7 Steps to Finding Your Next Superstar on LinkedIn

If you read my last post, “Please Accept My Resignation,” I presented this concept that everyone is responsible for finding talent. Particularly with senior talent, recruiters don’t hire leaders, leaders hire leaders. Using social media can be an easy, effective way for CEOs and executives to find, establish and maintain important contacts to reduce talent risk.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the current frontrunners for connecting professionally, but I’ll just focus on LinkedIn. According to a research study cited in HBR Blog Network’s New Research on Why CEOs Should Use Social Media, “LinkedIn is the only social network where CEOs are slightly ahead of the general populace, the study concludes: Twenty-six percent of CEOs surveyed use LinkedIn, compared to 20.15% of the population at large.” Conversely, apparently only 4% of CEOs use Twitter.

According to Wikipedia, LinkedIn reports more than 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories as of June 2012. Say, “So long!” to awkward, dreaded networking activities. LinkedIn practically does all the uncomfortable work for you, including:

  • Showing you people you might know.
  • Telling you when someone in your network has changed jobs.
  • Publicizing to your network when you have news to share, like awards, getting promoted or an open position with your company.
  • Suggesting industry and interest groups to join.

So, let’s get started! Below are seven easy steps for finding your next superstar on LinkedIn (if you’re a member and already have a solid profile, skip to step three):

1. Build a personal profile that conveys expertise in something. It should only take 10-15 minutes to get started with a basic profile and then add to it over time.

2. Creating and expanding your network is as simple and habit-forming as checking your email. Start making connections to people you already know. This could include former co-workers, current clients, friends and family. You never know who someone else may be connected to that could be your next superstar. Others will try to connect with you as well. For now, make sure you know them personally before accepting.

3. Establish a LinkedIn recruiting goal, such as:

• Establish X number of qualified external contacts so that I can quickly replace X person/position. Pick one key role to start.

• Hire someone with new skills I need now, or expect needing, because of an imminent, large-scale change.

4. Next, if you have a recruiting function and/or digital marketing strategist on staff, consult with them on your goal. Ask your recruiter to find successful players in the market related to your above goal. For example, “I have a bench gap for my Sr. VP of Supply Chain. Who are some key players with that background?” Study those results and ask recruiting to make introductions. And then, of course, connect with them on LinkedIn. These internal experts may have their own ideas for leveraging LinkedIn for this purpose and/or may already be actively doing such networking for talent themselves. The point is, now you have new connections with potential talent, and LinkedIn gives you many opportunities to communicate with them in a non-threatening way, thus enabling you to casually build your relationships over time.

5. Join relevant groups. There are probably dozens of groups related to your industry. You can start by checking what groups your industry connections are members of. Typically, a LinkedIn member manages the group and a simple request to join the group is your ticket to potential talent. Increase your credibility and visibility by commenting on group members’ questions and posted articles.

6. Set a reminder to check LinkedIn once a week and make one more connection, add new skills to your skills section, write a recommendation for someone, add a past job and other actions that make your profile – essentially your online “brand” — and your connections stronger.

7. Grow your efforts to include engaging your recruiter to schedule introductory phone calls or meetings with potential talent.

If you’ve got talent gaps, the most powerful way to attract the right people is to connect with them yourself. LinkedIn is a great place to start, along with some of the ideas in my last post.

Good luck finding your next superstar!

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