New LinkedIn Feature Helps Recruiters Find Contract Workers

By Roy Maurer Mar 21, 2017

Recruiters will be able to zero in on the right candidate for a particular contract role or project using LinkedIn's new contractor tagging feature.

The new filter, housed within the site's Open Candidates function, narrows LinkedIn Recruiter queries to results for users self-identifying as interested in contract work.

"We know it can be frustrating to come across what looks like the perfect candidate in your search, only to discover after multiple back-and-forth communications that they aren't interested in the type of role, location or even … making a move," said Eduardo Vivas, head of product for LinkedIn's Talent Solutions business.

[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Target Passive Job Seekers]

The Open Candidates tool (launched in October 2016), the new contractor filter and another product update called Apply Starters—which reaches out to people who have begun an application but do not finish it—were all created to help recruiters focus on the right candidates and improve their response rates, according to Vivas.

The features help unlock what Vivas calls "open talent," that is, people who aren't actively looking for a new job but who would be interested in the opportunities being advertised. The tools are meant to help recruiters identify new pools of talent who have been proven to be more responsive than unsolicited candidate leads.

For example, if searching to fill contract roles, recruiters can focus on candidates who have indicated their interest in contract work by checking a box on their profile.

"Since contract roles represent a growing portion of today's workforce, being able to search specifically for contractors has been one of our most frequently requested features," Vivas said.

The Apply Starters spotlight filter puts recruiters in touch with the high number of users who drop out of the application process.

"We've found that as many as 74 percent of candidates don't finish an application when they're directed to company careers sites," Vivas said.

Yet these potential candidates may be just as qualified as other applicants and are often still interested in the role. "This makes them four times as likely to respond to a recruiter as the average LinkedIn member," Vivas said.

Finally, according to the company, 3.4 million LinkedIn users have enabled the Open Candidates feature, which privately notifies external recruiters that they're open to new opportunities.

These tools are just some of the ways employers should be looking for new talent, said Toni Thompson, head of talent and HR at The Muse, a career coaching and job site located in New York City. However, just as important as new search methods is creating and supporting a strong employer brand.

"From a business perspective, employers need to take the first step and focus on employer branding to signal to the right candidates that they are hiring," she said. "[Bringing] the top candidates in the door requires more than just a job posting and must focus on engaging with the company's website, social channels and overall brand. Highlight the best parts of your company in unique yet consistent ways; showcase employee success stories, company achievements and overall brand awesomeness." 

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