Why and How LinkedIn Can Bring More Than Just Top Talent To Your Company

LinkedIn is one of the social media sites that may be as misunderstood as Twitter. CEOs and key executives constantly ask me why they should be using either one. They haven’t been able to grasp the impact these tools can have on their company. The CEO or key executive doesn’t have to actually use either of them, but they should at least encourage the use by the appropriate people in their organization.

LinkedIn is more than just social networking like Facebook. I think of Facebook as a personal social site and LinkedIn as the business people's social site. LinkedIn and Facebook serve different purposes.

Unlike Facebook which hides a lot of information about the person, unless you are directly connected, LinkedIn profiles are pretty much open for everyone to review. Granted the person controls what information they chose to display, but whatever they decide it is open to just about everyone. This is actually a good thing.

Since most profiles on LinkedIn are about the person’s professional background it really isn’t too much different than posting one’s resume online. This opens up a whole new way to use LinkedIn to benefit your company.

Here are some examples:

Hiring. Why pay thousands of dollars to Monster, CareerBuilder or The Ladders in order to have access to their resume databases? If you are seeking a professional person chances are very high you can locate them on LinkedIn. You can review their background, experiences, accomplishments, awards, education and so on,  for free or a small monthly fee.

In addition you can connect to references, view a list of people with similar backgrounds, identify people in your industry or even specific companies. LinkedIn has provided you and your hiring team not only with a wealth of people, but also given you an enormous amount of information on this person.

Reference Checking. We hear this all the time, people won’t give you references unless they know they will give a good reference. OK, so now you have a way of getting your own references.  LinkedIn allows you to find people based on companies. LinkedIn will give you list of people that have worked at a specific company and those currently working at the company. Now you have a list of people independent from the ones the candidate provided you.

Customer Leads. Cold calling has never been the best way to access a company. With LinkedIn your sales people can now develop warm leads. Your salesperson can identify a potential customer, find who else in their network has contacts within the company or better yet knows the person your salesperson wants to meet and ask for an introduction. How about asking if they would set up a lunch with the potential customer? This is a powerful tool few sales people use.

Vendors. What a great way to pre-qualify vendors. Go on LinkedIn look for people that have left the company and connect with them. You may learn some things the salesperson will never tell you. Granted, depending on the person the information could be biased. That works both ways. As with all information the person collecting the information will have to filter it as they see fit. But I submit having it and ignoring it is better than not having it at all.

Affiliations. Another tool that helps identify potential companies to affiliate with. This is a great way to be introduced to someone you hope to develop a professional business relationship. Often contained within the profile are recommendations that may help you decide if this is the right company to work alongside.

Open Jobs. A component of hiring but this has a different spin. The ability to post open positions  for free or low cost. With LinkedIn groups you can post a job for free and have hundreds of thousands of people be aware of it. In addition, for a reasonable fee you can target specific people, with specific backgrounds, in specific industries only. So you don’t receive hundreds of unqualified resumes.

International Contacts. LinkedIn is a global site. If you are seeking contacts or considering doing business in a foreign country, LinkedIn may provide the contacts you need to get started. If your company is considering coming to the USA, the level of contacts available to you in just about every business sector is well worth your time to check out.

I could continue, but if I haven’t convinced by now why go on. Even if these reasons don’t work for your company, think beyond the specifics above. Think about how these resources can be utilized in your company. That is the real value of LinkedIn. It opens up so many opportunities that have not been available in the past.

I would encourage everyone to be active on LinkedIn. The benefits far out weigh any drawbacks.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.



Reducing Turnover Without An HR Department

Question:  We have a lot of turnover, what would you suggest to help reduce it? We don’t have an HR department.

In our experience, turnover generally starts with a bad hire. A bad hire often starts by not properly defining the job and limited sourcing techniques that don’t bring the best candidates to you. One or both of these can result in high turnover and correcting them can dramatically reduce turnover.

Changing the job description might help. Most job descriptions are not actual job descriptions. Most are simply a laundry list of a person’s skills, experiences, required behavioral traits, and a few words about the job’s routine duties and tasks. A real job description defines the results you expect this person to deliver in order to be a top performer. We call them Success Factors. In other words, what are the factors this person needs to deliver in order to be successful? They must be measurable and time based. It isn’t about their skills and experiences, it is about how they use their skills and experiences to achieve the results you want. Defining the results you expect is the first step.

Many company’s main strategy for sourcing candidates is posting ads on the job boards. The ad tends to be a long list of demands the company wants the candidate to possess. Advertising 101A tells us that advertising is about the person you want to engage. Advertising is not about you. Few job ads are about the candidate’s motivation. Why should they get excited about coming to work for you and your company? A list of the duties and tasks they are already doing isn’t all that inspiring. When you advertise, think about what will motivate a candidate enough to reply to your ad. What will get top talent so excited that they will put together a resume just to come to work for you? Start advertising with the candidate’s motivation in mind and your pool of candidates will expand.

Join our LinkedIn Hire and Retain Top Talent Discussion Group with 3,200 participants and a vibrant discussion on everything related to job search.

Download our FREE Cost per Hire Calculator to determine the real cost of NOT hiring top talent.

If this was helpful, please pass it on to your network, post it on Facebook or to your LinkedIn Groups.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

You Can Shorten Your Hiring Process

Q. We are a mid-size company that doesn’t hire that often. It seems that when we want to hire it takes a long time just to find qualified candidates. Is there a way to shorten the time it takes to hire someone?

A. Hiring fast rarely includes hiring the very best. The best way to shorten the time it takes to hire someone is to have a pool of qualified people available when you need them. The problem is that most companies start the hiring process when they need someone, which often happens after one of their best people just gave notice. Companies then expect that at that exact moment in time a highly qualified candidate will also be searching, the stars will magically align and they should be able to hire this person. Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you were looking, highly qualified candidates were also looking? It just doesn’t work that way. Most hiring processes are reactive. To change your situation your hiring process must become proactive.

Highly qualified candidates don’t search based on your hiring schedule. They search based on their schedule, so hiring can’t be a one time event that happens when you decide you are ready to hire someone. This option will only provide you the best available candidates at that moment in time. Companies that excel at hiring top talent know that hiring is a process and having a queue of qualified candidates is critical. Your hiring managers should always be on the lookout for potential people, even if your company only hires once a year. Every manager should have at least two or three potential candidates for the key positions in their department. This means that your hiring managers will have to dedicate at least some time each month to hiring. They should engage potential hires, identify who might be a potential hire, attend professional groups where these potential hires exist, respond to unsolicited resumes that have potential instead of deleting them, use LinkedIn to connect with potential candidates and follow up with potential candidates when contacted. None of these takes a lot of time to do, maybe an hour a month. These small things can dramatically shorten the time it takes to hire someone and also increase the quality of those hires.

You can explore our audio library, download free examples of compelling marketing statements, download a summary of our research project that identifies the biggest hiring mistakes, and get our culture assessment tool by clicking the links. All of these are free.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please forward this to your contacts on Facebook, LinkedIn, or anyone you think would benefit from this article.

Brad Remillard

Stop Attracting The Bottom Third Of The Candidate Pool

Most professional sports teams have scouts. These scouts are constantly on the lookout for talent. Most of the time these scouts are engaging potential talent long before they are ready for the big leagues. In fact, often long before they even need them.

The one thing that these teams and scouts know is that they will always need top talent if they want to win.

Who are your scouts? Are you engaging potential talent before you need them? Is this important for you to win?

Over the last few years I have asked hundreds of CEOs and key executives, “When do most companies start the hiring process?”  Rarely do I hear anything other than, “When they need someone.”  Then, how long does it take to hire a person? Most believe that can take between 2 and 4 months. At which point the hiring manager is so desperate that they are pretty much willing to take the proverbial, “Cream of the Crap.”

I believe that “desperation hiring,” if it isn't the biggest hiring problem, certainly is very near the top.

The problem is not that most companies start the hiring process when they need someone, it is that companies start the hiring process with an empty bench. They have to start from scratch every time. It can take weeks or months just to start locating talent. Top or otherwise.

This may explain why so many companies do an exceptional job attracting the bottom third of the candidate pool.

There is a better way. Companies, like professional sports teams, need to have scouts. They need people out engaging people that might be a fit for key positions.  Most companies know the key positions that sooner or later will have to be filled once the economy changes. Even in good times, most companies know way in advance the positions they are contemplating hiring for. However, unlike professional sports teams, companies don't have anyone out scouting for talent prior to it being needed.

So how can companies get scouts out looking for them? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Whether you have one employee or one thousand employees,  they should be your scouts. Make sure all of your employees are constantly aware of potential positions you are thinking about filling. Make sure all employees have a Compelling Market Statement. See some examples of these by CLICKING HERE.

2. Approach the hiring process with a proactive approach. Encourage all of your employees to be constantly on the lookout for people they think will fit your culture. When they encounter someone, all they have to do is give the potential candidate a copy of the Compelling Marketing Statement and let them know that your company is always looking for talented people and if they are ever looking, to be sure to think of your company. The farming process has begun. That is what scouts do.

3. Don't be afraid to engage people you think might potentially be great employees. This can be as simple as meeting them  for coffee, including them on your newsletter, updating them of company announcements, sending an email once a quarter, or anything that keeps them on your radar screen and you on theirs.

4. Make it a habit of building queues of potential people for key roles or upcoming roles. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for people. Both myself and my partner Barry have placed many people that have been sitting in our database for years. That is why recruiters have people ready to go for you when you call them. You and your team can do the exact same thing. Just knowing where potential people are located is a good start.

5. Build a compelling LinkedIn profile and a Facebook Fan page. Update the Facebook fan page regularly and invite these potential employees to join your page.

6. If you attend trade shows or conferences, don't just throw the business cards your team collected away. Send each an email to join you on LinkedIn and your fan page on Facebook. If there are a few  really good potential employees in the cards, set a time to meet for coffee. Let them know the next time you will be in town and attempt to get together.

7. Do you ask your vendors, customers, trusted advisers, and other service providers for referrals of the best people they work with or know? These can be the best source for building bench strength.

8. Do you encourage your managers and key executives to be active in professional associations, their school alumni association, serve on non-profit boards, or other community associations such as Rotary? These are outstanding places to do some scouting.

I recently wrote another article, “Can't Find People? They Are Hiding In Plain Sight” because so many hiring managers we work with walk right by potentially great people. This article has three real examples of how people are right there for the asking.

As the economy turns, top talent will be in demand once again. Think back to just three years ago. This top talent will generally end up in one of two places, your team or your competitor's team.

To find out just how effective your hiring methodology is, download our free 8-Point Hiring Methodology Scorecard. This will help you to develop a truly effective hiring process. CLICK HERE to download yours.

We also have the chapter on sourcing from our book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired” as a free download. CLICK HERE to download your chapter on sourcing top talent.

You can also join our LinkedIn Hiring and Retaining Top Talent group. This is an excellent source for discussions and articles on these topics. CLICK HERE to join.

I welcome your comments and thoughts.