RCSA L&D trainer Karen Hollenbach gets you linked up with LinkedIn


For the past 10 years, Founding Director of Think Bespoke and LinkedIn Strategist Karen Hollenbach has been instrumental in shaping the capabilities of recruitment and staffing professionals.


Thanks to her inimitable expertise, she has also advised on LinkedIn profiles at individual and organisational levels for several RCSA members.


Unlike other social media platforms, where people are free to upload various content, LinkedIn has its own etiquette and, when used to its full potential, can unlock opportunities for both candidates and recruiters.


So, what are the protocols around using LinkedIn?


The Brief spoke to Karen about her LinkedIn gems, some pertinent do’s and don’ts when using the professional social media platform, trends and so much more.


You’ve been delivering LinkedIn training for more than 10 years, what gems have you uncovered over that time?


Karen said one of the gems she uncovered from delivering her successful LinkedIn training program was the way the platform was able to encourage people to connect and refer one another. “LinkedIn may not always get the engagement rates of other, more social platforms - but everyone’s still watching,” Karen said. “This means if you’re consistently engaging and regularly sharing insights and valuable content, over time this will help build a strong referral network where people who know, like and trust you will point their community to you for business and career opportunities.”


Another gem, Karen said, was the ability to be “a strategic content curator rather than a prolific content creator” on LinkedIn thanks to its features.


“I like to use the analogy of a lolly shop,” she said. “If you eat everything on offer, you’ll be sick! Instead, I recommend you choose the lollies (or LinkedIn features) that best suit your goals for LinkedIn and how you communicate.”


What are some of the LI metrics you think recruiters should pay attention to? Be it on their organisational page or even their individual profile?


According to Karen, while the Social Selling Index has traditionally been the measure LinkedIn has encouraged people to use for LinkedIn profiles, she prefers to peruse her Profile views, particularly the ‘interesting views’.


“This assumes you have a Premium account in order to see more than the last five people who viewed your profile and is such a great conversation starter,” she said. “It enables you to reach out to 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections with a reason.”


Checking new company page followers and reaching out to 2nd and 3rd degree connections who may be potential clients or candidates may also be beneficial.

What do you see as the most interesting trend on LI following the pandemic?


Karen highlighted the most interesting trend has been seeing some professionals taking a less formal approach to LinkedIn.


“I’m reminded of a before and after post shared by a LinkedIn member who showed her LinkedIn profile photo before the pandemic (suit, makeup, hair blow dried) and her LinkedIn profile photo after the pandemic (casual clothes, no makeup and curly hair),” she said.


Karen said there had also been a trend seeing the increase of ‘vulnerable’ posts - where people share more personal stories and a greater number of ‘behind the scenes’ posts of their lives beyond work, in their homes, where they exercise and with their families (children, canines and felines).


Karen said while she enjoyed reading these types of posts, LinkedIn remains a professional platform.


“In many ways, this is one of the strengths of LinkedIn and why people enjoy it,” she said. “I recommend that people be strategic, helpful and approachable while also discerning about what is appropriate to share with your LinkedIn community versus other, less professional, platforms.”


Can you give an example of how you enhanced a RCSA member’s LinkedIn profile to grow its online presence?


“I worked with an RCSA member during the pandemic and our focus was on raising their profile as a thought leader within the industry,” she said.


Karen said she worked with the member to re-write their profile and add images, including a profile photo and background image, and activated key features to present the best version of their skills and experience on LinkedIn.


Karen said, because the member had a clear and proactive perspective, they became the ‘go to’ for news sources, including ABC news when they wanted an opinion on key issues and trends.

What are some of the most common mistakes you've discovered on LinkedIn profiles?


The most common mistake Karen comes across is the lack of a LinkedIn profile photo and public viewing settings which restrict photo views for LinkedIn members who are not connections.


“This is a mistake rarely made by recruiters but often made by candidates,” she said. “Your profile is you - connecting, starting conversations and sharing updates. LinkedIn informs us that simply having a profile photo results in up to 21x more profile views and 9x more connection requests.”

“Some recruiters still like to feature their mobile phone number in their headline which is a mistake as it smells of desperation and has ‘I want to sell something to you’ written all over it,” she said. “Your LinkedIn Profile is your chance for potential clients and candidates to research you.”


Karen added that spelling errors are another common mistake and the ‘About’ section is also sometimes overlooked in some LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn success does not come without effort - what three tips would you give the recruiting and staffing industry to improve their LinkedIn profiles?



  1. Video Cover Story - review this feature and create a 30 second video (via your phone) to introduce yourself. This is an especially good feature if you have activated Creator Mode and consistently post or share insights and tips and want to let people know what you ‘talk about’.

  2. Providing Services - activating this feature in the ‘Open To’ part of your profile allows you to be contacted by any LinkedIn member, whether you are connected or not.

  3. Connect your Headline, Featured Section & About Section messaging - make it clear across each of these features what you do, how you do it, and who you help. Ensure the featured section points people to key information related to this message (e.g. subscribe to newsletter, read this article, follow company page, attend event).



Are there any LinkedIn myths that you would like to debunk?


“The main one I’d love people to consider is the common desire to ‘chase the LinkedIn algorithm’,” Karen

said. “While, it is true, there are reports circling on LinkedIn from global commentators informing us about

what the LinkedIn algorithm does and does not like, I believe this is distracting.”


“Good quality content that helps solve the problems your potential clients and candidates are trying to tackle right now will always perform well on LinkedIn.”


A better use of time would be to consider answers to two questions:

  • What do I want to be known for?

  • Who am I trying to influence when I’m on LinkedIn?


Karen regularly provides training sessions in LinkedIn through the RCSA Learning and Development Program. If you would like to find out more about the Learning and Development training on offer visit the RCSA website.


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