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a different perspective on human capital

Employer Best Practices for Using LinkedIn Jobs

LinkedIn can be an incredible platform for both job seekers and employers. While it’s 100% free to create a post stating that you’re either job-hunting or hiring, LinkedIn Jobs – the portion of the platform dedicated specifically to job postings – is a particularly great resource. LinkedIn Jobs allows anyone with a LinkedIn account to post job descriptions and receive applicants. The way it’s set up is a bit tricky – rather than paying X amount of money for a post that lasts X days, you’re paying X amount per day as long as you choose to leave the post up – but once you get the hang of it, it’s a fantastic asset.

LinkedIn Jobs can be a great way to find applicants you might not discover otherwise. In fact, several of our placements this past year were candidates who applied via LinkedIn Jobs. However, some job posts receive an overwhelming number of applications from candidates who are far from qualified for the position at hand. How can you keep up with the volume and separate the star candidates from unqualified ones (and worse, bots)? Here’s what we do here at Treehouse Partners.

Manage your expectations. We’ve found that typically, there are far more applicants who are not qualified for the role than those who are strong fits – for most of our LinkedIn Jobs postings, we’re rejecting anywhere from 75-100% of applicants. It may sound harsh, but the fact is, many candidates apply to jobs for which they are not remotely qualified. We recently worked on a role where we received nearly 800 applications on LinkedIn, and of those, we interviewed five candidates. This is not the case with every job we post on LinkedIn – we’ve had great success on other postings – but it’s helpful to keep these statistics in mind when setting out to review a pile of applications.

Set up automated rejection emails. LinkedIn Jobs allows hiring managers and recruiters to create a custom message (or use LinkedIn’s suggested auto-response) that will go out to candidates three days after they’re marked “not a fit.” This message lets candidates know you won’t be moving forward with their application. We believe it’s a good and courteous practice to send a response (even an automated one) to every candidate who applies. Pro tip: You can still save resumes to your database even if you’re rejecting a candidate. There are plenty of instances in which a candidate isn’t a strong fit for a specific role but could be great for something else down the road.

Utilize required application questions. This is our favorite trick; a godsend and a massive time saver! When posting a role via LinkedIn Jobs, you’ll have the opportunity to add questions that candidates must answer in order to submit an application. These questions can be “must-haves,” and you also have the option to automatically reject candidates who do not meet the “must-have” requirements. LinkedIn has many pre-formulated questions, such as “Have you completed the following education [degree]?”, “How many years of experience do you have with [skill]?”, and more. You may also select the custom question option, which allows you to formulate a question according to your needs. Answers may be yes/no or numeric. At the time of this writing, LinkedIn Jobs does not offer a free-form response option.

Application questions save a ton of time, because most jobs have basic requirements that candidates must meet in order to be considered for the position. For example, if you need candidates who have at least five years of experience in the real estate industry, you can ask, “How many years of real estate industry experience do you have?” If you need candidates who are fluent in Spanish (or any other language), there’s an option for that too. Should you select “filter out and send rejections to candidates who don’t meet any of the must-have qualifications,” LinkedIn will automatically reject anyone who does not answer your required questions with a suitable answer, saving you the hassle of thumbing through potentially hundreds of candidate profiles that aren’t right for the job.

Check resumes AND LinkedIn profiles. Unfortunately, people don’t always tell the truth on their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. When a candidate applies to your job post on LinkedIn jobs, they are required to submit a resume – but you’ll also be able to see their LinkedIn profile. Do a quick skim of both to make sure everything checks out. If dates, job titles, companies, or any other aspects are significantly mismatched, this is a red flag. If you’re using required application questions, it’s important to investigate the applicants’ answers too. Frankly, we’ve seen many applicants flat-out lie when answering our required questions – if you’re asking things like “how many years of retail experience do you have?” and the candidate answers 10, their resume and LinkedIn profile should reflect this.

Keep track of how well your jobs perform. If you use LinkedIn Jobs, you’ll soon see that some jobs receive far more applicants than others. Part of this phenomenon is the job market – it’s constantly in flux, so there will be periods in which applicants in certain fields or industries are more active in job-hunting, as was the case with the recent tech layoffs. Remote jobs tend to be in particularly high demand these days, and those with high salaries typically draw in lots of applicants. We’ve certainly noticed there are some jobs that seem to perform well on LinkedIn regardless of what’s happening in the economy – marketing, operations, and strategy roles, in particular (regrettably, these also tend to be postings that attract a large number of unqualified applicants). We keep track of things like the type of job, field, industry, number of applications, and resulting interviews in a spreadsheet and use the insights to determine how much, if anything, we’re willing to spend on promoting a role on LinkedIn Jobs.

All this might sound like a lot of effort to find a handful of diamonds in the rough, but at the end of the day, it’s well worth the effort. Once you’ve learned how to use LinkedIn Jobs and figured out the (admittedly confusing) platform, putting these tips and tricks into practice can cut down immensely on your time spent reviewing applications. Over time, you’ll learn which jobs it makes sense to promote with a sponsored post and which jobs just don’t seem to pull in any applications. Who knows? Your next great hire might be just around the corner.