Should You Be Reaching Out to Prospective Candidates on LinkedIn?

Employers have had to get creative to identify skilled employees. They cannot rely solely on posting job listings to bridge a growing talent gap. Job boards can definitely serve a purpose, but recruiters and hiring managers must sort through hundreds of unqualified candidates in hopes of digging out the gems. To target specific talent, many employers use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool to find and connect with potential candidates.

reaching out linkedin

Can LinkedIn Help Fill Talent Gaps?

According to ManpowerGroup's most recent Talent Shortage Survey of over 42,00 employers, 40 percent said they were experiencing talent shortages. In response to these shortages, employers and recruiters often find they need to use numerous approaches to identify top talent to fill vacant positions and adapt to an evolving recruiting environment. This includes networking—both online and offline.

Many hiring managers and recruiters reach out to prospective candidates on LinkedIn. A 2017 study found 122 million LinkedIn users were invited to interview through the platform. Additionally, other figures suggest 35.5 million people were hired by someone they connected with on LinkedIn. If used purposefully, LinkedIn can yield positive results if used as a part of an overall recruiting strategy.

Pros And Cons Of Using LinkedIn To Reach Candidates

Establishing a professional presence online where you can be interactive increases the number of your prospective candidates. When using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool, you'll find more success if you understand its pros and cons before investing your time and resources in the network.


  •  Opportunity to widen professional networks and develop a solid talent pipeline
  •  Use keyword targeting to quickly identify candidates
  •  Establish recognition and trust with like-minded professionals
  • High potential to increase personalized referrals


  •  May encounter fake profiles
  •  Many members are not active job seekers
  •  LinkedIn messages are often ignored if there is no established relationship

It's important to know LinkedIn recruiter and business memberships do come with a fee to access certain features (although, there is a free version too). Companies with smaller budgets may not be able to afford these rates.

Tips For Reaching Out To Prospective Candidates On LinkedIn

The employers finding success on LinkedIn do so by expanding their networks and building authentic relationships. This strategy may not bring immediate results, but it can play a large role in strategically building a solid talent pipeline.

  • Strive to make quality connections, don't connect for the sake of connecting
  • Take the time to nurture and solidify relationships
  • Write interesting job postings, and tell captivating stories
  • Don't ignore the social part of LinkedIn—use features such as LinkedIn Groups to network
  • Don't focus on meeting your needs, offer useful and interesting information to people in your network
  • Understand LinkedIn's privacy levels and the transparency levels that come with them
  • Maintain existing relationships, and connect with past employees and colleagues

Additionally, if you do identify potential candidates and decide the time is right to send a message, be sure to personalize. It may seem more efficient to send out a generic template to each person, but avoid this temptation—it's ineffective. Instead, demonstrate to talent that you've actively gone the extra mile to learn more about them personally.

LinkedIn Is Evolving

LinkedIn appears to be a space to watch in upcoming months and years. After Microsoft purchased the network in 2016 for $26.2 billion, it became clear the acquisition was a small part of a bigger strategy. It appears the tech giant is moving into the Human Resource Management System (HRIS) space and will probably play a large role in shaping this market in the future. Reports indicate Microsoft plans to closely integrate LinkedIn with Windows OS and its Office suite. Additionally, a new feature, LinkedIn Talent Insights, is expected to be released sometime in 2018.

As of January 1, 2018, there are 500 million LinkedIn users, and approximately 40 percent of them use the network daily. Remember to be careful when establishing your presence on the platform; you don't want to appear to be self-serving. Take your time, and steadily grow your network, tap into the right connections, and, ultimately, create a strong talent pipeline.

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