min read

3 Hacks to recruit talent on LinkedIn without a paid account

Run into restrictions on LinkedIn because you don't have a paid account? Or want to know how you can find candidate profiles on LinkedIn without being dependent on the platform's functionality? We got you covered in this blog.

September 29, 2020
Yuma Heymans
September 7, 2022

Overcoming the restrictions of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is notoriously expensive, constantly changes its pricing and has been increasing its restrictions for users.

Next to that LinkedIn is very unclear about their pricing.

Try to google LinkedIn pricing and chances are very small you get a reliable answer.

These are some of the latest LinkedIn pricing indications we could find:

  • Premium Career: €30 to per month (or €240 billed annually)
  • Premium Business: €60 per month (or €576 billed annually)
  • Premium Sales: €100 per month (or €960 billed annually)
  • Premium Recruiter Lite: €160 per month (or €1.320 billed annually)
  • Premium Recruiter Corporate: €835 per month (or €8.400 billed annually)

Prices many of us would have to break their piggy bank for.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to LinkedIn when it comes to recruiting talent.

These methods will get you at least close to the paid functionality of LinkedIn and in many cases even offer you better solutions that cost less and save you more time.

Option 1. X-ray LinkedIn

By X-raying LinkedIn you can search candidates without having to pay for advanced search filters and unlimited searches in LinkedIn.

Many social media and professional platforms can be searched for candidates using a search string in Google. LinkedIn is no exception.

For a detailed instruction, see this guide on how to X-ray LinkedIn.

But here’s a short overview of what you can do.

The most basic search string you can create to X-ray LinkedIn for candidates is:


By using the site: operator you only search for search results from the linkedin.com domain.

And with the /in addition you only get profiles as results.

To make the search more targeted you can include a couple of things in your search like Boolean operators, title keywords and country codes.

1. Adding standard Boolean operators to specify your search syntax

Boolean operators are words you can use to connect your search words together to either narrow or broaden your search results.

The three basic Boolean operators are: AND, OR, and NOT (-).

AND: Tells the search engine to look for keyword X AND keyword Y. Here's an example: site:nl.linkedin.com/in engineer JavaScript node.js

OR: Tells the search engine to look for keyword X OR keyword Y. Here's an example: site:nl.linkedin.com/in engineer (Angular OR node.js)

NOT (-): Tells the search engine to exclude keywords, phrases or domains. Here's an example: site:nl.linkedin.com/in engineer (Angular OR node.js) -"Team lead"

For a deep dive on how to search in Google for LinkedIn profiles see our guide on how to X-ray LinkedIn.

2. Add specific operators like intitle: to make your search more targeted

The intitle: operator lets you search in the current job title section of profiles.

You can use the intitle: operator to find job titles (like SaaS Sales Executive) but also for the companies the candidates work at (like Salesforce). Here’s an example: site:linkedin.com/in intitle:"Sales Executive" intitle:"Salesforce"

3. Search for specific countries or regions

You can include country codes to your search string and find candidates from only those countries.

Here you can find all the country codes.

Add the country code that you need to your search string, for Canada the search string looks like this: site:ca.linkedin.com/in

You can also include defined area names to your search, for Cologne the search string can look like this: site:de.linkedin.com/in (Koln OR Cologne)

Here's a detailed guide on Boolean search.

Option 2. Recruitin

If you are not very familiar with X-raying and using operators you can use Recruitin

Recruitin creates the search string you want based on search fields that you fill in. 

It works very much like creating a search in LinkedIn itself so you don’t have to write the X-ray search string yourself. 

The added benefit is that with Recruitin you can not only search LinkedIn but also platforms like GitHub, Xing and Kaggle, which expands the amount of candidates you find and the relevancy of those candidates because you include niche platforms in your search.

Option 3. Use a talent sourcing solution.

A talent sourcing solution searches for candidate profiles across several platforms and returns the best matching profiles.

There are several talent sourcing solutions on the market but the offer of good solutions is still very limited.

Some sourcing solutions focus on specific roles, like tech profiles, and some are very broad in the databases and profiles they search.

Most of the solutions have a SaaS model and you can only use it when you pay the subscription fee. But some of the solutions are free to use.

With a talent sourcing solution you don’t have to create Boolean strings yourself and you're not limited by any of the restrictions that the individual platforms try to enforce.

Our solution HeroHunt for an example is a free sourcing solution that searches across platforms.

HeroHunt is specifically made for tech companies. Most other sourcing solutions are generic using all available profiles available without industry specific pre-selection.

More content like this

Sign up and receive the best new tech recruiting content weekly.
Thank you! Fresh tech recruiting content coming your way 🧠
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Latest Articles