Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile

by Veronica Blatt

It’s rare to encounter a recruiter who doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile, but some users are definitely more skilled and savvy than others. Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending a LinkedIn training session with Karen Hollenbach from Think Bespoke. Karen is a firm believer in experimenting with new LinkedIn features as they roll out, and she shared a few that are newer or not well-known. Here are a few features I will be playing around with in the coming days:

  • Featured section – this replaces what had been the old “media” section on a LinkedIn profile. It’s intended for sharing work samples such as blogs or articles you’ve written, media, LinkedIn posts you’ve written or shared, or links to external sites like a personal blog or portfolio.
  • Polls – this is a great way to engage your followers (like clients or candidates!) on a variety of topics. To create a new poll, simply start a new Status Update and select the Create a Poll option. Be sure to enter the poll deadline AND also stay on top of poll responses.
  • LinkedIn Stories – similar to the Stories feature on Instagram, these are short videos or other images that are only available for 24 hours. Stories is only available in the LinkedIn mobile app (and not yet available in all markets). For those who enjoy easy updates, especially short videos, this is a feature worth exploring.
  • Providing Services – this is a newer feature that allows small businesses to showcase services on INDIVIDUAL profiles. If this feature is available for you, you’ll see a box below your profile picture (mobile or desktop) that tells you how to showcase the services you provide. This digital “word of mouth” can be invaluable in promoting your business right through your profile.
  • Events – Use the Events feature to create professional events like meet-ups, seminars, workshops or more. To get started, click the Home icon, then look for the Events section in the left rail below your profile and pages.

Another top tip from Karen: make sure you have a company page as well, and share your company page content on your personal profile. There are some powerful marketing capabilities built in to LinkedIn; make sure you are taking advantage of these promotional opportunities!

Recruiters Depend on InMail

by Dave Nerz

image of LinkedIn, a tool used by agency recruitersAccording to Forbes, nearly 97% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a part of their recruiting process. So I am guessing that many recruiters have fallen into recruiting routines. If one of those recruiting routines is to blast large numbers of LinkedIn members with InMail, get ready for a change. One that I heard recently was to InMail all those that meet the criteria set for a LinkedIn search, wait 5 days then InMail again. If still no response, then try a Google search to find phone or mail contact details and reach the candidate via those connection points. That is one recruiting process; I’m sure you know of 50 more.

LinkedIn is always on the move and making changes and improvements to the way LinkedIn works. Effective August 2014, they will notify LinkedIn Recruiter users if InMail response rates drop below 13 percent on 100 or more InMails sent over a 14-day period. So some of these old recruiting routines may need to change. As a recruiter, it is frustrating to know that those users listing themselves as “open to opportunities” are not also being measured. I often think that only a small percentage of those saying “open to opportunities” are truly open to contact via LinkedIn. I was one of those “interested” parties and I got so many invites to “sell insurance” or “work from home” that I changed my profile.

Users continuing to have a less than 13 percent response rate will be restricted to one-to-one InMails for a 14-day period. No more mass mailing or distributions. Not a bad concept…perhaps recruiting messages will become more personal and attractive to the candidates. If you get your percentages up, you will be able to send bulk InMail messages once again. If not, another 14-day period of one-to-one only awaits. LinkedIn wants recruiters to turn around their poor response rates. Whenever I write an InMail, I try to make it feel one-to-one even if it is not. That is just good business and a recruiting process best practice.

Is this change likely to change what you do? Have you been contacted by LinkedIn on this issue yet? How have you increased your response rates? Do you think LinkedIn should make users who never reply to InMails change their preferences to reflect reality? Comment below!

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3 Ways Agency Recruiters Can Improve Their Use of LinkedIn

by Veronica Blatt

image of LinkedIn, a tool used by agency recruitersI recently listened to a LinkedIn webinar discussing common mistakes agency recruiters make on LinkedIn, and thought I would recap the salient points here.

Make sure you have a recruiting profile. Yes, of course you already have a LinkedIn profile. But is it a RECRUITING profile? If you’re trying to attract candidates, make sure your profile is written for candidates. If your primary goal is client development, make sure your profile is geared towards new clients. Maybe you need to write for both audiences. Here are a few tips to help agency recruiters create a RECRUITING profile:

  • Add a picture to your profile. It’s been said time and again, but it’s still amazes me how many agency recruiters do NOT have a picture on their profile. Your picture should be friendly & professional.
  • Write a creative headline – this shows up in search results within LinkedIn and will help clients and candidates figure out if you’re a good connection.
  • Use the Summary section to write your elevator speech – focus on what you do and why it matters to candidates or clients. Include skills and take advantage of the ‘rich media’ feature that allows you to attach PowerPoint, video, etc. to your summary.
  • Ask for recommendations from satisfied clients and candidates.
  • Be sure to claim your ‘vanity’ URL – the one that shows your name, not just a series of numbers and letters

Remember to ‘stay in touch.’ It’s not enough for agency recruiters to create a profile and think candidates will come knocking on your virtual door. You have to be social, which means:

  • Sharing or commenting on news articles
  • Updating your status
  • Joining groups, and PARTICIPATING in them – start a discussion, comment on a discussion, ask a question, whatever.
  • Following some companies – your clients are a good place to start. You might also consider following their competitors, or companies you WISH were clients.
  • Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert, not just an agency recruiter. People will be more receptive to your connection requests if they see evidence that there is value in the connection.
  • Remember the Rule of 3’s … 1/3 of your comments can be personal, 1/3 industry-related, and 1/3 recruiting-related. Don’t be “that” agency recruiter who does nothing except blast out job openings!

Create a Company Page. This is something agency recruiters often overlook on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn’s research, more than 70% of LinkedIn members would be receptive to job opportunities. from companies they are following. 64% of members say they would follow a company “indefinitely” and most importantly, 78% of LinkedIn members are MORE LIKELY to accept Recruiter InMail when they follow your company! When it comes to your Company Page, do the following:

  • Add your company logo and a cover picture.
  • Describe what your recruitment agency does. Differentiate your firm from your competitors.
  • Consider creating Showcase pages that address different audiences (one for candidates, one for employers perhaps).
  • Add status updates! Designate a ‘page admin’ who will be in charge of getting this done.

What’s your best LinkedIn tip?

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LinkedIn Tricks for Job Seekers

by Dave Nerz

image of LinkedIn, a tool used by agency recruitersAs a recruiter you have know-how and tips job seekers crave.  With the landscape of recruiting changing so fast, have you kept up? For example, LinkedIn tricks. Are any of your candidates not using LinkedIn? Most likely about 95 to 100% are on LinkedIn, but far fewer know the things you should know as a recruiter. Here are my favorites to share:

Did you know you can edit your endorsements? It is simple. Just go to Edit Your Profile, scroll down to the Endorsements Section and hit Edit. Start the clean-up. So if you have goofball friends that have voted up your “accounting skills” when you are a sales professional, get busy making the change. I had lots of one-off floaters from someone that knew me 25 years ago. It helps to keep things clean. Tell your candidates to do this before the client looks them up during a due diligence process.

Have you used LinkedIn to search for a job and then apply? Well, you should do it at least once and do it from your smart phone. This is so easy, it makes me want to get more jobs out on LinkedIn to see what can be dragged in. I tested it and I’ll be interested to see if I get contacted. Sure makes it easy for anyone to apply for your open positions.

Try the LinkedIn Resume Builder. In about 10 seconds you can build a decent resume from a LinkedIn profile. So that candidate that you talk to that will take 3 weeks to get you a crappy resume…problem solved in 10 seconds. Personally I would never use this resume for myself, but for an initial submittal with a highly repetitive and strongly connected hiring manager, I would give it a go.

Did you know that candidates can add media, files and presentations under the summary and experiences? Candidates in the marketing world should have a small portfolio under their positions held. Others can celebrate papers they have written or other documents that show something about creativity and passion.

Finally how about keywords for LinkedIn? Recruiters and employers search keywords on LinkedIn. Please tell candidates they should be using keywords…particularly those you will never be able to place. Give them the benefit of your know-how that they crave. It won’t cost you anything and it makes the tool more useful for everyone.

Of course as a leader of a split fee network, I believe in sharing. Everyone wins! Let me know your favorite tip to share with job seekers.

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The Best LinkedIn for Recruiters

by Dave Nerz

image of magnifying glassMaybe you are like me and think the best version of LinkedIn for recruiters is the LinkedIn Recruiter Professional Services (RPS) product that lists at about $5000 per seat. If you are like me, you are wrong. There is a product that has been around for a few years but was not marketed to the average independent recruiter until just recently. The product is called “LinkedIn Recruiter” or “LinkedIn Recruiter Corporate Edition” and list for upwards of $8,000 annually. How is it that so many do not know about this product? Well, I have a theory, but I’ll keep that to myself. My Mother always said, “If you can’t say something nice…”

Here are some of the many levels of service (products) available from LinkedIn and what I believe to be the list prices as of June 2013 (prices in US dollars):

  • LinkedIn Basic (Free)…access to 2nd degree connections
  • LinkedIn Business ($299/year)…access to 3rd degree in your network
  • LinkedIn Business Plus ($479/year)…3rd degree plus more InMails
  • LinkedIn Talent Basic ($479/year)…3rd degree plus better search filters and more InMails
  • LinkedIn Talent Finder ($899/year)…access to 3rd degree plus groups, plus search filters and even more InMails
  • LinkedIn Recruiter Professional Services (RPS) ($5000/year)…not really sure anymore…if you know please comment below…
  • LinkedIn Recruiter Small Business ($4799/year)…3rd degree plus groups plus a number of “profile unlocks”
  • LinkedIn Recruiter Corporate Edition ($8639/year)…225 Million profiles…the whole network!

It took me more than an hour of searching on various sites to compile this list with some relative accuracy. Here is a great link that might help you if you are a recruiter:

So here is the question…what do you think is the best version of LinkedIn for recruiters? What product are you using? Did you know there was a LinkedIn tool that gives you complete access to the full LinkedIn database? Is it any wonder that your client’s in-house recruiters are finding great talent without your assistance? Did you know that according to LinkedIn, 2/3 of the Fortune 500 are subscribing to this Recruiter Corporate Edition? Recruiters may have to pay for the full LinkedIn for Recruiters Corporate Edition in time or the clients will have better access to talent than the recruiters. Fortunately, access to names and profiles is only a part of the equation for a successful recruitment assignment. Good independent recruiters will always be in demand!

Is LinkedIn Killing Agency Recruiters?

by Veronica Blatt

image of LinkedIn, a tool used by agency recruiters“LinkedIn is killing agency recruiters.”

“LinkedIn is NOT a recruiter’s friend.”

“How much damage has LinkedIn caused your recruiting business?”

These are all phrases I’ve recently heard from agency recruiters. There seems to be a growing concern that LinkedIn is intent on eliminating the need for third-party recruiters and that it’s only a matter of time before it happens.

Does anyone remember the similar sentiment about Monster? Or job boards? Or the Internet? What about the fax machine?

All of these tools were “game-changers” in the recruiting business, for sure. They were radical new tools that changed how recruiting got done. Monster, especially, was viewed as the “enemy” of agency recruiters and likely DID drive some recruiters — those who “specialized” in low-hanging fruit — out of business. But the best recruiters adapted to the changes, adopted some of the tools, and moved on. The angst over LinkedIn sounds to me like more of the “same old, same old.”

Here are five reasons why agency recruiters don’t need to fear LinkedIn:

  • LinkedIn does not magically turn anyone into a recruiter. As I’ve said before, having a hammer at your disposal doesn’t make you a carpenter. Yes, there are “dime a dozen” jobs that don’t require particularly special skills. Some companies, especially larger companies, won’t use agency recruiters to fill these roles. They can likely use LinkedIn or other tools to find suitable candidates who don’t need to be wooed away from their current employer. If those types of roles have been your primary focus, you will need to adapt. Strategic roles, jobs with a unique skill set, or roles that employ an emerging technology, are still extremely difficult (and slow) to fill.
  • Recruiting ≠ Sourcing. Having access to a list of names is not the same as recruiting. If it was, the phone book would have put all the agency recruiters out of business back in the “old days.” Even if the names have been keyword-qualified, they have not yet been recruited.
  • Recruiting is an art, not a science. It requires persuasion, sales, and other soft skills to successfully convert a name into a candidate, broker the offer, make sure the candidate’s family supports the change, help with relocation, and guard against counteroffers, among other things. No matter how great LinkedIn is as a tool, it CAN’T do any of those other things.
  • Lots of people don’t use LinkedIn. Having a LinkedIn profile isn’t the same as being highly engaged on LinkedIn. A lot of people have outdated LinkedIn profiles. There are a lot of other people who don’t even HAVE LinkedIn profiles. No one, whether an agency recruiter, a corporate recruiter, or a hiring manager, will ever find EVERY candidate for EVERY role on LinkedIn.
  • Jobs and skills evolve more rapidly than recruiting tools. Employers are hiring people for jobs that didn’t exist five years ago. The jobs include using tools that didn’t exist 18 months ago. There are many instances where there isn’t an existing talent pool that can be easily found and tapped. If you are keyword searching for a word that isn’t included in a profile, you aren’t going to find the profile. Period.

If you need more convincing that agency recruiters aren’t facing imminent death, here is another great read.

What are YOUR thoughts about how LinkedIn is changing recruiting? Please comment below, and share this blog with others.


3 Tips to Help Independent Recruiters Make Connections on LinkedIn®

by Veronica Blatt

LI-homeI came across a video interview today on The Undercover Recruiter between Jorgen Sundberg and Aimee Bateman from Careercake, about how independent recruiters can be more effective at making connections on LinkedIn®. To make it easy for everyone, the video is embedded below. It’s about 7 minutes long and well worth it.

Most independent recruiters probably consider themselves fairly proficient with LinkedIn®, but some may not realize that the same “social rules” that apply on Twitter or Facebook also apply on LinkedIn®. To really maximize your connections, follow these tips:

  1. Add a profile picture to your account. It’s surprising how many profiles still don’t have a photo (let alone a ‘good’ photo). No one wants to interact with an egg (Twitter) or an outline (LinkedIn®). A lot of spammers don’t use a profile picture, so make sure you’re not being ignored as spam.
  2. Make your connection request about THEM, not you. You wouldn’t approach a stranger on the street and start asking for personal information, so don’t do it on LinkedIn®, either. The best independent recruiters still know how to make real, personal connections with people.
  3. Don’t worry too much about “how” you know the person you’re contacting. Instead, focus on why the connection is beneficial (for THEM). Take time to write a personal invitation message that shows you’ve done some homework. DON’T use the generic message that LinkedIn® provides.

For some more great pointers, watch the video below. What’s your best tip for making connections on LinkedIn®?

LinkedIn, the LinkedIn logo, the IN logo and InMail are registered trademarks or trademarks of LinkedIn Corporation and its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries.

5 Ways Independent Recruiters Can Improve Their Use of Social Media

by Veronica Blatt

If you’re an independent recruiter struggling to make sense of social media, you’re not alone. Approaching social media efforts in a random, haphazard way won’t generate the results you want and will result in a lot of wasted time and effort. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your use of social media:

  1. Focus on the “Big 5” sites … LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. All of these sites have something to offer independent recruiters:
    • LinkedIn is the most conservative, business-like social media channel, and the one with which independent recruiters are most familiar.
    • Use Facebook to make your business more ‘likeable.’ It has a casual, conversational tone that humanizes your recruiting firm.
    • Twitter is best for news and speed, especially if you have a large group of followers that you can mobilize to take a specific action.
    • YouTube is the second largest search engine, and is owned by Google. Storytelling is an outstanding marketing tool, and video is the perfect storytelling medium. Plus, if you take the time to optimize your videos for searching, you’re almost guaranteed to see improved search results.
    • The best thing that Google+ currently offers is the ability to boost your page ranking. Second to that is the social search feature that helps customize search results based on your circles of influence.
  2. Use the “Rule of Thirds,” especially on Twitter. A lot of independent recruiters mistakenly use social media to sell, sell, sell, and that’s really not how it works. Social media is more about giving, sharing and providing thought leadership. Not familiar with the Rule of Thirds? Here it is:
    • 1/3 of your posts are your own content
    • 1/3 of your posts are sharing others’ content
    • 1/3 of your posts are comments, questions, answers, conversations relating to posts you see.
  3. Use a social media dashboard, such as TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage your posts. Take advantage of the calendar feature to schedule posts in advance that you can “set and forget.” A good dashboard will let you set up a series of streams for multiple social media channels so that you can see everything all at once, in one place.
  4. Remember to post on weekends! Job seekers, much like independent recruiters, are online at all times of the day, on all days of the week. Since you’re using a social media dashboard now, you can schedule a few posts to occur on Saturdays or Sundays.
  5. Tailor your content to each social media channel. It’s tempting to use one of those auto-publishing tools that automatically sends each post out to every channel, but that’s not what followers want. And, since you probably have some of the same followers in multiple places, they’ll get turned off if they see the same exact thing on 3 or 4 different social media sites. Facebook is great for photos and polls. Twitter, because of its 140-character limit and use of #hashtags, requires different content. LinkedIn is best suited to serious, professional posts. Visual content is very important, but is more effective on YouTube or Facebook than it is on Twitter.

How are you using social media? What’s the best tip you can share with other independent recruiters?


Independent Recruiters and LinkedIn: Corporate HR is taking over!

by Dave Nerz

image of LinkedIn, a tool used by agency recruitersA year ago when I opened LinkedIn Group pages, the number of recruiters and recruiter offers was overwhelming. It seemed that LinkedIn was the playground of recruiters and that others didn’t get it. I would like to see the actual metrics that LinkedIn keeps on usage and audiences. It seems to me that things are changing quickly.

I now see corporate HR has taken over LinkedIn. Of the jobs posted in LinkedIn Groups, it seems that the vast majority are jobs posted by companies or corporate HR. What was once the recruiting resource of choice for independent recruiters seems to have been swallowed whole by the employers. What is your experience? Are you seeing employers overwhelm your groups and the jobs postings with their open positions?

So why has this changed so quickly and with such emphasis? Are recruiters finding less success with LinkedIn postings and slowing usage? Or perhaps corporate HR is finding that LinkedIn works? Do you think that LinkedIn Recruiter Professional Service is being sold and used by corporate HR in record numbers? Spending $5,000 on LinkedIn RPS is not as big a deal for a company as it may be for an independent recruiter. What are you seeing?

I question if the trend will slow or if this independent recruiter resource will forever be changed by the number of corporate HR users now exploiting LinkedIn as a candidate sourcing tool? Have you had any clients tell you, as they did in the old days with Monster and CareerBuilder, that if they find a candidate on LinkedIn, they will not honor your fee request?  Are you prepared to address that one head on the first time it happens?