This article first appeared on Simply Hired last February 25, 2015.
I was in my car, headed to a client meeting in the north part of Las Vegas when my phone rang.
An unknown number. Interesting.
“Hi. This is Scott from XYZ Solutions and we found your profile on LinkedIn. We’re looking to hire 5 new sales reps in the next month or so and wonder if you are open to other opportunities.”
This was the first of many such calls, all from different recruiters when I was working at Cisco back in 2007.
At that time my network size was about 300. I knew almost everyone in my network. And there were no recruiters in my first degree. LinkedIn was much smaller, I’d estimate their network wasn’t larger than 10 million (it’s 330 million today).
The draw for them was very simply that I work at Cisco. These recruiters were sourcing candidates from the big brands for their own contracts and relying on Cisco’s better judgment to help them determine who a good candidate might be.
The problem is that most people don’t work at big brands. So most people are missing out on this kind of easy attraction for recruiters.
Another problem is LinkedIn has gotten crowded, but many people haven’t adapted to the new situation.
If you would like to start receiving random phone calls from recruiters in your field, read on.
A Case for Adding As Many Recruiters in Your Network as Possible
If you are still rejecting invitations to connect, or you still feel that connecting with strangers is not the right way to use LinkedIn, please read my case for being more flexible with who you connect with.
Adding recruiters to your network does several interesting things.
First, understand that 93% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to source. That means they are actively running searching to fill roles.
Those search results show up in order of connection (no one knows for sure the secret algorithm used by LinkedIn, we know keyword density, keyword placement, number of recommendations, picture and degree of connection all play some role).
So just by having more recruiters in your network, you increase your chances of actually appearing on one of their search results pages.
Second, you are helping them with their jobs. When a recruiter gets assigned a role to fill, they will look at their database of A or B candidates. If that database is old, exhausted or just not in alignment with the current assignment, they will source for more.
The tool they use to fill those lists is LinkedIn.
So when you send a connection request to a recruiter, you have given them another name to add to their A list, which is their primary asset for doing their job.
Before you start inviting recruiters, make sure your profile is in good shape. Head on over to ProfileGrade.com to test your profile, then follow the steps to improve it.
How to Find Recruiters in Your Field
I got an email from a blog reader who told me that he has IT recruiters, Medical recruiters and Science recruiters in his network, but none in PR, Communications and Marketing.
How would he even begin to find the right recruiters to add? Here’s how.
Open up the advanced people search feature on LinkedIn.
Filter by location. This is a key variable. Make sure it’s where you want to work, not just where you live.
Filter by industry, current company (if you are targeting).
Add these keywords, try out “Recruiter” or “Talent Acquisition ” or “Sourcing”.
Optionally, add role specific keywords like PR, or Communications and see how that affects search results.
For paid LinkedIn subscribers:
Filter by “Interested in…Potential Employees”.
Filter by Function…Human Resources.
Join groups for recruiters and then filter your advanced search to include those groups.
In general, start off with as many filters and variables as you can. Then gradually lift them to grow your list size.
If nothing pops up, maybe recruiters in your industry don’t hang out on LinkedIn.
Tip: you can save your searches and come back to them later!
How to Add Recruiters
Once you have your list of recruiters from the previous step, connecting is really easy.
As much as LinkedIn says, “You should only connect with people you know.” Their features tell us that they actually want us to connect with as many people as possible. It only helps their share price!
Your second degree connections will look like this:
Just click on Connect, and the invitation with the boilerplate language is sent.
It will look like this:
For your third degree connections, you will have to take an extra step. Those will look like this:
In this case, click on the name of the person to open up their profile. Then click Connect from their profile to open up this window:
Here, you might modify the message to say something like this,
I noticed you are a recruiter in my industry. I’m open to new opportunities and thought it might be mutually beneficial if we connected.
Assuming that recruiters look at who’s viewed their profile on a regular basis, you can also use tools like LinkedIn Autopilot.
Autopilot “views” the profiles in a saved search at a rate you determine. The people whose profile it views might see you show up in their Who’s Viewed My Profile list. If they think you would be a good candidate, they will ask you to connect.
I’m curious how these techniques have worked for you. Please let me know if you tried it, and what happened in the comments below.