LinkedIn Still King
The undisputed leader in online hiring is of course LinkedIn: by building a strong network here, you’ll be one degree away from some of the best candidates in your business. Meanwhile, LinkedIn is booming in the current recession, meaning your inquiries are likely to get responses from potential candidates. The main reason LinkedIn works: critical mass. All the job seekers are there, which means all the hiring managers are too -- or vice versa. At the time of writing, LinkedIn has 36 million members in over 200 countries.
Key LinkedIn Features: Use These to Connect
LinkedIn enables far more than searching for candidates, however: the heavily-used LinkedIn Introductions feature offers a bridge between you and a candidate with a common connection, while the Q&A feature enables you to discover candidates who readily share their expertise with the community. Another key feature: recommendations from previous employers and coworkers. While these are rarely negative, they provide a point of contact to further investigate a candidate’s past.
New Features: Use These for Depth, Breadth and Insights
LinkedIn also now provides Network Updates, similar to the News Feeds offered by social networking giant Facebook: these allow you to follow updates from around your network and snap up that prime candidate should she ever leave her current employer.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn Apps (a relatively recent addition to the site) gives a much broader summary of a candidate’s expertise than a text resume ever could: with job seekers now able to import presentations from SlideShare or Google Presentations, recent blog posts (related to that candidate’s expertise, ideally) and an Amazon Reading List (again, look for relevant reading matter here), you’ll receive a much more rounded picture of the candidate.
LinkedIn Alternatives: Use These to Widen Candidate Pool
If you’re not having success on LinkedIn, or you’d simply like to widen your search, there are hundreds of alternative sites, many with the same social networking features. The most straightforward: post a listing to Craigslist. These postings, which are particularly effective if you require a local candidate, result in hundreds of applicants. The downside: unlike LinkedIn, there are no tools to perform adequate background checks on the candidates, besides whatever information they put forward: this typically results in having to enter every candidate’s name into Google in a less-than-satisfactory background check.
Meanwhile, many experts perceive LinkedIn’s main rival in the US market to be
Facebook: although not overtly concerned with jobs, Facebook does provide a marketplace, and of course connecting to potential candidates is a telling way to see their true colors. Other LinkedIn rivals worth a look: Xing(definitely worthy of a trial run if hiring in Europe), Jobster and Yahoo Hotjobs.
That said, LinkedIn is not a marginal leader in this space: it’s head and shoulders above the rest. By focusing your energies on building a strong LinkedIn network, you’ll maximize your chances of finding the strongest candidates…and hiring them!