In his book Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business, search engine optimization and online marketing expert consultant Ted Prodromou explains how you can use LinkedIn to quickly engage with ideal customers, partners, and employees, showcase your company and attract new opportunities. In this edited excerpt, the author reveals why paying close attention to a job candidate's LinkedIn recommendations can help you land a great employee.
The evolution of the internet and social media has changed the way we make decisions. In a matter of minutes, we can tap into the collective opinions of hundreds—even thousands—of people who have already purchased a product or service and know exactly how they feel about their purchase. If you read a lot of negative reviews, you probably won’t complete the purchase. On the other hand, when you read a lot of positive reviews, you feel comfortable purchasing that product or service. Also, your chances of buyer’s remorse diminish significantly because social proof—the act of making decisions based on what others recommend—justified the purchase in your mind.
So what does social proof have to do with LinkedIn, anyway? Actually a lot. Essentially job candidates are marketing and selling themselves on LinkedIn. Their profile, job experience, skills, and the recommendations they get from others are the marketing collateral that people read to get to know them.
But how can social proof help you hire in today's economy? Let's say you’ve posted a job opening online. Within minutes, you have more than 100 resumes. You scan through a few of the resumes, and very few people are qualified for the position, even though you clearly spelled out the job qualifications in the job posting.
That's because people are so desperate, they’re applying for any job—even if they aren’t qualified—hoping to catch the attention of the HR department, so maybe they can get hired for a more appropriate position. But that means you'll have to dig through hundreds of resumes to find a handful of people to interview. So how do you find good candidates in today’s economy with millions of qualified workers looking for a job?
The fact of the matter is, most jobs are filled through word-of-mouth recommendations, not by sifting through hundreds of resumes, because it’s much easier and more reliable to hire someone who comes highly recommended by one of your trusted colleagues. The old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is more powerful than ever today, and you can get to know the “right” people by leveraging social proof.
LinkedIn created its own version of social proof called LinkedIn Recommendations, which is a reputation manager for professionals. When people write LinkedIn Recommendations for someone, it’s the online version of the written recommendations people used to receive from instructors and former employers.
Think of LinkedIn as a reputation engine for business professionals. A job candidate's LinkedIn profile is more than an online resume with a list of their past and present jobs, education, and accomplishments. Their professional reputation includes whom they associate with, the groups they belong to, the associations and clubs they belong to, and how much they interact with their network.
When you're looking to hire new employees, recommendations can help you determine if a potential employee will be a good fit for your business. You can also tell if they're actively networking and reaching out to others or if they're a passive LinkedIn member with a static profile and no networking activity. If someone isn't active on LinkedIn, it doesn’t mean they're not good at what they do. It just means they're not actively building their professional network as well as they could be.
When people keep their LinkedIn profile current, participate in LinkedIn Groups, and publish and share great content, potential employers like you can learn more about them than by just reading their resumes. The icing on the cake is the LinkedIn Recommendations, which provide third-party verification of someone's skills. Each online activity is like a piece of a puzzle, and recommendations are the glue that holds the puzzle together. When you're using LinkedIn to find new employees for your company, you want to look for LinkedIn members who have a complete, updated profile with lots of great recommendations.