Published 3/10/2017 in The Maryland Daily Record
Anyone who knows me well will vouch for the fact that I am not a fan of social media. Having tried Facebook many years ago and only to shut down my profile soon after, I feel liberated from the traps of social media. I didn’t have great self-control with Facebook. I would constantly check for updates and found that I would spend hours looking at other people’s lives, leading to some part of my own life wasting away. So, I decided to shut it down completely and haven’t looked back.
In some ways, I know I am missing out on things. Yet I feel the trade-off to reclaim my time outweighs whatever posting I don’t know about. Most any organization that provides updates through Facebook is also willing to reach out via direct email, which works better for me. My friends know that I will be out of the loop on anything happening on Facebook so they will continue to keep me up to date.
I haven’t investigated other sites like Instagram and Snapchat, but I suspect once my son is old enough to use these types of things I may have to force myself to figure them out. I explain all of this because, despite my feelings about social media, there is one exception that I want to share that is actually helping me in my business.
The one exception to my no-social-media policy is LinkedIn, the networking site that connects people professionally and fosters an online professional community where experts in various areas can share subject matter expertise.
I have found this site to be an invaluable tool in a few key areas. Initially, I created a personal profile on LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and friends. This opened up the next level of connection to all the contacts of my contacts, which grew my reach far beyond what I had anticipated. This broad network has served as a center of resources, information, news, insight and innovation around the ways in which people promote themselves professionally.
The most significant benefit that LinkedIn has provided is the job posting and recruiting tools that are available. When posting for an open position, LinkedIn makes it very easy to follow a template that holds the important information about the position that you want to fill. Once the details of the position are completed, there are flexible pricing options that are very competitive relative to other job posting sites. The fee is paid by credit card, and then your posting goes live. Once this happens, LinkedIn’s technology immediately starts mining the full LinkedIn database of all contacts that could be an appropriate match for the position. Relevant work experience, geographic location and years of experience are a few examples of the search criteria that LinkedIn will use to match.
Before anyone applies to the posting, LinkedIn is sending profile matches that can be reviewed ahead of time. The benefit of being able to read someone’s profile is that you can usually see a photo, a description of their experience, where they have worked, for how long, where they went to school, any groups that they follow, who their contacts are and even better, which contacts you know in common and how many.
Once you determine who may be a match, the person can be contacted directly through the messaging capability to arrange a direct conversation. These suggested matches happen immediately and continue to increase as more time goes on. Meanwhile, people can apply directly. LinkedIn has impressive data analytics to track various matrices about the types of candidates that have applied. LinkedIn also stores all the postings and applicant profiles so even when your posting timeframe has expired, you still have access to all the activity that occurred.
Our last three hires have come through LinkedIn. For each position that we were looking to fill, we had an abundance of qualified people who would be a great addition to most any organization. I am amazed by the way that candidates self-select in to your organization because they also have the same search capability to do their research before applying. Not only do I have a personal LinkedIn profile page, we also have an &Wealth company profile page on LinkedIn that anyone can access. So, candidates are able to screen the company in advance in the same way we, as the employer can search the individual profiles. I have found that this makes for a very efficient process when trying to screen for real potential.
Despite my aversion to social media, I will continue to leverage the tools of LinkedIn and look forward to seeing what’s next with these capabilities.
—Dorie Fain, founder and CEO of &Wealth