Insights On The New Age of Recruiting from LinkedIn's Talent Connect

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Last week I was one of over 4,500 talent acquisition professionals participating in Talent Connect 2015, LinkedIn's 6th annual conference for talent acquisition professionals. I came home from my second year at the conference with a notebook full of ideas and a head filled with inspiration and excitement.

I'll start with three themes that came up throughout the conference.

No More "Order Taking"- It's All About Talent Advising

Many of this year's speakers and panels emphasized topics which recast recruiting professionals as talent advisors. More than nomenclature, the idea here is that recruiters often default into "order taking" mode. Our businesses critically need to hire a laundry list of talent, and it's our job to fill those positions. While no one will disagree with that notion, we are doing a disservice to our organizations by doing business as usual in this manner. Recruiters as talent advisors can elevate work to that of a strategic business partnership by applying creativity and innovation to marketing and sourcing campaigns, by educating hiring teams about more effective screening strategies, and by leveraging data to optimize how we do our work across the board.

Think Like A Marketer, Like A Sales Professional

Finding candidates is challenging, and it is increasingly important to quickly target and attract the very best. Using the latest sales and marketing strategies, like the team at is doing, talent acquisition professionals can accomplish this by segmenting talent pools and applying the right marketing approach to each segment.

Building nurturing campaigns to engage with passive talent pools is also straight out of the sales playbook, and not a surprising strategy for a business like SFDC. One way to do this is by understanding which prospects are most likely to engage. LinkedIn is releasing its latest version of the tool, LinkedIn Recruiter, that will help by providing tabs to view any talent pool by prospects who are following your company or who are connected to your team. This will make it easy to prioritize sourcing activities and think more strategically about campaigns.

Talent Responds To Well Crafted Brand And Candidate Experiences

Finally, many of the keynote presentations focused on employment brand and candidate experience. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn highlighted the power of a sophisticated brand strategy, since it supports one of their ancillary products, the Careers page. Making sure that your brand presence there is well thought out is an obvious priority as more and more job seekers - active and passive - spend time on LinkedIn.

This year's keynote speakers took employment brand and candidate experience to a new level by blurring the lines between customers, candidates and employees: Nordstrom, L'Oreal and Uber highlighted ways in which their fantastic consumer brands resonated with top talent to help identify, engage and close prospects. L'Oreal created an amazing app for candidates that includes contextually triggered push notifications during on site interviews. Uber picks up prospects to do initial interviews in Uber cars.

But no Talent Connect is complete without inspirational keynote talks - and this year over-delivered.

Veronica Scott shared her journey from design student designing a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag for homeless wearers to social entrepreneur building The Empowerment Plan, a non-profit that employs the homeless to make these coats.

Jin Jiang recounted how he tackled the fear of rejection that held him back from achieving his career aspirations. His blog discusses his experience of Rejection Therapy. By seeking out opportunities to experience rejection, Jiang discovered both his own resilience and the surprise that people often say "yes." What was most striking about his story was that there seems to be almost no correlation between the audacity of his requests and the likelihood of "yes."

So, No Matter What Our Role, Let's All Aspire To:

  • Provide value to our organizations beyond "order taking" and business as usual.
  • Know that we will have successes and failures, people will say no and yes and it's not personal - it's just a numbers game, so just keep on keeping on.
  • Think big and make a difference wherever we can.

Did you attend Talent Connect? Let me know your key takeaways or thoughts on mine on Twitter. Tweet @goodhiretweets #BuildGreatTeams. "‹

Marielle Smith

Marielle Smith


Marielle Smith leads recruiting at Inflection and has previously led recruiting for businesses such as Apigee, Estalea, and News Digital Media (Fox). She’s a graduate of UC Irvine and has a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard.

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