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LinkedIn Recruiter Lite: full guide (2024)

LinkedIn Recruiter Lite is the stripped down version of LinkedIn Recruiter. Here's what you should know before using and buying.

September 29, 2020
Yuma Heymans
May 9, 2024

As the name suggests, LinkedIn Recruiter Lite is a plain (or limited) version of the LinkedIn Recruiter product.

LinkedIn Recruiter exists to let recruiters find and reach candidates directly on the LinkedIn platform.

LinkedIn Recruiter Lite does exactly that, but with some limitations and therefore at a lower price.

In this guide you will learn the following:

  1. Is LinkedIn Recruiter Lite the right product for you
  2. How to work with LinkedIn Recruiter Lite
  3. Which alternatives to LinkedIn Recruiter Lite there are

1. Is LinkedIn Recruiter Lite the right product for you

Since LinkedIn Recruiter is expensive and not everyone can afford the $850+ per month per user, LinkedIn Recruiter Lite was put in the market as a more affordable solution.

That affordability comes with some strong limitations that you have to be aware of before considering paying for it.

The most important limitation is that the Lite version will only let you find people who are within your network.

That means that LinkedIn Recruiter Lite subscription only lets you find:

  • 1st degree connections: people who you're directly connected with
  • 2nd degree connections: people who are connected with your own 1st connections
  • 3rd degree connections: people who are connected with your own 2nd connections

All other profiles on LinkedIn are invisible when you're using LinkedIn Recruiter Lite.

Other things to consider in regards to limits:

  • ‍InMails: maximum of 30 InMails every month (as opposed to 150 with LinkedIn Recruiter)
  • ‍Search: 20 search filters (as opposed to 40 search filters available in LinkedIn Recruiter)
  • Collaboration: multi user account is not available‍ 
  • Reports: not available

2. How to work with LinkedIn Recruiter Lite

Once you’re aware of who you can find and who you can’t find in LinkedIn Recruiter Lite, you can decide on if you want to give the product a try.

If you’re eligible, you can get a 30 day trial for LinkedIn Recruiter Lite.

See here more information on the LinkedIn Recruiter Lite free trial.

Once you started your free trial (or already have an account) these are the steps to recruit talent:

  1. Create your search
  2. Screen candidates
  3. Reach out

1. Create your search


To start finding people you need to manually build your search. 

These are the most important things to include in your search and how they impact your search:

Skills and keywords

Skills are searched for in the entire LinkedIn profile.

When you include ‘Data’ as a skill, the candidates who appear in your results are likely to have the word ‘Data’ somewhere on their profile.

However, this is not always the case. Even though it seems that LinkedIn lets you look for profiles with that keyword only, in many cases profiles are found in the search results which do not contain all the keywords included in the search.

Also important to realize here is that minor changes in how you spell keywords can change your results entirely.

Here’s a full guide on using keywords in LinkedIn Recruiter (Lite).

Job title

The job title filter searches in the current and previous job title section of LinkedIn profiles.

Using a job title for some roles can be a very helpful way of finding the right people, but it can also seriously limit your search results. You can test this by comparing results of a search that includes only back-end related keywords and no job title with a search that has the same keywords but also the job title Back-end engineer included. You see the results change significantly.

Here’s what to take into account when it comes to job title synonyms and search strings.


The location filter can be added to look for talent based in certain locations. The location filter searches in the main location field (for example Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and in the location of the current job of the candidate.

If you want to further narrow down your search, you can include filters like education and companies. Remember that LinkedIn Recruiter Lite limits the available filters to 20.

2. Screen candidates

LinkedIn Announces It's Moving Its Core Talent Products Onto One Platform

To screen candidates, click on the profile that you want to see more information on. The extended profile will show you all the information that LinkedIn captures about the candidate’s skills and job history. Use this information to determine if the candidate is relevant for the job. If not, you can still save them for later in a project if they have an interesting profile for a possible next job. If they are qualified, you can reach out to them.

3. Reach out

Screenshot of "Rejection Reason" window in Jobs - includes reason for rejection and box to write candidate a rejection message
Reach out

There are several ways you can reach out to candidates. The most obvious way of reaching out is directly on LinkedIn using your LinkedIn InMails. InMails however don’t have a very high response rate and with the LinkedIn Recruiter Lite plan you’re limited to 30 InMails per month, usually not even close enough to the amount of reach outs you need to get to a hire.

One alternative is to reach out to candidates using their personal contact details. You can either try to find them on their profile manually, use contact finders or use a talent search engine that automatically finds contact details for you.

Another alternative is to send connection invites to candidates, here's more on the LinkedIn connection invite limit and how to bypass it.

3. Which alternatives are there to LinkedIn Recruiter Lite

There are a lot of things to consider when selecting the right tool to reach your hiring goals.

Things to consider when evaluating LinkedIn Recruiter Lite

Are you hiring locally or remotely

If you are hiring locally only and you’re based in the country that you are sourcing in, then we can assume that a significant part of the people you would like to recruit are within your LinkedIn network (1st, 2nd or 3rd degree connections). In that case LinkedIn Recruiter Lite might do the job. However, in many cases you still miss a lot of valuable candidates that are 'out of network'.

If you are recruiting regionally, globally or even for remote positions, the ‘within network’ limitation of LinkedIn Recruiter Lite will seriously limit you in your reach of candidates. So it's very unlikely that the Lite plan is suitable for you.

How many people do you need to reach out to before you hire someone

Let’s say you are looking for a hard to find back-end software engineer. How many people do you need to reach out to before you successfully get someone hired? 200, 300, even 600? And calculating in the competitiveness on LinkedIn, you can even wonder if you should consider a LinkedIn product where manually sourcing people is required, or that you should reconsider and look at a product that lets you reach out to more candidates faster and at a bigger scale.

Where else than LinkedIn can you find your candidates

Is LinkedIn the only platform where you expect your candidates to be? Or are there other platforms where your candidates can be found? If you’re looking for software engineers for example, definitely consider sourcing on GitHub and Stack Overflow. There are talent search engines in the market that help you search platforms like LinkedIn, GitHub and Stack Overflow all together without having to switch between platforms.

How much money do you want to spend

It’s a well known fact that LinkedIn Recruiter has pricey subscriptions. Do you want to spend the money on a LinkedIn Recruiter seat? Or are you using more affordable, and in some cases even more powerful alternative solutions?

Alternatives to LinkedIn Recruiter Lite

Use a talent search engine that finds all LinkedIn profiles

There are non-LinkedIn platforms available in the market that give you access to all LinkedIn profiles, without even the need of your own LinkedIn account. These platforms can find all LinkedIn profiles, so also the profiles that you will never be able to find with a LinkedIn Recruiter Lite account. 

Here’s an example of a talent search engine with free trial.

Use the more expensive full LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter is the full version of the recruiting product of LinkedIn. Paying the full price will give access to all profiles and more InMails. You do need the budget for this since prices start from around $850 per user per month. You will still have the limitation of InMails, although it's a bit higher than lLite at 150 InMails.

Source for free on other platforms

There are many platforms that are overlooked as recruiting platforms but that can actually used to find great candidates. These alternative sources can be X-rayed, which is a technique used to ‘google’ for the right profiles on those platforms.

Some examples of great sources of candidates are:

  • GitHub
  • Stack Overflow
  • Reddit
  • AngelList
  • Xing
  • Kaggle
  • Medium

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