The Trouble with Navigating LinkedIn

Steve Lowisz
These days we’re all fishing from the same pond to find potential candidates: we’re all using LinkedIn.

But using LinkedIn isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are a few shortcomings from both the site and its users which makes it difficult to always find the right people and form connections.

Inaccurate Information

One large issue is that many users’ information is unreliable. Information may be accurate, embellished, or out-of-date, but the bottom line is you can’t determine this until you actually talk to them.

Missing Key Words

LinkedIn operates on a keyword search. If a candidate doesn’t happen to have whatever keyword you searched for in their profile, there’s a good chance that they won’t show up. Some of the best candidates are missed this way.Large text.

Impersonal InMail Messages

Many recruiters tend to spam users with the same basic pitch: “Looking for a new opportunity? I’ve got a job that would be perfect for you!” They jump into this pitch without even trying to get to know the person first. How would you know a job opportunity is perfect for an individual before speaking with them directly?

Impersonal spam mailing is a waste of time. The approach doesn’t work, and candidates don’t like responding to it. Most assume it’s an automated bot doing the mailing.

Search Algorithm is Unpredictable

Let’s say you search the title “VP of Service Delivery” one day and get a certain list of results. If you search the same title the next day, you’ll see a few repeats AND new results that didn’t appear the day before. In our minds, when we use LinkedIn we assume we get access to everybody, but that’s not how they deliver information.

Other Ways to Find Relevant Candidates Outside of LinkedIn

In general LinkedIn is a great tool, but people need to remember it has its limitations. These days there are endless options to find candidates (some are free, some are paid). We need to become comfortable using other avenues outside of LinkedIn or else we’re selling ourselves short.

Boolean Searches

A Boolean search on Google is one of the most basic free tools that allows you to draw from LinkedIn and other sources. But many of us aren’t ever taught how to use Boolean operators. A search can become MUCH more refined by properly using parentheses, quotation marks, and ORs and ANDs.

Data Scrapers

Data scrapers are awesome tools that quickly pull any contact information that is in the public domain from a bunch of different online sources. Be aware that these tools are not always 100% accurate, however, it often will provide you with another way to contact someone outside of InMail. 


Some professions don’t always have a big need for an online presence. Take nurses for example, many of them do not even have a LinkedIn profile. Instead, you can purchase a directory that lists the contact information of every nurse in the state. This goes for all people who are in professions that are licensed by state.

Conference directories are also a great source of information. Oftentimes attendees are grouped by professions and list their email or phone number. For this reason, it can be useful to sponsor conferences when it makes sense.


One of the most overlooked sources of information is through referrals. The success of this approach stems from how you reach out to people. Once you build enough strong relationships with both candidates and clients, you can get to a point where most of your business comes through referrals, and already be in touch with a pool of great candidates.

LinkedIn Does Not Have to Be the End-All-Be-All Source for Recruiting

Don’t limit your potential by limiting your sources.

To learn more about the issues that are holding us back in recruiting and how we should do things differently, don’t forget to check out my book: Recruiting Sucks… But it Doesn’t Have To. Get your copy on Amazon today by clicking right here!