Linkedin—More Than a Networking Tool31 Mar, 2014 By: R. Thomas Bruguiere
Is your business currently utilizing Linkedin as a recruiting and sales prospecting tool? If the answer is no, then you are limiting yourself on the potential candidates, and clients you could be attracting to your business. Linkedin, with a little bit of knowledge and sweat equity, is a free tool you as a business owner, manager, or sales rep can utilize to begin generating revenue and creating real business relationships. Too many business professionals view Linkedin as another Facebook or MySpace, when in fact, it is the opposite. Yes, it does fall under the umbrella of social media; however, Linkedin, if used correctly, is the world’s largest free resume database and CRM in the world.
Creating a Linkedin profile is simple and easy. Pick a professional looking picture of yourself, and update your profile accordingly with your current and past positions, awards, recognitions, and industry associations. Remember, the more you put into Linkedin, the more you will get out of it. The more detailed, complete, and professional that you make your profile, the more it will dictate how serious any potential clients and candidates will take you. Try to connect with as many people as possible. You will be surprised on how many co-workers, associates, friends, family, past colleagues and clients that actually have profiles on Linkedin. The more people you are connected to will dictate the amount of people you can connect with, and view profiles of. It is important to initially connect with as many individuals as you know and trust, to get your network as large as possible. By connecting with others, you now can have access to people that they are connected with; which expands the talent pool and lead base you have access to. Once your profile has been completed, and network built, you can begin expanding upon your network and utilizing Linkedin for real business purposes.
Linkedin is the largest resume database in the world. It’s larger than Monster.com, or Careerbuilder. If you are searching for a new employee, it’s as easy as doing an advanced search on Linkedin. Most savvy business professionals are on Linkedin for networking purposes, and may not be actively searching for new employment. However, as a recruiter, I can tell you that most will be open to a conversation should your position be desirable. Linkedin allows you to type your geographic area, city or region, and keyword search competitive companies that have employees in your area. By doing this search you can locate potential candidates that are currently working at one of your competitors, or a desirable company of your choice. You can also view their employment history, educational background, and professional appearance.
Once you find a profile/potential candidate who you are interested in pursuing, you can easily request to connect with them, which allows you to type them a short email expressing your interest in them as a candidate. Most Linkedin members will accept your connection, and once connected you can exchange contact information to work together to determine if your organization may or may not be of interest to them.
HR vs. Sales
Linkedin can also be utilized as the largest CRM in the world. If you use Linkedin correctly, you and your sales force should never make an uneducated or uninformed cold call again. You can utilize Linkedin as a sales prospecting tool the same way you would if you were searching for a potential candidate for your organization. By conducting an advanced search on Linkedin, you can locate key C-Level executives, purchasing managers, business owners, and decision makers as the potential client of your choice, in the city or geographic area you desire. Yes, you will now be able to view key information such as names, titles, educational background, and personal information used to build rapport for the potential clients you wish to prospect after. By utilizing Linkedin correctly, you and your sales force can have the upper hand when making cold calls and prospecting. You and your sales force now have no need to make blind cold calls ever again. By utilizing Linkedin, you can locate the exact individual or potential client of your choice, and ask for them by name.
Using Linkedin for recruiting and sales prospecting purposes is only a small portion of what it can be fully utilized for. It is powerful database that can be leveraged in multiple ways across different segments of your business. Recruiting and Prospecting are just two ways to derive immediate revenue and return from Linkedin. It can be utilized to promote your company as a whole, create customer awareness and/or branding, and provide continued education within your industry. The best thing about Linkedin is that it is 100% free to become a member, and use. Just remember, the more you put into Linkedin, the more you will get out of it.
R. Thomas Bruguiere is the Vice President of Recruitment for Crawford Thomas, a nationwide executive recruiting firm based in Orlando, FL, with offices in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. Thomas has more than seven years of executive recruiting experience in the office technology industry for both OEM’s and independent dealerships. Currently Bruguiere oversees more than 40 recruiters in Crawford Thomas’ Orlando headquarters.