How to Recruit on LinkedIn

13 Feb


This is my 3rd entry in a series of 7 blogs about how to make better use of LinkedIn. My first two articles were an introduction and focus on selling via LinkedIn (see entries on January 31 & February 7 if you missed them: BOSC WordPress).

If you are a full-time recruiter, you probably know the ins and outs of using LinkedIn. The rest of you probably don’t maximize all the benefits of this expansive site. Unemployment remains extremely low in 2019, so you can’t wait for resumes to land on your doorstep. Great candidates are currently working, and LinkedIn is probably the best way to proactively find them.


By joining some of the larger groups on LinkedIn – including some specific to your industry – you give yourself further exposure to others. You can message other members directly, post new conversations within the group (like “I have an opening!”) and comment on others’ posts without requiring a first degree connection. I highly recommend doing some work searching and joining groups.


I covered being a L.I.O.N. (LinkedIn Open Networker) in my last blog. If you don’t know what it is, please read that last post. If you are actively recruiting, utilize this rich network on LinkedIn.


For some of us, the need for InMails and additional tools within LinkedIn becomes a little more important. I’d consider an upgrade so that you can message 2nd degree connections and beyond. Also, you will be able to contact other premium members without using an InMail (a $60/month subscription gives you 15 per month).

If you do have them, use your InMails wisely. Craft personalized messages explaining why the recipient seems like a match for your opening. Keep it brief and to the point about your opportunity.


I don’t mean to plug spending a lot on LinkedIn but posting a job on here can be a good option. Not to get off-topic, but here are my job board recommendations:

  • Try ZipRecruiter and Indeed first; they are probably the most effective.
  • Monster and CareerBuilder are still relevant. They have become good but not great.
  • Dice can be effective for technical positions.
  • Ladders is good for salespeople and other $100K+ jobs.

I think LinkedIn falls in a close third behind ZipRecruiter and Indeed. Most of my tips are proactive efforts versus reactionary, so please don’t assume that job ads are going to easily fill your opening with a great candidate.


Crystal is a plug-in that allows you to learn about the personality of a person on LinkedIn based on their communication style. It’s a great little tool and I’d highly recommend that you give it a try.


The absolute number one value for recruiting on LinkedIn is the research you can do in finding people. Consider this site crucial for data mining. What do you want to mine? Their name, skill set and company. If you know this much, you can determine who to reach out to. With an extensive network (500+ connections), the advanced search becomes your best friend.


You have their name, but you don’t have any InMails nor a group in common with the person. DON’T risk sending them an invitation to connect if they are a stranger. You can be red-flagged by LinkedIn if more than one person responds “I Don’t Know” to your invite.

Even though there are 590 Million people on LinkedIn, only 260 Million (44%) are monthly users. The average user spends just 17 minutes a month on their site. For more statistics, check out:

You are going to have to get more creative than that – below are four better suggestions.

a. Get an introduction. Chances are, you have a contact in common – message that person in LinkedIn (1st degrees are always free) and ask for that introduction. Also, be sure to clarify your intentions up front – “introducers” can be more helpful if they know you want to reach the person about a job opening.

b. Locate them on a job board by name and company. Even if they aren’t currently searching, you may be able to find this person on one of the several mentioned in #4 above. A lot of resumes are kept on job boards indefinitely (unless taken down by the user).

c. Find their email. Sometimes you get lucky and they have their email listed in their profile. In 2019, it’s not that difficult to find people’s email addresses. If you know their company, go to their website and find their email “suffix”. Blue Octopus is, so our email ends Joe Johnson at Blue Octopus is probably one of the 90% that can then be reached using these common email formats: or (if a smaller company, try Worst case scenario, it bounces, and you move on to other methods.

d. Call them! You know where they work; if they look great, it might be time to bravely pick up the phone.

Remember when emailing and especially calling them at work to be respectful of your “interruption”. Keep the emails somewhat vague aside from stating you “have an opportunity to discuss”. Over the phone ask if this is “a good time – or can we schedule something more convenient?” (Picture their boss is sitting at their desk!).


I started out on LinkedIn many years ago, slowly adding colleagues, friends, clients and people I’ve met in person to build my network to over 2,000 connections. Later, I became an active LION and open networker. 14,000 connections later, I have a vast network giving me exposure to millions. If the average user has 500 connections (based on what I’ve read, that’s probably a low estimate), then I have 500 * 14,000 = 7,000,000 second degree connections!

First and foremost, I want you to think of LinkedIn as a database for mining people’s names, titles and skill sets. Don’t assume that an InMail (or any message) will work, because at least half of your messages probably aren’t read by the individual. Please, please remember – LinkedIn isn’t all-encompassing and you will need to apply some of the methods that I suggest under #7 above.

Stay on top of building your network – If you have spoken to or emailed a connection, send a personalized invitation. If you have met them in person, diligently keep sending these new people invites! 

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew


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