For the first time, millions of professionals have their job descriptions, titles, and work history laid bare for all to see on Linkedin. Though some people have postulated that Linkedin would reduce recruiting fees and bring about the destruction of the recruiting industry, quite the opposite has proven true. Linkedin is simply another source of rich data to augment candidate databases – to recruiters, it’s like candy. Linkedin has probably helped the recruiting profession flourish in the past few years – as companies struggle to map a social media strategy, smart recruiters have mined Linkedin profiles for company and profile data for professionals in their geography or industry.

Recruiters on Linkedin probably spend more time looking at other people’s profiles than their own (rightfully so.) Recruiters may, in fact, represent a good portion of the total page-view counts of Linkedin as they tend to be the ones spending a lot of time on the site. In their haste to collect data, however, many recruiters do not pay enough attention to the messaging of their profile. The profile would not matter very much, except for the fact that recruiters often use the Linkedin messages to communicate with potential candidates and clients – and with those messages comes the recruiter profile and associated messaging. The profile is therefore quite important, and neglecting it can lead to improper positioning with important clients.

Here are three common mistakes that recruiters make on Linkedin:

  • Recruiters look desperate. This gets to the root of human motivation. We desire what we cannot have, not what everyone already has. If you want great candidates and clients to engage with you, you have to appear professional and reserved in your own communications. Who hasn’t seen “CONNECT WITH ME” in the name field of Linkedin for a recruiter – or even substituting the main professional title with email addresses, solicitations, or job descriptions? Does a client look at that and think, my goodness, here’s a qualified chap that I want representing my company’s employment opportunities? Probably not. Take out everything on your profile that makes you look like the recruiting equivalent to the world’s oldest profession. As a recruiter, your inquiries are going to come from your outbound efforts, so tailor your profile to what someone wants to see when they receive an email from you. You probably don’t want to attract the type of candidates or even clients that are going to respond to “open networker” type messaging.
  • Recruiters look ignorant. Recruiters have enough of a problem establishing a level of credibility in their industry. Many recruiters include wildly disparate job functions and industries on their profile and claim that they work in these areas. It is much more effective to list a few disciplines that you recruit for, but go into some detail about the exact job functions that you have had luck placing or are seeing demand from your clients. If you are a generalist recruiter and work on any type of position across industries, you need to focus on your success. What placements have you made? What separates your recruitment process from others? What can candidates and clients expect when they work with you?
  • Recruiters look little. Recruiting is often a very independent profession. Even recruiters who work for Fortune 100 employers or large staffing firms feel that their job is largely self-contained. Recruiters are often responsible for the full life-cycle of a job order (talking to the hiring manager, writing the job description, posting the job, recruiting the candidate, interviewing the candidate, etc…) It can be an isolating or at least separating experience. Both corporate and agency recruiters often do not list any information about the company they actually work for. They design their Linkedin profile like a resume and not a selling tool for actually doing recruiting better. By listing only personal information, the clients and candidates that they seek will not have an image of professionalism. Because recruiters often do feel independent, it is not surprising when they list very little corporate information – but it’s a good idea to flesh out a professional profile with corporate information.

In summary, if you are a recruiter, you probably have a Linkedin profile. Because Linkedin is now a primary method of communication and personal research, it will pay to take a few minutes to ensure you look professional, knowledgeable, and legitimate.

in Social Recruiting]