Tips and tricks for finding top talent on LinkedIn

The number of people seeking work in the U.S. is the lowest it’s been in 35 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes a monthly jobs report. The low labor force participation rate is due in large part to the fact that baby boomers are retiring in record numbers. Finding top talent in this limited job market is tough, but employers can succeed by tailoring their recruitment practices to the job search habits of the young employees who will make up tomorrow’s workforce. Learning to effectively use LinkedIn, the preferred professional social network of Millennials, as a recruitment tool is an important first step.

Here’s how several nonprofit leaders and recruitment experts are using LinkedIn to identify and attract top young talent:

Sarah Cobb, Executive Director, Neighborhood Parents Network

Top tip: Use relevant keywords to direct the right candidates to your job postings

"We use LinkedIn to promote our job postings that appear on Including keywords like ‘part-time’ and ‘flexible’ helps our postings show up in more searches and directs more attention to them than they would ever get alone. We have had several candidates say they saw our open positions on LinkedIn."

Jeff VandeLeest, Executive Vice President, Family Services of Northeastern Wisconsin

Top tip: Keep an eye on the local ecosystem and recruit top talent before they begin a search

"Though we don’t use LinkedIn for direct recruitment, we do use it to keep an eye on our local nonprofit ecosystem and the talent within it. LinkedIn is full of clues about movement within the industry, and if you’re perceptive, you can often identify a talented employee who is ready to make a move before her or she puts in notice or submits a resume."

Patricia Hampton, Vice President/Managing Partner, Nonprofit HR

Top tip: Add value first and focus on what really matters

"We always tell our clients not to forget about social karma when using LinkedIn. Be social and thoughtful. Don’t approach everything you do as a direct recruitment exercise. Instead, post useful things for your network that will help people succeed at work. And don’t forget your EEOC Guidelines. LinkedIn gives HR professionals and recruiters access to a lot more information about candidates than we have ever had. Do not allow your personal prejudices to contaminate your search. Don't focus on items such as profile pictures. Focus on skills and job history. You don't want to miss a superstar because they have a bad profile picture."

Lisa Brown-Morton is the President and CEO of Nonprofit HR. Under her direction, Nonprofit HR has served some of the most prominent organizations in the country, including Amnesty International, Independent Sector and NeighborWorks America. With more than two decades of human resource management experience working with nonprofits and for-profit organizations, Lisa and her firm have proven that better HR can play an integral role in nonprofit success.