I’m out in Denver this week at the SHRM Talent Conference. It’s packed with talent acquisition pros and everyone is super excited to be out and share, so the conversations have been really dynamic!
I got involved with a group of TA leaders where one asked the question: “We (their recruiters) can’t get software engineers to reply on LinkedIn. Does anyone know a way we can make that happen?” The next leader said, “Oh, we are having the same issue, but with accountants!” And then another in Healthcare. Basically, all of their teams were struggling to get responses on LinkedIn.
Oh, you all, are my people! Let’s talk shop!
I find there are a few kinds of people that will respond on LinkedIn without too much trouble:
- People who actually know you. Turns out, “network” is and should be about folks you actually know.
- Recruiters and Sales People. No explanation is needed.
- Life Coaches. See #2.
- Catfish and Scam Artist. I would think the LinkedIn algos could weed a lot of this out, but it just seems to grow.
Everybody else is really hard to get to respond to, especially if there’s no connection and it’s a cold outreach.
I’m going to answer the main question with a question. Don’t you hate that! Here’s my question: “If they won’t respond to you as a recruiter, who would they respond to?”
Take a minute, gather stakeholders, and answer that question.
If I’m a software engineer, and there’s a professional networking site I’m on, who would I normally respond to?
- People I’m connected to through work, school, life, etc.
- People I view as peers or superiors in my career.
- People who think might be able to offer me some value. (No, your job isn’t of value to them)
If this is the case, why are we having recruiters reach out to candidates on LinkedIn at all? Why aren’t hiring managers and organizational leaders reaching out? That’s really the question! A potential candidate is exponentially more likely to respond to a peer in their skill profession or leader in their skill profession or an executive from your company.
Because they feel like that “direct” connection has value. If I’m a software engineer and VP of Engineering from a local company reaches out to connect with me, I’m much more likely to connect with this person. If I’m a manager or some function and the CEO of a company reaches out to me to connect to share leadership philosophy, I’m almost always going to accept that connection.
How do I get my Hiring Managers and/or Executives to do my Sourcing on LinkedIn?
Well, if the pain is enough for the organization you might be able to make this happen, but the reality is, it won’t be consistent enough to make a difference. The better way is to have your TA team partner with these folks and allow them to run their accounts. If I support the VP of Engineering, I’m 100% sure I would have a relationship where she would allow me access to her LinkedIn. This would happen because I would be beyond professional in using it and also give her a weekly activity report of what I did and what happened.
I’ve done this with both LinkedIn and their work email. In a way, I’m their AI bot! I’m going to use your profile to help us attract talent, and when we find someone with interest, I’ll do a transfer from you to me as the recruiter, so the candidate is left to believe a handoff happened and it’s going to be an awesome experience.
Some people think this is deceitful. I get it, but I don’t truly believe it’s different from acting like your chatbot or our crappy mass email that is made to look like it’s personal but it’s just automation. I’m not trying to deceive the candidate, I’m trying to make a connection with them and one of my leaders, in hopes that turn into interest.
Tell me why or why not this wouldn’t work in your organization?