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The strength of a recruiter’s candidate pool is only as strong as their network. Therefore, in order to build a great candidate pool, you need to build a strong LinkedIn network. A strong LinkedIn network consists of both quantity and quality – depth and breadth. It’s really important for recruiters to have a deep candidate pool from which to source, but it’s even more important that that pool is full of connections relevant to the industries you tend to source within. It’s time to find your perfect candidate!
Why is it important to build a strong LinkedIn network?
- An active networker is a proactive sourcer. If you have a candidate pool that is already full of relevant candidates to the recs you usually fill, you’re already one step ahead of the competition. You don’t have to do extensive searching in order to find relevant candidates. You’re already connected to them, so you can jump to the next phase and start approaching and messaging the most suitable ones. This becomes particularly important if you are recruiting for specific disciplines over and over again.
- A robust LinkedIn network boosts your SEO results. When you do a search on LinkedIn, the people who appear on page one and two of your search results are those that have a close connection with you. So, if you’re a first-degree connection with more people, you’ll show up more often in searches than your competition.
- A warm lead is always better than a cold call. Candidates will always trust someone they have connections in common with, more so than they will trust someone they have no one in common with.
- LinkedIn is unique in that, each time you connect to one person, you also connect to everyone that they know and everyone that those people know. That’s extremely powerful! Especially when you consider that every connection you make is a potential candidate. Even if many of those connections aren’t a fit today, they might be someday. So when building your LinkedIn network it’s important to think longterm. “Always be sourcing” as Stacy Donovan Zapar (the most connected woman on LinkedIn) says.
How to Build a Strong LinkedIn Network:
Polish your profile.
First things first. Before adding connections, make sure your profile is up-to-date, authentic and compelling. You don’t want people checking you out and deciding not to connect because your profile is musty, has no photo or just plain turns them off. Here are a few tips for polishing your profile:
Connect to everyone you know.
Everyday friends are a potential source of referrals, a lead for other connections, or potential candidates themselves. So rack your brain, take a trip down memory lane and connect to everyone you know. Family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, old work colleagues, college friends, college professors, old school friends, yoga buddies, golf buddies, you name it! Every person you know, has potential to be beneficial to your sourcing strategy.
There’s a reason why 56% of Irish marketers plan to increase their investment in content in 2016. People LOVE consuming content – especially content that interests or is of benefit to them. So, if you can be the one to provide them with that content on a regular basis, they will want to be connected to you.
Sharing relevant content is a great way to grow your network within a specific niche in particular. For example, if you regularly recruit candidates within the marketing industry, posting content about social media updates or new inbound marketing tools will be a winner with people within that niche.
As a recruiter within that industry, you should be keeping on top of all the latest industry developments anyway, so every time you read an article on the likes of Mashable, TechCrunch, GitHub etc. that you enjoy and find useful, take a minute to share it with your connections as a status update. They’ll appreciate it and thank you for it by connecting with you.
Engage with your network.
This is the main mistake recruiters make on social media. They forget that it’s a two-way street. It’s called social media for a reason. If you just blast your network with information and share jobs all day, that’s not social recruiting. That’s annoying.
To build a strong LinkedIn network it’s exceptionally important to have two-way conversations with the people who interact with you – to have a conversation. Answer their questions. Offer advice. Be helpful. Be generous with your expertise. “The currency of networking is generosity” as Keith Ferrazzi once said. The more you give the more you get in return.
It’s all very well to share and engage with people via your own LinkedIn profile, but it’s also important to be seen to be involved in communities relevant to your industry too. LinkedIn Groups are the single best way to expand your network with the right people. They’re designed to link people around a specific topic.
Find and join the groups related to your area of expertise and interests. But joining the group delivers limited benefits if you don’t also join the conversation and reach out to those group members you’d like to add to your network. Offer your opinion. Offer advice. Share links. Be seen to get involved. The more involved you are, the more other participants will want to connect with you.
Cultivate your garden.
Much like a gardener or farmer would regularly tend their crops to ensure a good harvest, you need to cultivate your network. Plant seeds by sharing relevant content, water those seeds with conversation, make sure they get the right amount of sun by responding to introduction requests in a timely fashion, pull weeds from time to time by removing spammy connections. A good recruiter is always working and tending their network. It’ll take some practice, but it will become second nature of you keep on top of it.