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How do employers use LinkedIn to fill positions?

The Hiring Process Social Media in Job Search Ask the Employer

Ann Bonitatibus is the Chief Operating Officer at Frederick County Public Schools, one of Frederick County's largest employers. She offers some interesting insights below about the organization's current use of LinkedIn:

Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) has made use of LinkedIn, particularly when looking for applicants in specialized areas such as trades, communication, and technology services.  Most recently, when our human resources division underwent a major reorganization, we used LinkedIn to advertise selected positions requiring in-depth industry knowledge.  Because we have received overwhelming feedback that job applicants find out about openings via online sites, we will now be connecting our new online application system to a FCPS LinkedIn resource.  This means that every opening, not just specialized ones, will be accessible on LinkedIn.  Broad advertising will occur outside of traditional media such as newspaper and magazines.  More importantly, professionals who are linked to each other, in and outside our organization, will be able to network FCPS job opportunities.  Rather than waiting for prospective candidates to come to our website, we can reach out to them using multiple social and professional digital platforms.  LinkedIn will bring job opening identification, employee recruitment, and professional networking to a new level. 

Tanya Wagstaff is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and is currently employed by Insperity as a Business Performance Advisor. Below is her take on LinkedIn as a recruiting source and as a tool for job seekers:

I’ve come to understand that there is some truth behind the phrase “having the right connections” and it is especially true with LinkedIn. 

I am connected to quite a few seasoned recruiters and more and more of them are using LinkedIn for candidate sourcing.  Sure, recruiters still use online job boards (Monster, CareerBuilder, Craigslist) however from common experience, they have to sift through a LOT of not-so-qualified job applicant responses to find one qualified “stranger”.

Right now, I am using LinkedIn to help one of my clients who is in a growth mode.  I’ve “announced” in LinkedIn open positions I’m aware of and have used keywords to find who from my circle possess the background I am searching for.  It’s perfect for passive candidates (particularly those in professions with a low unemployment rate), as they are not currently looking but always open to conversations regarding employment opportunities.  If my contact isn’t interested, they may introduce me to someone they’ll personally vouch for as qualified.  Either I personally know the candidate or there’s been a warm hand off. Either way, the candidate becomes someone I (now) know.

Ultimately, if you are not using LinkedIn today, start now.  And build your profile to suit your personal purpose for having an online presence.  If you want to use it for job opportunities, build it as a comprehensive resume (don't be too wordy and be sure to incorporate keywords).  If you want to use it for business opportunities, build it to showcase your value & your expert background.  Either for employment or business reasons, join groups in LinkedIn that are pertinent to your purpose... the goal is to get found.  

Robert Collings is the Branch Manager for the Frederick location of Manpower, a world leader in employment services. He explains how he uses LinkedIn, and why you, as a job seeker, should be using LinkedIn as well:

As an employer, I use LinkedIn in several ways when it comes to recruiting. Almost every HR Professional and/or Recruiter will check to see if a qualified candidate has a LinkedIn profile. If the candidate has a profile, that is a definite plus. If they don’t, it could potentially be viewed as a negative.

Why? Having a profile shows prospective employers that you are up-to-date on current employment and business trends. It demonstrates that you are making an effort to network and find creative ways to market your skills.

I post job openings on LinkedIn almost every week. If you don’t have a profile, you can’t view these opportunities. Your dream career could be sitting on LinkedIn right now!

Having a profile is just the start. Your profile should not read like a resume. It should be a snapshot of who you are in the professional world. Your LinkedIn profile is for business purposes only! This is not Facebook. Your profile picture should feature you in professional attire.

I suggest looking at as many profiles as you can before creating your own. What profiles caught your eye? What profiles looked like little effort was made? Employers use LinkedIn as another professional screening tool. Don’t let a bare-bones profile cost you an interview. Make it count, you are selling yourself!