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LinkedIn: The under-the-radar recruiting tool

LinkedIn has many flaws but John Sullivan, former chief talent officer for Agilent Technologies and a professor at San Francisco State University, says that it has the potential to become the top corporate recruiting portal. On ERE.net, he sets out the following benefits it can offer your recruiting efforts:

High passive-to-active member ratio
It's hard for companies to find prospects who are not actively l ooking for a job but might still fit the bill. LinkedIn is attractive because it has a high ratio of these passive prospects to active job seekers. Sure, you could go to Facebook and Twitter and other communities dominated by individuals not looking for a job, but LinkedIn focuses on the work side of life.

"After the connection is made, LinkedIn is not the best relationship-building or communications tool, so supplemental prospect research may be required including creating 'Google alerts' on individuals and, of course, direct communications and relationship building through e-mail, text, voice, Facebook, or Twitter," he writes.

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It grows, and grows, and grows
Because of LinkedIn's professional focus and its many uses outside of recruiting, more and more professionals feel they have to be on the social media site, even if they aren't job hunting.

Profiles easily comparable and searchable
Résumés can be a nightmare to deal with as they come in so many different styles it's difficult to compare prospects. But LinkedIn forces consistency on members in their profiles, making comparisons easier. "LinkedIn makes it easy to search their database on a variety of topics including industry, connections, current and previous companies, job title, location, profession, and education," he notes.

Profiles are also accurate
Because their profiles are seen by so many colleagues and individuals who know them, it's harder for someone to post a profile with inaccurate information. The profiles are also more likely to be up-to-date than résumés, he says, because LinkedIn periodically encourages members to update their profile.

LinkedIn can signal interest in another job
Certain LinkedIn actions may signal someone is shifting into job search mode, such as updating profiles, joining new groups, or increasing networking activities. Those aren't clear indications, but they can be a useful hint.

"Contacting a targeted individual who in the past has expressed no interest in a job may get a completely different result when they are considering entering job search mode. And if you get there early, you will likely encounter little recruiting competition," he advises.

Ease of applying for positions

Sometimes having to prepare a résumé may keep someone from responding to a job posting. So allowing individuals to apply instantly for a job without having to update their résumé – using their LinkedIn profile instead – can be a significant edge. Add an "Apply with LinkedIn" button to your job postings.

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Recommendations available

LinkedIn has a recommendations feature which, while subjective – the person you are scouting provided the names of people who will offer recommendations – can still provide additional insights. LinkedIn also has an "introduction" feature that allows an employee to introduce a recruiter to one of their contacts.

It has job-posting capabilities

You can use LinkedIn job postings as a supplement to your normal job-posting channels.

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About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

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