With the advent of professional social networks, LinkedIn has become an indispensable tool for recruiters looking to optimize their sourcing efforts.

What is sourcing on LinkedIn? Its advantages and disadvantages? How to do it well?

Whether you’re a beginner or looking to refine your techniques, I offer you a comprehensive guide designed to guide you through the different stages of the sourcing process on LinkedIn, from identifying potential candidates to effectively engaging with them.

What is LinkedIn Sourcing?

For recruiters, sourcing on LinkedIn refers to the process of using LinkedIn, a professional networking platform, to identify, engage, and recruit candidates for vacant positions.

This method is a key element of modern recruitment strategies, especially in areas where the demand for qualified professionals is high.

Here’s what sourcing on LinkedIn typically involves:

  • Candidate Search: Recruiters use LinkedIn’s advanced search features to find candidates based on specific criteria such as job titles, skills, location, industry, etc. LinkedIn’s algorithms also suggest potential candidates through features like “People you may know” and “People also viewed”.
  • Profile Evaluation: Recruiters assess candidates’ profiles to determine their suitability for a role. This includes reviewing their professional experience, education, skills, recommendations and endorsements, as well as any shared content or participation in discussions.
  • Engagement: Once candidates are identified, recruiters often contact them directly via LinkedIn messages (and not only). Engagement can also be indirect, such as liking or commenting on a candidate’s posts to gradually establish a connection.

Pros and cons of LinkedIn Sourcing

Sourcing on LinkedIn is a common practice in the modern recruitment world, offering many advantages but also some disadvantages.

Here’s an overview of the main advantages and disadvantages of sourcing on LinkedIn:


  • Large Candidate Pool: LinkedIn provides access to a vast pool of professionals worldwide, including passive candidates who are not actively looking for a job but may be open to new opportunities.
  • Targeted Search: Advanced search features and filters allow recruiters to precisely target candidates based on specific criteria such as industry, skills, experience, and location.
  • In-depth Evaluation: LinkedIn profiles offer a detailed overview of candidates, including their professional experience, education, skills, and sometimes recommendations and projects, thus facilitating preliminary evaluation.
  • Employer Brand Building: LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for building and promoting employer brand, allowing companies to share information about their culture, values, and what they offer to employees.
  • Networking and Recommendations: The professional network on LinkedIn facilitates connecting with candidates through mutual contacts or recommendations, enhancing candidates’ trust and interest.


  • High Competition: Given LinkedIn’s popularity among recruiters, the most sought-after candidates may receive numerous offers, making it more difficult to capture their attention and stand out.
  • Variable Profile Quality: Although many profiles are well detailed, some may be incomplete or exaggerated, requiring thorough verification of the information provided.
  • Cost: While LinkedIn offers free features, access to advanced search tools and InMails is limited without a paid subscription to LinkedIn Recruiter, which can represent a significant cost.
  • Spam Risks: Mass messaging can be perceived as spam by candidates, damaging the company’s image and reducing the effectiveness of recruitment efforts.
  • Platform Dependence: A strong reliance on LinkedIn for sourcing can limit the discovery of candidates outside the platform, where unique talents may not have a LinkedIn profile.

5 Steps to source amazing candidates on LinkedIn:

Let’s get to the meat of the matter. In the next parts, I will be presenting you with the steps you need to take in order to find your ideal candidate!

Each of these steps can be taken and applied as a separate strategy in and of itself. However, I highly suggest you combine them to get the most out of your sourcing efforts:

Step 1: Define your criteria

First things first..

Before you launch yourself into countless LinkedIn searches, one major best practice is to sit down and decide the criteria you’re looking for in the candidate you’re recruiting.

You should have as clear an understanding as possible of the role you’re hiring for.

How many years of experience? Where did they work before? What industry? How old are they? etc.

Step 2: Use Advanced Search

The second step is to use LinkedIn’s advanced search in order to find candidates:

Here, you have a plethora of filters:

  • Connection levels:
  • Location
  • Current & Past Company
  • School
  • etc.

You can even add custom keywords if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the suggestions by LinkedIn:

Follow the article I linked at the beginning of this section, it’ll show you exactly what to do and how to use Advanced Search on LinkedIn.

Step 3: Leverage Boolean Searches

Using Boolean operators can significantly enhance your recruitment efforts by allowing you to identify candidates with precise qualifications.

If you’re not familiar with it, it can be scary, but Boolean searches are actually quite simple.

Boolean Search is a logic-based search process that allows you to combine:

  • Operators: AND, OR, NOT
  • & Punctuation: Parentheses () and Quotation marks ” “

… to filter down the results of your search more accurately.

I wrote a full guide on how to properly use Boolean operators with Sales Navigator, so follow that for an in-depth analysis of each use case.

This approach not only saves time but also increases the likelihood of finding highly qualified candidates who are actually suitable for your job posting.

Step 4: Utilize LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Using LinkedIn is just the tip of the iceberg… LinkedIn Sales Navigator is where the true power of LinkedIn lies.

And I’m not just talking about getting a premium subscription, I’m talking specifically Sales Nav, not Recruiter Lite, not Recruiter Pro.

I explain in this article my whole logic as to why LinkedIn Sales Navigator is better for recruiting than LinkedIn Recruiter. Ironic, right? 😅

Step 5: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Your Network

Referrals are still one of our best ways of hiring new people at LGM!

Seriously, we even include it in our outreach campaigns:

It just makes sense… You talk to people you trust i.e. your colleagues, oldest clients, partners, etc. and ask them for recommendations, just like the screenshot 👆

People don’t give out recommendations easily, so whenever someone recommends a candidate, you know for a fact that they’re competent because no one stakes their word on someone who isn’t worth it.

Advanced Strategies – The power of Sales Navigator:

If you think the previous strategies were too primitive 🗿… you’re still in the right spot!

Now that the n00bs are gone, let us experts have some fun!

Here are 3 intuitive sourcing strategies you can use with LinkedIn Sales Navigator!💡

Advanced Strategy 1 – Account-Based Recruiting

More often than not, the perfect fit for the role you’re recruiting is working for your competitor… 😒

Well, if you think you can’t reach them, well I got some good news for you!

This is quite the classic recruiting strategy because the person you’re targeting has already been trained in the intricacies of the market.

They know the jargon, they’re probably also familiar with the processes, etc. and you’re going to use that to your advantage!

So, instead of me writing how to do it for you, here’s me rambling on a video 😁

Advanced Strategy 2 – Finding the right skills

Here’s another reason why Sales Navigator is the better alternative: You can search for candidates based on their time in the company, based on the schools they attended, etc.

To do this, you have the School filter which you can use to refine your search by the school itself, the curriculum, and the expertise you are looking for in your candidates.

Final Thoughts

That was my full guide on how to source on LinkedIn!

We’ve gone through the different steps you need to take in order to find better candidates and detailed them.

You can definitely take each step and perform it on its own because each one really is a strategy in and of its own.

However, the idea is really to combine all of them (yes all) and execute them as a unified strategy. This synergy not only boosts your ability to uncover top talent but also streamlines your entire sourcing process.

So, blend them, tailor them to your needs, and watch your LinkedIn sourcing game soar to new heights.