LinkedIn is no doubt a great resource for building professional relationships, making important connections, and getting in touch with the right people to help you grow your business.
The social networking site also has another important use: recruiting.
LinkedIn's potential as a hiring network is growing with every new feature and service the site offers. It can now make your hiring process faster and more efficient, and it offers tools in all budget ranges. Whether you want to direct message potential new hires at a cost or indirectly advertise that you're hiring for free, here are five ways to take advantage of LinkedIn's recruiting capabilities.
1. This one is a no-brainer: Change your status to "hiring." It lets your professional network know that you are looking for a new hire.
2. You could pay to take out a job listing... or you could post one to your LinkedIn groups for absolutely nothing. LinkedIn offers you the capability to post messages to the groups that you are part of, without charge. This is a free and potentially more effective option than letting everyone on LinkedIn know that you're hiring -- you'll get responses from people who already share a similar interest or background element with you (assuming you respect the members of your groups, that is.)
3. Take advantage of LinkedIn Answers, a forum where you can browse questions that others have submitted and answer the ones that fall under your expertise. You get "expert" points every time your answer is chosen as the best one. Earn enough, and you can soon be ranked as a top expert. This type of publicity is excellent for your business, and it puts you in an elite category of employers, helping you elicit more attention from potential job-seekers.
4. If your recruiting budget is bigger, it might be worth it to upgrade your profile. Account upgrades give you the power to send a certain number of direct messages to people with whom you are not connected, allowing you more freedom to contact potential new hires. The Business Plus plan allows you to send 10 direct messages without a connection each month, for $49.95/month. The Pro plan bumps that up to 50 InMail messages, but at a heftier price: $499.95/month.
5. The LinkedIn Talent Advantage tools are an option for those with a big budget to allocate towards it, and the returns seem to be worth it. Featured options like the LinkedIn Recruiter and LinkedIn Talent Direct give you the power to direct message prospective candidates, search profiles more efficiently, and publicize your company across the network. Again, it can be expensive, but these tools do much of the recruiting work for you.
These are only a few of the ways LinkedIn can be used as a recruiting tool. Explore the site, www.linkedin.com, for other ways to put it to use for you, and get creative with the power of social networking to help you find your next great employee.