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8 best alternative sources to LinkedIn Recruiter to find talent

Feeling like you're dependent on LinkedIn for recruiting? These are your alternative approaches and platforms to find and reach talent.

September 29, 2020
Yuma Heymans
December 13, 2023

The many alternatives to LinkedIn for recruiting talent

Many recruiters rely on LinkedIn to hit their recruitment targets.

But LinkedIn is not the only platform to source talent on.

Many platforms are overlooked as sourcing platforms. They might not be necessarily designed for recruitment, but you can find talent if you know how to search them.

And the best part is that most of these alternative platforms provide information on professional activity of the candidates that is richer than the information on LinkedIn.

These alternative sources can be X-rayed, but there are also talent search engines which help you find LinkedIn profiles, but also profiles from these alternative sources.

Using these alternatives can not only save a lot of money like for the LinkedIn Recruiter seat equal to $880 per month, it can also provide you access to profiles that other recruiters are not finding.

These are your best alternatives to recruiting talent on LinkedIn:

  1. X-ray search
  2. Use a talent search engine

And these are the best alternative platforms to recruiting talent on LinkedIn:

  1. GitHub
  2. Stack Overflow
  3. Reddit
  4. AngelList
  5. Xing
  6. Kaggle
  7. Medium
  8. Profile aggregator

Best alternatives to recruiting talent on LinkedIn

There are two main alternatives to paying for a LinkedIn Recruiter (Lite) account.

X-ray search and talent search engines offer the ability to find LinkedIn and other profiles.

X-ray search profiles

X-raying or x-ray searching is finding (LinkedIn) profiles in a generic search engine like Google. You can instruct Google to search for LinkedIn results and for profiles only.

Here's an example of a simple x-ray search string:

site:linkedin.com/in "software developer"

This will instruct Google to search for results from the LinkedIn website only (site:linkedin.com), for profiles only and not for example blogs (/in) and for profiles with keywords mentioned ("software developer").

Here's a complete guide on how to use X-ray:

LinkedIn X-ray search guide

Use a talent search engine

A talent search engine automates the finding of profiles and typically also searches for profiles from not only LinkedIn, but also other platforms like GitHub, Stack Overflow and Medium.

Most talent search engines also find contact details like email addresses and enable quick and personalized outreach to candidates with automations that even LinkedIn doesn't have.

That means you can find more profiles, recruit faster and have to spend less time doing so.

Here's a popular talent search engine that finds profiles from several platforms and finds contact details:

HeroHunt.ai talent search and engagement engine

Best alternative platforms to LinkedIn

As mentioned there are many other platforms where candidate profiles can be found. These platforms are not specifically designed to recruit on, but when you know how to use them (responsibly) for recruiting purposes you can get significantly higher conversion rates than sourcing on LinkedIn only.

1. GitHub

GitHub is the platform with the most active engineering users, beating LinkedIn and any other platform. A goldmine of rich and up to date candidate information.

Key facts

  • Engineer profiles including activity
  • 65 million users
  • Publishing of code repositories including tech tags

How to recruit talent on GitHub

2. Stack Overflow

With 14 million developers and rich technology skills information based on Q&A's, Stack Overflow is a must for sourcing tech talent.

Key facts

  • Engineer profiles including activity
  • 14 million users
  • Up to date tech skills data based on tech Q&A activity

How to recruit talent on Stack Overflow

3. Reddit

The Redditors community is one of the biggest online communities today with 330 million users. Redditors engage in comical, but also professional discussions. When understood, it provides a good opportunity for sourcing talent.

Key facts

  • All profiles
  • 330 million users
  • In depth informal discussions on subject matter topics

How to recruit talent on Reddit

4. AngelList

Angellist provides the startup and scaleup talent that doesn't only have the right skillset, but also the right mindset for a work environment with rapid change.

Key facts

  • Startup talent profiles
  • 2.5 million profiles
  • Focussed on people who work or want to work in the startup world

How to source talent on AngelList


The assumption is that LinkedIn is used globally as the primary professional network. Not true for Germany. Xing is the leading professional network site here and it is gaining more users in other countries as well.

Key facts

  • All talent profiles
  • 17 million profiles
  • Focussed on German, Austrian and Swiss talent, but also other talent available

How to source talent on XING

6. Kaggle

With 5 million data scientists and machine learning experts, Kaggle is the go to source for finding data talent.

Key facts

  • Data science & Machine Learning profiles
  • 5 million users
  • Data science talent competes in projects and can win money

How to source talent on Kaggle

7. Medium

Medium is one of the leading publishing platforms where professionals showcase their thought leadership in their domain. This is the place to look for talent that wants to get their voice heard.

Key facts

  • All profiles
  • 1.4 million new articles posted each month
  • Talent that show thought leadership and articles that provide keywords

How to source talent on Medium

8. Cross platform talent search engine

A profile aggregator is one platform that collects profiles from all the different platforms and makes them available so recruiters can find them in one place.

In most cases you can find profiles from the above mentioned platforms and in most cases contact details are also automatically retrieved for you so you can reach out fast.

Use a talent search engine

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