Day in, day out we run searches, scrolling through seemingly endless pages of potential candidates attempting to connect with them. And if they don’t bite, we spend more time carefully selecting who our precious InMails should go to.
Sometimes we never hear from these candidates, others we’ll build lasting relationships with and place multiple times throughout their career. Those guys who we never hear from are probably shaking their heads at the perceived 'spam' that we send through, grumbling to themselves about being targeted for things that don’t apply to them. But why though?
There’s a clear disconnect between recruiters and candidates on LinkedIn: take a look at my views on why this is and a few tips on how to get connected with your candidates:
Recruiters use LinkedIn every day, candidates don’t
Candidates who are happy at work have very little reason to use LinkedIn; they may only login once every few weeks to clear out their mailboxes. These candidates probably aren’t updating their details so you may be a role behind in terms of their career. More importantly, they are unlikely to respond to your message within a few days – this negates your efforts when you operate on a knee-jerk response basis! We’ve all had urgent roles come in, and we’ve all turned to LinkedIn for new candidates in response, but this is absolutely not the way to operate. You should be constantly trying to build your network, connecting with people who you may not have a role for at that moment, but working to build relationships across the industry. This is far more effective, and means that when you do have an urgent role on your hands, they are more likely to respond.
Timing is everything
Recruiters use LinkedIn Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm, yet the busiest time for candidates is between 7 and 10pm on a Sunday. We know all too well that recruitment is not a 9-5pm job – it never has been and it frankly never will be! Timing is key though, and a slight change to your working habits could vastly improve your chances of success. How about taking an early finish on a Friday afternoon in favour of working 2 hours on a Sunday evening? Candidates are nowhere near LinkedIn come Friday afternoon; networking and looking for jobs is the last thing on their minds, they’re heading home! You do the same and squeeze those few hours in on a Sunday evening – you’ll catch the candidate who have chosen to reach out before other recruiters, and you’re more likely to get a quick response to those you reach out to.
Candidates are choosey about who they connect with
Recruiters tend to happily connect with people they don’t know if they’re in a similar industry, candidates look at things differently and tend to add friends and industry peers in favour of us recruiting types. Most recruiters are sitting on over 100 outstanding invitation requests; sending invites out left right and centre is not the way to go – personalise them! This may seem obvious but it really does make all the difference, a friendly request to pick someone’s brain on a new branch of your industry is guaranteed to fair better; flattery goes a long way!
LinkedIn can work well if used correctly; work smarter not harder, and it can pay dividends.
Heidi is PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her research focuses on the issues surrounding the recruitment of patients into clinical trials.