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Tips for finding top IT talent on LinkedIn

Rich Hein | Feb. 27, 2013
LinkedIn, the popular social network, recently announced that it had more than 200 million members. As the professional network continues to grow, more recruiters and employers are using the social network to tap IT talent--both those actively looking as well as those who aren't.

Also, members usually network with other professionals in their field. Try clicking on "People Also Viewed" to see other member profiles members have reviewed. Often, you'll find other relevant candidates within the same field.

Use Your Employee's Networks

Many new hires are the result of internal referrals. Ask your current team members if they know of anyone in their real life or via their LinkedIn network who they think may be a good fit for the role.

"Every study we've seen supports our experience: Good people recommend other good people. And you get a built-in reference, usually with contact information for other former colleagues who will vouch for the candidate as well," says Mickey W. Mantle, coauthor of Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams.

Use LinkedIn Groups

Groups are free resources that are talent-rich. Target groups that you think will have the talent you are looking for and get involved. In an active group, it should take a short amount of time before you start identifying who the thought-leaders are. Who is answering questions? Who are they connected to? Getting involved here will give you a good view of what's going on where the rubber meets the road and help you better understand what's important to potential employees.

LinkedIn Premium

LinkedIn has many free ways to find talent, but you are limited to people within your network or connections. To contact people outside your network, you will need to pay, however.

Prices for LinkedIn Premium range from a basic package at 19.95 a month, a mid-range package at $39.95 a month and an executive package at $74.95 a month. To contact anyone directly via InMail you will need to at least spring for the mid-range package, which offers 10 InMails. The executive package tops out at 25 InMails.

Engage Passive Candidates Thoughtfully

It's important to understand that when engaging a passive employee as opposed to an active job seeker, the hard sell is rarely the right approach. "IT professionals are highly sought after. Simply calling or emailing them regarding a job opportunity may not garner a response," says Joe Roualdes, senior manager of Talent Solutions with LinkedIn.

Use Boolean Strings and Search Methods

"If you're not using Boolean search methods, you are going to be inundated with people. Using those strings, we are able to narrow the search to people we know are qualified. Now the challenge isn't knowing if they are the right fit for the job, it's getting them interested in the job," says Nathanson.

Boolean searches can be conducted by any LinkedIn member. Members using the Recruiter feature can as well because both searches share the same the same query processor.


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