How to Use LinkedIn to Find the Perfect Candidate

There's no single 'silver bullet' or one-size-fits-all method to a recruitment search. Like a snowflake, no two recruitment searches are ever alike. So you need to have a variety of tools in your tool belt if you want to be a successful recruiter.

We've already touched on how to recruit at conferences and career fairs, but one of the more recent tools you can use is social media. For this article, we'll focus on LinkedIn in particular because of its prominence as a professional networking site. Although social media has been around for a few years now (LinkedIn launched in 2003), it's still an exciting new tool for recruiters—more than 87% of all recruiters (not just physician recruiters) now use LinkedIn as part of their search process.

How to Use LinkedIn to Find the Perfect Candidate

So, it's very likely that you already have a LinkedIn account. (If you don't, now is the time to sign up.) But it's also likely that you're not using LinkedIn to its full potential. Chances are, you use LinkedIn primarily to check potential candidates' profile pages, right? While LinkedIn is indeed a helpful resource for looking up a candidate's credentials and getting a glimpse of their personality, you can use LinkedIn for much more.

Here are some other ideas to get the most out of this useful social networking tool:

Collect contacts:

Your best new sources for finding highly qualified candidates are the happy candidates you've already placed. Their connections and recommendations to friends and colleagues will help you source new candidates. (A satisfied customer is the best form of advertising, as the saying goes.) So gather as many good contacts as you can. To some extent, LinkedIn is a numbers game—the higher the number of contacts you have, the wider the circle of potential candidates you'll reach.

Polish your own page:

If you're going to network with physician candidates, hiring managers, administrators, and other key contacts, you'll need to put your best foot forward. And that means fully filling out your own profile and making it as professional as possible. For example, use a high-quality photo that shows you at your best, not a selfie taken at a football tailgate party.

Get recruiting:

If you haven't tried it already, sign up for for LinkedIn Recruiter, the site's sourcing tool designed specifically for recruiters just like you. With Recruiter, you can create (and save) filtered searches that target exactly the kind of candidate you're looking for. You can also select a "top performer" from your contacts and the search engine will automatically find more candidates like the one you selected. (This is where having a large pool of good contacts comes in handy.) Recruiter will also notify you when your favorite candidates have updated their profiles.

Write an honest, informed InMail:

Once you've used the site's search capabilities to find that perfect candidate (or a number of perfect candidates), it's time to reach out through an InMail. This is a make-or-break moment, so be careful you don't blow it. You have the candidate's profile at your fingertips—use this to craft a unique, personally written message to that perfect candidate. Impersonal, generic messages are just asking to be deleted. And be honest—don't promise the moon or tell candidates they're "perfect" for the job. In fact, you might want to simply introduce yourself, let the candidate know you've taken the time to review their profile, and ask if they'd like to talk further. Don't scare them off with too much too soon.

Post a job:

In addition to searching for the ideal candidate, you can also post a job to get the right candidates come to you. LinkedIn lets you tailor your job posting so that it's shown specifically to candidates who have the skills and experience that match your requirements, even if those LinkedIn members are not actively searching for a job. Plus, you can track your job posting's performance as well as share top candidates with other members of your team.

These are just some of the many options you have when you master LinkedIn. In addition to these, you can also join professional groups to find more candidates.You can use JobSlots to continually source candidates for a certain type of position you're always looking to fill. You can even become a LinkedIn Certified Professional Recruiter.

But even with all these advanced social networking options, keep in mind that this is simply one more tool (albeit a shiny new one) in your tool belt. You still need to use all of your other tools to maximize the recruiting process and be a successful recruiter.