The people you really want to hire probably aren’t looking. They’re not trolling Craigslist. They’re already gainfully employed. It’s your job to find them, convince them you have greener grass, and win the conversion.
This applies to jobs in all functions, sales included. And there may be no better, single window into which candidates are more likely ideal candidates for your open positions than LinkedIn.
Sure, it’s user-generated content. But the candidates you want aren’t going to lie. If you aren’t already using LinkedIn to seek candidates for your sales department, you may be wasting a ton of time fishing in the wrong ponds.
Here are five specific tips I’ve found work quite well to filter and identify the best potential job candidates on LinkedIn:
1. Used Advanced Search to filter for background, function & experience.
This sounds fundamental, but I find it’s rarely used. For Sales Navigator customers, you get an additional wide range of search criteria to further narrow results. Plus, you can set up saved searches for these criteria, and be notified as often as daily to see new people that meet that criteria.
2.Use common connections as early reference checks
If you see someone you like, get back-door reference checks immediately. If you know the skills & attributes you’re looking for, confirm these candidates have them from previous jobs before you waste your time on interviews, or even phone screens. It’s easy to sound great in an interview thread, but for sales especially those past experiences, colleagues and managers are worth their weight in gold. And if you’re well networked in an industry or geographic area, it’s likely you and the potential candidate have someone in common or at least someone as a second connection that can give you some commentary.
3. Scan testimonials for signs of desired attributes
Look for signs of customers, colleagues and even prospects who speak highly of the candidate. Look for examples of your core values, and/or the core selling skills and attributes you train and hire for. You can even add these keywords as components of your overall Advanced Search.
4. See who clicks back on your profile page
When you find a candidate that you like, click on their profile so that your own profile shows up in their “who’s viewed my profile” data. If they’re an active social seller, they’ll review that daily and likely come check you out as well. Social selling isn’t the be all, end all in determining who will succeed or fail, but knowing someone has a baseline of social selling skills at least intimates that they’re practicing agile selling skills.
5. Profile the best social sellers, and look for those with similar attributes regardless of industry
It can be a slippery slope to limit your search primarily or exclusively to those who have industry experience. Instead, what if you built your search based on those most active on LinkedIn? Those with a higher volume of updates, a higher volume of testimonials given, or a higher volume of engagements with others across LinkedIn (their connections, comments in communities, etc.). These signs of social engagement may be further indication that the candidate is not only staying on top of what’s most relevant, but also willing to learn what it takes to succeed and sell in any environment.