How to Find Job Seekers on LinkedIn

One of the powers of LinkedIn is its ability to find not just the active job seeker, but the passive job seeker or someone who doesn't even realize she wants a new job! You can tap an extensive network of professionals who have already identified their past experiences, skill sets, interests, educational backgrounds, and group affiliations. Also, through LinkedIn Answers, you can find out how knowledgeable they truly are.

The best piece of advice for this type of search comes from Harvey Mackay and the book he wrote back in 1999, Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty.

You should be building a healthy network and keeping your eye on potential candidates before you have a job opening to fill. The earlier you start, and the more consistent you are with the time you spend on a weekly or monthly basis expanding your network, the easier it is to identify and then recruit a potential candidate to fill your opening.

There are specific steps you should take to make your strategy a reality. Whether you start this process in advance or just need to fill a position as soon as possible, here are some tactics to consider:

  • Perform detailed advanced searches. If you want the perfect candidate, search for that candidate. Put multiple keywords in the Advanced Search form, look for a big skill set, narrow your search to a specific industry, and maybe even limit your range to people who already live close to you.

    If you come up with zero results, remove the least necessary keyword and repeat the search, and keep doing that until you come up with some potential candidates.

  • Focus on your industry. If you know that you're probably going to need software developers, start getting to know potential candidates on the LinkedIn site and stay in touch with them. Look for people to connect with, whether they share a group affiliation with you or respond to LinkedIn Answers, and actively network with these people.

    Even if they say no to a future job opportunity, chances are good that someone in their networks will be more responsive than the average connection. While Software Developer A may say no, that person probably has several software developers in his network who could respond favorably.

  • Start some conversations in the LinkedIn Groups section. After you've found some LinkedIn Groups full of like-minded or interesting professionals, start exchanging information! Pose a question or start a group discussion that you would ask in an interview to potential candidates, and see who responds.

    Better yet, you'll see how the people respond, and you'll be able to decide from their answers who to focus on for a follow-up. You'll be able to see the public profiles of the people who provide answers and send messages to those people.

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