LinkedIn Recruitment Secrets: What Every Employer Must Know!

LinkedIn is a professional networking site that can be used to recruit both active and passive job seekers. The keyword here is “professional” because the site is mainly used by those in white-collar and senior-level positions. LinkedIn is less relevant for blue-collar roles such as warehouse operatives and drivers, and for retail, hospitality and catering.

You may be wondering why this isn’t in the social media section. My reason for this is that I don’t consider LinkedIn to be that social. Since LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft, they’ve dropped almost all the “social” elements such as groups, questions, answers etc., and focused on advertising, recruitment and sales tools.

There are three key tools available for recruiting using LinkedIn:

  1. Searching a CV database.
  2. Publishing job adverts.
  3. Promoting a company profile.

LinkedIn seems pretty straightforward, but there are right and wrong ways to go about it so I’m covering each point in more detail…

Searching LinkedIn’s CV database

To me, LinkedIn is the equivalent of a CV database, with the difference that fewer people are looking for a job but instead for networking and sales opportunities. Like any CV database, there may be out-of-date profiles or even undesirable and fake ones. (Three LinkedIn profiles impersonate me – I should be flattered!) Additionally, just like a CV database, one of LinkedIn’s most prolific group of users are recruitment consultants. That’s why you’ll often read statistics such as “over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn”, but realise that is likely recruitment agencies and not hiring managers from employers.

To help employers find potential jobseekers, LinkedIn has a search function that can find users based on factors such as location, skills, experience, education and current job title. Employers can message users directly. These features are available through a paid service called LinkedIn Recruiter, which is not to be confused with LinkedIn Premium or LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

When using LinkedIn Recruiter you may wish to use advanced Boolean search queries, and I’ve explained more about these online at

If you see a user who you are already connected to, you can easily message them. However, if you are not yet connected you may need to purchase LinkedIn Recruiter so you can send InMail messages to users outside of your network. Additionally there are a plethora of software providers that can scan LinkedIn search results and present you with the user’s email address, however this is against LinkedIn’s terms.

<span class="grey-callout"><span class="text-color-purple">Tip:</span> When you review a user’s provide they get notified of this. If you want to visit their profile anonymously ensure you turn on Private Mode. To do so, go to LinkedIn Settings & Privacy, select Profile viewing options, and switch to Private mode.</span>

When you review a user’s profile consider looking at:

  • Recommendations and endorsements – but ensure it isn’t simply members giving each other testimonials.
  • Review their LinkedIn activity. If they make a lot of relevant comments about the industry great. They may be championing their current employer, meaning they are less easy to poach. Or they could be like the vast majority of LinkedIn users and not have any activity!
  • Understand their connections. Could they be a source of other jobseekers, customers or industry knowledge.
  • Look at their past jobs.
  • Check out groups they joined to established if they are well connected and contributing to the industry.

Even if you do find a potential candidate, they may not want to hear from you. LinkedIn can attract its fair share of spam, overzealous recruitment consultants and phishing attempts, so recipients may be sceptical of unsolicited messages. So you’ll need to contact users with a touch of finesse.

Another challenge is that passive candidates aren’t going to change jobs on a whim. You’ll need to convince them that it’s worth it, normally with better perk, pay and career advancement. This is very different than if the candidate contacts you first.

When you contact potential users you must be personalise messages. Consider mentioning their work, accomplishments, double check their name and keep your message under 100 words. I’m always careful about leading a conversation about the job I’m recruiting for. Instead I recommend a conversation along the lines of:

“Hi Rob. the reason for my reaching out is that I see you have [X experience] and I’m recruiting for a similar with my organisation. I wanted to see if you’re still looking for work and, if so, had the time to discuss where you see your future career going? Alternatively you may know someone in your network."

Then don’t rush in explaining your job, but follow up by qualifying them: "What would you improve about your current role?... What do you like about your current role?... What would you ideally like to do in the future?”

Don’t try to push a square peg into a round hole – if they’re not a good fit, move on. If so, explain the role and ask, “Who do you know who might be a good fit?”

Additionally you may wish to try LinkedIn’s voice message feature that allows users to record voice messages up to one minute in length. Whilst this isn’t designed to be used as a replacement for Telephone Interviews, you may wish to try <a rel="nofollow" href=>asking the questions</a> I've included. On the surface it appears to increase engagement and humanise messages.

Crucially, don’t be spammy. Not only will it damage your company’s reputation, if you get a response rate of less than 13%, LinkedIn may penalise you.

Publishing job adverts

Employers can post job adverts on LinkedIn for free on a company page, however only users following the company page may be notified of the jobs. Therefore, encourage your employees to share the jobs on their timeline and the advert may be shown to more people.

You could also join some relevant LinkedIn Groups, and if the group rules allow post your job in the feeds. The point isn’t to join dozens of groups and spam them with jobs, but many Groups do have a section to share job listings.

Overall you will get better results paying to promote job adverts, called ‘Sponsored Jobs’. LinkedIn paid job adverts works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model. This means you only pay when a user views your listing. You can also set budgets and choose when to stop your advert to stop costs spiralling out of control.

LinkedIn has other paid options for regular recruiters called Job Slots. (I explain more about pay-per-click and Job Slot advertising).

Best of all you can target specific audiences based on factors such as skills and experience, (taking care to avoid discrimination), so your advertising budget is more efficient.

In addition to recommending your job to relevant active LinkedIn users, it may also email potential candidates using the “Jobs you may be interested in” feature. However, it won’t show your job advert to users that have selected they are not open to job offers.

<span class="grey-callout"><span class="text-color-purple">Tip:</span> LinkedIn allows applicants to “Easy Apply” with a few simple clicks. Allowing users to directly apply via LinkedIn is must better than redirecting them to your employer career page where they have to fill in more forms. Since you’ve already got so much information on LinkedIn, there is not reason to make them input it again – and few will! (Understand why employer career pages perform so badly).</span>

Contact people who have viewed your profile

By paying for a LinkedIn subscription you can see exactly who looked at your LinkedIn profile.

People have looked at your profile for a reason, perhaps investigating a purchase, but also looking for a new job.

It only takes a two minutes each day to monitor who has seen your profile, and if appropriate send them a message such as “I noticed you reviewed my LinkedIn profile. Please connect to me if you’d like to start a conversation.”

This simple technique is very powerful, in fact it’s how my eldest son got a job recently!

For this method to be most effective, diarise to check your account daily. This was you demonstrate that you’re very responsive, whilst also ensuring their not distracted by competing employers.

Promoting a company profile

There’s been a lot of hype about building a company brand on LinkedIn. This is when an employer showcases their mission, values, culture and benefits on a dedicated company page. However, I’ve found that two issues:

  1. Multiple stakeholders want to control the company profile, often marketing, sales and HR. Each will make a very compelling argument whether LinkedIn is a customer acquisition tool (and so require marketing boilerplate), or a candidate acquisition tool (therefore containing employer branding). Either way it can’t achieve both results and someone is going to be disappointed, usually HR!
  2. You need a significant amount of time and effort to generate fresh quality content required to attract employees. Whereas, sales and marketing often have lots of evergreen content available – hence why they usually win the argument and control the company profile.

If HR were to control the company profile, some suggested content could include:

  • New hires.
  • Accomplishments of current employees.
  • Employee testimonials.
  • Business accomplishments.
  • Thought-leadership piece on your industry.
  • Events.

Even if applicants don’t find your company profile before applying, they will likely use it when researching for interview. If they see a poor quality profile they may be less inclined to attend interview or accept a job offer.

Hiring managers don’t need to be solely responsible for this content, encourage employees to share relevant content. It will simultaneously improve their own online presence, should be a win-win.

Crucially, once you’ve started uploading content, you must be consistent. If you stop, the quality of your profile will quickly look outdated.

LinkedIn Recruiter Lite vs LinkedIn Recruiter vs LinkedIn Talent Hub

When it comes to using LinkedIn for Recruitment you’ve got four options:

  1. Free – allows you to get started but has significant limitations to encourage you onto a paid solution.
  2. RecruiterLite – is for outbound recruiting where you can send up to 30 InMail messages per month, but they must have a tenious link to your current connections. At the time of writing  it cost approximately $99 per month.
  3. Recruiter – is for outbound recruiting where you are able to send up to 150 InMail messages per month to anyone. This package also provider better filters for identifying target applicants easier. At the time of writing it cost approximately $800 per month. So to make the most of LinkedIn Recruiter, you really need to make the most of your InMails.
  4. Talent Hub – an applicant tracking system (ATS_ that lets you hire, manage and outsource all in one platform. Consider it more for inbound recruiting, where you advertise jobs and allow applicants to contact you. Unlike Recruiter it allows potential employees to come to you, rather than the other way around. You’ll have to contact LinkedIn direct to obtain their current pricing, but I’d recommend doing so near the end of the month when they have to hit their targets so may offer better deals!


I may be proven wrong, but I don’t think LinkedIn should be a priority in your Applicant Attraction Strategy. I’m not alone in this. I recently met 19 HR directors, and 18 of them weren’t renewing their LinkedIn recruiter licences.

Whatever you do, don’t put all your effort an budget into one recruiting platform, especially LinkedIn.

Advertise a Job

Text to go here

We literally wrote the book on...

The secrets of great recruitment

The Secrets of Great Recruitment is a top-seller. It is easy to read and wastes no time in giving powerful actionable strategies you can use straight away.

Book cover for The Secrets of Great Recruitment
Try our Job Audit

Text to go here

Geoff Newman has dedicated his entire career to recruitment. He has consulted for many well-known international brands, and worked with over 20,000 growing businesses. He has helped fill over 100,000 jobs.

Related Articles

No items found.
FREE access to our Great Recruitment Newsletter. New strategies every week.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We literally wrote the book on...

The secrets of great recruitment

The Secrets of Great Recruitment is a top-seller. It is easy to read and wastes no time in giving powerful actionable strategies you can use straight away.

Book cover for The Secrets of Great Recruitment