Whenever a new position opens up on their team, a good manager always asks themselves, “Who do I know?” Of course our first thought would be to go with someone familiar, perhaps even someone we’ve worked with successfully in the past. Many of us may even take the step of sending an email or making a call or two to people we know who could connect us with someone to hire. Unfortunately, we often stop at a couple emails because we don’t get the results and our daily responsibilities pull us in different directions and we can “delegate” that task and get it off our plate by calling our HR departments and having them send along some resumes. That is a big mistake and one that risks the future success of our team.

Finding our next employee should not be delegated exclusively to our Human Resources department for one big reason: most great candidates are not looking for a job. Sure, we’ve all made good hires and met some talented people through the typical “post & screen” process, but it is clearly not the best way to consistently beat our competitors in the battle for talent. Why not? Because the best talent is typically going to be well-respected where they work, will have the benefit of working on the most interesting and visible projects at their current companies, and will be well compensated and happy. Isn’t that how your best employees would be treated? Well-respected professionals have little incentive to go online and start sending out resumes. Employees working on the most interesting projects at their current employers have little incentive to even have an updated resume to send. When high-performing people do start looking for something new, they also don’t start by sending a resume to a job posting at a company they’ve never worked for. Like the competent professionals they are, they ask themselves the same question, “Who do I know?” As managers, we want to be in the list of people they think of.

The way to do that and to find those high-performing employees and invite them to the team is to work our networks for individuals who work in the same or similar fields, regardless of their current job search status. How many of us hiring for a new employee, after asking ourselves, “Who do I know?,” start that conversation with a colleague by asking, “Do you know anyone who’s looking for a job?,” forgetting that the best candidates aren’t looking for a job?! This is where LinkedIn is a gift to recruiting. (If you do not already have a LinkedIn account, it’s time to set it up. Here is LinkedIn’s how-to guide for creating a profile. Today is the day.) LinkedIn allows us to search on any keyword and even specify a radius to find people in the local geography. We can search for individuals that meet our needs and then reach out to them through the individual in our network that connected us with them on LinkedIn to begin with! LinkedIn helps us know who we really could know and to find more readily who our professional contacts connect us to. Of course, the likelihood that the first individual we reach out to is interested in exactly what we have to offer may be slim, but having connected with them makes them more likely to pass on the info to their network and to reach out to us as part of their professional network when it’s time for them to consider something new. It’s a hefty investment of our time, but a high-performing new employee will make it all worthwhile!

This is exactly what we do at Right Resources to be better prepared to find your next employee. We have the distinct advantage of having few other daily responsibilities apart from working our network for you, so we have the time to do this more thoroughly, but it’s critical for your team’s success that you are your best recruiter. For more tips on using LinkedIn for yourself, and how to mine it for better information, send us a quick message. 

Written by Mark J. Tyrrell.

Right Resources is a staffing firm specializing in the placement of IT professionals who are involved in all aspects of the software development life cycle. Catch up with them on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter for more updates or contact them directly here.