How to Recruit on LinkedIn for Free (or cheap) in 2024

8 mins

Planning to recruit on LinkedIn? The platform may be asking you to purchase a LinkedIn Recruiter plan.

LinkedIn Recruiter can be super expensive and costs a massive $835 per month. So it’s best to test the waters by exploring free and budget-friendly options for recruiting on LinkedIn before taking the plunge.

How do you recruit talent on LinkedIn for free or at a low cost, you ask?

This article has got you covered. Let’s explore nine free and cheap ways on how to find candidates on LinkedIn for free.

1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile

The first step you must take is to polish your LinkedIn profile. 

No matter if you have a free or a premium LinkedIn plan, without an updated and optimized LinkedIn profile you may leave a lot of potential untapped. 

Here are some easy profile optimization steps you can take to make the most of LinkedIn for recruiting:

  • SEO for LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn SEO involves optimizing your LinkedIn profile using relevant keywords so that you can increase profile views from your target audiences. For example, your recruiter profile must show up at the top of a candidate’s LinkedIn search.

Some ways to boost SEO are to turn on the “Creator mode” on your profile and pick topics you want to be known for. For example, add up to five hashtags like “recruiter”, “activelyrecruiting”, “hiringmanager”, etc.

recruit on linkedin for free

Explore best-performing keywords to increase clout by running a simple LinkedIn search. Since recruiting on LinkedIn is your focus, that’s what we’re running a search on:

how do you recruit talent on linkedin for free

As you can see, the “recruiter” keyword is mentioned across the top profiles in their headings, “talks about” sections, past experiences, and skills. 

So sprinkle in these keywords throughout your profile – on your headline, summary, work experience, skills, banner image, and LinkedIn posts to increase profile visibility. 

  • Add featured links

A LinkedIn profile’s “Featured” section is the best place to feature authoritative posts you’ve shared with your followers in the past. You could also add a link to your career page or business website to guide candidates to learn more.

Here’s Justin Welsh, a popular LinkedIn influencer’s featured section:

how to find candidates on linkedin for free

  • Add the “Hiring” badge

Show off that you’re hiring actively, by using LinkedIn’s “Hiring” badge and add it to your profile picture. 

how to search candidates in linkedin for free

  • Add a call to action under your headline

Add a clickable call to action right below your headline so viewers and potential candidates don’t have to scroll all the way down looking for ways to contact you or learn more about you/your company. 

Here’s an example by Expandi’s founder:

recruit on linkedin for free

  •  Add a Summary CTA

Ensure you don’t leave a viewer or an interested job seeker hanging and forcing them to scroll down to your Summary section without a prompt CTA. Add one here, too, to instigate action, like so:

how do you recruit talent on linkedin for free

  • Add a LinkedIn cover image CTA

A LinkedIn profile’s banner, a.k.a., the cover image is what stands out after the profile picture. So add an attractive image that precisely dictates what you’re looking for in a candidate or how they can reach out to you. 

2. Searching on LinkedIn

As per our research, most recruiters love getting their hands dirty by searching manually on LinkedIn. 

For example, recruiters could start creating a list of leading companies that their target candidates may be working at.

Here’s how you can start searching for candidates on LinkedIn for free:

  • List out companies where your target audience could be working.
  • Open their company page and navigate to the “People” tab.

how to find candidates on linkedin for free

  • Similarly, you could drill down your current employees’ profiles and look through their past work experiences to find similar candidates to source for an open role.

Now, how can you extract a list of best-suitable candidates post-searching on LinkedIn? Here’s how Expandi lets you extract candidates into a data file:

  1. Copy the LinkedIn search URL
    how to search candidates in linkedin for free
  2. Sign up for Expandi’s 7-day free trial
  3. In your Expandi account, go to Search on the main navigation menu and select Add New Search
    how to search candidates in linkedin for free
  4. Name the new search action and choose the Basic search type. Paste the URL and click Search
    how to find candidates on linkedin for free

Once done, you can further refresh the searched list to eliminate redundancies or null columns, if any. Next, Export your candidate list as a data file

how do you recruit talent on linkedin for free

You can now use this exported list for your recruiting outreach efforts.

3. Pay attention to your analytics

If you’ve followed our profile optimization tips, chances are a lot of potential candidates are already looking at your profile. How can you check? Using LinkedIn’s analytics.

Data helps keep the guesswork at bay. So always pay attention to analytics and insights to uncover who’s looking at your profile, what industry they are from, their location, etc. 

Suppose your profile generates high traffic from potential candidates but not enough connections, you may have to rework your CTAs and content.

4. Connect with people viewing your profile

A small push is all it takes for a potential candidate who has been viewing your profile to connect with you. This small push can be a proactive action from your end, for example, sending them a personalized connection message. 

recruit on linkedin for free

Here’s our quick method to turn profile visitors into interviewable candidates:

  1. Log into your Expandi account or sign up for the 7-day free trial.
  2. Create a new campaign. Go to Campaigns and select Add Campaign.
    recruit on linkedin for free
  3. Choose Inbound campaign to add a campaign instance. This can help you create an outreach campaign for users who’ve visited your profile.
    how do you recruit talent on linkedin for free
  4. Add an “If visited” condition to your campaign workflow to extract only the candidates who’ve visited your profile.
  5. Next, under “Connection request” you can set up a personalized connection message to be automatically sent out to a candidate visiting your profile. 

Sit back as Expandi reaches out to potential candidates interested in your profile and turns them into healthy connections. 

5. Alumni

Your best-performing employees may have come from top universities across the globe. So not target hyper-specifically by hunting down their university alumni with similar jobs and skills?

And the best part is – you don’t have to look elsewhere outside LinkedIn to gather up and reach out to alumni. 

LinkedIn Alumni is an in-built feature on LinkedIn, where you can filter and find alumni from a certain school or university. 

how to find candidates on linkedin for free

Suppose your best employee is from the University of Toronto, run a simple search for the school’s page on LinkedIn, like so:

how to search candidates in linkedin for free

Once you’re on the school’s page, find the Alumni tab where you can filter out candidates based on their location, years of experience, current company, etc.

how to find candidates on linkedin for free

Scroll down a little to find the “People you may know” section to view the filtered alumni’s LinkedIn profiles:

how do you recruit talent on linkedin for free

Now, how can you reach out to them? By using your Sales Navigator account with Expandi.

Go to the Sales Navigator to run a new LinkedIn alumni search or save the link from your previous search and follow this step-by-step Sales Navigator Search tutorial to quickly import your alumni list.

6. Tips for your LinkedIn inbox

We see you. Active recruiters on LinkedIn may find the number of messages and notifications overwhelming. 

But an overlooked and unorganized inbox leads to piled-up conversations making it feel cluttered. 

So here are some tips to organize your LinkedIn inbox and messages:

  • Unread messages: If you’ve read a potential candidate’s message but are unable to respond to it immediately, you can “star” the conversation or change it to “unread” to read it at a later time. 
  • Delete unwanted conversations: There may be plenty of irrelevant conversations that don’t serve your recruiting bottom line. You can easily delete or archive them from your inbox.
  • Create a LinkedIn-focused inbox: LinkedIn lets you set up a focused inbox where you can only receive messages from your current connections. 

Pro tip: Using Expandi, you can explore the “Inbox” feature to sync messages between the LinkedIn automation tool and LinkedIn. You can filter messages, add tags to candidate conversations, snooze conversations, and more. It also keeps your account safe as Expandi ensures you don’t respond using different IP addresses.

7. Be in LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups are a gold mine to hunt down talented candidates for an open role. 

LinkedIn is bustling with active groups of like-minded, skilled professionals, so all you need to do is a simple search to find relevant groups and start connecting with their members.

Suppose you’re looking to speak to a B2B Marketing Manager, you could run a simple LinkedIn search for “B2B Marketing” and add the “Groups” filter, like so:

recruit on linkedin for free

As you can see, most groups contain thousands of community members – opening up a wide range of candidates for you to reach out to. 

Now how can you start your outreach process? With group scraping using Expandi.

Here’s how:

  1. Sign in to your Expandi account
  2. Under the Campaign tab, select Group campaign
    how do you recruit talent on linkedin for free
  3. Enter campaign details
  4. Next, link a specific LinkedIn group and select the members you’d like to import. Remember, you must be a member of the group you’re scraping
  5. Finally, build your connection message sequence where you can introduce yourself as the recruiter and what made you reach out to the candidates
    how to find candidates on linkedin for free

8. Use LinkedIn posts to share your voice and use your network (polls are great, too!)

Being vocal on LinkedIn is another great way to reach job seekers even if you’re not connected to them.

Suppose you’re recruiting a Sales Rep and want to spread the word. You can create a LinkedIn post which is as simple as announcing that the company is open to accepting resumes and adding the link to apply (usually the LinkedIn job ad). This way, when your first-degree connections like or interact with your post, it shows up on the second-degree connections feed, too. 

Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags so job seekers can filter posts using them, for example, the #recruiting hashtag like so:

how to search candidates in linkedin for free

Additionally, make your posts more interesting and interactive using polls. 

LinkedIn polls are great for recruiters to gain some insights into a role or a skill. For example, if you’re planning on hiring a Content marketer, you could create a poll asking your followers what the most essential skill is for an experienced Content Marketer.

9. Turn likes into clients

The ultimate goal of sharing LinkedIn posts as a recruiter is to attract talent and turn them into applicants. So is there a way to convert people who are engaging with your posts? Sure there is!

But remember, LinkedIn hates it when you add a redirect link to a post since it wants users to stay on the app, thus hampering your reach. Alternatively, you could add a redirect link to your career page or your company’s website on the first comment of the post. 

You could also stir action by asking users to “Like” or “Comment” to receive a link to apply for the job, like so:

how to find candidates on linkedin for free

Here are some do’s and don’ts to drive job seekers to your job post or website:

  • Share a preview of the job description to ensure the right candidates interact with your post
  • Do not include a redirect link within the post, add it to the comment section
  • Encourage people to interact with the post through comments or likes and send them a direct message with more details

Did you know you can automate this process using Expandi’s “Post Engagement” outreach campaign? 

Just copy the link to your post:

how do you recruit talent on linkedin for free

Next, paste it to Expandi’s Post Engagement campaign to automatically reach out to everyone who’s interacted with your posts.

how to find candidates on linkedin for free

Wrapping up

It’s no secret that LinkedIn is over-saturated with job seekers, making finding talented folks a highly time-consuming task. But there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

We hope our tips on how to recruit on LinkedIn for free work in your favor.

But if you’re looking to fast track recruiting on LinkedIn, there’s always Expandi by your side to help with automating LinkedIn recruitment campaigns. 

Sign up with Expandi for a 7-day free trial and watch how recruitment campaigns can be painless. 


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  • The exact 1on1 examples we used (many times over) from our content plan (posts, video, polls)
  • How to automatically Invite your network throughout the month
  • 7 ‘Untapped Promotion’ strategies to get over 1000+ people to register for your event
  • How to interact with all attendees before the event and after the event

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