Recruiters spend a long time on LinkedIn, and if you are looking to start a recruitment business, you’ve likely asked yourself if you need to pay out for a LinkedIn Recruiter licence. In my Essential Checklist for Your New Recruitment Business blog, I questioned whether upgrading to LinkedIn Recruiter is worth the money. So, I wanted to examine the options in more detail and find out what you get for your money and how to make the most of the investment.

What is LinkedIn Recruiter?

Recruiter is a premium offering from LinkedIn, that gives you access to several recruiting tools designed to make finding the right candidates on LinkedIn quicker and more efficient. Included in these premium tools are 150 InMails per month, additional search filters, enhanced insights/reporting, the removal of the dreaded monthly search limit, and the option to save searches, create projects and pipelines. Designed with agencies with multiple recruiters or high-volumes of roles, LinkedIn Recruiter is seen as the ‘flagship’ premium option for recruiters.

LinkedIn Recruiter places a lot of stock in allowing recruiters across a company to be able to share projects and pipelines. However, if you are a small recruitment agency with just one or two recruiters, you may feel this emphasis on collaboration won’t benefit you and your circumstances. This is why LinkedIn also offers a scaled-down version of Recruiter, known as Recruiter Lite.

What’s the Difference Between LinkedIn Recruiter and Recruiter Lite?

Recruiter Lite differs from its more comprehensive (and more expensive) premium offering in several ways. Firstly, you don’t get access to the pipeline tool that LinkedIn Recruiter gives you. However, you will still get access to create 100 projects, and although that’s down from 200 projects in full Recruiter, that should be more than enough for most smaller recruitment agencies, particularly if working in a niche.

As well as reduced projects, Recruiter Lite only gives you 30 InMails per month and 10 saved search alerts per day, compared to LinkedIn Recruiter’s 250 InMails and 50 search alerts. Recruiter Lite also does not feature the additional reporting you get with Recruiter, such as search insights and usage reporting, and is not able to integrate with your ATS system. Which premium option (if any) is right for your new recruitment business could come down to the difference in cost – which, let’s be honest, is quite significant!

How Much Does LinkedIn Recruiter Cost?

While Recruiter Lite comes in at around £1,200 annually, a full LinkedIn Recruiter licence could set you back up to £4,500 a year! The price for Recruiter will depend on factors such as the number of licences you need and whether you pay per month or annually. If you do decide that Recruiter is right for you, I recommend speaking to their sales team to discuss your options and get a full quote based on your needs.

Is LinkedIn Recruiter Worth It?

Well, this depends on your individual circumstances and business needs. I have come across many businesses over the years who just don’t see the return on investment they expected.

If you have multiple recruiters in your new business and have a basic ATS system, then LinkedIn Recruiter might be just the thing you need. But, even then, for the same price, you could invest in a hefty ATS system and recruitment technology to do the same job.

If you just need a way to message candidates without having to connect with them or don’t want to contend with the stringent search limits on a free LinkedIn account, you may want to consider one of the other premium options first.

We have already looked at Recruiter Lite, but many small recruitment businesses opt for Premium Business which gives you unlimited profile views and 15 InMails or Sales Navigator which provides 20 InMails, advanced lead search and a lead tracker.  With both Sales Navigator and Premium Business options coming in significantly cheaper than both Recruiter and Recruiter Lite, they are viable options if messaging is your key need.

How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn Recruiter

If you decide that LinkedIn Recruiter is right for your business, there are some key ways to ensure the maximum return on investment.

Make the most of InMail credits:

Don’t worry too much about selling in an InMail – the most important metric here is return rate! Make sure you spend some time thinking about your subject lines; how to make it stand out from the crowd through a creative or personalised opening. Make sure to keep the content of your InMails concise, too much detail, and people will quickly click away.

While Recruiter allows you to send bulk InMails, don’t fall into this trap. Take the extra time to make your InMails personal and personable. Introduce yourself and how you came across them. Write as yourself, you don’t want to come across like a robot or stock template. If you can, mention their company, reference a post they’ve written or an ex-colleague that recommended them. The extra effort will really help your response rates to soar.

Finally, use the InMail response data to track which InMails worked and what didn’t. Review the content of these to find reasons why and tailor your future communications based on this knowledge.

Use saved search alerts:

Being the first to know when someone leaves a role or changes their status to ‘ open’ can help put you ahead of your competitors. Luckily, search alerts on LinkedIn Recruiter make tracking changes in your talent pools easy. Just set up and refine your search, save it and you’ll receive alerts each time something changes. You can even set up a saved search for those in your search who are ‘open to new roles,’ which can really cut out a lot of the messages associated with passive candidate recruitment.


If you do have more than one employee, having the ability to share projects and searches is undoubtedly useful. By bringing your projects and pipeline together in one shared portal, you don’t waste time contacting those people a colleague already messaged last month. It’s particularly useful for high-volume projects where multiple recruiters are dipping in and out, or if your recruiters work with a resourcer.

Data-driven decisions:

From increased search insights – which give you a visual and filterable breakdown of your search results – to InMail analytics and added search functions; LinkedIn Recruiter gives you access to much more data. Creating such granular-level filtering allows you to quickly find a shortlist of suitable candidates without having to get lost in a sea of Boolean! If you know a client likes candidates who have worked at three of their competitor companies, it’s easy to filter a search to find this. Even better, if a client asks you to find someone matching their star performer, LinkedIn Recruiter allows you to search for similar profiles.

Leverage your company page followers:

How many of you look at your company page’s followers when resourcing a role or finding a lead? These people have already engaged with your brand, so already have some interest in what you do and know what you are about. Before using a valuable InMail credit on a new ‘cold’ message, take a look through your company page followers. It could be a potential gold mine of great candidates and clients. Save those valuable InMail credits for when you really need them!

How can I better utilise a Free LinkedIn Account?

As a new recruitment business, likely, you are already in brand-building mode. You will be doing a lot of that thinking around what your brand means and what makes you unique, that many established businesses are now only starting to do. Use this brand effectively to engage a pipeline of active and passive talent. Optimise your company page – use video, add regular content, and make sure to demonstrate your brand and its values on your page.

To get around the draconian search limits, learning to search LinkedIn through Google using an X-Ray search, is a crucial skill to have for any modern resourcer. While it can appear daunting at first, you can build a search just as effective as LinkedIn’s own filtered search with the use of some clever Boolean – to get started there are already some tools out there to build these searches for you.


When setting up and operating a new recruitment business, there are already many costs to consider. So, while the access to more data, the ability to send InMail messages, and easier access to passive candidates might be desirable, whether the price point is right is very much down to your individual company situation and business plans.

If you are starting out as a single recruiter business, it’s likely that you won’t need a LinkedIn Recruiter licence, a view shared by many start-up recruitment business owners I work with. If you find yourself in need of some InMails for those hard to fill roles, maybe it’s worth investigating Recruiter Lite, Business or Sales Navigator instead.

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