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How to Use LinkedIn for Recruiting in Your Small Business

With half a billion members across 200 countries, over 10 million active job listings, and access to over 9 million companies, LinkedIn has become the “de facto tool for professional networking.” Thus, it isn’t surprising that many smaller businesses in particular are trying to capitalize on the social network as a relatively painless means of recruiting talented candidates. After all, LinkedIn has been working hard over the past few years to make the business of locating and engaging potential candidates as easy and as cost-effective as possible.

But, all of this doesn’t take away from the fact that as useful and as powerful as LinkedIn is as a recruiting platform, there are still several drawbacks and pitfalls that small businesses need to be aware of before dipping their toes in the water.

Why Use Use LinkedIn as a Recruiting Tool

When it comes to hiring within the business world LinkedIn is where it’s at. Recruiters, head hunters, and hiring managers are increasingly turning to LinkedIn in order to find potential candidates. In fact, recent statistics indicate that over 90 percent of recruiters use the social network to vet candidates. Driving this trend is LinkedIn’s set of advanced search tools that allow any recruiters and business owners who are looking to fill a position to easily find users based on specific keywords and other variables. They can then make a connection request or send potential candidates a message via InMail about a specific job opportunity. LinkedIn groups, which are typically centered around a common skill, interest, or industry, also gives recruiters and hiring professionals the ability to locate potential candidates and create connections.

So, the fact that LinkedIn has an appeal among smaller businesses is to be expected.

The Challenges to Recruiting on LinkedIn

Small businesses tend to turn to LinkedIn for recruiting as a way to save time and money during the hiring process. But, herein lies the biggest challenge. Small businesses have fewer resources to confirm that the information provided in a given profile is in fact accurate. Consider a recent survey conducted by LendEDU which reported that 34 percent of respondents lie to some degree on their LinkedIn profile, with over 10 percent responding that their LinkedIn profile is completely made up!

Another issue is the amount of noise and competition already happening on the platform. Long gone are the days when merely posting a sentence or two about a job opening would be enough to attract the attention of talented candidates. Now recruiters and those involved in hiring need to both actively reach out to potential hires and ensure that the company’s own presence on the platform accurately portrays the unique brand, culture, vision, and opportunities available to employees. Job titles and their descriptions must also be carefully optimized around the search phrases most likely to be used by potential candidates.

How Small Businesses Can Win at LinkedIn Recruiting

One of the biggest factors to successful recruiting at LinkedIn lies in how businesses view the platform in the first place. LinkedIn can’t (and shouldn’t) do all the vetting work for you. Business owners and their managers should see LinkedIn as powerful tool in their recruiting toolbox. But, at the end of the day, it is nothing more than that- a tool that comes with its own set of limitations.

When recruiting efforts on LinkedIn are combined with responsible vetting techniques, such as writing a clear job description (to attract the right people), checking references, conducting a smart interview, and being clear about the kinds of people you really want to bring on board, then good hiring decisions are much more likely to follow. In a certain sense, LinkedIn hasn’t really changed the rules when it comes to hiring; it’s just made following them all the more important.