How to Decode and Interpret Candidate LinkedIn Profiles

LinkedIn, the premier social networking site for business and professional needs, has thrown open the doors to the candidate search like never before.  Now, with a few simple clicks, employers can seek out the top players in their industries and target candidates that look most promising.

With this expansion in search results, however, comes a problem.  As LinkedIn becomes more popular, more and more candidates are posting profiles – many of which seem very similar in appearance and many of which use identical buzzwords.  How can employers sort the wheat from the chaff and “decode” LinkedIn profiles to reveal the actual top candidates?

Top candidates in many fields share similarities – including how they approach their LinkedIn professional profiles.  Here are some key elements to look for when deciding whether a candidate belongs in your “yes” or “no” column:

  • A professional photograph.  Candidates who take pride in their careers and their professional work will often take the time to upload a professionally-made photograph or to crop an amateur photograph so that it looks professional – presenting the candidate with a neat appearance and in front of a neutral background.  By contrast, candidates who have uploaded a photograph from a summer vacation or another casual setting may not have cultivated the professional persona appropriate to every organization.
  • A focused headline.  LinkedIn profiles offer candidates the chance to summarize their primary offerings and accomplishments in a “headline.”  Top candidates often offer a focused, specific headline that sums up their key skills and accomplishments; less serious candidates may attempt to stuff in too many keywords – or worse, leave the headline blank altogether.
  • Experience and connections in companies you recognize.  The smaller your industry is or the more region-specific your work, the more likely it is that top candidates will share experience and connections in companies whose names you recognize or with whom your own top players are familiar.  Experience and connections to organizations you’ve never heard of, however, may be less valuable – especially if the profile claims the companies you’ve never heard of are key players in your industry.

While a LinkedIn profile is rarely the final word in any hiring decision, the information offered here can be a great start in finding top candidates.  Your staffing partner can also help you decode and interpret particular profiles, as well as providing information about candidates who may become a great fit with your company.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our experienced staffing partners can help you find the top-quality candidates you’re looking for – even when it means discovering the hidden messages in their LinkedIn profiles or other professional information.  Contact us today to learn more!

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