Do you remember the days before Match.com and eHarmony? When you had to actually invest an entire evening on a date with someone to find out his interests, where he was from, and what kind of music he liked? Well, hiring with LinkedIn can resemble dating online (in the good ways).
Leave a 21st century calling card
One of the most underrated features of LinkedIn is the ability to see who has checked out your profile. If you take a look around, they’ll know it, and will likely reciprocate out of curiosity. It’s the digital equivalent of a friendly smile and an outstretched hand. Those few minutes (or seconds) they spend on your page are crucial; make sure your latest update says “We’re hiring!” and links to more information on your job openings.
It’s a gateway network
Just like in dating, the fact that you show a little interest in someone can go a long way, and if you’re lucky, some of the individuals you’ve nudged to action via profile-viewing will send you a request to connect. Accept the request, and you’re in like Flynn.
It’s also a great way to make connections in other networks as well. LinkedIn is built to be your professional introduction to someone, which means that instead of long walks on the beach, you get a Twitter profile or blog. Use them to say hello!
It’s not a perfect system
Now, while all of this LinkedIn stuff sounds thoroughly awesome, just remember: this is still the Internet. And although there are privacy controls and filtering methods in place, you’ll get some attention you don’t necessarily want.
Just like with the dating sites, if you open yourself up to strangers, you’re opening yourself up to ALL the strangers. Your presence on a social networking site is in and of itself an invitation to interaction. It’s like winking every guy you see in a crowded bar — it’ll get you noticed, but you might not always be thrilled about who’s doing the noticing.
Hiring with LinkedIn shouldn’t feel creepy
That being said, don’t be afraid to get out there and start connecting. No one expects to find the perfect mate on the first attempt, so just accept that you might have a few bad dates before finding The One. Remember, your next employees are out there. When you find them, will you care where you found them?