Ever wondered what prospective employers value when looking at a LinkedIn profile? According to new research it’s not a person’s number of connections, recommendations or their clever contributions to groups, but the description which really matters.
The independent study was conducted among 100 HR heads of some of the UK’s leading employers on behalf of Norrie Johnston Recruitment. The report on the findings entitled, An Executive Recruitment Game Changer?, lifts the lid on the role of LinkedIn in the recruitment process.
When asked to score the various elements that make up a candidate’s LinkedIn profile, the description comes out top, followed by endorsements for skills and expertise, which in turn are more important than recommendations.
The number of connections – something people often pride themselves on – is barely valued; scoring just 3.5 out of 10. Updates are also not important.
HR heads are more likely to judge a candidate based on the groups they join rather than their photograph. However, those spending a lot of time contributing to groups be warned, the things you say once you’re a group member don’t appear to matter as Norrie Johnston, who heads up the executive search and interim management agency behind the research believes.
He says, “Almost without exception, contributions to groups come last in the list for the HR heads we studied. So before contributing to groups, executives, who are likely to apply for roles, should first ensure their LinkedIn description is up to date and truly reflects the experience and skills they have.”
While HR heads place limited value on many of the elements that make up a profile and few (8%) believe all that they see, the research suggests having a LinkedIn presence – especially a good description – is still valuable. 38% of recruiters more often than not look at the LinkedIn profiles of senior candidates who have applied for jobs. This rises to 64% among the biggest employers employing over 5,000 people.
The research flags up some interesting sector variations; HR heads of public sector organisations are least likely to think LinkedIn is useful for assessing the backgrounds of candidates, giving it a usefulness score of 2.6 out of 10. They also place the lowest value on each of the elements that make up a profile.
In the leisure and catering sectors the photo is deemed by recruiters to be the second most important element of a profile, scoring it 7 out of 10 for importance, compared to the average of 3.7.
In logistics and retail businesses, skills and expertise endorsements outperform the description and are the most important consideration of a profile (scoring 8.2 out of 10 for importance).
LinkedIn Profile – What Matters?
Skills & expertise endorsements
What recommendations say
Number of recommendations
Quality of candidate’s connections
Number of connections
Contributions to groups
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