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Every HR professional should be on LinkedIn

Social media site’s powerful recruitment tools can reach coveted passive jobseekers, and help craft a perfect pitch – though it also exposes your staff to poaching

By Todd Humber

When it comes to social media, LinkedIn is not just a workplace powerhouse – it’s “the” workplace powerhouse.

Facebook is the unqualified leader in social media with more than 900 million profiles, but most people view it as a personal network of friends, not a place to talk business. (In fact, many people I know get annoyed when work talk spills onto people’s walls.)

Twitter is a great marketing and communications tool for business, but it’s hard to build contacts and maintain relationships 140 characters at time.

But LinkedIn is another story. It boasts 150 million members worldwide, and it claims more than two new members are signing up every second. It`s rare to meet someone in the working world and not find a profile for them on LinkedIn.

It’s a social media website HR professionals must embrace and understand.

That’s because, if nothing else, it’s a recruitment goldmine. But the riches run both ways – LinkedIn can certainly help you communicate with the coveted passive jobseeker. But it also makes it easy for your competitors to reach your engaged top performers.

Once a week, I get an email from LinkedIn with the subject line, “Jobs you may be interested in.”

I’m not looking for a job, yet it’s impossible not to open it when it lands in my mailbox. It`s a professional siren call – everyone wants to know who’s hiring in their field, what positions are opening up and what the job market is like. And clearly LinkedIn`s sophisticated algorithms are effective at analyzing profiles – most of the jobs served up to me are related to editorial work.

And when you click on a job posted on LinkedIn, not only do you get the description — but at the bottom under the “apply now” button a little stat tells you how many people have applied for the job.

So not only can you tell what jobs are available, but you can get a bit of a sense of how competitive the job market is – you know exactly how many people are applying via LinkedIn. While it’s impossible to find out exactly who applied or how qualified they are, the sheer number of applicants is an effective barometer.

Mining that data could also help HR professionals create more effective recruitment campaigns. If you’re hiring for a sales manager, and you get 35 applications through LinkedIn, and you see a competitor is hiring for a similar position and has 200 applicants, wouldn’t you want to know why?

You could look at how their job description was crafted, how the position was pitched and the type of information the posting included to see if there are any best practices you can borrow for the next round of hiring.

There are a ton of reasons for HR professionals to be on LinkedIn. Recruitment is just one, but there are plenty of other reasons including building an employer brand, monitoring conversations about your company and about the profession and, of course, networking, the site`s raison d`etre.

So if you haven`t taken the plunge yet, become one of the two people who are signing up every second. And feel free to connect with me – always love to network with HR professionals. I`ll see you online.

Todd Humber is the managing editor of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. He can be reached at

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Todd Humber

Todd Humber is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. Follow him on Twitter @ToddHumber
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