5 Undercover Ways Headhunters Find Candidates on LinkedIn

5 Undercover Ways Headhunters Find Candidates on LinkedIn

Headhunters find the cream of the crop candidates by utilising every tool at their disposal. One of the most prominent of these tools is the professional networking platform, LinkedIn. Read below and discover some of the tricks of the trade, and how candidates can better represent themselves to gain the notice of desired headhunters.

5 Undercover Ways Headhunters Find Candidates on LinkedIn

1. Keyword searching One of the perks of LinkedIn for headhunters is the ability to conduct straightforward keyword inquiries. They have to ability to use the Advanced People Search function to identify people within a particular geographic radius who possess the skills, education or experiences relevant to a given search. To take advantage of this, review several job descriptions of positions similar to what you are seeking. Single out the skills, actions or descriptions that can be used for keyword searches. Make sure to distribute these words or descriptions throughout your profile. Do not just list a block of keywords. Rather, use them in the bullet points that describe who you are, what you have done and how you have achieved it.

LinkedIn keyword search

2. Headhunters join LinkedIn Groups Recruiters use this tactic to carefully observe what individuals are talking about within their industrial sectors. Even more importantly, they take notice of who is contributing what to the discussion. This way they can see who really has the combination of knowledge and the communications skills that everyone claims to possess. As an aspiring candidate, join LinkedIn groups relevant to your skill set and industry. Keep up with what is going on regarding trends and business philosophies, and make frequent contributions to the group discussions to reflect your understanding and interpretations of this knowledge.

LinkedIn groups

3. Headhunters follow thought leaders and key influencers A large factor in a headhunter’s value is their ability to know “who’s who” in a specialty field. Along with that, headhunters also need to know who makes up the first-tier followers. Many recruiters make it a point of emphasis to stay up-to-date with a sizeable base of their contacts, as well as to grasp and follow the real leaders; this is done by analysing who is following whom on LinkedIn. As with groups, stay current in your field by following the individuals who will indirectly benefit you by your association with them.

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn profile, thought leader


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4. Headhunters analyse your LinkedIn behaviour Headhunters must act like psychologists at times to be effective at their craft. It is critical to understand what is

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going on in people’s lives; the signals that they give off can lend themselves to determining if a candidate is “recruitable. “Many headhunters follow people’s LinkedIn behaviour patterns to determine when someone is about to initiate an active job search. For instance, if an individual suddenly begins to post more status updates than the norm, it is likely a sign they are attempting to become more

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recognisable and prominent to recruiters. If you are indeed looking to catch the eye of a headhunter, do not play coy. You do not have to be blatantly open about looking for new employment, as this can cause problems with current employers. However, subtle indications should be taken to demonstrate that you are “open” to recruiters and new opportunities.

5. Headhunters don’t want to infer. Headhunters do not like obscurity. When using LinkedIn, do not make them guess about who you are or what you have to offer. If they have to make assumptions about your worth, it is more convenient for them to disregard you altogether; they cannot take the chance that they were wrong in your selection. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, and maintain a clear portrayal of who you are and what you aim to achieve.


Make sure you’re ready to to take your career to CEO level and succeed. Sign up to the CI Executive Career Management programme and get access to a Career Coach to guide and coach you through your journey to board level. Also don’t forget to keep a lookout for the top roles that become available in emerging markets.

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About the author

Jamie McDermott

Involved in Business Development and Technologies at Career Intelligence. Based in the Fleet Street, London office since the start of 2014.

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