Though it started as a way to keep track of professional networks online, LinkedIn has become an increasingly useful tool for recruiters and employers who want to tap into the power of social networking. As a result, millions of employers and employees post detailed profiles of themselves on the site.

If you’re thinking about using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Learn How LinkedIn Can Help You

LinkedIn is an excellent tool for filling mid-and-upper level positions, but it isn’t as effective for filling entry-level jobs or for mass hiring. This is partly because the people who use LinkedIn tend to be educated, experienced, and at least somewhat tech-savvy. They’re not looking for just any job, but for jobs that fit their particular qualifications.

As a result, LinkedIn can be especially useful for finding candidates for positions that are difficult to fill, as it relies on a system of connections and recommendations, rather than blanket advertising.

Develop a rich company profile

Consider your company profile your storefront, the first thing a prospective hire sees about your company. In order to pull jobseekers in, you need to convey, simply and clearly, who you are as a brand.

Provide clear information about what your company does. By using relevant keywords, you make your company profile more searchable by Google as well. Encourage current employees to link to your company profile, so you look more attractive to prospects.

To make sure your profile is adequate, run a search for keywords that are relevant to you. If you’re not appearing where you should be, you need to keep tweaking your company page.

Develop your existing network

As you develop your company profile, you should reach out to your existing contacts. Connect with employees past and present, and work on maintaining good relationships with them.

Remember, each new connection puts you closer to their connections. When you’re hunting for the right candidate to fill a job, your contacts can help you by finding and recommending relevant people.

Don’t expand your network just to recruit new employees. Maintain your connections the same way you would real life business connections, and then your network will be more likely to help you when you consult them.

Use LinkedIn to actively search for prospective employees

LinkedIn offers a number of different ways to search for employees. You can search not only by keyword or skill, but by past/current employer, location, and recommendations. This way, even if the employees failed to put the exactly relevant details in their profiles, you can still find them.

LinkedIn allows you to go a step further with its advanced search tool, which gives to become very specific in your search. You can even save certain search parameters, and LinkedIn will email you whenever a new candidate qualifies.

Engage in LinkedIn’s Groups and Forums

LinkedIn groups are a great way to connect with others involved in your industry or who fulfill a particular job function. These groups offer an easy way to build new relationships and share relevant industry info.

Post jobs in career section

LinkedIn does contain a traditional space to advertise career opportunities. Include links to application forms, your company page, and any employee testimonials. You can then share job profiles with LinkedIn groups or specific contacts.

If you budget allows, you can even make use of the LinkedIn ad platform and target your ads by a number of parameters, including geography, skills, job title, industry, and so on.

Don’t forget the telephone

While LinkedIn is an excellent tool to identify potential candidates, it’s not the best method to use in the actual recruitment process. After making initial contact with InMail or through email, take the extra step and phone your prospects. This way, they know that you’re serious about hiring them, and are more likely to take the initiative to move the process along.

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