5 Things Every Federal Recruiter Should Know About LinkedIn

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Some people think LinkedIn is only for active job seekers. Although many of LinkedIn’s 300,000,000+ registered members fit that profile, LinkedIn is also chock-full of passive job seekers—those who have a job but are interested in learning about a new opportunity. Either way, LinkedIn is a valuable tool that provides recruiters with a large database of qualified candidates.

In 2012, Peace Corps recognized that long gone were the days of the rolodex and “post and pray” approach, and that it was time to reach job seekers on their preferred engagement platform. Specifically, Peace Corps Response, a Peace Corps program that recruits mid- and senior-level professionals for short-term Volunteer positions, utilized the agency’s contract and piloted LinkedIn for recruitment. Since their first position posting, the Peace Corps Response team has seen many successes and learned many lessons.

Here are 5 tips that Peace Corps Response recommends to federal recruiters as they explore the world of LinkedIn:

  1. The personal is professional. LinkedIn requires that ‘Recruiter Manager’ accounts connect to a personal profile, not anonymously through an agency. This is not a bad thing. Although you are technically required to tie personal and professional accounts together on the back end, LinkedIn gives you the option to hide your personal information on the front end. In addition, each job listing allows you to provide a link that directs job seekers to the application – leaving your information out of the equation if you so choose. (Cue a sigh of relief to all the job posting administrators!)
  2. Use your network. Once you have posted your open position to LinkedIn, the next step you should take is to leverage your network and share the posting. Much like any other social media platform, the virality of something on LinkedIn takes more than just a “post and pray” mentality. One of the greatest assets a recruiter can have is their own network. If you are new to LinkedIn, you can easily grow a network by connecting with friends, family, and past and current colleagues.
  3. Groups are gold. There are more than 2.1 million Groups on LinkedIn and they are all composed of active and passive job seekers. LinkedIn Groups are a goldmine for recruiters because Group participants have publically affiliated themselves with Groups based on their personal or professional preferences. For example, if you are hiring a Financial Advisor you can search Groups for the keyword “Financial” and viola—there are 21,991 search results that show up. You will want to narrow down your search with their advanced search settings, and make sure you respect the posting rules of the Group.
  4. GSA is on it. Peace Corps successfully negotiated the first federal agreement with LinkedIn in 2012. Since then, LinkedIn has evolved to include many new paid services that complicate the terms of the original contract. GSA is aware of this issue and has plans to renegotiate these paid terms on behalf of all federal agencies.
  5. Be aware of limitations. As federal recruiters, we all must keep privacy and discrimination issues at the forefront of our minds. In a recent article published by the Associate of Staff Physician Recruiters, the author talks about how social media can sometimes give us too much information about our candidates, which can potentially be a risk. The author recommends several social media policies and procedures that all recruiters and HR departments should consider.

Erika Brown is a Marketing and Communication Coordinator for the Peace Corps Response, a short-term, high-impact Peace Corps program.

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