It’s especially for HR leaders to increase their Sales recruiting channels. This post will show how to use LinkedIn for some free sales recruiting sources. Plus, you can download a tool to assess your current Reps’ “source-ability” scores.

leverage linkedin to find sales talent
Since the world didn’t end, you still need to recruit Sales personnel. Q1 of 2013 is a busy time to refill empty Sales territories. Sales leaders want replacement Reps FAST. We advise that Sales have benches of qualified candidates ready to call upon. Not all Sales teams have followed this advice, however. Now it is up to HR to help in the recruiting area. Did you know you already have a virtual “social” bench of candidates? Without having to upgrade your LinkedIn account?


The assumption is that top Sales employees know sales candidates. Top Sales reps are also in a position to help recruit these candidates. HR can review the LinkedIn profiles of their Sales staff to find candidates. Here are 5 areas of the LinkedIn profile to look through for candidates. The downloadable tool has an additional 6 areas described.


1. Connections w/ Similar Roles – This is the most effective and obvious source of candidates. Look for connections that have a similar role you are looking for. Don’t overlook titles/roles that may be a Sales candidate. For example, if you are looking for a Sales Rep, don’t ignore Sales management or consultant roles. With the new LinkedIn profiles, hovering on a connection shows you previous roles. You need to click into the connection to see details.


2. Recommendations (of others and from others) – Those recommended by your Sales employee could be candidates. Check the comments to see what the other connection was recommended for. Recommenders of your Sales employee may be of the same role. Look not only at their roles, but the content of their recommendation. See if their comments reveal competence. Again, hovering on their name will show previous roles.


3. Previous Employers – This one takes a bit more work, but check past employers of your employee. Hint: look first at companies where this sales employee held a similar role. Then, look through that company for candidates of the role you are filling. If you find one not interested, you can leverage their profile. Simply analyze it in the same way to get even further reach


4. Groups – Your Sales employee is a member of multiple groups. First, look for groups that relate to the position you’re filling. Then, go to that group (join it if you must) and look for “Top Influencers.” Also scan for high-caliber posts by people in the role(s) you want. Hover to see initial information, click in to see details.


5. Viewers of Profile Also Viewed – Most of the connections here will be fellow employees. Ignore these and check out the ones from other companies. Unless your firm is so big you might find an internal candidate. Remember that candidates can see that you viewed their profiles.


These are just 5 potential LinkedIn sources to leverage – at no additional cost. Downloading the tool (below) will give you 6 more. However, browsing through these sources will only reveal candidates. How do you know which candidates to take further in the hiring? SBI always looks at candidates’ performance in Accountabilities and Competencies. Don’t have those set up yet? Read this link for ideas. 


What if you have hundreds of Sales Reps? That’s a lot of work browsing through their LinkedIn profiles. Briefly, you should narrow down the list of connections to leverage by:


1. “A” player status – First, divide all the Reps into A, B, and C rankings. Work on the A list. If you upgrade to a recruiter account, there is a profile organizer to help. If you don’t want to pay, organize connections into your own groups. You just have to be connected to everyone whom you will be leveraging


2. LinkedIn Connection count – Next, divide the A players by number of LinkedIn connections. You want to work on the ones with 500+. If you have multiples of these, start first with those that have Premium accounts.


3. LinkedIn Profile completion – Finally, divide your “A” players into levels of profile completion. You can gauge this by seeing if their profile is completed with care in all areas. Check for Experience, Activity, Summary, Publications, Endorsements, Education, Recommendations, Groups, Following. Better LinkedIn profiles will have these areas completely filled out – and will mean a better network of connections.


Download this tool for what a good profile to leverage looks like. The tool includes all 11 LinkedIn sources to leverage. Each source is described and has comments on what a top profile looks like.



Call To Action
Filling those empty sales territories quickly can be done. Follow these steps:


1. Develop role Accountabilities and Competencies – the candidate search basis
2. Download this tool for help with the profile sourcing areas
3. Assess your own employees’ LinkedIn profiles for virtual sourcing ability
4. Start your candidate searching through your employee profiles
5. Get help by asking your Sales employees to suggest candidates from their network. (Consider adding this as a requirement to yearly goals)

6. Work with Sales to build virtual benches of candidates – so filling open spots will be faster in the future


Let Sales know you can help. And if you can’t get a territory filled fast, it’s not the end of the world!


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