Last week I attended the better-than-ever LinkedIn Talent Connect extravaganza in Anaheim, California. The event was a great opportunity to mix in with nearly 4000 recruiters and talk about the latest ideas in the industry. Now that a few days have passed and I have had time to reflect, here are a few of the big takeaways in my opinion:

Offer Candidates Meaningful Opportunities, not Lateral Transfers

I had a chance to present at the event and during my session I made the contention that there are two job markets: one that offers ill-defined lateral transfers and the other offering career opportunities.

I believe that talent market is huge in comparison to those who see and apply to your job postings or follow your company. To reach this entire market you need to shift to a performance-qualified attraction and assessment approach, offer career moves and implement a consultative recruiting process. Collectively this is how you raise your company’s talent level by better matching your open positions to the candidate’s long-term motivators, not to his/her short-term economic needs.

LinkedIn Recruiter is rapidly enabling companies to make this shift more easily.

Referrals, Referrals, and More Referrals

As far as I’m concerned, getting great referrals is the key to maximizing talent quality and recruiter efficiency. These people call you back and, if they’re pre-qualified, all you need to do is recruit them.

This Talent Connect, LinkedIn introduced what appears to be a very powerful referral engine in the next generation of LinkedIn Recruiter. This could be a game-changer. The winners will be those companies that set up internal programs to leverage this new capability.

Idea: Get your employees to connect with the best people they’ve ever worked with and have these people follow your company.

Talent Branding Expands the Candidate Pool by 10X

The key to sourcing is understanding the candidate and when it comes to that, Stacy Zapar showed that she is the Queen of Hearts. Ed Nathanson is the Prince Charming, equally as energetic, and both bring a new take on what it takes to expand your talent pool. Add Zvi Goldfarb of L'Oréal and his emojis to the list of those pushing the current limits of creative talent branding efforts.

I’m overwhelmed with their enthusiasm but in a nutshell I’d summarize their ideas with these critical points: drive candidates to enticing and creative microsites, nurture the heck out of them to keep them engaged, and personalize your job content as open opportunities become available.

The Next Generation of LinkedIn Recruiter is Impressive

Prasad Gune gave me chills as he walked through the upcoming features of Recruiter (available Q1, 2016).

The big ones for me were some powerful new searching tools to more easily find strong candidates. You’ll then be able to sort these candidates into prioritized categories based on their underlying job interests, how active they are and whether they’re following your company or have been referred by one of your co-workers.

This elevates the importance of your talent branding efforts and employee referral programs. Tying these factors together creates a more integrated and sequenced sourcing platform.

Idea: Early adaptors will get the most advantage from this new capability and will likely be describing their successes at next year’s Talent Connect.

ATS Integration

While not sexy, LinkedIn Recruiter is becoming more ATS friendly. It wasn’t clear to me how robust this is, but it portends a more seamless recruiting future. I’ll be at HR Tech this week and check this out.

Impact on Corporate and Agency Recruiters

Some recruiters I spoke with were concerned that these changes could make their jobs obsolete or more transactional. However, the future seems brighter for those recruiters who can more effectively partner with their hiring manager clients to better and more fully understand true job needs. Tapping into the full resources of LinkedIn Recruiter will then allow them to become true career advisors and act as the necessary bridge to match people with opportunity.

LinkedIn Recruiter is becoming a more powerful strategic weapon for raising a company’s talent level. Regardless, once everyone has the same tools the difference maker will be the quality and skill level of the recruiters using them. These are exciting times for recruiters, but you need to participate. The time to get started is now.