Mar 10, 2009

Linked-In has been a favorite tool of mine for a couple of years now. Whether I need to find a hiring manager or a hot candidate, I have turned to LinkedIn and in most cases I have had good results.

LinkedIn is sort of like multi-level marketing. In MLMs, people sign up under you, buy products, convince others to buy products, and you make money off of their work. With LinkedIn, people connect to you, they get other people to connect with them, and their connections are the currency that you gain by being connected. LinkedIn is a great networking tool, but to get maximum effectiveness from it you have to have a decent sized network. To steal a Chinese parable, the best time to build a network is twenty years ago, or today. Since we obviously can’t go back in time, let’s focus on today.

Lion Taming

One great way I have found to increase your network quickly is what I call “Lion Taming.” There are users on LinkedIn that consider themselves LIONs or LinkedIn Open Networkers. These users are open to connecting with ANY other LinkedIN user whether they know them or not. The basic rule to being a LION is that you will not decline any request to join your network. Finding and connecting to these users is an easy and effective way to grow your network. One of the major advantages to connecting to a LION is that they tend to have thousands of connections that are added to your searchable network once you connect with them.

Lion taming is a pretty easy feat to accomplish. If you don’t have a focused need to grow your network but you would still like to add connections, there are over 19,000 random LION users out there to connect with. While adding these LIONs indiscriminately is one way to grow your network quickly, it isn’t as focused as searching by geography or other criteria.

Searching by Geography

Searching for LIONs by geography is fairly straight forward. If you do a search by zip code (with the largest radius possible) and include LION in the keyword field, you should see all the LIONs in a particular location. This is especially helpful when you are sourcing candidates in a geographic area, the more LIONs you are connected to in a particular location increase the chance that you will find the right candidate for you client.

Searching by Industry

While searching for LIONs in certain locations can be helpful, another technique is to combine an INDUSTRY and TITLE search to add connections. Since I work primarily in biotech and mostly with sales people, it makes sense that any LIONs that come up in a search with both of those designations will likely be connected to a ton of candidates that I would want to network with and eventually contact. By adding 15-20 LIONs prior to sourcing, you can increase the likelihood that you will find candidates that match you search qualifications.

I am sure you know that adding LIONs to your network is not the only technique to grow your network, but it is extremely helpful when you need to do it quickly. Don’t get lazy with your LinkedIn network. Consider every person you talk to as a potential connection in LinkedIn. By adding LIONs when you need them and other LinkedIn users as you meet them you will continue to see you network and candidate base grow in size and value.

If you are interested in learning more about LIONs or some of the LIONs network, visit the links below:

shore-erichErich Shore is an independent recruiter specializing in Healthcare Technology, Biotech, and Renewable Energy. To reach Erich on LinkedIn, please visit his profile:

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