How LinkedIn Jobs Helps Level the Playing Field for Smaller Businesses

October 22, 2019

Diliana Alexander was essentially looking for a needle in a haystack. The cofounder and executive director of FilmGate, an arts nonprofit in Miami, Diliana (pictured at left above, with Maribel Cabrera) was looking to hire a production coordinator to help launch a summer program for high school students.

But she wasn’t searching for a cookie-cutter camp counselor. The coordinator needed to have a background in film, theater, acting, and interactive storytelling. They needed to be fluent in English and Spanish and have teaching experience. And in a perfect world, they would already be living in South Florida.

Not long after that, McKenzie, a design, build, and fabrication firm four miles away in the heart of Miami’s industrial zone, needed to find its first full-time recruiter.

FilmGate and McKenzie each posted their openings on LinkedIn Jobs. In both cases, Jobs immediately helped them move the needle. Ultimately, Jobs helped both find the needle.

FilmGate used LinkedIn Jobs to attract strong applicants quickly

FilmGate, Diliana says, “is a nonprofit that supports the creative voice of South Florida.” The 7-year-old organization is a small but mighty hub of the local filmmaking community. Among many other things, the organization puts on the annual FilmGate Interactive, a weeklong multimedia festival that focuses on interactive and immersive storytelling — “the place to witness the technology of today shaping the stories of tomorrow.”

FilmGate has a staff of six, only three of whom are full time. So it fell to Diliana to be both the recruiter and the hiring manager for the production coordinator position. “What I really loved about LinkedIn Jobs,” she says, “is that it was very logical, very strategic, and you can pinpoint the different skill sets that you need.”

A person is hired every eight seconds using LinkedIn, and Jobs allows posters to reach candidates they can’t reach anywhere else. In emails and across LinkedIn, Jobs surfaces your position to candidates with the right skills and experiences for your role.

Diliana posted the job. Three days later, she had 500 applicants.

FilmGate found a candidate who met all their requirements — and charmed her future colleagues

Diliana used a LinkedIn Jobs filter at the top of her applicant list to sort candidates by location, years of experience, and skill sets, quickly reducing her pile of responses to something quite manageable. As the filtering continued, Diliana was impressed by the LinkedIn summary and profile photo of Maribel Cabrera — “she had a great smile and a very warm kind of vibe,” Diliana says. They also had several shared connections. And Maribel, stunningly, checked off all the skills boxes — acting, theater, film, teaching, Spanish/English — and had even written, directed, and performed in an interactive piece called #iGirl

And then Maribel did something even more amazing — she landed the job before she even sat down for her interview with Diliana. “With Maribel,” Diliana recalls, “I was a little bit late to her interview because I had a meeting that ran over. And then I started getting text messages from my staff about how much they loved her before I even got to her. I knew she was the one.”

She also crushed the interview. Maribel came aboard for the summer and, under very trying circumstances, helped develop the curriculum for the camp and ran most of it. “If it wasn’t for her being super-responsible and effective,” Diliana says, “and having the educational background to help with the curriculum, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Maribel will complete a degree in film with a minor in interactive media at the University of Miami next year. “As soon as she graduates,” Diliana says, “she’s starting with us — full time. We’re really excited.”

Build McKenzie turned to LinkedIn Jobs to recruit a recruiter

Over in Allapattah, the center of Miami’s industrial hub, McKenzie was looking for a full-time recruiter. Finding talent for the growing business had truly become a team effort that included folks in HR, people in operations, other staff members, and owner Gavin McKenzie.

But Gavin thought that with 80 FTEs talent had become so important that his 14-year-old company merited a dedicated recruiter. For years, the construction industry in South Florida has struggled to fill skilled trade positions, from drywall installers to bricklayers, as well as salaried jobs like project managers, architects, and engineers.

“Because of the competition inside of Florida,” Gavin says, “there’s definitely a supply-and-demand issue with talent. It’s particularly true when the economy is doing well, as has been true for the greater part of the decade. It’s been challenging at times to fill certain roles. I felt like if we had somebody dedicated to doing nothing but finding the best talent, it would be the best method for making sure we get the best available talent as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Gavin sits on the board of the South Florida National Parks Trust and in that capacity took the lead on the search for a new executive director. “My assistant and I decided to post that one on LinkedIn,” Gavin says. “We used it there and got such a tremendous response that we decided to use it in looking to fill this recruiter position.”

Gavin was looking for someone with five years of experience recruiting who was bilingual in English and Spanish. “Beyond that,” he says, “we wanted someone with a really good presence and the ability to speak well and to sell our company well to prospective employees.”

McKenzie received 200 applicants — “and we turned it off fairly early,” Gavin says.

McKenzie hired a recruiter who has already helped the company find some unicorns

When McKenzie had 200 candidates, they pulled the plug. What made the application of AnaMaria Pitty jump out of the pile? “Just her experience in a variety of different companies,” says Gavin, who adds that he liked that she had worked for both a recruiting agency as well as companies that had a recruiting department. He also noted that she had received dozens of endorsements for her recruiting skills on LinkedIn.

After reviewing applicants, McKenzie used phone screens and in-person interviews before selecting three finalists to meet with Gavin. “We had a great interview,” Gavin says, “and we drafted up an offer the next day. She accepted a day or two later and the rest is history.”

What kind of history? “In her first six weeks,” Gavin says, “she’s filled some important key positions that we’ve been looking for.” Gavin calls them “unicorn positions” that had been unfilled for a long time.

As Gavin expected, AnaMaria has excelled at selling McKenzie to prospective employees.

“We found the best person,” Gavin says, “to find the best people for us.”

Final thoughts: LinkedIn Jobs can help level the playing field for organizations large and small

“The biggest challenge of owning and running a small business,” Gavin says, “is finding the right people.”

The importance of each hire is magnified for small businesses and nonprofits, yet they typically have to approach recruiting with fewer resources — less time, money, and manpower — than larger rivals. Tools like LinkedIn Jobs can help level the playing field.

 “I think after my experience with LinkedIn Jobs, I would repeat it over and over again,” Diliana says. “It’s an easy route that is effective and efficient.”

Diliana points out that FilmGate is all about exploring and embracing new technology, so turning to LinkedIn Jobs was a natural. “Nobody’s perfect,” she says, “but LinkedIn Jobs allowed me to find the candidate who was as close to perfect as possible.”

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