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.

6 LinkedIn Tools for Small Business

Ever since social networks became popular several years ago, small businesses have been told to spend their limited time and money there in order to remain competitive and relevant. Yet, while the number of active social networks have multiplied, the real ROI of spending that time and money maintaining a presence on these platforms remains fuzzy at best.

There is, however, one robust platform that presents a more convincing case for small business involvement: LinkedIn. While LinkedIn may not be perfect, it offers a powerful set of tools to help small businesses network, build their brand, close sales, and even recruit talented professionals. Plus, it claims to have the biggest network of professionals and business owners on the Internet. So, this platform is great if targeting these people or businesses they work for, and it is certainly a place where you should be directing your resources.

That said, here are 6 of the most powerful and useful tools for small businesses that LinkedIn has to offer:

1. Showcase Pages

As the name suggests, Showcase Pages are used to highlight the various products and services your business offers. They are extensions of your many company page on LinkedIn. Why is this so important or unique? When done right, your company page and showcase pages work together to create a dynamic mini website. Instead of listing all of your company’s products and services on one profile page, LinkedIn is the only major social media platform that gives you the ability to richly convey what your company does and offers

2. LinkedIn Pulse

Content marketing certainly isn’t new. But, with LinkedIn’s native publishing platform, Linkedin Pulse,  you can potentially get your content in front of a massive professional audience. Moreover, as your content gets more popular, anyone who looks at your LinkedIn profile will have greater reason to believe that you are an authority on those topics. They don’t need to head offsite to your website or personal blog.

3. LinkedIn Recruiter

If you are looking for top talent in your industry, then LinkedIn Recruiter is definitely a tool to consider. Recruiter allows you to search through a vast pool of candidates by location, industry, profile key words, and more. Plus, you can include people in your search who will entertain job offers even though they aren’t actively searching. Once you have located potential candidates, you can reach out to them via LinkedIn’s InMail messaging feature.

4. Targeted Updates

Like every other social network out there, we are being bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information, and the worst part of it is that , most of this noise is not even relevant to us. With targeted status updates you are able to deliver relevant content to your contacts rather than bombarding your entire network. You can sort your list of contacts and connections into groups of 100 people or more.

5. Paid Advertisements

The last few years has seen a shift to paid advertising among social networks looking to capitalize on the user traffic they are generating. Most of this is due to a number of high-profile public offerings from Facebook, Twitter, and, you guessed it, LinkedIn. What makes LinkedIn’s paid advertisement platform unique, however, is that it supports the world’s largest online community of professionals. If your customer base involves college-educated professionals, or if you are a B2B business, then you almost cannot afford to overlook LinkedIn’s robust paid advertisement feature that allows you to micro-target media-rich ads to groups of people based on job title, industry, age, location, etc.

6. Sponsored Updates

The last important LinkedIn tool to make the list is also part of the advertising features. With sponsored updates, you can easily get your brand in front of current and potential customers in a way that is less distracting and annoying. Another benefit to this method is that you can let your content do the marketing for you without having to set up and tweak a formal advertising campaign that involves banner and text ads.

While the previous 6 tools can be extremely useful for a large population of small businesses, this really doesn’t even scratch the surface. There are countless Linkedin tools and third party apps and services that can enhance the user experience on LinkedIn. It just takes a little research coupled with a bit of experimentation to find the most useful and profitable combination for your business.

4 Power Tips To Generate Sales on LinkedIn That Most Users Miss

Over the past few years, LinkedIn has been growing in both it’s user base and it’s reputation. The social networking platform has practically become synonymous with the online resume and business hobnobbery and recently boasted over 225 million members across 200 countries.

LinkedIn-LogoBut, with so much happening on LinkedIn, getting noticed can be a real challenge. Add to this the fact that LinkedIn has chosen to discontinue several services and apps, such as LinkedIn Answers and Polls, that were quite popular among small business owners. For this reason, if you are just starting out on the platform, you need to do what you can to optimize your time and presence there.

To get you started, here are four LinkedIn success tips that are frequently over-looked, yet can generate a tremendous amount of interest in your business:

Include a call to action. You can have the most optimized profile in the whole of LinkedIn that’s generating tons of traffic, but if you don’t have any calls-to-action, it won’t do you much good. Instead of simply filling in LinkedIn’s generic “my website” or “my blog” links on your profile page, make the effort and to give your visitors reasons to click on your links.

Showcase your products, services, and expertise. There are several areas in LinkedIn where you can showcase your work. In your profile page, you can now highlight specific projects including media-rich documents. If you are maintaining a company page, then be sure to fill out the “Products and Services” section. Not only is this your opportunity to explain what you offer in a compelling way, individuals can recommend and share the products you list, becoming ambassadors for your brand.

Optimize your profile for search. With hundreds of millions of people searching LinkedIn, you want your company’s profile to stand out. When crafting your profile language, be sure to include keywords that are related to your business and industry to help improve the chances of your name appearing in LinkedIn’s internal search results. Think of these keywords as the words a potential client would type in when searching LinkedIn.

Use InMail and targeted updates. LinkedIn gives you the option of putting your updates and messages in front of the people who matter the most. LinkedIn’s internal mail system, InMail, can help you reach professionals that may not be so reachable elsewhere. Targeted status updates can be an effective way for business owners to tailor the content in their status updates to specific types of company followers. These can be accessed from your LinkedIn Company Page.

In short, when it comes to success on LinkedIn, you need to make sure that your presence is properly optimized. It gets your foot in the door to take advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer.