Sales talent is tough to find. Those who are great at what they do aren’t usually spending their time on job boards. According to a survey from The Adler Group, 15 percent of employed professionals are active candidates pursuing a new opportunity — another 68 percent are open to listening to new opportunities, but aren’t actively looking. So how do you find those talented salespeople you need?
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for networking — not only to find clients, but also to find candidates. Here’s how to use LinkedIn to find your next superstar salesperson.
- First, determine what you’re looking for in a candidate. Do you need a certain amount of experience? Experience in a particular industry? To be in a particular location?
- Use the Advanced Search feature to find potentials. Under Advanced Search, make sure you’ve got People Search selected (not Jobs), and the fill the fields and select industry, experience, location, etc. according to your criteria. The results should give you an excellent list of potential candidates. (Note that some of these criteria require a premium membership — it’s probably worth at least doing a trial to get access to these.)
- Narrow your list. Do you want candidates to have certain certifications? Add the certification into the search Keywords field. Repeat this step for any other essentials you’re looking for.
- Determine who might be open to being contacted about career opportunities. One place to learn this is the bottom of each profile where it says “Contact So-and-So For”. Users can select whether they want to be contacted for career opportunities, so look for those folks. But remember, just because someone hasn’t checked that box doesn’t mean he or she isn’t open to opportunities. If you find a particularly interesting candidate, go ahead and contact!
- Contact the people you’ve found. If you’ve got a premium membership, you can send InMail messages to those you’ve found. You can also join groups they’re members of and send InMail to them through the group (Simply look for "Members: on the group page, click the number of members, then search for the person’s name and click the envelope icon.) Keep in mind that some of your targets may get a lot of email, so pitch your potential candidate the same way you’d pitch a potential client: always lead with what’s in it for them, and include a Valid Business Reason.
You’ll be surprised how many excellent professionals you can meet using LinkedIn. You can also keep your Talent Bank full simply by using LinkedIn! Focus on building a relationship, priming them for when you’re ready to hire.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published April 11, 2016 and has been updated.