How Does LinkedIn Algorithm Work for Recruiters

How Does LinkedIn Algorithm Work for Recruiters

...and and you make the LinkedIn algorithm work for you

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I received an email today from a recruiter with a question that I’m asked time and time again – how does the LinkedIn algorithm work and how do I make sure that my posts show up on peoples’ feeds. With her permission, I’ve provided it below:

“I have a quick question – what’s the difference in terms of audience for an article vs post? Myself and another recruiter both advertised the same role – he did it as a post and it has had 2 likes and 1,000+ views when he only has around 2,300 connections, I did mine as an article and it has had 3 likes but only 23 views despite having around 3,300 connections. Why the difference?”

Hint…you’ll have your answer by the end of this post!

As recruiters, we’re well versed on posting on LinkedIn and many have built their networks through the platform – sometimes even at the expense of their CRM. But as you may have noticed, like Facebook, the feed is not a reverse chronological series of posts from your network. Sometimes you see posts that are days old but showing at the top of your feed (and it’s likely that you’re not even seeing any of the posts of others in your network). The scary thing; however, is that the same thing goes for your posts.

LinkedIn prioritises content that it believes to be relevant to you (although, users can change to see the most recent activity and posts, but this must be done manually). So, as a recruiter, how can you ensure that you appear at the top of your connections’ feeds – and frequently?

How Does the LinkedIn Algorithm Work?

Let’s concentrate on how the LinkedIn feed algorithm works. While there are other LinkedIn algorithms that impact search or spam messages, our goal in this post is to demonstrate how you can appear in your network’s feeds.

LinkedIn has a spam filter to determine whether content shows up in others’ feeds, how far the audience reach it will have and whether it is read by spam. The below diagram, from demonstrates the flow in which this works (keep in mind, however, that this isn’t completely linear as the algorithms can move a piece of content back and forth through the stages).

Step 1: Posted content passes through an automated filter

When you post something on LinkedIn, it immediately makes an assessment on whether the content is spam, low quality or clear. While evidently the aim is to pass the ‘clear’ test, what is initially deemed as ‘low-quality content’ can still pass through to the next stage.

Step 2: Content initially appears on the feed to determine if anyone engages with it

Your content will appear on some feeds within your network to see if your connections engage with it (via likes, comments and shares). If they do, you will pass to stage 3. If people tag it as spam or hide it from their feeds, this provides a negative signal to LinkedIn and may result in the post being rejected from the process.

Step 3: Content is assessed for the quality of the person posting

Yes, you heard correctly! The LinkedIn algorithm looks for signals that you and your network are ‘reputable’. Primarily, they are trying to ascertain if the post is originating from a spam account and/or is getting other spam accounts to engage with it. The algorithm is also checking for the relevance and usefulness of the post. The good news here is that LinkedIn prioritises content that aligns with their ‘ethos’ of helping people find jobs and professional connections – perfect for recruiters!

This stage, however, is responsible for whether the algorithm ‘promotes’ or ‘demotes’ your content. If you are getting engagement, it will push it along to the next step, however, if uncertain, it may show less frequently or lower down where it will see if people are engaging with it before passing it through to the next step.

Step 4: Real humans get involved

The LinkedIn algorithm will turn to real humans to filter through the content to determine if the post is valuable enough to continue to appear in the feed. For this reason, crafting compelling posts that are both visually and communicatively impactful will enable these ‘human filters’ to decide whether the cycle continues – it may also show up on a LinkedIn Channel (Pulse or Publisher).

What Recruiters Need to Do to Make the LinkedIn Algorithm Work for Them

So just how are you going to leverage this insight to develop your profile, posts and community to have your content seen? We’ve compiled 13 best practices to help you play to the LinkedIn algorithm.

  1. Create valuable content aligned with LinkedIn’s purpose. As mentioned, we are working in the perfect industry for LinkedIn – the professional world where people are looking to develop themselves and their careers. Developing content that’s related to the job search, business growth/strategy, workplace issues etc. is perfect fodder for the platform. The algorithm will look at your audience’s profiles to see if your content aligns to their preferences and activity, resulting in higher visibility.
  2. Develop ‘rich’ content assets. Ever notice that a video or image gets more visibility (and generally engagement) than a text-only post? Not only does this play to human psychology, but this content provides positive signals to both the automated and human filters through the process.
  3. Encourage engagement. As Don Draper said, ‘Success comes from standing out’, so think about the content you’re developing – Is it visually appealing? Does it evoke emotion? Is it witty and well-crafted? Keep it simple, thinking about your audience personas and what will elicit engagement.
  4. Be selective with your audience. While it may seem a good strategy to add (or accept invitations from) as many people as possible, but a large network doesn’t necessarily result in a higher level of credibility. If these accounts are read as spam or in general are less engaged, this can have a negative impact on your own credibility – and therefore visibility.
  5. Ensure that your profile is complete. Whether you are looking to build a personal or company page, try to complete your profile as much as possible and make sure it is listed as public. For company accounts, make sure employees are all connecting to the company page.
  6. Don’t just ‘like’ your colleagues’ or company page content, share it yourself! A big one in our industry is for recruiters to just like each other’s content, particularly content from a company blog or promotion that might be shared on the company page. While this is a good practice and LinkedIn reads these signals as engagement, you are likely to get more visibility of the piece of content if everyone shares it on their accounts. There’s nothing wrong with multiple people in the company sharing the same content as often your networks don’t overlap and if they do, the algorithm as mentioned above, means that not everyone will have visibility to the post.
  7. Get involved on LinkedIn. Simply being engaged on LinkedIn by liking, commenting and sharing other peoples’ content, providing recommendations or participating in a Group are all signals that your account is credible and will therefore be more visible.
  8. Get involved off of LinkedIn. Sharing your company and employee LinkedIn accounts on your website, email signatures, newsletters etc. will also trigger the algorithm to read that your accounts are credible, thereby increasing your visibility (and…sharing your LinkedIn and other social posts on your websites.
  9. Post when your audiences are online. Think like your clients and candidates. When are they online? If you live in London or other locations where people are relying on public transport, this may be during peak commuter times. Or, maybe it’s midday that they catch up over their lunch break? If you use an automatic posting tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, it will often give you a recommended time tailored to when your audience is online. But try out different times and see what brings you the most success!
  10. Start publishing on LinkedIn Publisher. Now everyone can blog on LinkedIn by posting an article in the publisher tool which is integrated with the homepage feed. If you get enough engagement, it may pull it into LinkedIn Pulse where others can find it. This can increase your visibility as not only will your post show up in others’ feeds (keeping in mind the steps per the algorithm), but many of your contacts will receive a notification that you have published, you may appear in peoples’ highlight emails (if they have subscribed), and possibly in channels (like LinkedIn Pulse). One trick here, however, is that you should still share your published article on your post (which, going back to the question posed at the beginning, could be one of the reasons for lower engagement!)
  11. @mention other users and use #hashtags. Referencing others in your posts via @mentions will notify users and their networks that there is relevant content for them – many of whom may be flattered and would reshare your content. Likewise, including #hashtags with related topics can help your content be found when others look for, or follow certain topics.
  12. It’s all about SEO. Sorry to say, you’re not going to get away from SEO, whether it’s via the search engines or social media. So instead of writing headlines that are obscure, be direct, using words that allows the algorithms to correctly identify what the post is about.
  13. Share your content. Use the tools LinkedIn gives you to share content on external platforms – like Twitter – as well as share in LinkedIn Groups or in a sponsored post.

So What’s the Answer to the Question: How Does the LinkedIn Algorithm Work?

In this scenario of the same post performing better on someone’s feed than on LinkedIn Publisher (despite a higher number of connections), I think it can point to a few key areas:

  1. Is her account and/or network as credible as her colleague’s?
  2. Did she post at the right time of day for her network?
  3. And as best practice, she should have also shared her Publisher article on her own feed (via teaser text or a snippet)


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