It’s now common knowledge that job seekers need a professional and complete LinkedIn profile. Most of us also know that many organizations need LinkedIn’s premium talent solutions to find and recruit these amazing candidates or new grads. But here’s the thing: A LinkedIn community or network is the secret sauce which often gets overlooked.
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. LinkedIn networking is a huge benefit for both employers and job seekers. It has become the essential bridge to much of today’s hiring. But we spend all our time talking and reading about profiles, branding, search tactics, and tools.
According to SHRM, the #1 way that employers hire today is from employee referrals. The company benefits aren’t only financial. Companies enjoy improved hiring cycle time and employee retention. For these reasons, savvy companies sponsor referral programs which compensate employees for leads to great hires.
Employers can raise their referral programs to another level by training their employees to be more actively building their own LinkedIn communities and network. According to LinkedIn, candidates are more likely to respond to a stranger’s InMail if there is a mutual connection. Savvy digital candidates can pro-actively identify and leverage network ties into their favored employers. Companies still need to search and leverage premium tools, but they can accelerate their talent acquisition by tapping into the LinkedIn community of their team members.
Conversely, community building is the optimal pathway for job seekers as well.Over 70% of employees found their positions from networking - Department of Labor #hiring #HR #LinkedIn Click To Tweet
A vibrant and helpful LinkedIn network is the best tool to support the efforts of any professional job seeker.
The good news is that building a strategic LinkedIn community is entirely within the control of each individual user. Companies can leverage this power through employees. The 1st level connection is at the heart of every LinkedIn user community.
An individual starts by connecting pro-actively to contacts from work, school, community, and volunteering. The surprising fact is that many LinkedIn users don’t actually do this on a regular basis. They wait for an inbound invitation to arrive and then respond. Some users end up with a network full of strangers. Sending personalized invitations to connect pro-actively is an optimal first action step for community building.
After connecting, LinkedIn provides many ways for users to build upon and improve those relationships. LinkedIn users can warm up their network with notes of congratulations, introductions, recommendations, comments, endorsements, kudos, articles, or posts. These tools and features are available in the free version of LinkedIn. So why not warm up your connections with friendly digital touches?
The opportunity to build a valuable LinkedIn community is there for the taking. What is required? Just a small daily or weekly time commitment and the belief that your community matters for your own career or the talent acquisition of your organization. Are you ready to connect?
NOTE: Listen to Sandra Long’s 11 minute TEDx talk: LinkedIn Community: A Super Power Hiding in Plain Sight