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How to Get Talent Pool Insights from LinkedIn

Posted by Eric Putkonen on 05/17/2016 in Recruiting articles |

I thought I would talk about a conversation I recently had with a hiring manager (that I had never worked with before) during our initial intake meeting/discovery call…more specifically the research before that call.  What I knew ahead of time (from the initial job description sent) is that this would be a Java developer role and the minimum requirements showed a long list that included the following:

  • Java
  • Hadoop
  • Hive
  • Pig
  • HBase
  • ETL
  • JSON
  • REST
  • and a half dozen other items

Also, the position has to office from Boston, MA.  So I knew that if these were all requirements, we would have absolutely no one to show the hiring manager.  It is just too much.  But just saying so would not have the impact I was looking for, so I did some research on LinkedIn.

linkedin

When I selected a people search and entered “java” as a keyword and selected Boston as the location, I saw that there are 62,921 profiles on LinkedIn meeting these search parameters.

Now if I added “Hadoop” to the search, so it said “java hadoop” in the search bar and again selected Boston as the location, there were 3,038 profiles with the keywords java AND hadoop.  When you add terms in a string, LinkedIn will read it as “AND” operators between the terms.

For each additional keyword I will show you what the number of results were for the other terms when added one at a time:

+ hive       –        810

+ pig         –       428

+ hbase     –       240

+ etl          –        76

+ json       –        15

+ rest        –         8 (and one was actually a recruiter)

Any technical recruiter knows that java professionals are hard to come by these days and many have a H1B…but the pool of about 62,921 in Boston goes down to 8 with only half of the requirements listed in the req I received (and we didn’t even mention number of years experience or anything).

Thank you Esther Vargas (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Thank you Esther Vargas (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Of course, there are probably a few more java professionals in existence…as some studies show that 20% of IT pros are not on LinkedIn.  These LinkedIn results can be seen as a sample of most of the population, however.

From this position of power through information, I was able to then have a good initial conversation with the hiring manager. Instead of just saying that there were too many requirements or that few would meet these requirements, I was able to show what the numbers were.

I could show her these results and I did a few other searches on the fly (ad hoc to account for adding or removing certain parameters).  In the end, she was convinced to make most of these parameters preferences and not part of the minimum requirements for the position.

We were able to talk about training and what had to be known on day one and what could be picked up along the way.  She was startled by how quickly the pool shrank with each keyword and became more open to other possibilities.

This is so effective because it tangibly established me as an expert that knew the numbers and could share the numbers were her.  We know that as recruiters we are the experts in hiring and the candidate pools, salaries, etc.  But, many hiring managers do not see us as experts.  Numbers are respected and being someone with all the numbers puts you in a good position of being seen as an expert.

This also helps the conversation in terms of what might not be the right keywords or terms.  I have since had hiring managers ask for skill-sets…that when I looked on LinkedIn…showed only double digit numbers of profiles on LinkedIn for that office location.  One term alone should not kill the candidate pool so readily, so it might not be the right term to use.

Also, as you look at the top few profiles…you might see other technologies or skills listed and you could ask your hiring managers if these are used as well and might be good preferences.  Again, knowing this before the initial call to discuss the new req will put you in “expert” status.  It shows you know something about what they are doing.

Thumbs upYou might see that most of the profiles you see are all coming from one or two companies in the area (besides your own).  And this can be used to fuel the conversation of where to find these candidates.   You can say you know that X and Y have a lot of these kinds of people, so would these be good places to recruit from…and what other companies might be good places to look at.

I suggest trying this the next time you are preparing for a call with the hiring manager about a new job you received.  You may be surprised at how well it works in getting your hiring managers to consider what skills they are requiring.

Also check out my older article, “How to Compare the Size of Talent Pools by Location“…which is the same basic searching on LinkedIn, but using the data in a different way.

 

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