Using LinkedIn to Find New Talent

by Sarah McMaster
Mount Wachusett Community College
Gardner, MA

We’ve all heard what a fantastic tool LinkedIn can be when you’re on the job hunt. It’s true. LinkedIn delivers high-quality postings and makes relatively good recommendations based on your profile. But let’s turn the tables. What can LinkedIn do when you’re looking for new talent?

Recently, I’ve utilized LinkedIn to help fill two critical positions in my division of marketing and communications at Mount Wachusett Community College. Both postings received enough applications to create a qualified, competitive pool of candidates. This gave us choice and leverage in the hiring process. We worked hand-in-hand with our Human Resources department, of course, but as marketers we were able to extend the reach of our job announcement without spending any funds by leaning on social media and LinkedIn specifically. Here’s how:

Leverage your company page. At my institution, we are active on quite a few social media platforms, from Pheed to Facebook. Not every platform is the right fit for a job posting or other institutional-level messaging. LinkedIn is, however, just the right fit. Our company page posts are typically career-oriented, so a link to our job board only makes sense. The audience and the messaging align. Posts about open positions have delivered over a thousand impressions and garnered an engagement rate over 11 percent.

Post to your own profile. Any marketer worth their Klout score should have a robust, diverse, and engaged network of colleagues on LinkedIn. Let them know what kind of potential colleagues you’re looking for! They may be able to directly connect someone they know to your posting. Use the network effect to extend your reach and cast a wider net. “Likes” and comments will give you instant feedback to gauge success.

Pay for a job posting. Have a few coins to spare? LinkedIn does offer the option to use a paid model for getting the word out. As I’m writing this, the rate is $295 for a 30-day listing; it’s almost certain to reach go-getter professionals in the marketing field right in your region. With the luxury of a budget, LinkedIn is a powerful way to connect with good candidates.

Get friendly with job boards on appropriate groups. If you’re using LinkedIn to its fullest, you are probably active on at least a few groups. Most groups I belong to use the jobs section for either postings or discussions. Spend some time visiting group pages and seeing whether each allows job listings. Don’t just post carte blanche. Be selective. Posts to two key groups with strong alignment to the open position will get you further than generic posts to 30 groups where you aren’t even an active member.

Do your homework. When you’ve chosen first- and second-round candidates, LinkedIn is a widely used tool to learn more about candidates in preparation for interviews. Search their names and read up on other credentials, publications, or skills they list or are endorsed for on their LinkedIn profile.

Use these simple tips and potentially improve the candidate pool for your next open position. Just keep in mind that these tactics rely on an existing foundation of engagement and activity on LinkedIn. Get out there now and start leveraging this professional social media platform.

Sarah McMaster is director of new media at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Massachusetts.

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