Any company worth their salt has evolved well beyond the traditional paper resume when they are on the search for new hires. If you have ever spent time on the receiving end of these antiquated documents, you know firsthand how overwhelming it can be to read through all of them, let alone identify one worth pursuing. The digital systems which have supplanted this tired method have provided a multitude of solutions to these issues and more. For example, most large hiring websites and online application systems have the professional social network, LinkedIn, embedded as part of the application process. Why has this become such a staple? For one, LinkedIn makes it easy to heed the words of the CEO of, Marc Benioff, “Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”

As the people of business and the Internet are one to do, they have harnessed the power of an online entity and taken it a step further. In the case of LinkedIn, a true trend has emerged – companies utilizing the site to identify potential hires worth pursuing. If you or your company find yourselves looking to strengthen your ranks, then the following tips for finding talent in the competitive talent pool that is LinkedIn could prove fruitful.

Start Simple (Existing Connections)

At this point, if your company has not made LinkedIn an internal priority, you are already well behind the eight-ball per se. Ideally, as a reader of this piece, you should have an active LinkedIn business account. This is not all, however. Through this account you should be forming connections with employees, other businesses, and people interested in what your company is doing professionally. An account presently doing all these things is one ready to take the next steps in employee acquisition through LinkedIn. Alex Carroll, Founder of Caliber Games detailed what this looks like, “One of the biggest mistakes companies make when using LinkedIn is treating it like another social media site. Obviously, it is that. But it has evolved to become the modern staple for old-fashioned networking. It might help your company to approach it this way.”

Practically speaking, it could be as simple as creating a public post detailing the job opening as well as the type of people you are searching for – from both a personal and professional point of view. Or you could determine which of your existing connections are trustworthy and ask them directly if they would recommend someone specific to fill your vacant role. At the end of the day, creativity is a wonderful tool here. But, without those existing connections, it could be stifled. Lindsay Hischebett, Head of People and Partners of Flaus spoke to this, “The internet has been around long enough that it is now being discussed in a historical perspective. But some companies have not made the most of this, especially with LinkedIn. No matter what you and your company are doing, there should be a focus on constantly growing this account.”

The Search Functions

Just as was stated earlier, there is great power available to you if you know what you are doing on LinkedIn. However, making sense of the intricacies of the platform may not always be straightforward. Thankfully, Chandler Rogers, CEO of Relay offered some guidance, “When you’re looking for the answer to a question, you go to Google because it is a large source of information. When you’re looking for a specific product, you go to Amazon because it has an endless supply of products. Therefore, it seems logical to me for LinkedIn to be the place you search for your next hire.”

If you have never searched anything on LinkedIn before, it might seem as if the search function would only be helpful in finding people if you know their names. But, like other social media sites, the search function can return more items than you will ever be able to view – all related to your search terms. This aspect of LinkedIn is a massive draw for companies trying to find talent. Are you in search of highly qualified network technicians? Or possibly a freelance photographer? Any job title, description, or even past work experience is available at your fingertips. Caleb Ulffers, CEO of Haven Athletic suggested others make great use of this, “The nature of the current business industry nearly requires companies to have rosters full of talented employees. The best place to find these people is going to be LinkedIn if we’re being honest. And the ability the site gives you to meticulously comb through potential hires is second to none.”

List your Opening

Jimmy Minhas, CEO and Founder of GerdLi advises others to dive into the opportunistic world of job postings through LinkedIn, “I’ve seen too many companies assume they know all there is to listing their job openings online. Like it or not, there’s always something new around the corner online. In this case, LinkedIn presents maybe the wisest approach to job listings – ease of access.”

What exactly does this mean? If your company has an opening, and you make it public through LinkedIn, this will accomplish two things. First, this opening will appear in the search results to anyone who is seeking an opportunity within your industry. Second, any visitor to your company’s public page will see this opening. While both are distinct advantages when it comes to acquiring talent, the latter may have an edge.

As an example, consider your childhood mentality. Almost certainly, you had an idea of what you wanted to do for a job when you grew up. However, times have changed, and people grow up. Now, there are adults who have admiration and respect for what certain companies are doing and want to take part professionally. When people feel this way, they tend to visit said company’s LinkedIn page. Matt Miller, Founder and CEO of Embroker summarized this advantage, “When people visit a company’s LinkedIn page, generally, it is because they have a personal interest in the company. If they visit your page because of this and they see an opening, you may have found yourself a passionate employee, provided they’re qualified.”

Never Forget your Profile

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make when trying to fill a position using LinkedIn is to overlook the miniscule details of their public profile. Sara alshamsi, Chief Operating Officer of Big Heart Toys offered their perspective on this mistake, “Most people, adults, and children alike, are digitally literate nowadays. Kids know how to use iPads and your grandmother is on Facebook. For businesses looking to add employees, this is a fact worth noting. Any small mistake or oversight related to the creation of your LinkedIn page will give people the wrong idea.”

Think of it like this, as a user of the internet, you have expectations for how certain websites will function or appear due to a vast number of previous online experiences. On top of this, you are aware of when “something is off” visually. This could be any number of things from the lack of information on a page to the quality of an image. But no matter what the root the issue is, you, a digital visitor, notice it. Brooke Galko, Marketing Coordinator at PUR Cold Pressed Juice considers it necessary for companies to pay close attention to everything involving their online profile, “People go to the internet for answers. If you won’t provide them with said answers, they are happy to go elsewhere. If people want to work for you and they can’t uncover who you are through the largest professional networking site, LinkedIn, you might be sunk.”

Become Part of the System

As of now, you may be thinking that LinkedIn is a supersized social media platform with a side capability of drawing in potential hires. On some level, you are correct in thinking this. But, in recent years, LinkedIn has elevated itself beyond this. With the introduction of their recruiting tools, the site has gone from a social media platform to a specialist in talent solutions. Chris Vaughn, CEO of Emjay believes companies need to be getting on board with this development, “For years now, the game of finding the best employees has been played entirely online. Nowadays, LinkedIn is dominating it with their highly intuitive and fulfilling product they call LinkedIn Recruiter. It’s in the best interest of your company to make this part of your hiring process.”

Like with many online products, there are subscription tiers. The higher you choose to go, the more utilities you will have to identify professionals who could make an impact within your company. For example, moving up the ranks of LinkedIn’s subscription options will unlock more search tools than you know what to do with. In the case of finding a great employee, this is the best problem to have. Benjamin Meskin, President of Cabrella stated why, “Technology has made our world smaller than it ever was before. LinkedIn Recruiter makes this even more apparent as their ability to discover people from all walks of life is second to none. If you want someone incredibly specific to fill a role at your company, look no further.”

The greatest ideas in business can only go as far as the people behind them. If your company finds itself coming up short in a specific area, bringing in a new hire to tend to this may be the road forward. But, before this can happen, you must find a person worth hiring. Hopefully, the ideas presented above have given some direction in how to do this. If anything, remember the words of Glen Cathey, the senior vice-president of Randstad, “Sourcing and finding people is the most important. You can’t recruit, message, or network with someone you haven’t found.”