Companies like Meta and Lyft have stopped hiring for the year, and that’s music to the ears of other tech companies that are still staffing up. Much of talent sourcing still takes place on LinkedIn, but many recruiters have found their own techniques to use the service more efficiently. We asked LinkedIn’s VP of talent acquisition and three outside recruiters for their best LinkedIn hacks for sourcing talent.
When reaching out, short and sweet is key. When sending a connection request, executive recruiter Darrell Rosenstein said he rarely sends more than three sentences or 150 characters.
- “If you’re at 300 characters, you’re way over for a candidate,” Rosenstein said.
- Rosenstein also doesn’t ask for an appointment or include a Calendly link in the first message to a candidate. “That’s a second email,” Rosenstein said. “After they’ve connected, then for sure.”
- Specific, well-informed messages targeted to the candidate are crucial to getting a good response rate — by all means, don’t “spray and pray,” said Shawn Cole, co-founder and president of Cowen Partners. “We do not want to be the agency that sends out stupid messages.”
Focus on skills, not pedigree. Erin Scruggs, VP of talent acquisition at LinkedIn, said skills — which candidates can list on their profiles — are the “future currency” of recruiting, particularly in a tight labor market.
- “Everything we’re doing on the product is about contextualizing skills, and understanding how skills of one role map to another role,” Scruggs said. “If you’ve got somebody who’s a cashier, they may very likely have the same skills as a customer service rep.”
- This can be particularly useful for employers that don’t have as much name recognition or as strong of a “talent brand,” Scruggs said. It can also help a team source more diverse hires.
- Employers that aren’t yet a household name may want to consider skipping the first page of search results — maybe even checking out the candidates on the last page, Scruggs said. “They may not come from the five companies you typically hire from, but it helps you think a little bit more broadly about who could do the job, who’s capable of doing the job,” Scruggs said. “That sometimes helps you go for the people that haven’t been pinged 35 times in the last week.”
Post content to your company LinkedIn page to build a recruiting brand. Particularly for lesser-known startups, content can offer a glimpse into your company culture and personality.
- “I follow thousands of talent acquisition professionals,” Scruggs said. “When I go to hire, I have sort of an affinity bias towards people whose posts that I’ve really enjoyed or people who have been really insightful along the way. I think the reverse is true: Employers can create their talent brand by being really intentional about what they post.”
- Outside recruiters can use this tactic as well. As an executive recruiter, Rosenstein said he posts content to his own profile that helps him engage candidates and raise his response rates.
Try LinkedIn’s “best-kept secret”: affinity groups. Paige Scott, who leads the Asset Management practice at the recruiting firm Kingsley Gate Partners in San Francisco, said groups are one of her favorite LinkedIn features for reaching candidates.
- Groups can reach a targeted set of users like financial officers of health tech startups, for example. Reaching out through groups can be particularly helpful for those who haven’t ponied up for LinkedIn’s premium subscription options, she said.
- “It’s probably the best-kept secret on LinkedIn,” Scott said. “Groups are an incredible way to reach a bigger, broader audience without having to trigger different licenses.”