Startups are turning to the ‘casual’ professional networking site to find potential hires
With over 50 million users in India, LinkedIn, the world’s biggest social network for professionals, has become an essential platform for any job seeker
Earlier in the year, when 30-year-old Hemang Hareshbhai Shah was looking for a new, challenging role, he shared his résumé on several job search engines. Nothing materialized. Finally, he turned to LinkedIn. “All recruiters go through your LinkedIn profile," says the engineer. Besides browsing for jobs, he also actively scrolled his personal feed on the platform. That’s how he came across a post from one of his connections about an opening at Indegene, a healthcare tech company based in Bengaluru. “I found out about the company, was interested in the role and immediately shared my CV with my connection, who was also the hiring manager," says Shah. Few weeks and interviews later, Shah was hired as an iOS engineer.
With over 50 million users in India, LinkedIn, the world’s biggest social network for professionals, has become an essential platform for any job seeker. For it is not only a job portal, but a people-first platform, making it unique compared to mass job portals.
According to data provided by LinkedIn, the platform has over 3,50,000 open jobs across sectors, and one million company pages in India alone. At present, 57 million professionals from India have a LinkedIn profile. “Since most of hiring managers in corporates as well as HR heads are constantly on LinkedIn, it makes the social network one of the most effective ways to get hired. You just need the right network on the platform," says Shah.
The network MATTERS
Like Shah, following the right people and making a strong network helped Delhi-based Akshay Chaudhary. The 22-year-old made a LinkedIn profile while he was in college studying data science. “I started to read articles, blogs, success stories and following people and companies whose work I idolized," says Chaudhary. He soon realized that networking and creating a presence helped in professional growth. “All through college, I was inspired, I took advice from people, found mentors in my field and posted about it," he says. Just as he graduated and was wondering where to work, he got an offer from a startup. Currently working as a business analyst, Chaudhary keeps his LinkedIn profile up to date and posts on the network often.
You need to make sure that you follow and engage with people related to your industry, even after you have landed a job, points out Shah. Though currently not looking for a job change, Shah ensures he regularly posts about his work, write articles and build followers so that he can get more attention, professionally. “The more updated you are about your industry and peers, the more you can grow your career," he says.
The casual atmosphere of LinkedIn is a way to find people and companies you are interested in, connect with founders and marketing heads of various businesses and not only learn from them, but proactively look for a ideal job too, says Gurugram-based Ishan Relan. Relan has used this strategy at various points of his career. The first time was when he wanted to work in the real estate market, without prior experience. The 29-year-old found profiles of business heads in companies and wrote to them. “Just by writing to people, I was able to get through Knight Frank and understood how effective the platform is to land the right opportunity," he says.
In 2017, as he was winding up his startup, Relan approached Rohan Bhargava, co-founder of CashKaro, a cashback platform, and got a job as a senior manager.
“The LinkedIn platform works well to connect you directly with the right people in an organization so you can let them know you are open, and enthusiastic despite not having a relevant prior experience," he says. Relan keeps a LinkedIn Premium account and keeps writing to people he considers important for his professional growth, sharing ideas, asking for advice, and even ways they could have approached something better.
Today hiring is not just limited to an interview and face-to-face interactions. The process begins much before, with your public profile, your network and the content you post and engage with, according to Rahul Parihar, sales director at technology solutions startup FarEye Transportation, who is in his current job because of being an active LinkedIn user.
“Over the years, I have made sure to connect with the people I have met in a professional capacity, build a strong network and write blogs and articles about my experience in the industry, engage and grow my network," says the 37-year-old. All this helped Parihar land a job. After a recruiter from FarEye reached out to him regarding a job opportunity, Parihar checked the company’s LinkedIn page, and the profiles of all the people he was meeting. After giving the initial interviews, he reached out to his network to get introduced to employees in FarEye who could address some of his queries regarding the work environment. Before joining, he was already chatting with his hiring manager on LinkedIn, discussing expectations, working style and how joining the company will help him achieve his professional goals.
The informal environment of LinkedIn makes it easier to have these conversations, as a prospective employee or an employer, says Gautam Kumar, co-founder and chief operating officer of FarEye, who hired Parihar. “On LinkedIn, I can see the profile, check their behaviour, validate their previous experience and help them with all their queries instantly," says Kumar. He adds that it helps building relationships with potentials and judging whether someone will be a fit for the company. “LinkedIn is not a static résumé, it is a dynamic approach to represent your experiences, knowledge, goals and interest," he says.
As an HR manager for Germin8, a startup that works in social media intelligence, Manali Dalvi Avatade, 30, is constantly on LinkedIn, looking at prospective profiles. “A lot of startups go to LinkedIn as it’s a cheaper and more effective option than hiring a recruitment consultancy. Other than posting a job opening, I network with college professors, alumni organizations, browse networks of my colleagues, relevant groups and message freelancers after looking at profiles," she says.
Recently when she needed to fill a position for an assistant manager in sales at her company, she browsed profiles and found Denis Dias, 28, her second connection on the platform. When Dias got her message, he wasn’t looking for a job. However, he found the job profile interesting, gave the interview and ended up joining the company.
What attracts a recruiter to a LinkedIn profile, says Avatade, is a decent photograph, an eye-catching headline, a specific and short mention of the person’s role and responsibilities, a list of achievements and a few good recommendations. “A complete profile that’s crisp, to the point and well-presented, is what stands out."