Lessons learned in recruiting on LinkedIn

Recently I embarked on some recruitment to hire an L&Der. A while ago, David D’Souza was hiring for someone in his team too, and I was super jealous of how he approached it. I told him I wanted to murderise (totally a word) his approach for myself and he was cool with it. So I wrote a post on LinkedIn looking for an awesome L&Der.

So here’s some stats about how it did:

  • 854 views to date. That’s the best numbers I’ve had on a LinkedIn post. As much as Pulse has changed the nature of what people can and do choose to write about, LinkedIn is still a recruiters platform.
  • People were reading it for all sorts of reasons – I didn’t have 854 applicants for the role.
  • 12 people actually responded directly and applied for the role.
  • 4 were still interested after they found out more about the role and 3 came for interview (the fourth was unfortunately ill)
  • I offered the role and it was accepted – the total time to recruit was 3 weeks
  • I spent no money

Why did I choose to recruit in this way?

There’s a lot written in the world of recruitment about candidate experience, so I wanted to provide the people who wanted to apply with as good a candidate experience as I could. By writing the LinkedIn post, I found that those who applied went through a fairly developed form of self-selection.

First, they liked the approach. It wasn’t a job ad on a job board, although I took elements of what people would need to know about the role and made sure they were there. Second, they saw the role was in social housing. That kept them interested and chose to keep with it. Then, they saw how I described it would be working with me. I’m a good manager and practise everything I preach and advocate about. People got that impression from the post and still maintained an interest. And last they got a sense of the culture of the company from what I wrote. You add all that together, and what you’ve got is a pretty refined process for self-selection. I didn’t have to do any shortlisting, because they got there themselves.

After I had a fair number who applied for the role, a number dropped out because the salary wasn’t high enough for them. That’s fine – I could have been more explicit about this in the post, but I didn’t want that to be a determining factor in the hiring process. I wanted people to apply because they were genuinely interested in the role.

Interestingly, I had 2 people apply from India. Now, in the spirit of inclusion and not being exclusive I asked these 2 applicants how they thought they could fulfil the role if they weren’t London based. Unfortunately neither responded so I couldn’t progress that any further. Also, 1 person applied from U.A.E. which again was fine, and their inquiry was if the role could be fulfilled remotely. Unfortunately, I couldn’t meet that request and the applicant deselected themself from the recruitment.

I spent some time talking to each candidate once I knew they were serious enough to continue with the application. I got to know them a bit and answered any initial questions they had, or discussion points they wanted to go over. I found that really helpful and useful in helping me get to know who these people were and a sense of their interest in the role and motivation for applying.

I asked each to come in and do a presentation and a facilitation exercise. I didn’t want to interview any of them about their CV – everything leading up to this point was a two-way process of them signalling they were in, and me comfortable with them being part of this recruitment. The two exercises helped me get a real life sense of their capabilities and their performance. We had good and useful discussions about the exercises, their reflections on how they performed, and insights on how and why they used approaches and techniques that they did.

After a three week period, from publishing the job ad to offering the role and it being accepted, the recruitment was complete. I think that’s a pretty good timeline and at no stage did I feel it was forced or did I think I was putting the people under any undue pressure – certainly they all seemed to enjoy the candidate experience from what they’ve fed back to me. And, as I said above, I did this all without spending a penny from recruitment budget.

There were some other reflections I had as this recruitment was ongoing.

My first was trying to determine if the blog post I wrote had any gender bias language in it which would have meant it was written more for one gender over another. I’m starting to learn about gender bias and the written form. Because the applicants were a fair representation of men and women (no transgender people applied that I’m aware of, nor any non-binary gendered people), I don’t think this was the case. If you have a perspective on this, I’d be happy to know this.

I wondered if the candidate experience was as human as I was hoping I had designed it to be. Feedback from all sorts of quarters tells me it was, and I’m mindful that there could just be an echo chamber telling me what I want to hear. I’d welcome if anyone wanted to help walk me through the ins and outs of how it all went down and if it was a human experience.

This type of recruitment is probably quite easy for this type of discreet role. It probably couldn’t be replicated (or certainly not as easily or as quickly) for a high volume role.

I did try and use Recruiter from LinkedIn to approach people directly for applying for the role. One person responded positively and became one of the 3 who came to interview, and the others either declined or just didn’t respond. There were some limitations to using it too in that you have a limited number of credits to contact people directly with. I didn’t pay enough attention to that until I ran out after contacting 7 people directly.

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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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