LinkedIn: Is it the Most Essential Weapon in a Headhunter’s Arsenal?

LinkedIn is undeniably a valuable and relevant resource for a headhunter when sourcing talent.  We rely on people providing appropriate, honest and continually updated information on their profiles.

But how do headhunters actually use and view this undisputed leader in business and career-related social networking?

We can provide a few answers by taking a look at some of the different tactics headhunters use to leverage their LinkedIn presence:

They perform straightforward searches.
All it takes is using LinkedIn's Advanced People Search function to find people within a certain geographic radius who possess the self-identified skills, education or experiences integral to a given search.
If a candidate sends a CV and the headhunter wants to check for more details about them, they will do a LinkedIn people search on the specific person and view their profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn presence, or your profile is weak (no detail, recommendations, achievements etc), then this is a lost opportunity for the candidate to impress the headhunter.

They join industry and skill-based LinkedIn Groups, and carefully follow their discussions.
By quietly observing what leaders are talking about, and who else contributes to the discussion, headhunters can see easily who really has the combination of knowledge and the communications skills that they claim to possess.

They follow thought leaders and key influencers.
A significant part of a headhunter's value is to know "who's who" in his or her specific field.  It’s critical to stay up to date with a large base of contacts and to understand and follow the real leader by analysing who is following whom on LinkedIn.

They follow their connections' LinkedIn behaviour.
Reading the signals that people give off is all part of the art of searching for the best talent.  Sometimes it can be as obvious as having your profile checked out by someone who hasn’t been in touch for several years.  Seeing that someone has updated their profile could also signal itchy feet and an opportunity to get in touch with them.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool in the headhunter’s armoury, but it is one of many that we use.  It can’t compete with the tried and true methods of making phone calls and meeting people in person.  Relationships lie at the core of our business and while LinkedIn is a fantastic means of making contact with “the world’s largest professional network” (as its slogan proclaims), it will never replace the enjoyment we get from the relationships we make the good old-fashioned way.

Sarah Leembruggen is a Managing Partner at The Works Search and Selection specialising in PR and corporate communications. I’m passionate about finding seriously good talent, do follow me on twitter




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