First of all, it’s important you’re clear on who the right people are. Steve Jobs famously said, “If the top 50 people are right, it just cascades down throughout the whole organization.” So hiring the best people– starting from the top– is step one to attracting and keeping the right people over the long term.
“A players hire A players. B players hire C,” said Jobs. “Do you get it?”
American economist and social scientist Richard Florida would describe these “A players” as the creative class. According to Florida, this group of forward-thinking individuals is emerging as the most socially and economically influential of our time. In Rise of the Creative Class, Florida claims the creative class values meritocracy, diversity and individuality above all else, and as such, they’ll settle for no less in their environments. Florida says places that wish to attract the creative class must possess the three “T”s: Talent, Tolerance and Technology.
So if your company already possesses the Talent and Tolerance, let’s be sure you can attract the right people by also demonstrating your Tech savvy.
Posting on the big boards invites the spamming of hundreds of unqualified applications. And really, why pay thousands of dollars for something like Monster.com when you can use aspects of LinkedIn for free, or at just a fraction of the cost? Why indeed. The beauty of LinkedIn is that it’s a virtual, self-selected database of resumes and portfolios at your fingertips.
Here’s a few tips to get LinkedIn working for you:
1.Work with who you know. It might seem straightforward, but if you’re looking for the right people, start with the right people. That is, seek out and add to your LinkedIn network those people already trusted to deliver. Whether workplace or alumni peers, these folks should be your first stop for future employees, or at least a great means for finding them. Practically speaking, if you’re looking for a top-notch policy analyst, you’re way more likely to find one within the networks of top-notch policy analysts. Ask current employees to spread the word too. Plus, your own colleagues are more likely to suggest opportunities to those they trust to deliver. According to Scott Allen, social media strategist and co-author of The Virtual Handshake, building quality connections through authentic relationship building, even when they’re virtual, is key to finding and keeping the right people by your side.
“Otherwise you’re undifferentiated from the dozens of hundreds of other recruiters they’re connected to,” says Allen. “Strong relationships, not large contact databases, [build] business.”
2. Develop a career page. Nobody wants to work at a mundane job at a dull company. Building brand equity and awareness that’s exciting is bound to attract the creative class. Make sure to upload dynamic presentations, engaging blogs and perhaps most important, diverse workplace testimonials of current employees. You might even consider hiring someone specifically to create and position your page with these engaging design elements. And, make sure the job ad pops. Just remember, any employee worth your time is checking you out too, so make sure you deliver.
3. Update statuses. Let your connections know you’re trying to fill a position by simple saying so in your status, as well as your company page’s status, and linking your snazzy job description to it. Encourage work colleagues on LinkedIn to do the same, as well as “like” one another’s statuses (links, attachments and “likes” improve the propagation of the post in news feeds. This rule goes for all social media). Also be sure to change the status on your company page to “hiring” to let your page followers know that a position or positions have opened up.
4. Key word it. Make sure your company profile and the job description targets the right people by being very specific with the words you use to describe the person and corresponding skill sets you’re seeking. You can also key word search candidates by specifying preferences such as location, job titles, language, school, industry, and so on. Find interview-ready candidates quickly by simply entering words like “pursuing,” “looking” or “seeking.” Upgrade your account to filter further, such as seniority level, years of experience, whether the candidate has worked for a Fortune 1000 company; etc.
5. Reach out! Use the free InMail feature to reach out to groups of up to fifty trusted professionals at a time. Ask them directly for referrals, or, if you’re feeling bold, introductions to the star candidates in their networks.
6. Reach in… If you’re already part of a LinkedIn group with an established presence among them, leverage your member status to target and mine candidates from within. Chances are if there are no suitable candidates in the group they’ll be happy to direct you to some who are.
7. Sponsor a job ad. This LinkedIn paid service allows you to get top placement in the “Jobs You May Be Interested In” widget. LinkedIn will then feature the ad directly in potential candidates InMail boxes, as well as give your ad top billing on their homepages. Plus, since this is a “pay per click” feature, the employer only gets charged when a candidate clicks to apply.
8. Talent Finder. Another paid LinkedIn service, this feature allows you to see anyone’s expanded profile, message any of the site’s 200 million+ users, and get more search filters and results. The feature will also help you week out great candidates who aren’t actively seeking employment (until now).
9. Target and mold new grads. Students are LinkedIn’s fastest growing and most engaged segment. Promote jobs through the Student Jobs Portal and reach out to millions of recent graduates from the world’s top colleges and universities. LinkedIn guarantees a minimum of 10 applicants with this paid feature.
10. Reference check. This is a great way to reinforce a good reference. As we all know, candidates always give the best references from a previous work environments. Meanwhile, since LinkedIn aggregates lists of current and former employers and employees, you or the HR professional on your team can reinforce that reference independently.
Just remember: in this giant web of relationships we call work and life, we are all linked, and getting that A player will always require an A game on your behalf.
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