Every business wants good talent, but how can your company proactively find the best employees on LinkedIn, even if they aren’t looking for a job?

The answer involves LinkedIn’s “Jobs you may be interested in” section, and a mix of strategic advertising and keyword optimization.

LinkedIn launched its ‘Jobs For You’ function in late-2010 for the purpose of helping companies target the coveted pool of passive candidates.  As LinkedIn’s Senior HR Director Jared Lucas explains it, they are the hardest candidates to recruit because they are not proactively networking or searching for jobs.

“Passive candidates are the holy grail of recruiting as they are actively engaged, employed and contributing at another organization,” Lucas said.  “Skilled recruiters continuously seek out methods and tools to market their open jobs to these passive job seekers.”

When posting a job opening to LinkedIn, the best method for targeting these passive workers is to rethink your job description, and look at it not as a job opening, but as an SEO advertisement.

Choosing keywords to target

First, before writing your job description, think about the perfect candidate for your new position.  What specific skills should he or she have?  What type of personality are you searching for?  Create lists of desired qualities, experience, technical proficiencies, personality traits, the job’s responsibilities, and specific skills candidates will need to fulfill those responsibilities.

Writing your job description

Once you have an extensive list of keywords and concepts you’re looking for in a candidate, you can start writing your job description.  The secret to writing your job opening for LinkedIn is including the same words in your description as your desired candidates will be using in their profiles.  And because your most desired candidate embodies all the attributed you listed in the previous step, all you have to do is fluently include those keywords and concepts throughout your description – as fluently as possible.

Optimizing your job opening for LinkIn

Once you’ve written your job description, you may also consider running it by your SEO specialist – if you have one.  But if you don’t have some sort of SEO professional on staff, InBoundWriter.com is a great resource for checking the keyword optimization of written material.  Once you’re satisfied with how your description targets your desired attributes, you’re ready to publish your ad.

Optimizing your company profile

There are several ways to drive the optimization of your job posting once it’s already published.  One method involves organically optimizing your company’s LinkedIn page to target your desired candidate, which is pretty simple.  Just grab some keywords and concepts from your lists in step one, and include them (naturally and fluidly) throughout your company description, and the status you post for your company’s LinkedIn page.

Encouraging referrals

Another method involves encouraging your employees to help promote the job posting through LinkedIn’s Employee Referral function.  Essentially, Referral Engine helps employees to “pre-screen” their own network in order to make quality referrals.  The system displays people within your network who are a good fit for the position at your company (based on organic keywords in both their profiles, and how they match with your company’s job description), and simply asks you whether you want to recommend that person.  By creating a system for employee referrals within your company, you’ll be more likely to receive LinkedIn recommendations that go beyond just being friends.

LinkedIn’s suggestions are 100 percent organic, and completely based on the company posting the job, the job description, keywords within the user’s profile, where they live, where the company is based, etc.  If you really want to find the best passive candidate for your company, optimize your post and include targeted language in your job description.


Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan is the VP of Marketing for PaySimple, the leading provider of service commerce solutions for SMBs. At PaySimple, Sarah leads the company's brand, acquisition, lifecycle, and product marketing strategies, and has been an integral player in growing the company from a fledgling startup to a leading SaaS platform, serving over 15,000 businesses across the country. She loves live music, being outside, great food, and hanging out with her husband, little boy, and dog.

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