Competition is fierce, so here’s how you can help get a recruiter’s attention
Catching the attention of a job recruiter has long been a challenge, but it’s especially difficult right now. In the week ending July 24, 2020, 1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment, marking the 19th straight week that jobless claims have topped one million.
Still, since over 90% of job recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to fill their openings, if you’re looking for work, you’ll want to know how to use that platform to catch a recruiter’s eye. For advice, I spoke with Shally Steckerl, founder of The Sourcing Institute and The Sourcing Institute Foundation. He has advised hundreds of companies on their recruiting efforts, including Microsoft, GE and Lockheed.
Highlights of our conversation:
Next Avenue: Given the record unemployment numbers, aren’t job recruiters being inundated by applicants right now?
Shally Steckerl: Surprisingly, it’s not as bad as you’d think. The volume of responses to job listings has remained relatively steady compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
“The more people you have in your network, the greater the likelihood that a recruiter will find you through your connections.”
But what has changed is that the quality of the applicant pool is better. It used to be that you’d get two hundred to three hundred responses to a job posting, and only a small number were a potential fit. Now when a job gets advertised, companies are seeing a higher percentage of qualified applicants.
4 Ways to Increase Your Profile’s Ranking on LinkedIn
What can job seekers do to attract a recruiter’s attention on LinkedIn?
It’s critical to increase your profile’s ranking on LinkedIn so you’re more visible to recruiters. There are four ways to do that.
One: Offer to write recommendations for other people. Having recommendations on your LinkedIn profile improves your search engine ranking.
The problem is that it can feel awkward to ask for a recommendation. That’s why I suggest you first offer to write recommendations for other people, like co-workers and vendors. It builds good will and most people will offer to write you a recommendation in exchange.
Two: Expand your network. Having a large network boosts your LinkedIn search ranking. So, be sure to reach out to people like former colleagues, classmates and neighbors on a regular basis. The more people you have in your network, the greater the likelihood that a recruiter will find you through your connections.
This is especially useful for connecting with recruiters at smaller companies, who typically don’t pay for the premium LinkedIn Recruiter tools. Since they don’t have access to expanded search capabilities, they depend on first and second-degree connections to source candidates.
Three: Consider short-term gig work. It helps to show recruiters that you’re a go-getter. And you might gain relevant skills and keywords that can help make your LinkedIn profile more findable.
Four: Be active on the site. Maintaining an updated LinkedIn profile shows recruiters that you’re professionally engaged. Share relevant content, comment on other people’s articles and link to articles you’ve written.
Also, I know this sounds obvious, but please make sure your LinkedIn profile has a photo. Recruiters rarely click on a LinkedIn profile unless it has a photo.
The LinkedIn #OpenToWork Badge
Do you think the new LinkedIn #OpenToWork badge is useful for job seekers? I’ve read some differing opinions on it.
I do, with the caveat that it should only be displayed if you’re unemployed or if your employer knows you’re moving on.
Here’s why I like it: The badge tells me you’re being honest and open about your situation — I appreciate that authenticity. And it lets your broader community know that you’re open to new opportunities. That, in turn, might lead to referrals into recruiters from your network.
What changes to the recruiting landscape are you seeing as a result of the pandemic?
Recruiters are working harder to fill openings from their internal pool of employees before turning to outside candidates. When they recruit from the outside, it’s primarily for tougher-to-fill jobs that require specific skill sets.
At the same time, thanks in large part to the Black Lives Matter movement, there’s a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion. And it’s not just about racial diversity. Companies that do this well are recruiting diversity across the board, including gender, disability and age.
I’m cautiously optimistic we’re finally going to see real change.
Advice for Veterans and People With Disabilities
Your foundation assists job-hunting veterans and people with disabilities. Any special tips for them?
There are a number of companies that have hiring initiatives aimed at veterans and people with disabilities. So, target companies that are actively marketing these programs on their LinkedIn company pages.
Another helpful site to find accommodating employers is DirectEmployers.org. A number of major employers use this site to source candidates in those categories.
What’s the best way to follow up with a recruiter after an interview?
Ask the recruiter for guidance regarding next steps. And then, do as they suggest.
Try not to get frustrated if you don’t hear back. I know, easier said than done. The hiring process can stall for all sorts of reasons — a change in strategic direction, the decision maker is on vacation or a reorganization is brewing. So be patient, persistent and polite.
But if you don’t hear back after several weeks of silence, check in one last time and then move on.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.