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Social Media 101: LinkedIn, Part Three

February 27, 2009
by Gwen Darling
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How to recruit and/or be recruited

Leaving the best part for last, the final LinkedIn installment in our Social Media 101 series focuses on how to use the many LinkedIn tools to recruit top-notch Healthcare IT candidates or, alternatively, how to use the network to find your own next great opportunity. The power of LinkedIn to bring specific expertise and experience right to your doorstep is, well, nothing short of magic. Actually, I would not be writing this blog if it weren’t for the power of LinkedIn. Here’s my real life example:

About three years ago, I decided that it would be better for my family if I quit the corporate marketing grind of 60 hours a week and struck out on my own. Emancipating, right? Yep. No more short-sighted bosses, limited vacation days, or dull as dirt Board meetings for me! But wait…no more health insurance, paid time off, and 401k matching, either. Uh-Oh. I needed some clients, and needed them fast. To be honest, I don’t even remember where I read about LinkedIn – I do remember at the time they had 3 million members (36 million now), and it was free to build a basic profile. Up it went. As I recommended in a previous post on building your profile, I spent a fair amount of time on my LinkedIn presence, using descriptive keywords and phrases, and focusing on the specific skills and experience I wanted to parlay into my new role as a freelance Internet marketing consultant. A few weeks after becoming “LinkedIn,” I (in Fayetteville, AR) received an email from a total stranger (in Boston, MA), who was starting a new travel nurse firm. From searching the LinkedIn network for the words “travel nursing” and “marketing,” my profile had appeared, since I had extensive experience in this industry. Would I consider coming up to Boston to discuss a long-term consulting gig? Hell yeah! To make a long story a little shorter, this connection resulted in a great client, who happened to know Mr. HIStalk, who recruited me to run HealthcareITJobs.com, which put me in touch with Anthony Guerra, fantastic Editor of Healthcare Informatics, who asked me to contribute to this blog. None of this would have transpired without LinkedIn. See? It’s magic!

Okay. So how do you maximize the LinkedIn tools and resources to recruit the very best Healthcare IT professionals available, or perhaps find your next hospital CIO career opportunity? Here are the steps I recommend - let’s start from the recruitment side:

RECRUIT:

1. Build your profile well so that potential and/or passive candidates can do their research and quite possibly come to you first. Be specific about what your hospital is doing, using, and planning. Are you excited about your role as CIO and the state-of-the-art projects that are underway or right around the corner? Project that in your Summary – no one wants to work at Boring Memorial! Additionally, solicit some favorable recommendations from your current colleagues so that potential team members can learn firsthand what a peach you are to work for.

2. Spend 10-20 minutes each week searching for, and connecting with, past or present colleagues who may have connections that will be beneficial to you in some way (and, not to be totally self-serving, vice-versa).

3. Join appropriate Healthcare IT Groups to gain access to a wider network, so that you can selectively target qualified candidates, and expand the reach of your hospital’s brand (and your personal brand in the process).

4. Advertise the fact that you are a member of LinkedIn by adding a link to your profile in your email signature file. As email messages are forwarded, you never know who may be viewing your information and reaching out to you.

5. Explore the premium services that LinkedIn has to offer. Although the Basic membership is free, LinkedIn does offer additional upgrades that can be helpful when searching for qualified candidates, including upgraded correspondence options, job postings, and reference searches.

 

BE RECRUITED:

1. Build your profile well, and keep it up-to-date. Be specific about skills, talents, and experience, using keywords and phrases that a potential employer might use to find someone like you. In your Summary, include a well-written paragraph or two about where you’ve been, and where you’d like to go. Obviously if you are currently employed and want to stay on the D/L, or are simply a passive candidate (as we all should be, all the time), be careful here.

2. Spend as much time as possible building your personal connection network by reaching out to past and present colleagues, fraternity brothers, college roommates, etc. You will be amazed at how many of your old gang are LinkedIn.

3. Join appropriate Groups to expand your network. In addition to the usual Healthcare IT suspects, LinkedIn also has groups for Recruiters, Job Seekers, HR, etc. Joining Groups not only gives you access to its membership, it gives you instant credibility, as well.

4. Advertise the fact that you are a member of LinkedIn by adding a link to your profile in your email signature file. Many recruiters are now using LinkedIn profiles as a preliminary resume’, so you just never know where your list of shining achievements may end up.

5. Use LinkedIn to help do pre-interview and pre-application research. Chances are good that the hospital CIO or Director of HR you are getting ready to meet next week has a LinkedIn profile. It never hurts to know where they went to college, their hobbies (look at their Groups!), or, if you’re lucky, exactly what they’re looking for.

 

In addition to the sheer “Wow” factor (I mean, how cool is the fact that 36 million people are connected – take that Kevin Bacon!), the real beauty of LinkedIn is that it can often effectively cut out the gatekeeper, hooking you up with the decision maker or oh-so-elusive but perfect Healthcare IT candidate that traditional contact methods make impossible to reach. As with any Social Media application, LinkedIn is not a substitute for face-to-face interaction, but nothing can beat it for efficiently laying the groundwork to get there.

To learn even more, take a look at LinkedIn’s Learning Center – a super resource for quickly becoming an expert! Next week, we’ll take a brief look at Facebook, and I’ll give you compelling reasons why to steer clear. See you next week!

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