By Tom Wells on Jun 27, 2018 9:22:43 AM
LinkedIn is an HR Manager’s best friend. But how effective are you when it comes to using LinkedIn for HR? How you communicate on the platform can either hook the perfect candidate or scare them away. These easy-to-follow tips will help you nail outreach, the follow-up and scheduling an interview every time.
While this post aims to help HR managers whose first language may not be English, these tips are best practices and can apply to everyone. As with anything sweet, remember to take this guide with a pinch of salt (idiom alert: check out more idioms here), and adapt it for your own needs.
1. Do Your Research, Then Do Some More
Great outreach always stems from great research. As an HR manager, you need to show candidates that you have taken the time and done your homework, or you risk getting no response at all. Don’t just read the candidate’s LinkedIn bio, check their education and work history, and their strengths, skills, and endorsements. What groups and influencers do they follow? Find commonalities and include them in your outreach messages.
2. Ditch Message Templates
As a recruiter, you’re constantly outreaching to possibly hundreds of candidates every week. It can be tempting to craft generic message templates to simply copy and paste. However, candidates can tell immediately if the message is personal to them or just a template.
Taking the extra time to craft a personal message can greatly boost your success rates during the recruitment process. Focus on commonalities such as mutual connections, past experience, education, or influencers and groups that you both follow. Use the great research you did in the first tip, to craft a highly personalized message that shows you took the time to research each candidate.
3. Get Your Point Across In Less Than 150 Words
Think Haiku, not epic novel. Aim to keep your message shorter than 150 words. Why? Well, any longer seems like too much effort to read. In general, if you have to scroll down to read the whole message–as in the example above–your message is simply too long. Be clear, concise and straightforward. This can greatly improve your talent acquisition strategy.
4. Say Yes to You, Your and Yours
LinkedIn is a social media platform, so treat it like one. The best messages are not only short and sweet but strike a tone of familiarity. This can be accomplished by directly addressing the candidate with you, your and yours.
Be honest: How often do you send messages using phrases like these?
- We have an excellent marketing department.
- We are looking for candidates that fit our company profile.
By changing the pronouns from we to you, you can make your message much more personalized and engaging to the candidate. Let’s reword the core statements of the above examples:
- Marketing skills like yours make you perfect for this role.
- Your skills would be well suited to this position.
Give it a try with your next outreach messages.
5. Don’t Waste Time On Personal Introductions
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be personal. It simply means that introductions such as “Hi, I’m head of HR at (company)” are unnecessary. In a LinkedIn chat window, your name is in the header. If a candidate wants to find out more, then they can always check out your profile. In the example, above, the recruiter reiterates their name and the job offer that’s already in the header. It’s much more effective to use the first line to really grab the attention of the candidates by talking directly about them like the following examples:
- Your recent article published on Medium last week really grabbed my attention.
- I really enjoyed the last post you shared in the Content Marketing group
- The resources you linked to in your recent post were really informative and useful.
Make it about them, not you.
6. Don’t Be Generic When Complimenting Candidates
As a candidate, it may feel nice the first time when you get a flattering message on LinkedIn. But after the first 25 or so, it gets old really fast. The most common line is something like “I’ve come across your profile and I have to say I’m impressed”. What are you impressed by? If you are not able to be specific, top candidates are not going to be impressed by your outreach and wait for a more personalized message. To improve your talent management, be specific, be honest, but don’t be generic.
This example above tells me as a candidate that the recruiter did not do enough research: they did not talk about my background, specific skills or any commonalities we have.
7. Suggest A Specific Date For A Call
After the initial interactions with a candidate, it’s time to delve deeper to see if they are an ideal fit for your company and the role. Often the next step is scheduling a call. When you do this, avoid leaving the candidate hanging with vague statements such as “it would be great to chat with you…”
Instead, say something like: “We would love to talk with you in more detail. I’m free to call Wednesday from 3 pm onwards, Thursday at 10 am, and Friday at from 9-10 am. Do any of these time slots line up with your schedule?”
By naming specific dates you drive the conversation forward and encourage the candidate to take action.
8. Don’t Ask For Other Candidate Recommendations
It may be tempting to ask a candidate if they know anyone in their field that would fit the job. But resist the temptation, as you want to make candidates feel special, not replaceable. If you have already connected on LinkedIn, then you can see a candidate’s professional network anyway.
9. Address Candidates By Their First Names
I get quite a lot of messages starting with “Dear Mr. Wells...” – Aside from making me feel a little like a James Bond villain, it just feels too distant. LinkedIn is a social network, so treat it like that. A well-crafted message can still retain politeness by addressing someone using their first name–just make sure the message that comes after hits the right register.
10. Send News to Candidates From Your Company Page
Ok, but how can this help me as an HR manager? Well, during the application process you can encourage candidates to follow your company page. By updating your LinkedIn company page with news and events, candidates can keep up-to-date with the latest information without having to visit your website each time. Not only this but even if a candidate is not successful, encouraging them to follow your company enables you to stay connected if a suitable role arises in the future. Pretty nifty, right?
Still not convinced? Well, the more candidates that follow your company page, the more visible your company becomes on LinkedIn. Over time, this means your company will appear in more and more job searches.
Don’t have a LinkedIn company page already? No problem. Let’s create one in a couple of clicks. Firstly, click on Work menu icon next to your profile image, then Create a Company Page.
Fill in the details on the next page, just like you would for your own LinkedIn profile, adding a company logo and banner. It’s really that simple.
11. Join Groups / Follow Influencers
This is a tip that takes a little time to come to fruition (idiom alert: how many do you know?). On LinkedIn, like most social networks, you can join groups and follow influencers that are relevant to your industry. By doing this you increase your company’s visibility on the platform. Remember your goals are:
- Contribute to groups with useful information
- Become a topic/industry authority
Don’t just post job ads in groups, share useful information, articles and research. If LinkedIn users react positively to your posts, you can always invite them to… you guessed it… follow that company page we just created. Remember, the one where you can also post your jobs. This is a much more elegant talent acquisition strategy.
Bonus Tip: Make Typos An Endangered Species with Grammarly
In the age of technology, typos should be a thing of the past. Yet, all too often, I see LinkedIn messages full of typos. Enter Grammarly.
Grammarly is a free browser plugin that checks for grammar, syntax and convention errors in your writing. With the notable exception of Google Docs, it automatically checks your texts in almost all common applications including Gmail, and of course LinkedIn. Never send a message with a typo again.
Mastering LinkedIn for HR: Putting It All Together
Ok, that’s quite a few things to bear in mind. But even following a few tips will quickly make you a master at LinkedIn outreach. Let’s return to one of the more generic LinkedIn messages from a recruiter and rewrite it using some of the tips from this post:
Your copy in your recent Shopify article “The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Messenger Ads” was really crisp and well written. Writing skills like yours would be extremely well suited to a dynamic, new content marketing role that has opened up at “My Awesome Company”.
Recently, a few marketers have joined us from Searchmetrics where I see you spent some time.
You could learn more about this opportunity on the 14 and 15 July - days we have set aside for Skype sessions with interested candidates. Let me know if you are interested in learning more and we can schedule a time for the session.
All the best
In around 100 words, we have managed to:
- Create an attention-grabbing first sentence
- Specifically compliment the candidate
- Use their past experience to connect
- Actively suggest a day to go from LinkedIn chat window to actual call
Messages like these are a joy for candidates to read. Follows these tips to boost your HR efforts on LinkedIn and delight your candidates today.
Enjoyed this article? Check out these awesome related posts:
- 4 Ways Companies Can Improve The Recruitment Process
- 3 Important Talent Management Lessons From Startup Accelerators
- 4 Examples of How Companies Effectively Engage Their Employees
- 5 Reasons Why Companies Should Hire An International Team
Author Bio: Tom Wells is an online author writing for some of the biggest brands in the tech industry. Connect with him on LinkedIn to check out some of his latest posts.