LinkedIn continues to evolve and that change isn’t likely to stop soon (or ever). Each new update can bring raised prices and/or new frustrating learning curves with it. However, nobody is walking away from all of that unbelievably convenient and valuable candidate data just yet.

Let’s investigate the steps that a few successful recruiters take to consistently deliver client-pleasing results while they recruit on LinkedIn (even with all of those changes).

3) Master Boolean to Uncover Ideal Candidates Faster

Boolean should be your go-to swiss army knife, whether you’re on the prowl for a specific candidate or prospecting. To do this as effectively as possible, here’s one of the tricks that Irina Shamaeva, a partner at Brain Gain Recruiting and all-around sourcing genius, uses to find candidates that match her specific requirements despite LinkedIn’s altered search features.

One major barrier to sourcing effectively on LinkedIn after the site’s recent round of updates is that the functionality of the new field search commands work a bit differently than the site originally described.

LinkedIn’s new search feature example:

title:”software engineer” NOT lastname:doe school:(harvard OR stanford)

However, Shamaeva notes that this does not operate as one would expect of a traditional Boolean search. As a result, the field commands must be used more explicitly than most would typically use them.

Here’s her example for reference:

Instead of being able to apply the “title” operator to both “CMO” and “chief marketing” using parentheses, the two must be broken up and the “title” operator must be applied to both:

title:CMO OR title:”chief marketing”

Using the specific field operator (ex. firstname, lastname, title, company, school) before each keyword will ensure that you are finding as many great candidates as possible. This method takes slightly more time up front, but it will provide better search results, so you get that time back by running fewer searches.

2) Send Better Messages

A note on LinkedIn messaging from the master, Stacy Donovan Zapar. One, among many, great pieces of advice that Zaper offers is to reach out to candidates on a different medium prior to sending a connection request. Send a message, a text, or note on another social site before requesting a connection. This opens the door for communication and provides a way for you to start a conversation with candidates prior to pitching a role. Another benefit of this tactic is that it ensures that your message will be seen.

LinkedIn does not have the most active user base. Only 18% of LinkedIn users report using the site daily. So, starting the conversation on a more traditional platform could promote a more timely response.

Zaper also warns against sending the default invitation to connect – and as the most connected woman on LinkedIn, she knows a thing or two about ensuring that connection requests are accepted. Those generic messages that often accompany connection requests aren’t compelling, nor do they offer enough information to remind candidates who you are or about the great conversation that you had on a different platform.

It’s best to craft your own unique message for each candidate to jog their memory or to show them early on that you respect them and their time. It can be short and sweet. It just has to be compelling.

1) Nurture These New Connections

After taking the time to find these connections and customize messages for them, it’s important to stay in contact with them; following their work trends and nurturing the relationship. Mary Truslow, a recruiter with Pile and Company Inc., shared some of her tips for staying in contact with these potential candidates after connecting.

Truslow recommends staying up-to-date and in tune with your LinkedIn connections by monitoring lulls and peaks in LinkedIn behaviors, noting that a sudden and frequent use of the site can signal that a connection may be on the job market. Since LinkedIn now allows you to see an individual’s activity on their page, you have a fast, consolidated way of quickly accessing this information. LinkedIn’s focus on updating the news feed more frequently, showing users their connections’ comments and posts, is also beneficial in monitoring their usage and interests as they begin to contemplate a new role.

Another strategy that Truslow uses is to join industry groups and monitor users, looking for those who are knowledgeable and have the communication skills required to be a successful team player. Monitoring these groups is also a great way to learn about niche roles, industry terms, and the types of projects that pique the interest of talented candidates. You can also learn about unique pain points and more. This type of first-hand information is tremendously helpful as you craft your introduction or pitch for a role.


LinkedIn isn’t perfect, but we hope these tips from some really great (and proven) recruiting minds allow you to continue to source and find talented candidates using the massive amount of candidate data on the site. It’s a unique time for finding talent. Change is everywhere, but so is your sourcing reach. Good luck!