LinkedIn has transformed the way recruiters work. As recently as 10 years ago, LinkedIn wasn’t a player in job placements, but it is now a strong recruiting tool for most looking to fill positions—especially executive and corporate recruiters. Candidates who understand the platform’s role have a decided advantage.
To learn more about this transformation, I spoke with Lisa Walker, Founder and Managing Director of Leadership Capital Advisors. Her firm provides executive search services focused on global industrial markets. Walker describes the recruiter’s main benefit of LinkedIn:
“LinkedIn is a mining tool to help us look for candidates. We develop a search strategy with key words based on the client’s needs. For example, a Director or Vice President of Marketing with experience in India.”
Walker explains that LinkedIn’s influence is most important at the start of the search:
“LinkedIn has dramatically changed the initial process for finding candidates. Specifically, the cycle time to get first access to candidates has gotten shorter.”
LinkedIn helps recruiters quickly sort through the basic requirements, build their initial target list and reach out to candidates. Of course, recruitment firms also use many other tools during the initial process, such as Hoovers and their own networks.
Walker mentioned some things candidates should know to get the most out of LinkedIn.
- In the past, keeping information up-to-date was the responsibility of the recruitment firm because the recruitment firms each owned and managed their own proprietary database; keeping the information up-to-date often was a low priority. Candidates now have the control and responsibility to update their own public information through LinkedIn profiles. Those who actively update their profiles have an advantage.
- Key words are important. Candidates who understand key word strategy will show up first in recruiter searches.
- Candidates can typically expect a first contact through email or a LinkedIn message, not by phone. This represents a major shift from ten to fifteen years ago, when the first contact was typically by phone.
Those who understand these changes in the recruiting process will be better equipped to appear in initial candidate searches and build relationships with recruiters.