How Recruiters Use LinkedIn to Find and Screen Candidates

how recruiters use linkedin

If you’re searching for a job in today’s market, then you already know that having a LinkedIn profile is essential. More than 77% of recruiters use LinkedIn when they’re searching for top-tier talent for their clients or the firms they work for.

As a job hunter, you’ll increase your chances of being seen and contacted by recruiters if you know how they use LinkedIn to find and screen candidates.

Here’s everything you need to know about how recruiters use LinkedIn as tool to recruit top talent.

The Right Keywords

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that recruiters start with a keyword search when trying to find viable candidates for open positions. You can use this to your advantage.

Search for jobs that are similar to the one you want and look for common words across those job descriptions. Identify the hard skills and terminology that are most consistent across various job descriptions. Pepper those words throughout your profile including the headline, summary, work experience, and skills to maximize your chances of turning up in a recruiters’ search.

Affiliation with LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups offers a place for professionals in similar industries to collaborate with one another, post/view jobs, connect, and show themselves as industry experts.

Recruiters will visit specific industry or professional groups on LinkedIn to see if there’s any potential talent there. They will particularly pay attention to those members that are active within these groups.

They’ll take note of who’s posting relevant articles, asking intelligent questions, and giving insightful answers to questions posed by others. They’ll notice who in those groups are leading conversations and displaying passion for their career or profession. 

If you aren’t part of an industry or professional group on LinkedIn, then find one you can join and start getting involved in the conversation.

Professional Associations

how recruiters use linkedin

Do you belong to any professional associations? For example, the Association for Financial Professionals or the American Society of Civil Engineers are two popular professional associations.

Recruiters will often search for specific industry or professional organizations like those mentioned above on LinkedIn. Make sure you join those that are relevant to you and connect with them on LinkedIn.

As with LinkedIn Groups, stay active on the LinkedIn pages of professional organizations you belong to. Post content and engage with others to position yourself as a thought leader.

Rival Companies

Recruiters often seek to fill positions in their firms by wooing talent away from a rival company. For example, if a recruiter is needs to fill a pharmaceutical copywriter position at their firm, they’ll look to find someone who’s already doing that job successfully at one of their competitors.

Recruiters will search a specific company name along with job title and skills to find these people. That makes it all the more important that your job title and skills matches what most firms in the industry are using.

Recommendations and Endorsements

Recommending/Endorsing someone on LinkedIn gives them credibility in their achievements and will do the same for you. Giving recommendations to others signals to recruiters that you are a team player, ready to recognize peers for their work.

When giving a recommendation, be specific about the person’s accomplishments. It will show that you are knowledgeable enough about your line of work to give a positive evaluation.

Choose a mix of people to recommend including peers, direct reports, and managers. Try to aim for at least 10 recommendations. That will likely prompt other to start endorsing you, which is also a good thing.

Alumni Networks

how recruiters use linkedin

Stay closely associated with your college or university’s alumni network. Sometimes recruiters see clusters of graduates with a specific set of skills they need coming from a certain university. The next time they need someone with those skills, they’ll search through the college’s alumni network.

Others “Worth Viewing”

When conducting a search on LinkedIn, the algorithm provides a list of other people for the recruiter to review who have similar characteristics to the people that show up in the search results.

For example, a recruiter may search for “web designer.” LinkedIn will provide results that match the keywords but may also list results for “web architect” or “UX designer,” giving the recruiter a wider field of candidates to choose from.

Someone from that “other” list may catch the recruiter’s eye with a set of skills that are more robust than what they were originally looking for.

As a job seeker, you should have a large network on LinkedIn, because that will increase your chances of showing up as “someone else worth viewing” as a recruiter conducts a LinkedIn search.


The more creative recruiters out there will search LinkedIn’s public profiles using Google rather than logging into the LinkedIn platform itself. This will sometimes reveal strong and talented candidates that they may not have found using traditional search methods within LinkedIn.

The moral of the story here is to make sure that your public profile is viewable and up to date.

A Final Word on LinkedIn Profiles

Now that you know how recruiters used LinkedIn to find and screen candidates, you can make important updates if needed, so you are more likely to be contacted by recruiters. In addition, make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete to reach an All-Star profile status and take steps to be more active on the platform if you aren’t already. Finally, ensure that you have a great professional resume ready for when the recruiter asks to see it after viewing your LinkedIn profile.

Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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