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.



Require A Homework Assignment Before Hiring A Candidate

When the pool of talent is narrowed down to the final two candidates, it’s time for the interview team to come up with homework assignments. An important predictor of how a candidate will adapt to your organization’s environment is to see an example of his or her thought processes, analytical skills, and problem-solving, up close and personal.

Effective homework assignments are projects of reasonable size and scope that involve one of the most critical accomplishments the candidate will have to perform once on board. The candidate should be given all the support he or she needs to adequately answer the question or complete the assignment. The candidate should then return to the interview panel and present results and conclusions, and lead a question and answer discussion based on the homework. No matter what functional area, homework should entail questioning, analysis, research, and a panel discussion with some form of presentation.

While homework assignments are “out there” in the hiring world, some candidates may object to doing what they perceive as unpaid work.

Most top 5% talent, because of their self-motivated nature, will be intrigued and embrace the challenge. But if they’ve had previous encounters with unscrupulous employers who actually do assign homework and go on to use candidate ideas (even though they did not hire the candidate) you’ll need to reassure them that you aren’t asking them to come up with the “right answer.” Instead, you are looking for a concrete example of their approach to problems, their analytical and presentation skills, and their ability to synthesize information.

The scope of homework should be appropriate; that is, you shouldn’t ask candidates to dedicate forty hours on nights and weekends to solving your most pressing problem as “homework.” Make it clear at the outset that the homework is not going to be as deep as the actual job, and that you aren’t looking so much for their answer as for deep insight into their thought and action processes.

Every key position you plan on hiring should require a homework assignment. If you need assignment writing help, some examples include, a sales presentation for all sales people, for financial positions consider giving them last year's and this year's budget and ask for their input, marketing positions ask for them to review your marketing programs or PR agreements, IT positions depending on the level can include coding examples all the way up to the capital spending on IT projects. The goal is to put them in the job before they come on board.

Related post: Where to find chemistry homework help?

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.

Brad Remillard

Hiring In Another State Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Q. Over the next year we will be hiring a significant number of people outside of California. What are some ways to hire in other states other than running ads?

Hiring in other states will take time and commitment from the hiring manager. They must become actively involved in the process. The best people in the state where you are hiring may not be answering ads, but that doesn't mean they aren't interested in another compelling opportunity. How you search for top talent in other states really doesn't change that much from how you do it in California.

Start with LinkedIn. Begin by joining groups on LinkedIn that align with your industry and the functional area of the position. Have your hiring manager get connected with some of the people in these groups. Then search the groups for likely candidates, post the job in the groups and start sending out updates announcing the opening. These broadcasts can be very powerful. In addition, you can pay a reasonable amount of money to post an ad on LinkedIn that will target the types of people you want to attract. Finally, start engaging people who appear to fit or might know others that fit. This is easily done with emails, phone calls, or by meeting for coffee when you're in the area. None of these takes a lot of time, but they are very effective.

As your manager begins the process of building relationships, have them ask what associations and networking groups are in the area so they can tap into those resources. Ask people for referrals and contact the associations or networking group leaders. Ask if they will make an announcement or post the open position. Plan a trip or two when these groups will meet and attend them. Meet people and begin building a relationship with them. They will be your best resource for talent in the area.

The best advice I can give you is that you shouldn't wait until you need the person to start this process. Since you already know you will be hiring, start the process now so you will already have a queue of people when you are ready to hire. Top talent are out there and open to exploring opportunities. It just takes time and effort to locate them. Remember, top talent doesn't search on your schedule. They do it on their schedule. Hoping top talent will be available at the same moment in time as you are seeking them is not a very good hiring strategy.

You can now download a FREE copy of our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.” Just CLICK HERE for your FREE ebook.

Download this free assessment of your company's hiring process to see if your company will attract top talent. http://www.impacthiringsolutions.com/index.php/hiring-assessment-scorecard

I welcome your thoughts and comments.


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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.



A Baker’s Dozen Techniques to Find Top Talent on LinkedIn


If you’re looking to hire a top caliber employee at a professional level, LinkedIn is without question one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.

Here are my Top Baker’s Dozen techniques to quickly and easily find outstanding talent. Keep in mind, finding the person is the easy part – convincing them to talk with you is the hard part (hence the rationale behind using an executive search firm like IMPACT Hiring Solutions).

  1. Complete your profile from a marketing perspective – otherwise know in certain farming circles as “putting some lipstick on the pig”
  2. Build up your network with people at competitors, vendors, suppliers, customers within your industry, function, geography, and markets.
  3. Conduct very precise searches, broadening the search criteria in expanding rings.
  4. When you identify a specific candidate, search for their email address using Jigsaw or ZoomInfo. LinkedIn doesn’t give you enough Inmails to be effective. Having the email address is a good approach for direct contact.
  5. Join the groups your target candidate is most likely to have joined.
  6. Review the SlideShare Presentations of anyone who might know the person you want to hire
  7. Review the potential blogs by those in your network – linked to their LinkedIn Profiles
  8. Review the Twitter Stream of Candidates for whom you are searching. You’ll see their connections by whom they are twittering with on a regular basis.
  9. Examine the recommendations people have made – many times these recommenders might be good candidates and they have strong networks
  10. Who is your potential candidates recommending – these might be good candidates and once again, they also have strong networks.
  11. Look at the network connections of the individuals with whom you have a first degree connection. They might know of the ideal candidate.
  12. Search the Questions and Answers area on LinkedIn. Sometimes, the best candidates are freely sharing their advice and recommendations – and posting questions of their own
  13. Click on the company name and look at other people from the same company as your target candidates. Are you connected to any of these people?

These Baker’s Dozen Techniques should keep you busy on your search for top talent. The upside is that outstanding future employees can be identified through these techniques. The Downside – it’s time-consuming. Going after passive candidates through social networking by using sites like LinkedIn or Facebook can take 80-120 hours of work for a mid-level management position – the searching, networking, asking for referrals, contacting candidates, follow-up, and phone interviewing.

In future posts, we’ll tackle each technique in more depth.

Are you using any of these techniques? What’s worked and what has not worked? Are you using any other tools of LinkedIn that I’ve not mentioned?


photo credit by Rachel From Cupcakes Take the Cake