Skip to main content

The 6 Best Alternatives to LinkedIn for Recruiting

Sourcing featured

LinkedIn makes everything pretty easy - you might even ask why you need to bother looking for alternatives for recruiting.

It’s essentially developed into a huge, professional A-Z, supposedly stuffed full of great candidates that are waiting for you to contact them.

The problem is that it sending messages to candidates on LinkedIn is hit and miss.

Why is LinkedIn failing you?

The LinkedIn sales team want us to aspire to a 25% In-Mail success rate. This is the gold standard, anything more than this and you're killing it.

But. Think about this: if you had a 75% failure rate in any other area of your business how impressed would your boss be?

It doesn't end here, remember that InMail ‘success’ only requires a message ‘open’.

A smaller fraction of recipients will actually read your message, and an even smaller percentage will actually reply. Not particularly satisfying after you’ve spent hours tracking down good candidates!

Instead of relying on In-Mails, why not try the 6 best alternatives to LinkedIn for recruiting to get yourself in front of candidates.

If you do want to stick with LinkedIn, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to boost your In-Mail acceptance rates way higher than 25% and contact candidates who reject everyone else.

Alternative 1: Send them an email

This one is obvious. Really obvious. It's so obvious that we're hoping you don't just stop reading this article right now, the tricks we've listed later on are much cooler!

In fact, if you already have a candidate's contact information there's no way that you'd choose to send them an InMail (email converts far, far higher than LinkedIn).

The problem is that it's not always easy to get a candidate's email address, particularly their personal one.

There are a shedload of sourcing extensions out there that can help you get hold of emails, or you can use a tool like EmailBreaker to crack the code on company email formulas.

You can also search for “email * *”, to find the correct email format. To test this and make sure you’re not wasting your time, run it through a mail testing server – here's one that we use a fair bit.

It might take longer, but we promise you it's worth it!

Pro tip:

If you're sourcing actively, we'd feel guilty if we didn't recommend Beamery. We might be biased, but it's one of the most powerful ways to source candidates on the market.

Alternative 2: Try phone sourcing

“See those little black boxes? They’re called telephones” – Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street

Use LinkedIn to track candidates down, find out where they work and which department they’re in. You can even use it to navigate to their company page to get a contact number.

Then call them. It might be old-school, but the phone still has a high success rate for candidate sourcing.

Phone sourcers walk a fine line between becoming a nuisance and getting results, so we if you're new to the field we recommend Maureen Sharib's blogs and courses. You'll learn about everything from negotiating gatekeepers, to 'stabbing in'.

Don’t be scared of spontaneous conversation with candidates, try picking up the phone.

Alternative 3: Get a referral

Employee referrals are widely regarded to be the best source of hire, so when you find a great candidate, see if one of your network can give you an intro.

LinkedIn’s shared connections feature can be pretty helpful here, it's easy to see how you might be able to get introduced.

Asking for a connection on LinkedIn

Referrals work best when your connection emails or calls a candidate directly to ‘intro’ you, but if this isn’t possible be sure to mention the fact that you have shared connections in your message.

If you can't get a direct introduction, you can find a range of other simple ways to personalize your email here.

**Alternative 4: Google them **

Whenever you have a question or query, Google is the first place you turn to - why not use it to solve sourcing questions too?

Google the candidate’s name to see if they have a website or blog. This will usually have an information page with direct contact details.

Getting in touch with a candidate in this fashion has the added benefit of showing them that you’ve taken the time to research them properly. It’s definitely worth mentioning how great their blog is in your message (even if it isn’t!)

Alternative 5: $1 Facebook sourcing

Facebook has 1.38 billion monthly users. That's a lot of potential candidates...

The beauty of graph search is that you can use a range of effective natural language queries to find Facebook profiles (you can search by role, location, company etc).

Facebook Graph Search Example

We're not going to get too granular about graph search here, Glen Cathey has written plenty about the best way to use open graph (or if you're a little tired of reading, you could watch this video from Social Talent).

Once you have found the candidate on Facebook via a quick graph search though, you can spend $1 to message them directly – this ensures that your message goes into their primary inbox.

(Note, this is becoming less necessary. Increasingly, Facebook users are seeing all messages in their personal inbox, so test whether you're getting through before you drop the dollar).

Many people use Facebook for personal activities, so this tactic can come across as ‘creepy’.

To counter this, Shannon Pritchett advises that you use your first message to acknowledge that Facebook isn't the most appropriate platform for a professional, work-related conversation, confess that it's not the most conventional way to find candidates and suggest email.

This level of honesty will give you a great chance of earning a candidate's trust.

Alternative 6: Message them through Google+

If you can find the candidate on Google+, it’s possible to drop a message directly into their primary inbox – pretty cool!

It's pretty simple to do. The first step is adding the candidate to a new 'circle'.

Google Plus Sourcing

You can then post an update directly to your new circle. This is where you craft your sourcing message...

Messaging candidates on Google plus

Ticking the box that says ‘Send Email’ will pop your message straight into the candidate’s Gmail. It's the same result as finding their personal email without the work!


LinkedIn is a great tool to track down top candidates, but it leaves something to be desired in terms of outreach.

There are plenty of alternatives to LinkedIn for sourcing. Give some of them a go and see if they give you better results. You've got nothing to lose, and we're pretty sure you can improve on that lousy 25% success rate!