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How LinkedIn Can Power Your Executive Candidate Search

LinkedIn launched in 2003, but it’s seen something of an engagement renaissance only recently. Between the digital ramifications of a post-pandemic economy and the otherwise fractured social media landscape, LinkedIn has a lot to offer today’s employers and employees. Backed by a compelling social network interface, LinkedIn has emerged as an indispensable tool for recruiting top-tier executive talent. 

With more than 700 million professionals by last count, including countless executives and decision-makers, LinkedIn offers unparalleled access to a vast pool of potential candidates. 

What was once simply a repository of resumes has become a dynamic social network that facilitates conversations, thought leadership, and insightful talent recruitment opportunities. For companies looking to grow, understanding how to leverage LinkedIn can be a game-changer in talent acquisition strategies.

Here are five tips for getting the most out of this platform for your executive recruitment needs. 

Reach and Influence 

Get familiar with LinkedIn’s analytics tools. You can do a lot to hone your search, so begin by understanding not only who you are looking for but how LinkedIn might facilitate that introduction. 

First, who’s engaging with your company page? You may have a nice little nest egg of interested parties already coming and going from your account. You can learn who’s visiting your page and segment those folks into buckets (maybe they’re customers, maybe they’re talented executives working in your industry…). 

If you’re a law firm, say, and you’re seeking new attorneys, it would be helpful to know which attorneys are visiting your page. They may have different reasons for landing on your page, but you won’t find that out unless you identify and categorize them. From there, you can tailor your outreach and possibly funnel them toward an open role at your firm. 

Because your firm is regularly publishing articles on noteworthy developments and news (you are doing some form of content marketing, right?), you’ve also got those pages to analyze. Who’s reading your work? Who’s commenting? Who seems to be actively engaged with what your firm is doing? Furthermore, what’s the actual content they’re engaging? How can your team more effectively lean into the topics and perspectives that are drawing interested audiences to your firm’s work? This cannot be a passive process. 

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Aside from simple inbound content marketing, make sure your recruitment team is actively using advanced search tools to proactively find people. 

You can filter searches (by industry, past and present employers, job titles, and geographical location, for a few examples). This targeted search capability increases the likelihood of finding candidates who not only have the right experience but also fit the cultural and philosophical ethos of your company.

What You Can Do for Your Business

To continue that train of thought, you and your team should take the time to optimize your LinkedIn page. That means your firm’s company page, but also any top-level employees’ individual pages. 

You can consider a formal social media policy, but the immediate lesson here is that an actively managed page will be much more likely to bring in the sort of people that can turn into executive-level prospects. Engaged employees beget engaged prospects, after all. 

Of course, your specific company page is the place you will really want to optimize. Make sure that all the standard information is updated and clear. Fill out each section thoughtfully, and draft a compelling ‘About Us’ description that conveys your company’s mission, values, and culture. This is the first impression potential candidates will have of your company, so make it count.

Content marketing is obviously important in any competitive market, and there’s a lot of value in publishing educational content for your audience. No doubt, this will draw in executive-level prospects who will be eager to engage with interesting ideas. But make time for a bit of self-promotional content, too. Did a current employee just secure a big win for the firm? Has your business grown in some notable way, perhaps by landing a new location in a new state? You’ve got to shout this out and draw attention to the ways your team celebrates success.

LinkedIn Job Listings

You can publish a job listing in a lot of locations these days, but LinkedIn should be at the top of your list. (We’ve personally seen great success doing this.) 

Follow best practices for crafting your job listings, and make sure you’re using those advanced tools we mentioned above to boost your listing and target the right audience. 

LinkedIn also offers more specialized tools like LinkedIn Recruiter and Recruiter Lite, designed to streamline the executive search process. 

These tools provide enhanced search capabilities, more in-depth insights into candidate profiles, and better tracking of the recruitment process. They are invaluable for managing a large pool of candidates and keeping track of various recruitment stages.

Read LinkedIn’s executive recruitment guide

Analyzing Candidates’ Pages

As you’re compiling a list of executive-level prospects, there are a few things you’ll want to catalog from their LinkedIn pages. 

Bear in mind that not everyone maintains a super up-to-date LinkedIn page, so these tips can only be taken as far as your candidates will go.

  • Professional experience and career trajectory, of course
  • Skills and endorsements (what are people saying about this person’s talents?)
  • Recommendations
  • Educational background
  • Activity
    • Depending on your own goals, it’s worthwhile to note just how active this person is on LinkedIn. There’s a fine balance between keeping an active page and just spending the entire workday commenting on LinkedIn posts, so tread lightly. 

The Outreach 

After you’ve analyzed your data and compiled a list of intriguing prospects, you’ll want to nail the outreach.

First, personalize any message you send. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised… Take the time to review the candidate’s profile and tailor your message based on their interest and your own goals. Mention specific details that caught your attention, such as their experience in a particular industry, a notable project they led, or a shared connection. Emphasize what the candidate stands to gain from the opportunity you’re providing.

Much like your own marketing materials, end your message with a clear call to action. It could be an invitation to discuss the role over a phone call, a suggestion to meet for coffee, or a request to share additional information if they are interested. Make it easy for them to take the next step. 

What about more passive candidates? Not every prospect is going to be funneled neatly through the early stages of your hiring process.

Those basic communication principles are still important, perhaps even more so, but note that you may be looking at a longer game here. If you’re in a hurry for some reason within your company, you’re going to want to start with  more engaged prospects. But if you’re interested in developing a pool of potential candidates, reaching out to passive candidates is a great ongoing process. Nurture those relationships. 

If you’re working with a recruitment partner, make sure to discuss how your own communication style can improve their work and help you grow faster.

Harnessing the power of LinkedIn can enhance your executive candidate search, and now you’ve got a few more things to keep in mind when surfing the social media platform.

By understanding and utilizing this tool’s vast network and capabilities, you can uncover and attract high-caliber professionals who might not be reachable through traditional channels.

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