Using LinkedIn Groups to Source Effectively

Have you looked on LinkedIn lately in the Groups that are dedicated to job-related networking? You know all those people that put:

Looking for an opportunity in XYZ. My background is ABCDEFGH. I accept all networking invitations; visit my profile…

I see a lot of recruiters and hiring managers share with candidates that this is an ineffective way to use LinkedIn. So, why oh why are recruiters around the globe doing almost that exact same thing when looking for other recruiters? Here is an example:

Need 1099 Recruiters to help fill sales and employee benefit consulting opportunities. Meet Wednesday or Tuesday next week and get started. Paid daily, usually within 24-72 hours. Email for details.

Now, do you see a few issues with this? WHERE should they meet? What email address? Is this for remote on-site roles? I’d say that this is more of a pipeline ad, but I see enough of them that it’s not unique.

This sets an extremely bad example and follows on my last article on recruiting hypocrisy. And it isn’t just for recruiting industry jobs, either. I’m all for using the LinkedIn groups for sourcing, but please do it responsibly and don’t frustrate your potential candidate pool and your professional colleagues (and damage your recruiting brand in the process). Here’s a lesson in writing a LinkedIn job description for Groups and sourcing on them.

Elements of a Job Description

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Your corporate posting may be too long for the LinkedIn character constraints, so choose the most important point for a job seeker. They can look up the company and marketing info on their own. Here are the basics:

  1. Location: where is the job? If it is remote, where is the client’s HQ and what time zone are they located in? *Do they offer relo or only looking for local candidates if it is not a virtual job?*
  2. Contact/application information: how do candidates follow up?
  3. Responsibilities: what are the main expectations of the job?
  4. Requirements: what experience and education is needed to be considered?
  5. Timeframe: is there a closing date?

Sourcing Basics for Using LinkedIn Groups

  1. You can join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn, and you can send messages directly to other members of the same group without using up your InMails.
  2. Jobs go in the jobs tab…yes, even on groups that are specifically for matching candidates and recruiters/employment opportunities.
  3. You can and should comb the members of any particular group from the “members” tab (see #1). Lots of folks are posting their availability and basic profile info on the “discussion tab” so hit the archive and see if anyone may be a potential candidate match *or* someone you can leverage for their networks.
  4. Update your own profile with new jobs you have available often. Make sure to use the twitter post option; link your twitter account to your LinkedIn update and use hashtags. Conversely, you can update your LinkedIn profile off of Twitter by using the hashtag “#in” to cross-post. This is an especially good employment branding strategy.
  5. Start discussions in industry groups and see who responds in ways that indicate they have the knowledge and skills that your clients may be interested in.
  6. Work with your marketing department to use the presentation app on LinkedIn for new product sheets or press releases that might generate interest in your jobs.

Remember, recruiting isn’t just about filling pipelines. It’s about building relationships and aligning your recruiting and corporate brand.

Kristen Fife is a senior technical recruiter in the greater Seattle area. She has been in recruiting since 2004, starting as contract Researcher for the Microsoft Strategic Recruiting Group before moving into full lifecycle agency recruiting for Volt Technical Services. Her move into corporate recruiting started with both sourcing and full lifecycle contract roles at Microsoft (including MSFT Research, Legal, and various product groups). In addition to Microsoft, Kristen worked for 3 years for RealNetworks/GameHouse as the Senior Technical Recruiter and Sourcing Specialist; at the University of Washington/Harborview Medical Centers as a Sourcer, as well as smaller companies such as Varolii (now part of Nuance Communications), Covestic, and bSquare. Currently she is an RPO Senior Technical Recruiter, she sits on the Leadership Team for Sourcing7, and is a regular presenter, trainer, panelist, and speaker in the Seattle area for recruiting forums and job seekers. She has been a regular contributor to the Seattle Times, including an employment topic column, regular blog, and the NWJobs Hire Wire newsletter for the local recruiting industry. Her blog for job seekers receives several thousand hits a week. She has been quoted in several publications including ABCNews, AOL, the Seattle Times, and The Wall Street Journal.


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