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Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn as a Recruiter (Without Spending a Dime)

As an every-day user, LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with colleagues, highlight a resume of professional accomplishments, and search for jobs. As a recruiter, LinkedIn can serve as a robust tool for finding top talent.

With 450+ million users worldwide, LinkedIn houses a large ecosystem of potential candidates. However, if you’re a recruiter that’s just starting out, or don’t have the expendable capital for a $100/month individual recruiter license to send direct InMail messages to candidates, access to this talent pool can be severely limited.

Looking to capitalize on all the free benefits LinkedIn has to offer? Use the following tips to get the most out of LinkedIn without having to pay for it:

  • Use your personal page to establish your brand

Your profile serves as a simple, free way to make a first impression to job seekers. When starting to build out your personal LinkedIn page, ask yourself: what do I want to be known for/as?

From there, make sure you have these five pertinent profile elements:

  • Name: Having your full name available makes you easier to find in searches.
  • Professional Picture: Did you know that profiles with photos are 14x more likely to be viewed? People are wired to look for faces, so don’t let candidates pass over you simply because you don’t have a profile picture. As a best practice, choose a high-quality image with good lighting that represents you professionally.
  • Headline: While you can keep your job title and company as your headline, you can also use it as a creative means to describe the services you can provide, the problems you solve, and the types of people you help.
  • Summary: Use your summary to elaborate on what you stated in your headline. To make yourself stand out, keep your summary conversational and concise—highlight what differentiates you and utilize strategic repetition to describe your strengths; give your experience a future-facing spin to reiterate to candidates what you can do for them; and incorporate a call to action (e.g. suggest people connect with you).
  • Recommendations/Endorsements: These sections serve as demonstrative evidence that you can provide results for what you say your offer. Given their rarity and specificity, recommendations are more valuable. However, you should follow a certain protocol when asking for a recommendation. Send a professional email to a current/former supervisor, colleague, or job seeker who can speak to your recruiting abilities, and ask if they’ll write you a recommendation. If they say yes, go to their page on LinkedIn and click the “Ask for a recommendation” button. Once they leave you a recommendation, make sure to follow up with a thank you email.
  • Utilize current connections and groups to extend your network

Once you’ve completed your profile, now is the time to start expanding your network to connect with talent—and utilizing your current network of connections is a great way to do this! However, it’s important to note that you might not be able to leverage all of your connections. If you haven’t kept in touch or you aren’t selective in who you accept (i.e. requests from people you don’t know/haven’t worked with), they probably won’t serve as a solid introduction for someone in their network you want to connect with. Only utilize your close, professional connections when seeking references.

Another way to strategically extend your network and find quality candidates is through the use of groups. While groups can serve as a great way to reach beyond your first-degree connections, it’s important to discern what makes a good group. A group that not only puts you in touch with the types of connections you’re trying to make, but one that is also active, is a great place to invest your time. Furthermore, don’t just join the group—contribute to the conversations at hand, share relevant content, and serve as a resource.

Another alluring aspect of joining groups is it allows you to InMail other group members, even if they aren’t first connections. Simply go to the group’s home page, click “members,” and search for the people you’d like to message. It’s a nice workaround for being able to message candidates, without paying for a premium account!

If there is a specific, potential candidate that you’re interested in connecting with or approaching about a job opportunity, the best course of action would be to request or InMail them. When doing so, explain how you found their name (this builds ethos if you have a referenceable point), use conversational language, and be specific/quick to the point about why you’re contacting then (whether it be just to connect or because you have a job opportunity).

  • Make your presence known

The easiest way to continue engaging with your new and established connections is through frequent posts. Something as simple as a daily status update allows you to stay at the top of potential candidates’ newsfeeds, and subconsciously, the top of their minds. Good examples of statuses to post include: items you’re working on, content you’ve created, news about your company, industry news/insight about careers and job searches, advice/opinions, events, questions, videos, and job opportunities.

From a best-practice standpoint, have your posts vary in type, remain relevant to work, and occur at least once a week. Also, if you’re sharing something that’s important and you want to make sure you’re reaching a wide range of connections (i.e. events your company is hosting, jobs, etc.), a little bit of repetition is okay. By posting often and experimenting with different types of posts, you can start to measure what works for you specifically, based on what provides you with the most direct engagements.

Undoubtedly, posts make you seem more accessible and familiar to candidates. Therefore, when you go to approach them about a potential job opportunity, you’ve already established a presence that potentially makes them more open to talking to you.


When utilized to its fullest potential, LinkedIn can serve as a cost-effective, efficient means of finding top talent for your clients. However, it’s important to note that LinkedIn has its limitations (even the subscription version), and therefore, should only serve as one tool in your recruiter arsenal. Ultimately, being successful on LinkedIn, and recruiting in general, derives from an ability to make lasting, trusting connections with others—and there’s no price you can put on that!

Source: LinkedIn recruiter advice and statistics provided via presentation by Anthony Juliano, VP/General Manager, Asher Agency. 

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