Mom & Pops Are Starting to Use LinkedIn for their Hiring

While many large companies pay for LinkedIn’s premium recruiting services, sales people use it to research potential clients, and workers go to the professional social network for job opportunities, it’s small businesses that have taken a big leap in using LinkedIn to recruit.

Just a year ago, only 5% of small business owners said they most often use LinkedIn when looking to hire, according to our SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard survey. However, today as many as 25% of small business owners are making LinkedIn a go-to recruiting tool.

It’s part of an overall shift among small business owners to use social media for a variety of purposes – our customers tell us they’re increasingly going to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to advertise, recruit and investigate the quality of a job candidate.

When it comes to small business recruiting, LinkedIn ranks fourth behind the following:

  • Word of mouth – 66%
  • Job boards – 37%
  • Craigslist – 34%
  • LinkedIn – 25%

More Than Just an Online Resume

LinkedIn has become more than just a place to put your resume online. It’s a tool for professional branding, and you can often tell when someone has optimized their profile for a new job as opposed to promoting their company.

Instead of “Account Representative at Company XYZ,” you’ll see “Determined Sales Professional Drives Growth.” You get the picture.

That’s why recruiters are able to fairly quickly find good candidates beyond just what’s being submitted to their company career site or email address.

Savvy companies today are looking to hire the right fit, whether that person applies for an opening or not, and LinkedIn is an ideal way to do that. Small business owners are able to quickly search for what they’re looking for, almost like a Google search, rather than doing the legwork of making phone calls and networking in person.

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Beyond LinkedIn

Even Facebook and Twitter are starting to become tools for recruiting, while not nearly as heavily used as LinkedIn. As many as 18% of small business owners use Facebook to recruit and 4% use Twitter.

Roughly one in three (31%) use Facebook when checking into the quality of a given job candidate, the same number that use LinkedIn for that purpose. Five percent use Twitter.

What Are They Looking For?

We know that social media is trending in recruiting, but what exactly are small business owners looking for?

In our survey, they mentioned a number of specific things they look at on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn when researching a candidate, aside from just job experience:

  • Red flags – something that would indicate a flaw in their character.
  • Character references on what they post and additional indications of behavior.
  • Friendliness, positivity, success in relationships.
  • Maturity, general view of the world.
  • Good writing and communication skills.
  • Personality, lifestyle, images.

In the past, perhaps, you could be a totally different person at work than you were in your personal life. But now so much of people’s personal lives have become part of social media that the personal and the professional are blending. Recruiters and employers are taking notice and using it to their advantage in the hiring process.

Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.

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