size of their contact database, it’s their ability to deliver a message that resonates with a prospective candidate—just like marketing isn’t just about reach, but moving people to act.

Here’s that playbook, in a nutshell:

— Understand how the organization sees you 

From the outside looking in, recruiting is the engine that brings in the human capital required to grow. Just like bankers bring in the money, recruiters bring in the people. It’s that simple. Which allows us to ask an important question: are we expected to grow headcount, or replace existing talent?

Growing is a faster, somewhat sloppier and more transactional process, and requires a different approach… so it makes sense that knowing the answer to this question will ultimately change the way you put together your LinkedIn profile.

— Strategize

Where will you get employees from? Are you stealing from competitors? Hiring college graduates? Again, knowing the answer will help us build the best profile possible.

— Target

As they say, “The devil is in the details.” Or as Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details.” Either way, as good as it is to know your strategy, it’s better to take that next step and get specific. Do you want college graduates, or engineering graduates from MIT? Do you want a former consultant, or someone who went through Accenture’s training program? Think about what you’re offering, and the subset of your target market that will be most likely to respond positively to your offer.

— Position

This is the part where you put together the actual package you’ll be offering candidates. Of course, you won’t be making offers via your LinkedIn profile, but keeping the strengths of your offer in mind  as you put together your headline, summary, history, and multimedia will help you create a profile that aligns with the conversations you’ll be having with candidates. No surprises!

— Execute

It’s experiment time! You probably won’t know what type of profile will work best until you start executing, so create a few different options (alternative headlines, alternative photos, etc., all of which position you appropriately to your target audience, but each in a slightly different way) that you can experiment with. Give yourself 3 weeks, or 3 months to track how many new prospects, offers, and acceptances you get during that time. Then make a change, reset the clock, and track anew. 

— Review and Adapt

Continue to experiment with your profile, periodically looking at your numbers from your various profile experiments. What patterns do you see? Is there part of your profile that seems to impact results more than others? How can you tweak that part to increase results even more? Make the change and re-run the next experiment. Repeat.

3. Work as a team.

It’s your profile, but you’re not alone. Work with the team. There are only so many experiments you can run in a year. And at any given time, you can only really appeal to one—or maybe (maybe, maybe) two—audiences. But as a team, you can appeal to a wide range of people and run many more experiments. You can share knowledge, learn from each other, and shorten one another’s learning curves.

So divide your target into sub-targets. Work in sub-teams. Coordinate your experiments. If you’re a manager, make sure that your company profile and pages support your recruiters and give them content they can use.

3 steps. That’s it.

I know, these darn blog posts make it all sound so simple…

…but that’s why I’m running the webinar, so we can get into the gritty details and get your questions answered! I hope to see you there…


* image by Sean Molin Photography