With over 225 million members, LinkedIn has become the number one destination for job seekers and recruiters. Looking for candidates on LinkedIn can be difficult if you aren’t sure what to look for or how to spot a fake. To help you, we’ve come up with five LinkedIn tips that will sharpen your recruiting skills on this popular social networking website.
One of LinkedIn’s newest features profiles endorsement. Figuring out what type of weight endorsements carry in comparison with references is quite easy. Endorsements rarely take any effort to make—it’s a simple click—so some people will have hundreds of endorsements from people who might not even know who they are, never mind the quality of their work. References take more effort and really showcase the value of an individual in a particular organization. References always outweigh endorsements on LinkedIn.
There are a few things to look for on a job seeker’s profile that will make a candidate stand out. Of course, you’ll want to use the advanced Search functions and plug in the keywords for the specific skills, education, or company work experience you’re looking for. You can sort the results by the degree of connection to you if you want to get more personalized recommendations. Look for complete and up-to-date profiles and check what professional organizations they belong to. These kinds of affiliation will show that a candidate has ambitions to succeed in life outside of a 9-5 job.
Just as with resumes, people often lie on their LinkedIn profiles. According to a recent survey by Marquet International, there are ten common resume lies that transcend to LinkedIn profiles. Here are the top five: stretching work dates, inflating accomplishments, enhancing job titles, exaggerating education experience, and inventing periods of self-employment to cover up unemployment. When you look at a LinkedIn profile, watch out for these common lies. They’re much easier to spot on a LinkedIn profile because people tend to stuff them with keywords to make themselves look better and turn up in more searches.
An incomplete profile is the biggest red flag for recruiters. If a job seeker is actively looking for a job, his or her profile should be complete and up-to-date. Having an incomplete profile on LinkedIn is like sending in a resume and forgetting to include any work history. If the profile is incomplete, the individual is clearly not looking for work. It may still be worth your while to approach them in any case if they are highly endorsed or you’ve heard good things about them from other professionals in their field.
As a recruiter, when you reach out to candidates via LinkedIn, you’ll want to make the note personal. People hate it when they get generic “apply for this position” emails via LinkedIn. If you’re taking the time to look at someone’s profile in order to understand their capabilities and qualifications, personalize the note. And I don’t mean just using their name—talk to them about their profile. You are trying to sell them on the job just as much as they might want the job. It’s all about the approach and how to market effectively. A good recruiter will know how to humanize their emails, whether their interest is generated by a LinkedIn profile or a personal recommendation, by being specific about both the candidate and the position.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.