LinkedIn is a great tool for finding passive candidates who want to be found. This is its little-discussed power. No one would publish their profiles otherwise. While some recruiters are still reluctant to jump on board, others have been making placements since day one. Here are some ideas on how to get started right away to take full advantage of this remarkable networking tool:
1. Direct Recruiting. Using the advanced search tools, you can find people in your extended network who are potential candidates for your search, or who know someone who is. Since you can see the names and bios of people in your extended network, you can very easily call them up and just recruit them. An extended network consists of three levels of contacts. For example, I have 1,200 people in my direct network. (You can link to me on LinkedIn using this email: firstname.lastname@example.org.) On average each of these people has 200 people in their own network. This allows me access to over 240,000 people by one degree of separation! I can also see their contacts as well, which gives me visibility to approximately 5 million people.
2. Get Warm Leads from Your Direct Contact's Network. Here's my big rule for successful passive candidate recruiting: only call warm leads who have been pre-qualified. As far as I'm concerned it's a waste of time making a cold call to someone you don't know. First, the person is less likely to call you back. Furthermore, the person might not be qualified, and in this case the person won't give you any good leads. The direct network of all of your first-level LinkedIn contacts can quickly become warm leads. Since you can see the names of the people directly connected to them, just call and ask them who are the most qualified. Then call and recruit them. Since they're all warm leads they'll call you back. During the call make sure you connect directly with them on LinkedIn. This way you'll be able to see their contacts. Call back the next day if they're not a direct fit with one of your current openings and ask them who are the most qualified in their network. This is an awesome way to only work with high-quality warm leads.
3. Leverage Your Employee Referrals. First, get everyone you've placed and currently work with to build a LinkedIn network of associates. Then when you need some referrals, find them on LinkedIn and ask your employees to vouch for them. Make sure the referring employee gets the bonus for any placements. This will go a long way in having your contacts proactively and dramatically increase their network. When you call the referrals tell them who referred you to ensure a return call. This seems quicker to me than using the LinkedIn email system. Additionally, look up some of the employees of your company you don't personally know but who might know people for some of your open searches. Then connect with them and get more referrals. They'll probably call you back and connect with you since you're employees of the same company.
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