I promised to follow up with some blogs. The first “Everyone is a candidate”, explored the myth of everyone being a candidate and the fact that the average Jo or Joanne, whilst they may be shaking their booty on the dance floor, may not want to dance with a recruiter. The second, Social Recruiting is Free and Easy – if you read my blogs, you’ll probably guess what my view is on this statement.
The next myth (3): A Great LinkedIn Network is 500+
As recruiters, our networks are crucial for the following reasons:
- Obvious statement: sourcing talent
- Obvious statement: widen your reach (you post to lots of people, you’re likely to be read by some of them! Probability!)
- Less obvious statement: your clients and candidates pay you for your network either with a vacancy, £$€, or a cv/resume
We often hear that the average LinkedIn network for mere mortals (ie. non-recruiters) is around the 350 mark, and the average Recruiter LinkedIn network is 650 plus. Bullhorn Reach’s latest survey shows that this is growing.
So when it comes to LinkedIn, once you get to 500 the numeric on your profile magically changes to 500+ (and if you leave your connections open it’ll show your connections your actual number of contacts).
Whack the Button!
The decision whether to leave your contacts open is an interesting one (and a discussion for another blog) – the decision to widen your network and make this part of your daily/weekly strategy should be a no-brainer, so:
- Choose your groups carefully (currently 1.8 million groups means lots of choice, but also lots of time wasting if not you’re not strategic). You are what you associate yourself with (and what you wear). Your groups are on your profile so choose them well and work them hard – by being a member of a group you get instant, free, access to the other members.
- Actively increase your connections – not just for the job you have on today! I suggest to my clients that they should have a break of, say, 15 minutes per week to proactively look for candidates they want to place and clients they want to work with. I genuinely don’t subscribe to the mantra “only connect with the people you know”. (I’ll be blogging about that soon!)
- Connect at all levels across your sector – gatekeepers through to C level – everyone is influential in a company (to some degree) so don’t restrict yourself to decision makers – I connect will all levels in the recruitment industry and also widen my network to trade bodies and suppliers to the industry. I am a recruitment specialist so I connect with people in recruitment – simple!
- Your clients and candidates “pay” for your network – really think about this. Your network is totally transparent now. In the “old days” you could pretend how massive your CRM was and this would help you sell. Now your online network is totally visible. I genuinely believe that your clients and candidates would not use you if they were more networked than you and had more time on their hands (note, I didn’t say they’d be better at it than you, just that they think they may be.)
Connecting with Everyone Could Seriously Damage your Wealth
I have 4000 contacts – mostly recruitment, and that’s still a TINY network (divide that by 225,000,000). I’m not complacent and I am still working to increase. Interestingly though, I receive more relevant invites than I actually send – this seemed to start happening for me around the 1000 mark. Lovely!
I do hear other LinkedIn specialists subscribe to the theory that you should connect with anyone to help you become better connected – I respect this, but also think that if you have a hope in hell of attracting relevant connections (ie. in my case recruiters) that you should be careful with how you connect – the algorithm in LinkedIn tries to keep things relevant to you (content, contacts, groups etc…) and connecting with anyone will confuse it and make them less effective (and I want an easy life).
Size Matters, but it’s what you do with it that Counts
Apologies for the obvious statement above – you don’t need me to bleat on about what you do with your network, but perhaps a few tips to help you manage it as it grows?
- Tag your contacts – the new Contacts system on LinkedIn allows you to do this both from the Contacts screen in Network, and also the connection’s profile itself (within the new Relationship tab). This will help you find them easily again and ensure you are targeted in your approach.
- Check out the new features of the Contacts screen, especially the Your Day option – moving and shaking monitoring is now easier and the odd “Happy Birthday” could really help.
- Batch email them – now please be careful with this (don’t know about you but I am personally getting fed up of receiving jobs and requests to endorse from people I have never met – and I run my own business so am one of the 80% not searching for a role!)
- Update your status regularly with stuff I care about – 80% of the database does not care about your jobs, so get jiggy with content that they like (and if you don’t know what this, shame on you!)
- I could go on, but I am at 900 words…
So, size matters, yes, and clearly it’s what you do with your database that counts. I can guarantee that the average recruiter’s network is teeny weeny (unless you specialise in recruiting unicorns, then a small network will work just fine).
Think about how the size of this asset makes you look and what you get in return (couldn’t resist, sorry!)
We run LinkedIn for Recruiters courses for time-starved recruiters, who think they have a handle on LinkedIn, but want to improve their profile, increase their relevant application response and place more jobs. Read about the courses here.