It's amazing to me how many people have been on LinkedIn for six, eight, even ten years or more and still don't know how to find the exact right person on LinkedIn—and it doesn't even require a premium account to do it!

If that sounds like you, I'm about to show you (step by step) how easy it is to search into LinkedIn's 780 million profiles and find top-notch candidates for your job openings. I'll also give you a template for starting conversations with those potential employees.

To learn all of my best strategies for capitalizing on LinkedIn's recruiting potential, join me on Monday, November 15, from noon-1:30PM CT, for my webinar Using LinkedIn to Recruit Top Talent Without a Premium Account.

If you can't attend live, no worries, because you'll receive a link to view the recording at your leisure. Seating is limited, so grab your seat now at

Simple steps to discover highly qualified candidates

The key to this strategy is taking advantage of LinkedIn's robust search capabilities and sending a short message (300 characters) to a potential candidate as part of an invitation to connect.

Here are the steps:

To get to all the free Advanced People Search filters, put your cursor in the top search box > click Enter or Return on your keyboard > click the People button on the left of the new toolbar that shows up right below the main toolbar > choose the All filters button on the right of the same toolbar. What then floats in from the right are all the available filters to get yourself the very best list of candidates.

Use these filters when building your Advanced People Search:

  • Title. Be sure to try some different words for the same job.
  • Keywords. Here you can get very creative, using things like specialty software, skills, specific industries, territories or regions of the country, etc. Find interview-ready candidates by including words like pursuingseeking or looking.
  • Companies. Put your competitor's name(s) here. You can choose current or past, based on your desire to hire someone who is still there, has left their employ, or either. This is really helpful. It's how I found the last employee I hired.
  • Connections of. Drop the name of one of your connections in this filter box, and then use any of the other filters to get a great list of potential candidates that he or she knows.

Once you find a combination of filters that produces a good list of qualified candidates, spend time reviewing details on the individual profiles of the best-looking candidates.

How to engage with impressive candidates

The next step is to click either the Connect button on their profile, or if the Connect button is not on their profile, click the three dots to the right of the Message button, and then you'll have a choice in the drop-down that says Connect.

LinkedIn will then ask if you want to forward a message to the individual (maximum of 300 characters), and in it you can share with them your desire to have them consider your position. This message can vary, but try something like this:

Hello, [insert first name]:

Based on a review of your profile, I think you might be a great fit for an outstanding opportunity at our company. If you'd like to have a CONFIDENTIAL conversation about this, let me know. In the meantime, I'd be honored to have you join my network. 

I hope to talk to you soon.


By simply cutting and pasting the message and inserting each candidate's name, you can quickly reach out to lots of prequalified candidates without spending a dime.

To learn more quick, easy, and FREE strategies to fill your company's open positions with top-notch people, join me on Monday, November 15, for my webinar Using LinkedIn to Recruit Top Talent Without a Premium Account.