Questions… I get questions… and in February it seemed like they were all about LinkedIn. Every time the site adds a feature, or even better, takes one away, it gets people stirred up. I don’t get stirred up, I just look to see if it’s impacting me and how. So let me share with you the questions I’ve gotten this month from HR peers, managers, clients and so on:
– Do you really use LinkedIn? Yes. Every day. Every single day.
– Do you make hires from LinkedIn? I actually answered this in a recorded training session, and I did start to laugh. Well of course we make hires from LinkedIn! I wouldn’t spend time on the site every day if we didn’t make hires.
– Do you connect to candidates on LinkedIn? Yes, indeedy, I do! They connect to me; I connect to them—it’s a two way street. You have to remember that unless you pay for LinkedIn Recruiter, the only way to really see into the site is to develop a robust network. So I connect. I’m pretty open about that. The only way I’ve become picky over the years is I have a preference to connect with professionals in the Nonprofit and Association space in the DMV. And of course, you have to watch out for fake profiles (check out my friend Pete’s thoughts on that here).
– How often do you talk to your connections? Whenever they talk to me. I respond to everything that is not spam. The conversation? That’s part of the candidate experience, even when they’re not a candidate yet. Does it take time? Yes, but it’s really marginal in my day.
– Do you pay to use LinkedIn? Yes, I have a TalentFinder account. If the boss told me tomorrow I had to drop it, I’d be okay. Because I’ve spent time building my network and, as a sourcer, you have to always have another way to pull information (so I complement internal search with external search (i.e. I x-ray the site).
– How do you work on the site every day and not get distracted by the pictures? I think this question really was asking if I was making a judgment call on a profile because of the pic attached to it. I don’t really care what the photo looks like (although I’ll provide counsel if I think it’ll hinder them). I’m more focused on the skills and keywords used by a user to detail their experience.
– Are endorsements important? Maybe to somebody, but not me. That’s because I’m jaded and know that I’ve joined in on endorsement bingo. I don’t think they’re unhelpful because they do get additional keywords on your profile, that you can accept or decline.
– Are you worried about the change in inmail policy (regarding how they get credited back)? No. I’d be worried if I sent out crappy spamtastic messages on a daily basis, but I do not. I normally do not reach out to candidates through LinkedIn unless regular email channels fail us. Our messages are customized, short, sweet and serve up our opportunities on a silver platter. We know how we want to be treated when we get emails related to job opportunities, and we treat our candidates that way.
– Is LinkedIn going away this year? I’d be shocked if it did. The number of people on LinkedIn versus the working population seems sort of marginal to me, so I think they have continued opportunities for growth as long as they attract the people not on the site. They do find new ways to monetize the site, but they’re not a charity so I can’t fault them for that. And it’s my job to find a way around any roadblocks they put up.
– Do you only source from LinkedIn? No. It’s foolish to put all your eggs in one basket. It’s one of the resources we use, but not the only. And many times, depending on the search, we start with name generation that does not involve LinkedIn. There are some industries that it does not rule. And because the site focuses on providing user-generated professional information, the profiles are often not robust with key words or skills. Whereas something found on a .me domain would be more detailed, and, for tech, you may be better off digging in to Github or StackOverflow.
So, that’s my question world in a nutshell. Am I the only one getting questions on this site? If you’ve gotten them too, share them in the comments—we’d love to hear them.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.