How to Find Top-Notch Candidates Using LinkedIn

Posted by Maria Talley on Mar 24, 2016 4:16:00 PM
Maria Talley
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Finding the right talent can be quite difficult if you do not know where to look. That is why recruiters and hiring managers enjoy using LinkedIn. Where else could you find over 330 million professional profiles with just one click of the mouse? One significant advantage to the LinkedIn community is that 68 percent (224 million+) of its users are looking for jobs or actively seeking to change careers. For recruiters using LinkedIn, the problem isn’t the lack of talent, it's sifting through an enormous amount of candidates in the hopes of finding a handful of good ones.

Preparing a list of the very best candidates for your business is possible if you understand how to target and isolate your LinkedIn search. Below are some of the most effective methods that hiring managers are utilizing today to get the best results.

Isolate Specific Skills

Great candidates do their homework. They understand that listing just the skill set alone is not enough. They need to tell their career story in every section of their LinkedIn profile. When you are searching for a candidate, enter specific keywords from your job description in the search field. Once you see the results, pay attention to the candidates who illustrate their skills with specific examples instead of those who simply list their past achievements. Remember, nearly anyone can say that they have a skill, fewer can describe it, and only the best can provide specific examples of the achievements as they relate to any given role.

Completed Profiles

If you want a diligent employee who stays on top of her tasks, avoid incomplete profiles. Attention to detail is very important in every position, that’s why those candidates who thoroughly complete their profile, will be your best bet for hiring someone who will follow through on the tasks in a neat and professional manner. Next, sift out profiles that do not effectively communicate skills, experience, and a candidate’s professional footprint. Ability to communicate clearly is especially important if the position requires effective communication skills.

Timelines Tell

Employment gaps and job hopping are the red flags you need to pay attention to when it comes to estimating how serious a potential candidate will be about accepting your job offer. LinkedIn’s timeline feature is an insightful tool that enables you to connect the dots about a candidate’s professional experience. If you analyze the chronological order of the former positions, you will be able to get a feel for the candidate’s motivation, work ethic and professional achievements. In addition, many hiring managers build a great list of questions from timelines for the first round of interviews.

Bullet Points are Important

Serious candidates know that hiring managers are looking for specific skills and they aren’t going to waste your time trying to find them. Every experience and every skill should be succinctly communicated throughout a candidate’s profile. As you look through a variety of candidates, keep only those who list the skills that you are seeking. Trying to make an otherwise great candidate fit into your business’s mold is a high-risk strategy that often leads to disappointment.


Online discretion is a lost art to many people using social media to illustrate their life. Same goes for professional networks like LinkedIn. Unless you are hiring for a position that requires online transparency with an immense amount of detail, it is best to stay away from hiring prospects that divulge too much information. What constitutes too much should be determined by the role that the candidate will fulfill at your company and your business model. For instance, if you are hiring a C-level position, do you really want that candidate describing internal information about your business on LinkedIn? 

Search and Verify Recommendations 

Recommendations can say a lot about a prospect. Look for professionals who have at least one recommendation for every position they’ve been in. Nothing can guarantee confidence in hiring someone as much as a praise that's given by a colleague or a former manager. As you verify recommendations of your top prospects, be sure to ask questions that provide a clue about the person’s character.

Hiring the right candidates is an art that often requires a diligent search and a knack for understanding people. And, without a question of a doubt, hiring managers and recruitment teams have their work cut out for them. If you utilize the proven strategies above when searching for prospects on LinkedIn, you can make your job much easier.

Interested in learning about some other ways to attract high-quality candidates? Our free guide, Top 10 Recruiting Metrics to Improve Talent Acquisition, will be your roadmap in providing benchmarks for your recruiting process.

download 10 metrics for talent acquisition guide

Topics: hiring, hiring decisions, LinkedIn hiring

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