500+ connections on LinkedIn is a badge of honour for recruiters. I always wonder what’s going on when I see a recruiter’s profile and they have fewer than 500 connections, especially if they have been in recruitment for more than a year.
Think about it, a recruiter connects with their colleagues, potential candidates, and clients on Linkedin (as a bare minimum). They would only need to make 10 connections per week and they will hit 500+ connections within a year.
Networking is the lifeblood of recruitment and Linkedin connections are the byproduct of all our talent sourcing activities. We should be speaking to more than 10 new people per week, right? Especially when we’re first starting out.
What are the benefits of a larger Linkedin network?
Growing your LinkedIn network allows you to reach more people, and for more people to be able to reach you. So, even if you have a LinkedIn Recruiter licence, being well connected is still advantageous.
You can search LinkedIn for free. With a free LinkedIn account, you can search for people who are in your network. Your network is made up of your connections, their connections (your 2nd tier), and their connections (your 3rd tier). So it really helps to have connections who are relevant to the industry you recruit in and who are well networked themselves.
A larger network gives you credibility. If people can see that you have connections in common, they’re more likely to respond to your messages and connection requests.
The search technology for LinkedIn.com and LinkedIn Recruiter is not the same. If you ever feel like you’re looking at all the same profiles over on LinkedIn Recruiter, it’s helpful to have a sizable, and relevant, network to search through the main website.
It all comes back to networking. there’s no tool you can pay for that is as powerful as having a relevant network of contacts to draw on.
Don’t send 500 connection requests on your first day
This is an important point. LinkedIn monitors the behaviour of users in order to detect suspicious activity. As with most social networks, LinkedIn has its issues with spammers and scammers. A sure thing to land you in Linkedin jail is sending a lot of connection requests or messages from a new account.
If you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while, you have a couple of thousand connections, and you pay for an upgraded account, you can get away with more activity. Although more than 100 connections requests in a day will probably still get you cut off.
As a newbie to LinkedIn, you’ll want to take it easy. I’d recommend sending 20 or so targeted connections each workday.
How to start building your LinkedIn network
If you’re new to recruitment, you might not be out talking to candidates and clients just yet, but you can still get a headstart and set yourself up for success on LinkedIn. Start by getting your LinkedIn profile looking as good as possible, and then start connecting with your colleagues.
And I mean, ALL your colleagues. This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to miss this simple step. Start by visiting your company’s page on LinkedIn, click through to view all employees, and prioritise any 2nd-degree connections to send invites to first.
If you’re working in-house for a company, prioritise connecting with your colleagues in recruitment and those who work in the teams you’ll be hiring for.
Third-party recruiters (working for an agency, executive search firm, or RPO), you should start with your boss and teammates, and go from there.
If you work in a small company, you could also consider connecting with people you used to work or study with as well.
Download the LinkedIn mobile app, this will make it quick and easy to connect with anyone relevant that you meet while out and about.
Join groups on LinkedIn. This is also a valid way to grow your network. When you join a group, its members become a part of your searchable network.
LinkedIn groups don’t see much useful activity these days, and you might want to dive into your communications settings and turn off emails from groups, but they still have a place in your LinkedIn strategy to give your network a boost.
Establish good habits to grow your LinkedIn Connections to 500+
Gaining more connections is really about getting into good habits. As recruitment professionals, we talk to lots of new people all the time. We should be inviting those people to connect on LinkedIn.
Connect to your candidates and clients. It’s obvious advice, but it’s easy to miss people. Make sure you have Outlook and LinkedIn talking to each other if you use Outlook for your work emails. It will make it so much easier to hop straight to the right person on LinkedIn.
Regularly check out who has viewed your LinkedIn profile. Is there anyone there who looks relevant and you could send an invite to? Try adding a note to your invitation, to help prompt a conversation – “I noticed that you viewed my LinkedIn profile. I’d be happy to connect with you and don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can ever be of any help.”
Personalise your invites. My advice used to be that you should always personalise your invites. Not everyone logs into LinkedIn every day, especially if they’re not a recruiter. Thank them for their time on the phone or remind them which event you met at. I think this advice still holds up when you have already interacted with someone (even if only in a small way, like a person viewing your profile).
Or don’t. More recently, I’ve been having more success sending connection requests with no note when I want to connect to someone I don’t have any sort of real-life connection with yet.
Connect with me on Linkedin. Do feel free to send me an invite and let me know if you found this blog post helpful when you do.
Keep Going past 500+ Connection on LinkedIn
By the time you get to 500+ connections on LinkedIn, these habits should be well ingrained, but don’t let them fall by the wayside.
It might be time to review the groups you’re a member of – are they still relevant?
If you haven’t already, start expanding your connecting activity to the sort of people you would like as clients and/or candidates.
Target companies going through change, target the skills your clients are always looking for, and prioritise sending invitations to your 2nd-degree connections to maximise your success.
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