In this episode of the HIRECONOMICS I am going to show you if you should use a LinkedIn paid account and eventually which LinkedIn paid account to use for recruitment and talent sourcing. Three years ago I would have told you that with a certain level of LinkedIn knowledge you don’t need to consider any of the premium accounts. It was not necessary. But over time LinkedIn started to push users who used LinkedIn actively for business and recruitment to one of their paid accounts by applying different types of limitations and by stripping the searching features from the basic account.

The Limitations of the Basic LinkedIn Account

Probably one of the most hostile limitations is the so-called Commercial Use Limit which blocks you from being able to browse all the users from your search results – instead you see just the first 3 users on the top positions. This limitation is triggered when you are too active in terms of number of searches and opened profiles in a certain period of time (it’s different for each user so I can’t tell you exactly how much activity). If you do searches and browse through profiles and you haven’t seen this, it means that you didn’t hit your limit yet. In other words, you could or should be even more active. J

One of the ways how to solve this is by just waiting. Give it a week or so and your account will usually revert back to normal. If you don’t want to wait you can use what I call the elimination method, where you can open the first three profiles, screen them and then exclude them by their surnames (eventually by first name + last name as the keywords when there are more users with the same last name in the search results). This will uncover three more profiles and you continue with this until you are through the search results.

You can also use the x-ray search query through Google for instance as follows:

site:de.linkedin.com Buchhalter Berlin

Due to the fact that you can see only 300 LinkedIn results in Google, I recommend to do more smaller searches (one for Buchhalter, second for Accountant, etc.) rather than one large boolean search string (such as Buchhalter OR Accountant).

Another of the most recent limitations is the maximum usage of OR operators in the search fields such as Keywords, Title, Company, etc. So you can forget about using boolean strings with hundreds of words as it was possible in the past. This forces you to divide your searches into smaller pieces which might be a bit awkward and could lead to mistakes for searches when you need to fill longer queries such as Company, Title and Keywords at the same time.

You may have also noticed that there are some filters disappearing from the people search such as ZIP code + radius, Title and Company with Past, Current, Past not Current options, group search, graduate search, etc. Some of these filters plus some of the premium filters can be enabled when you know some unofficial hacks but of course they may not last long.

For example, use can adjust thus URL when you want to search with a ZIP code combined with a radius.

http://www.linkedin.com/search/results/people/?distance=40&locationType=I&countryCode=cz&postalCode=11000

This is the city of Prague with a 40 km or mile radius.

But sometimes you might be forced to use one of the paid profiles or maybe you just want to have a bit more comfort when doing your searches. And of course paid accounts also influence the approaching phase because you get a certain amount of credits for InMails.

But which premium account to use considering budget and features?

You have basically the following options:

  • LinkedIn Business
  • LinkedIn Recruiter Lite
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  • LinkedIn Recruiter Professional Services (RPS)
  • LinkedIn Recruiter


LinkedIn Business accounts

LinkedIn Business account is the only account where you use the same interface as a basic account.

It’s just tweaked by a few features such as 15 InMail credits and the disappearance of the commercial use limit. Cost is 45 EUR per month.

LinkedIn Recruiter accounts

Most of you will probably go for the LinkedIn Recruiter Lite account which is somewhere around 90 EUR per month and it remains an individual account, not a company one. It also means that all the data and communication belongs to the individual, not the company.

LinkedIn RPS and LinkedIn Recruiter are company accounts and are also considerably more expensive (380 EUR and more). LinkedIn RPS is an account for recruitment agencies. LinkedIn Recruiter is the most expensive, fully loaded account you can have. If you are a freelance recruiter, a boutique agency or an HR professional where recruitment is not 100% of you daily work, I wouldn’t recommend one of these.

I like LinkedIn Recruiter Lite (or the higher recruiter accounts we use at GoodCall) for a couple of reasons.

  • You can effectively search by seniority. For example, when you look for entry level positions you can use Year of graduation and Years of experience filters. You can also use Years at current company when you need to filter down people who will be more willing to leave their current job.
  • You can access the all-important filter Open to relocate to expand the longlist by people who are willing to move into a certain area.
  • Even though I recommend to use Keywords when searching for languages, you can use the Spoken languages filter to quickly find people with good knowledge of some language even if the list isn’t exhaustive.
  • You have a chance to use 30 InMail credits for LinkedIn Recruiter Lite which get returned to you whenever a recipient replies to you.
  • You can save more than just three Saved Search Alerts and also have daily updates on Saved Search Alrerts.

Can I use LinkedIn Sales Navigator account for recruitment?

There is also one mostly forgotten account, called LinkedIn Sales Navigator. As a recruiter you probably wouldn’t be attracted to this account simply by the name, as it seems to signify a clear focus on sales people. However, the opposite may be true.

Modern social selling and recruitment have many things in common. Both fields utilise searching and approaching in a similar fashion. This account is just branded with sales terms. Instead of the people search, there is Search for leads; plus there’s a sweet option Search for accounts which is perfect when you need to make a list of e.g. companies from Munich, having more than 500 employees and being in the automotive industry. What an amazing feature for mapping the market! This killer feature is something you can’t do with any other recruitment accounts.

Maybe you’re asking if you should use Sales Navigator over Recruiter Lite? Well, I would say YES, for the following reasons:

  • Sales Navigator is way cheaper than Recruiter Lite and you can get it for 60 EUR per month. So if you’re on a tight budget, this is the account for you.
  • There are fantastic filters which you cannot find in other accounts such as Search for accounts. You can even set all of Europe as a location. Plus there’s an option to filter somebody who posted a specific keyword.
  • Unlike in Recruiter Lite you can search for people in certain groups even if you are not a member of those groups.
  • The only thing you miss that Recruiter Lite has is the filter Year of Graduation. But this can be substituted partially by the Years of experience filter. And also Spoken Language which can be substituted by putting those languages into Keywords which is anyway the only exhaustive way to search for languages. You also have 20 InMail credits whereas you can just 10 more with the Recruiter Lite account – not a crucial difference especially if you’re used to using the basic account without any InMail possibility.

Sourcing queen Irina Shamaeva recently created the complete comparison of all LinkedIn accounts.

You have to bear in mind that using any of the premium accounts doesn’t mean the complete and utter freedom. There are still limitations which take effect on you regardless of the account you use. For example, the number of displayed search results is 1000 as a maximum. Of course there are ways how to go around this by usage of advanced boolean logic.

The bottom line of this episode should be to consider LinkedIn Sales Navigator as an alternative for LinkedIn Recruiter Lite. It has almost the same features and is 30% cheaper.

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If you want to know more about talent sourcing techniques and social media recruitment methods, visit the website of Recruitment Engineering training.