How to Screen Job Candidates with LinkedIn

By Joel Elad

After you use LinkedIn to post a job request, you can continue to use LinkedIn to assist you in the screening part of your hiring process. In addition to asking for references from the applicant or possibly ordering a background check from an independent background check agency, you can use LinkedIn to verify information in your applicant’s resume and application at any stage of the process, without paying a dime!

Here are some strategies to keep in mind for screening job candidates with LinkedIn:

  • Start by thoroughly reviewing the applicant’s profile. When you review an applicant’s profile, compare it with her resume, cover letter, and application. Is she consistent in how she presents her experience?
  • Read through the applicant’s recommendations and follow up. If your candidate has received recommendations, go through them, noting the date the recommendation was written, and see whether any are applicable toward your open position. Pay particular attention to recommendations from former bosses or co-workers. If necessary, ask your candidate whether you can contact the recommender through InMail and use that person as a reference.
  • See whether you’re connected to your candidate. When you pull up your candidate’s profile, you see whether she is a second- or third-degree network member, which would mean one or two people connect you with the candidate. If so, contact that person (or ask for an introduction to reach the correct party) and ask for more information about the candidate. Chances are good that you’ll get a more honest assessment from someone you know rather than the recommendations provided by the candidate.

    Understand, however, that although the two people may be connected, they may not know each other that well, or their connection may be outside the professional expertise you’re looking to learn about from this job candidate.

  • Evaluate the candidate’s total picture. If your candidate mentions any websites, blogs, or other online presence in her profile, look at the listed interests and group affiliations and see whether they add to (or detract from) your picture of the job candidate.

    Because most LinkedIn users have already defined each position they’ve held, the companies where they’ve worked, and the years of employment, you can get a sense of their abilities, what they’ve handled in the past, and depending on the completeness of their profile, examples of their past accomplishments.

    As helpful as LinkedIn can be when reviewing a candidate, don’t be afraid to use other Internet websites and searches to gain a well-rounded view of the candidate in question.