Recruiter best practices for sourcing talent on LinkedIn

Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today we’re learning the best ways to find talent on LinkedIn, especially if you’re short on time and resources (read: recruiters). Plus, we read Elon’s text messages from Larry Ellison, Jason Calicanis, and Joe Rogan.

— Allison Levitsky, journalist (E-mail | Twitter)

Secrets of recruiting on LinkedIn

Companies like Meta and Lyft have stopped hiring for the year, and that’s music to the ears of other tech companies still hiring. Much of the talent search is still done on LinkedIn, but many recruiters have found their own techniques for using the service more effectively. We asked LinkedIn’s vice president of talent acquisition and three external recruiters for their top LinkedIn hacks for finding talent.

When you reach out, the key is short and sweet. When sending a connection request, executive recruiter Darrell Rosenstein said he rarely sends more than three sentences or 150 characters.

  • “If you’re 300 characters away, you’re way more for a candidate,” Rosenstein said.
  • Rosenstein also does not request appointments or include a Calendly link in the first message to a candidate. “It’s a second email,” Rosenstein said. “After they connect, then it’s safe.”
  • Specific, well-informed messages targeted at the candidate are crucial to getting a good response rate — by all means, don’t “spray and pray,” said Shawn Cole, co-founder and president of Cowen Partners. “We don’t want to be the agency that sends stupid messages.”

Focus on skills, not pedigree. Erin Scruggs, vice president of talent acquisition at LinkedIn, said skills — which candidates can list on their profiles — are the “future currency” of recruiting, especially in a tight job market.

  • “Everything we do on the product is about contextualizing skills and understanding how skills in one role map to another role,” Scruggs said. “If you have someone who is a cashier, they can most likely have the same skills as a customer service representative.”
  • This can be especially helpful for employers who don’t have as much name recognition or aren’t as strong of a “talent brand,” Scruggs said. It can also help a team find more diverse hires.
  • Employers who are not yet known may consider skipping the first page of search results — perhaps even verifying candidates on the back page, Scruggs said. “They may not be from the five companies you typically hire from, but it helps you think a little bit more broadly about who could do the job, who is capable of doing the job,” Scruggs said. “It sometimes helps you find people who haven’t received a ping 35 times in the last week.”

Post content to your company’s LinkedIn page to build a recruiting brand. Especially for lesser-known startups, content can offer insight into your company’s culture and personality.

  • “I follow thousands of talent acquisition professionals,” Scruggs said. “When I go to hire, I have a kind of affinity bias towards people whose posts I really liked or people who were really insightful along the way. I think the reverse is true: employers can build their talent brand by being truly intentional in what they post.”
  • Outside recruiters can also use this tactic. As an executive recruiter, Rosenstein said he posts content on his own profile that helps him engage candidates and increase his response rates.

Try LinkedIn’s “best kept secret”: affinity groups. Paige Scott, who leads the asset management practice at recruiting firm Kingsley Gate Partners in San Francisco, said groups are one of her favorite features on LinkedIn for reaching candidates.

  • Groups can reach a targeted set of users, like financial managers of health tech startups, for example. Reaching out through groups can be especially helpful for those who haven’t subscribed to LinkedIn’s premium subscription options, she said.
  • “It’s probably the best kept secret on LinkedIn,” Scott said. “Groups are an amazing way to reach a bigger, wider audience without having to trigger different licenses.”

‘Haha cool’

The world got a glimpse of Elon Musk text inbox this week thanks to his ongoing legal battle with Twitter. We now know what the tech power brokers really want: for Twitter to be an “open source protocol” rather than a company (Jack Dorsey), for Musk to move Twitter’s headquarters to Austin and force employees to return in the office (Jason Calacanis), and a 24-hour edit button (Gayle King).

Larry Ellison, Reid Hoffman and Joe Rogan are also in the game.

Read the full story.


Today, we expect instant results from everything we do, from calling an Uber to ordering takeout. Companies can no longer afford not to adopt technologies such as automation. We now live in the automation economy – a new world that demands agility and a complete reinvention of the way we work.

Learn more

By the numbers

90% of companies will require workers to return to the office next year, according to a new investigation than 1,000 business leaders in all sectors.

  • Nearly three out of four remote companies plan to return to the office within six months.
  • That’s not such a big change for most businesses, two-thirds of which already require office work, according to the survey.
  • One in five companies will lay off workers who don’t return to the office. (We’ll note that Big Tech doesn’t appear to be enforcing RTO mandates yet.)

Some news from the staff

Does anyone else have a bad case of whiplash from great resignation? It’s hard to know which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating or sinking. We are here to help you.

⬆️ Binance continues its global expansion: The crypto exchange has just opened an office in New Zealand and registered there as a financial services provider.

⬇️ Digital health startup Truepill just made its fourth round layoffs this year, reports TechCrunch.

⬇️ SoftBank’s Vision Fund plans to cut 30% of its employees, according to Bloomberg.

⬇️ Google closes Stadia and reassigns employees who worked there, The edge reported.

For more information on hiring, firing, and rewiring, check out our tech company tracker.


Today, we expect instant results from everything we do, from calling an Uber to ordering takeout. Companies can no longer afford not to adopt technologies such as automation. We now live in the automation economy – a new world that demands agility and a complete reinvention of the way we work.

Learn more

around the internet

A roundup of workplace news from the furthest corners of the internet.

No Patagonia corporate vest? No problem. Say hello to the Cotopaxi brand windbreaker. (information)

More than 42,000 American tech workers have lost their jobs this year, according to this update layoff follow-up. (News from Crunchbase)

seven signs of “silent shot”. (CNBC)

Calendly just bought the interview scheduling startup Prelude. (Business feed)

Thoughts, questions, advice? Send them to [email protected].

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