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May 9 / admin

Social Networking sites (further)

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES (FURTHER)

Since I wrote my last post about social networking sites, I have continued to ask headhunters and candidates what their experience has been.  Without exception, they have been in favour of a candidate being on LinkedIn.  From the headhunters’ point of view, it has almost become a first port of call for many of them: they receive a new assignment and they can go straight to LinkedIn, put in some key words and begin to see what the field of possible candidates looks like, or they can search from a list of those who have worked for competitor companies.  In addition, the headhunters’ researchers may well have been up-graded to a paying account so that they can send ‘InMail’ messages direct to a potential candidate.

From the candidate’s point of view, it therefore becomes almost essential to have a profile – if you want to be found by the headhunters!  And there are a number of things that you can do to improve your profile and enhance the likelihood of being found.  First, it is important to make sure that you have all the key words that relate to your skills and experience present in your profile. Second, you can ask current or past colleagues or clients to write a recommendation for you on your page.  Third, you need to make sure that you have checked your ‘Account & Settings’ so that the information that you want to be seen can be viewed easily by others.

This may all feel a bit passive: make a good profile and wait for the headhunters to come calling.  But there a number of pro-active things that candidates can do too:  for example, you can search for jobs under the ‘Jobs’ tab; and you can join the relevant Groups and start contributing to them.  Perhaps the most powerful weapon is being able to contact potential targets.  To do this, you can look up a list of people you would like to contact, say all those in HR in the UK.  Then you can see if you have a ‘shared connection’ with any of them and ask that shared connection if he / she will pass on a message to the target person.  If you decide to up-grade (and pay!), then you get the chance to send a number of ‘InMails’ without needing a ‘shared connection’.

A good paper that identifies the best ways of making the most of LinkedIn is one by Olivier Taupin and accessible through his LinkedIn page: ‘LinkedIn for Recruiters: Advanced Techniques for Finding Top Talent on LinkedIn’.  Although it’s written for recruiters, much of the information is useful for candidates too.

I would be extremely interested to hear from anyone – headhunter or candidate – what their experience has been of LinkedIn or any of the other main sites and whether or not they have found up-grading to a paid account on LinkedIn worth while.