We all know LinkedIn is where recruiting happens. But honestly, it can all feel like a bit of a mess. How do you find the perfect candidate? Do you invest in LinkedIn Recruiter? Hire a search firm? Pray to the talent gods?
As a Talent Sourcer on Zapier's recruiting team, I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. So, I'm here to tell you that although you could do any of the options above, there are ways to unlock the power of LinkedIn without any hefty investments. Here are five free features that will help you make the most of LinkedIn while recruiting for your small business.
1. Choose how to browse
"Who viewed your profile" has always been one of LinkedIn's hallmark traits: by default, people can see when you've looked at their profile. LinkedIn will usually share some variation of your name, company, title, headline, how you found a person, and mutual connections. It'll show something like this:
Although sharing personal information makes it easy to interact with other users, it can sometimes feel uncomfortable knowing your information is shared, especially when you're just taking a look around to see what's out there. So, LinkedIn allows users to poke around with more anonymity by browsing in semi-private or private mode.
Browsing in semi-private mode means LinkedIn will only share some descriptive information about you. For example, it might share your job title, company, school, or industry. But the people you're clicking on won't see any easily identifiable information, like your name or location. Semi-private browsing shows up like this:
When browsing in private mode, you'll only appear as part of a catchall number of "LinkedIn Members" in the Who viewed your profile area. LinkedIn won't share any specific information about you with the user. To them, it'll look something like this:
At Zapier, I've seen different approaches to privacy on LinkedIn. As a talent sourcer, I prefer browsing anonymously because I often look through multiple profiles, and they're not all a fit for our open positions. On the other hand, many of our recruiters don't mind browsing LinkedIn publicly: it can prompt prospects to click into our profiles, read about Zapier, and (ideally) navigate to our jobs page.
2. Make your LinkedIn posts public
Posting on LinkedIn about open roles is a great way to garner interest. To increase the reach of your posts, make sure to turn on public sharing settings. This will ensure that your posts find their way well beyond your followers and connections. Sharing publicly also allows your post to be shared outside of LinkedIn, which can be powerful for building your brand more broadly.
First, you need to make your profile visible to people outside of your network.
Click on your profile icon and select Settings & Privacy.
Click Visibility, and then click the Change option for Edit your public profile.
Make sure that the Your profile's public visibility toggle is set to On.
Navigate back to Visibility, scroll down to Followers, and set the dropdown to Everyone on LinkedIn.
Once that's done, next time you create a post, make sure the visibility and comments are set to Anyone.
This will make your posts look like the one below, and even share engagement information, such as how many people have viewed your posts through their feed. You can use this information to engage with candidates directly from your posts or test strategies to see what gets the most traction.
3. Take advantage of LinkedIn's native search functionality
LinkedIn Recruiter is expensive, and for a small team, it might not be worth the investment. So before you upgrade, try searching for people using LinkedIn's native search functionality.
There are a couple of main drawbacks to using this function:
It provides fewer filters than LinkedIn Recruiter.
It limits the number of profiles you can view before upgrading.
Still, it can be a helpful feature for targeted recruiting because it allows you to find candidates with specific experiences using many different filters.
To search, go to My Network > Connections. Select Search with filters (on the top-right in tiny letters on desktop), and use the filters to narrow down your search. Or simply type a keyword or title in the search bar, click See all results and then People, and filter from there.
Remember that the number of profiles you can view is limited, so if the filters you're using aren't yielding results, change them up.
For a deeper dive into free searching on LinkedIn, check out my article about finding talent on a budget, where I offer some tips for engaging passive candidates and evaluating prospects based on their LinkedIn profile.
4. Activate the People Also Viewed feature
The People also viewed feature shows you profiles that are in some way similar to the one you're currently on. It might include people at the same company with similar titles or skills, which can be great for recruiting. Although the relevance of these profiles can be hit or miss, it can be a helpful way to identify prospects with similar experiences through minimal effort.
Here's how to add the People also viewed box. Once you do that, People also viewed will show up on every profile you view.
5. Add your pronouns
Affirming gender identities and normalizing their importance in the workplace is a decisive step in creating an inclusive work environment. Adding your pronouns to LinkedIn shows candidates that they're welcome and encouraged to do the same—and that, as a leader, recruiter, or colleague, you're working to create an inclusive workplace.
LinkedIn now provides some users a way to share this information in the intro section of their profile.
Unfortunately, the feature is only available in certain countries for now. To check if it's available to you, click the pencil icon in the intro section of your profile, look for Pronouns, and set as Visible to: All LinkedIn members.
If you're curious what types of personal pronouns are available or want to understand what you might see on a candidate's profile, take a look at this article on LinkedIn's blog that shares great insights.