How to recruit on LinkedIn: 12 free strategies

Last updated:
July 30, 2021
August 9, 2022
min read
Adrie Smith
how to recruit on linkedin
Table of contents

When you think of recruitment, LinkedIn immediately comes to mind. Naturally, as a recruiter or employer, you will need to learn how to recruit on LinkedIn. It seems straightforward. After all, LinkedIn is a social platform designed for professional networking. However, there are right and wrong ways to go about recruitment on LinkedIn.

How to recruit on LinkedIn: the benefits

Before you learn how to recruit on LinkedIn, you need to know why you would recruit on LinkedIn. It’s at the top of the list for many recruiters and for good reason.

“LinkedIn is number one for me, and it defines social recruiting.”
Emmanuel Michael

Aside from being well-known in the job-seeking field, LinkedIn has many perks. Here are some of the reasons you will want to know how to recruit on LinkedIn, ASAP:

  • Purpose-built:The platform’s main purpose is to connect professionals. There won’t be other social posts bogging down your search.
  • Mobile-friendly: Your job postings will be pushed to potential talent’s mobile phones as soon as they go live.
  • Strong network:The talent pool is unmatched.

“Over 155 million workers in the U.S. have LinkedIn profiles; over 20,000 companies in the U.S. use LinkedIn to recruit; over 3 million jobs are posted on LinkedIn in the U.S. every month; and members can add over 50,000 skills to their profiles to showcase their professional brands.”  – LinkedIn blog

  • Job-seekers first port of call: It’s where everyone goes first, and all of your competitors will likely be there.
  • Free:It can be used for free—successfully.

How to recruit on LinkedIn for free (or cheap)

Although you will often be asked to sign up for LinkedIn Recruiter, you don’t actually need it to successfully recruit on the site. If you want to know how to recruit on LinkedIn, it’s best to start with the free or low-cost options. This way, you can gauge whether it truly is your top source of quality hires.

Remember: Just because LinkedIn is the number one choice of most recruiters, it doesn’t mean it will bring the best results in your situation. Always track HR metrics to make the best posting and budget decisions.

Here are some low-cost or even free ways to utilize LinkedIn for your recruitment needs:

1. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups.

Find active groups in the field you are recruiting for. Post jobs in the feeds here if it’s allowed in the group rules!

2. Search for passive candidates.

Look at talent in similar roles to the one you are hiring for. Along the same lines, talent can discreetly mark that they are open to new roles. This makes your job easier!

3. Gain insights from competitor companies.

Look at job postings from top companies. You can search on LinkedIn to see what keywords they use and emulate this to see if it works for you.

4. Create a stellar LinkedIn company page to enhance your employer brand.

First, think: what is employer branding? Use your LinkedIn company page to show potential candidates what you are all about as an employer. This can include:

  1. Curated content for inbound recruiting;
  2. Consistent graphics and header images;
  3. Recruitment videos;
  4. Press releases;
  5. Employee testimonials and more!

5. Utilize your employees’ professional network.

LinkedIn is great at showing your connections in searches and on profiles. Use this to your advantage!

In the section ‘what not to do’, we’ll talk about InMail. Messaging potential candidates becomes easier and more effective when they are in your network.

Further, a talent pool that is already familiar with your company and its people is more likely to be a pool full of culture fits!

6. Use Boolean search to find candidate LinkedIn profiles.

For this, you won’t even have to leave the familiar Google search bar.

7. Cross-check candidates’ references and experience with their LinkedIn page.

Their LinkedIn page may not be up to date, but if they are actively job searching, it should be!

8. Use LinkedIn messaging wisely.

We will cover this more in the ‘what not to do’ section, but a creative way is to use the voice messaging feature instead of a phone screening interview! This makes it more convenient and less stressful.

9. Give candidates the option to apply via LinkedIn.

Anything that makes the application process easier is going to be appealing for potential candidates. Just make sure not to ask them to re-enter all of that information you will receive from the LinkedIn profile!

10. Use Talent Acquisition Software to compile all of your LinkedIn applications and leads in one place.

This is a must if you’re looking into how to recruit on LinkedIn faster and more efficiently. Don’t lose track of messages, profiles, and applications.

You can post to LinkedIn for free through an ATS like Recruitee, as well as keeping track of all your candidates from LinkedIn and other places you are recruiting from.

Remember: In Step 1 of posting your job on LinkedIn, you need to direct applicants to your careers site that filters into your ATS.

11. Post jobs.

Now, this option isn’t free, but it can be budget-friendly.

LinkedIn runs on a pay-per-click model. This means that you only pay when potential talent views your listing. You can set your budget with a recommendation after completing the job details. You can also choose to stop when you hit your budget or continue until you manually close it.

Remember: If you keep the job posted on LinkedIn until you close it, you may spend more than your budget.

12. Post jobs on your LinkedIn company page for free.

If you have built your company page to exemplify your employer brand and have a large, relevant following, this may work to your advantage.

Post a link to the job posting on your careers site. This is a nice, free way to get traction on a job posting on LinkedIn without having to set a budget. You can sponsor the post if you’d like, which will get it in front of a larger audience, but posting to your feed is free!

Remember: You can (and should) encourage employees to share your job post! This will get in front of even more people in their networks.

What not to do when recruiting on LinkedIn

Now that you know how to recruit on LinkedIn, you need to know how not to recruit on LinkedIn.

While the platform can obviously prove helpful for your recruitment process, it can also do the opposite.

Here are some tactics to avoid when recruiting on LinkedIn to stay on talents’ good side and get the results you want:

1. Don’t overuse or misuse InMail.

This is a big one. You will notice job seekers (or simply LinkedIn users) will complain about unsolicited InMail messages the most. LinkedIn actually has a Recruiter InMail Policy that states the following:

  • Don’t distribute unwanted or untargeted mass InMail messages.
  • Don’t use InMail for marketing campaigns.
  • Don’t use InMail as event invitations.

Mass InMail will likely get your profile flagged or banned. “If you send more than 100 InMail messages over a 14-day period and have a response rate less than 13%, you’ll receive a warning notification as well as tips to improve your response rate. For any subsequent breach of the threshold, you may be placed in an InMail Improvement Period.”Further, it’s fairly obvious when you haven’t done your research on talent and are just blasting out InMail willy-nilly!

Use your network and knowledge/research of the individual to inform what you send them via LinkedIn message. Make sure you are actually interested in hiring this person. Use something like CrystalKnows to gauge their personality and interactions. Craft an InMail that gets results. It may even be helpful to use a recruitment email template.

Relevant: 10 vital InMail tips to make lasting impressions on talent

2. Don’t spend your budget in one place and expect the right applicants to come rolling in.

This can apply to any type of social recruiting. As mentioned above, always track your success rates on different candidate sources.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket unless you know that’s the basket that will work for you and this role! Further, you should be creating your job descriptions with clarity and SEO for job posting in mind.

A few quickfire tips for getting the best from recruiting on LinkedIn

Sticking to best practices will you get where you’re going the most efficiently. If you’re looking at how to recruit on LinkedIn faster, here are a few extra ideas that might just give your systems an edge.

  1. Make sure your profile is top notchInclude a professional picture, a relevant headline and summary. Above all, make sure all those elements are full of the keywords your candidates will be searching for.
  2. Get your custom URLWhen you sign up, you’ll be allocated an enormous URL full of all kinds of numbers and characters. Go to your profile settings and change it to a user-friendly version.
  3. Consider SEO at every stepJust as you would your website, make sure your LinkedIn posts, pages, and job ads feature all the keywords your candidates are likely to use in their searches.
  4. Use your privacy settings to your advantageConsider the updates you make that you don’t want to broadcast, and also the privacy of your contacts and candidates. You can hide connections that don’t want to be seen, determine what they can see when they visit your profile and choose whether to limit or broadcast what you post at every step.
  5. Follow the correct connecting etiquetteIt’s easy to forget that everyone on LinkedIn is a real-life, bona fide human being. So treat them accordingly. You know which parts of the system irritate you, so it’s likely the same for your possible connections and candidates. Don’t act spammy, don’t be irrelevant, and always remember your manners.
  6. Stay engagedLinkedIn is still a social tool, albeit for business networking, so stay connected. Engage with your connections to retain their interest in you and your operation. You should do this the same way you would on the other socials: post informative, engaging and relevant posts, articles, and comments.
  7. Check your analytics oftenLinkedIn offers analytics and insights, so make use of them. We love data because it takes the guesswork out of marketing and advertising roles and services. If you’ve got access to some, use it.

How to get the best hires from LinkedIn

Be present. This means that you should have a company profile and post jobs on LinkedIn. It’s simply where people are! Job seekers and recruiters alike will hang out on LinkedIn with one goal in mind: networking. It is a form of social recruitment that keeps a sense of formality about it, unlike other social recruiting processes.

Don’t change up your job description or employer branding much from what appears on your careers site. Funnel everything into your Talent Acquisition Software. Track your results and adjust as you go. And above all, network and create relevant content that will show potential talent, active and passive, what your company is all about. Make them want to work for you just by looking at your LinkedIn feed!

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