LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner on how to recruit and keep “rock stars”

Recruiting in the tech industry these days is a cutthroat endeavor. From bloated salaries to lavish perks, the best companies are trying everything to woo the most talented, coveted engineers to their team.

That’s not necessarily the best tactic, said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, speaking at LinkedIn’s annual TalentConnect conference to an army of recruiters in attendance.

“[Recruiting] is not a sales process. To me, it’s about the fit,” Weiner said. “People become so focused on an outcome that they lose sight of why they’re having those conversations in the first place.”

That was the drumbeat of the conference, where LinkedIn showed a preview of an upcoming 2015 product. The company has figured out how to help recruiters find the most qualified candidates for the job, and now it aims to go one step further. Its new search function focuses on finding the candidates who are the best fit for the company itself. It will analyze your company’s previous hiring patterns, like what schools, geographies, and companies you tend to hire. When a candidate’s history fits your company’s hiring patterns, they’ll show up higher in the results.

Hand-picking the most qualified and best fitting candidate is an idyllic approach, one that perhaps applies more in industries that aren’t as competitive for candidates than in tech, where the dearth of talented software engineers is infamous. But Weiner made the point that it’s better to have hard discussions of employee fit with a candidate while interviewing them and not after they’ve accepted and started the role. The first question he asks someone is what their dream job is – what they say they want to have accomplished looking back on their career in twenty to thirty years.

“You want to make sure as this candidate continues to grow that you’re going to grow in alignment,” Weiner said. “You want to make sure the fit is there on both sides. It’s too easy to lose sight of that.”