Searching for Candidates? Consider making LinkedIn a Plan B

This summer I’ve been reconsidering how I find candidates.  I’ve paid to play on LinkedIn, and whenever I invest valuable recruiting dollars like that, I make sure we get our money’s worth, and we have, without question.  I don’t know if it was summer blahs or weariness of seeing the same profiles over and over again, but at some point I decided to use LinkedIn as my Plan B.

Don’t get me wrong—if I need to generate names quickly to complement what I’ve found in our ATS, (and let me tell you – iCIMs is doing a great job of making our ATS what we want it to be!) I am visiting LinkedIn.  But, I’m not relying as heavily on it as I did say two or three years ago.

So if LI is in my Plan B, what’s part of my Plan A? Take a look:

  • Looking for Lists, Rosters, Directories, ListServs, Conversations, Presentations, Presenters, Speakers and so on.
  • Poring through groups NOT on LinkedIn to generate candidates.
  • Digging for bios and profiles without using bio or profile or resume in the search string.  Instead I’m focusing on the probable job titles and potential skills or location of candidates.
  • Reviewing the first pass of candidates from similar searches and seeing who can be revisited for our new search.
  • Pulling candidates that we’ve really liked and hired, or maybe we’ve really liked and they’ve declined and peer searching their name (peer searching is an ancient sourcing technique—type the candidate’s name in the search box and off you go).
  • When I find one candidate at an organization with the right experience I’m seeking? I rip down everyone else just like him within that organization (and grab his boss too for good measure).

Does it sound tedious? It’s not. It’s actually turned out to be quite productive and, surprise, yields people that don’t have LinkedIn profiles, or if they do have them, they’re either skeletal or not current. So the profiles don’t have the keywords I’m seeking.  And these tactics are working not only for our opportunities in DC, but also for my searches in San Francisco and New York City.

Have you changed up your sourcing plan recently? Care to share? Hit us in the comments with your new Plan A.

FOT Background Check

Kelly Dingee
Kelly Dingee is a Senior Manager, Global Talent Acquisition for Marriott International. She has extensive sourcing experience having worked for Staffing Advisors (retained search), AIRS (training!) and Thales Communications, Inc., (cleared/telecom) and got her start in the profession while a full life cycle recruiter at Acterna (now known as Viavi). Lucky for Kelly, she had a boss who could see the potential of sourcing candidates from the web, and in 1998, she stepped into a newly created sourcing role. No truth to the rumor that she has a side business to help you push your resume to the top of Google search results…


  1. Allison says:

    I’m always wary about sourcing a ton of people from the same organization. I worry the company will find out we’ve keep contacting their employees and they’ll take action to bar us from soliciting any of their employees.

  2. ToddR says:

    Have you tried adding area codes into your queries? Bay Area = (650 OR 415 OR 408 OR 510 OR 925) ? I typically don’t use more than three of them as it can mess up the results. I also experiment with a lot of “NOT” operators.

  3. Lauren says:

    Great article. A good reminder that LinkedIn should only ever be part of a sourcing strategy, rather than THE sourcing strategy. I generally use it as my first search phase but it’s always complemented by and collated with the results from my second phase (sourcing across the wider web).

  4. Scott says:

    Good article.

    @Allison: We have limited competitors and if we find a weakness within one of them, we go full steam ahead. Obviously, we tread lightly once the word is out. That said, how is a company going to bar you from speaking with their employees. Once you’ve already taken 1-2 of their top performers, then those employees will reach out to the people that you’ve already taken. Its a beautiful thing, really. 😉

  5. Sharon Greenberg says:

    Sorry, nothing new here. These alternatives to LinkedIn is called sourcing before the web made agency and corporate recruiters lazy in a way. There is never one way to source and using LI and/ or Monster exclusively is silly.

Comments are now closed for this article.

Contact Us | Hire FOT to Speak | About FOT