How LinkedIn can help businesses cut costs and improve market intelligence

Jim Dodgen, Vice President, Candidate Services, Executive Career Services

You couldn’t avoid technology if you tried. It reaches into our everyday lives, and even undetected technology has embedded itself in such a way that it is impossible to ignore.
In fact, embracing technology has become a necessity for all segments of your business. And never before have technology and related social media platforms been so instrumental in your company’s ability to find, recruit and manage key talent, says Jim Dodgen, vice president, candidate services at Executive Career Services.
“One question you should be asking is whether your management team is leveraging the search for talent by using the latest tools?” says Dodgen. “And if they are not, how would you know that?”
Smart Business spoke with Dodgen about how to determine whether your company is using social media to recruit talent and how to maximize technology to reduce costs and improve market intelligence.

How can a company determine whether it is maximizing its resources in the hunt for talent?

One clue might be your HR professionals continued insistence on using and defending pricey internal online recruiting solutions when a site such as LinkedIn offers the ease and free access to thousands of qualified candidates. When you are looking to fill an executive position, one of your first calls might be to your recruiting firm, as you and your staff realistically may not have the time or expertise for the search process. And for high-level or difficult-to-fill positions, a retained recruiter is an obvious strategy.
However, outside of the people who are already in their queue, even those recruiters use LinkedIn as their No. 1 source to find candidates.
LinkedIn has become such an easy and effective way to find key talent, at all levels, that companies are increasingly using it as a resource. A quick key word search in the ‘People Search’ bar on the upper right hand corner of your home or profile page in your LinkedIn account will net a nice list of qualified candidates who are ‘advertising’ themselves via their LinkedIn profiles. There’s no better way to get up-to-date information about a candidate’s work history and the person’s value proposition, or branding statement.
LinkedIn is the place where candidates articulate their professional achievements and their industry savvy. You can tell a lot about candidate who is active on LinkedIn, which is why this resource has become so popular.

How important is it for a business and its HR department to be on LinkedIn?

If you and your HR department are not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on streamlining your talent acquisition process and cutting your recruiting costs. If you want to use LinkedIn and still ensure that your privacy is protected, you can keep your LinkedIn profile to a minimum, set your profile searches to anonymous and still use the candidate search tools to identify potential employees.

How else can a business benefit from LinkedIn?

Not only can you use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates, but you can also engage in numerous professional/industry conversations in the Group section of your LinkedIn account. You can easily join as many as 50 industry or functional groups, where getting to know the players is only a click away. Go to the ‘Group Search’ bar in the upper right hand corner, making sure the ‘group’ pull down is selected. Then insert a key industry or functional word.
Immediately a list of related groups will come up. Select the ones that you want to join and click on ‘join this group.
Once you are ‘approved’ for a closed group, or automatically accepted in an open group not requiring approval, you can start looking over the member list to see with whom you might want to make a ‘first degree’ connection. You can also search the individual group member list by location to further refine your choices, as it makes sense to connect with those in your geographic area who share your professional and industry affinities.
The discussion streams are usually interesting and engaging, and if you have a subject matter expertise, you can easily and effectively gain acclaim among peers and leaders. As well, following group discussions can help you keep your finger on the pulse of new and developing trends.

How can someone get started?

If you’re new to LinkedIn, my best suggestion is to visit its ‘Learning Center,’ where you will find a dozen or so one-minute videos that explain the basics of the site. Technology can be daunting and downright intimidating, but a quick run through these videos will help you better understand the excellent resource that LinkedIn can be.
To find the LinkedIn Learning Center, you’ll first have to get your own account, which is an easy and free process. Once you are signed in, click on ‘Home’ and scroll to the bottom of the page. Then click on ‘Help Center’ and scroll again to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find the link to the ‘Learning Center,’ where you can click away at the generous topics and FAQs.
With more than 120 million business professionals currently on LinkedIn, isn’t it time you got on board?

Jim Dodgen is vice president, candidate services at Executive Career Services. Reach him at [email protected]

Insights Human Capital Solutions is brought to you by Executive Career Services