A few months ago I was curious to see whether LinkedIn is actually a good place for people looking for work, so I setup an experiment. In under 15 minutes I created a fake profile or a Sr. Product Manager, added 25 random people to “friends” and let the profile run its course. Over the next months, without any work on my part, this persona generated hundreds of requests from recruiters with jobs from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and dozens of companies that I’ve never even heard of before.
It took me 15 minutes to collect job opportunities from the best companies in the tech sector without any effort or ever visiting a single job board. Not bad. Here is how you can setup a LinkedIn profile and replicate the experiment for your own success:
Figure out what job you want and what kind of characteristics a recruiter is looking for.
If you want to be hired as a Product Manager at Google, for example, ask yourself - "What would an ideal product manager at Google look like?“ How about a candidate that started as a developer, acquired technical and managerial skills, quickly climbed the ladder, and is now a Product Manager somewhere else. Perfect, someone like that would be hard to snatch, but an excellent candidate.
Whatever the job you’re looking for, use LinkedIn to find people who are already working at the company in this job and replicate them. Make your candidate better.
Here is a sample story: Eric, our aspiring Product Manager, started as a developer at Microsoft. His .Net and Node skills really paid off and before you know it, he became the Lead Developer. This helped him get a new job at Amazon, where while working on AWS and a number of secret projects he climbed the ladder to a Sr. Developer. After a short stint at a business school, Amazon promoted him to lead a team of his own. Now that his stock is 3/4 vested, it’s a great time to start looking for a new job.
Now you have yourself a great candidate. He diligently works at each company that hires him, does great work and moves up before he eventually jumps ship like everyone else. Hiring Eric can give a the company a couple of years of solid effort and a repeat customer for the recruiter who hires him. Given that he’s been at his Amazon job for a few years, there’s a high chance he is ready to switch. Perfect.
Once you have your story, beef it up.
Add each job that he had to the profile, and write great job descriptions. Remember, this is a “real” candidate so his jobs should be real too. Elaborate and expand. Heck, you can even get references, if you’re willing to setup a few more profiles, or tell your friends about this experiment. Key here is that you should probably have an idea as to what each one of those job entailed, and what a successful candidate looks like. Be creative.
Oh, and don’t forget to give Eric a good college degree. Yes, I don’t care that you didn’t go to Harvard, neither did I, but you are going to be collecting inbound leads from semi-automated recruiters. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT … those are your friends.
Some readers asked, what about the photo? Easy. Google it. Think of a personality type that would fit this job best, google for that, pick the first photo and put it on your profile. No one knows what you look like. No one cares.
Now sit back, brew some coffee and relax. The recruiters are going to start messaging you literally within hours. Depends on your aspirations, you can either passively watch at this point, or engage them with further questions. Ask for salary details, benefits, stock options, growth opportunities, bean bags…whatever you want, ask questions. Even if you don’t need to know the answers, you can collect all of these into a nice dataset.
At this stage, as you start getting friend requests from people you’ve never met, you could choose to ignore them, or start accepting them. Try adding a bunch of people back, you will be pleasantly surprised how many people will “add you as a connection,” no questions asked.
Once you found the job that sounds good to you, thank the recruiter for their time and pass on it. Then, a few days later, reach out to the same recruiter from your actual LinkedIn profile, saying that you’ve heard of this great job from a friend, and you might be thinking of switching from where you are. Perhaps it’s worth a quick chat.
There you have it. If this approach sounds fun to you, a few quick steps and you will start getting job offers in no time. If you enjoyed reading this, please share it with your friends.
Then again, I am also always experimenting with new ways to do recruiting — You should also sign up for AttentionHR and be among the first to get invited once the app is public.
p.s. Are you a developer looking for a job? Fine folks at Triplebyte have a cool referral program and if you sign up with my links, we both get $1,500 when you get hired. Here's the link -- https://triplebyte.com/iv/UPfAwWg/cp