Internet Recruiting

Mar 1, 2008

LinkedIn – To Pay or Not To Pay

As LinkedIn continues to gain steam in the recruiting com-munity as a bonafide tool to locate both active and passive candidates for our open assignments, I thought it might be helpful to try and clarify exactly what benefits one would receive from a paid membership. Although some recruiters do have a paid membership, I think the vast majority of recruiters are using the basic, free membership.

Most people know there are three memberships available to most recruiters. Here they are, along with the costs:

– Personal = free

– Business = $19.99 per month or $199.50 per year

– Business Plus = $50 per month or $500 per year

So, the big question is what do you get for your money if you decide to consider one of the paid memberships? Probably the biggest differentiator is that of InMails. For those who don’t know, an InMail is an internal LinkedIn messaging system where members can send emails to one another. One advantage to using an InMail is that you do not have to take that extra step of locating contact information for the person you are trying to reach (we all know under most circumstances the LI profiles do not contain any contact information). Aside from that advantage, the use of an InMail as opposed to a regular email message is that your InMail is more likely to be read and also more likely to receive a response. With your InMail, you have some built-in credibility with that potential contact; he or she can easily look you up and learn a bit about you prior to replying to your message.

With all three memberships you can receive InMails. The Business level lets you send up to three InMails a month and the Business Plus membership lets you send up to 10. If you do not get a reply to your message within a seven-day period, you get a credit on the eighth day. If your contact responds after the eighth day, that InMail is free.

Introductions: All three levels allow you to receive an unlimited number of requests for introductions but differ in the allowance to send requests for introduction. Introduction Requests are when you locate a possible contact outside of your network and would like to be introduced to that contact by a mutual LinkedIn contact. The Personal membership allows you to send up to five Introduction Requests at a time, the Business allows up to 15, and the Business Plus allows up to 25.

OpenLink Network Member-ship: This is a service that is not available to the Personal (free) membership level but is included with the other two levels, and is optional. The purpose of the OpenLink Network is to allow unfettered communication among paid members without having to use your allotment of InMails. You are also allowed to limit your searches to other OpenLink Network members so you know who you can easily contact.

More Results: For either Business or Business Plus account holders, you will receive more results for your searches. The Personal level only lets you see results in your network. The other two allow you to get blinded results of those non-network individuals that match your criteria, then allows you to send an InMail to them in the hopes of a connection.

Reference Searches: Another great benefit only available to premium members. These specialized searches allow you to enter a company name and a date range and get a list of contacts that worked for that company during the given time frame. This is used to conduct a “back-door” reference check on a contact/candidate prior to moving forward with that person.

That pretty much sums up the major differences in the types of accounts. For the premium memberships they also offer expedited customer service, promising a response within one business day, something not available for the basic level. They also have one more level of membership, their Enterprise Corporate Solutions. This level is only available to corporate recruiters and can be in the thousands of dollars per year.

As of this writing, LinkedIn had approximately 18 million members, an impressive number. But more impressive is that the membership is growing at a pace of about a million new members each month. More and more recruiters will realize the value of this resource. As you can see, there can be some distinct benefits in considering one of the premium memberships. If you are not a member yet, or if you would like more information about upgrading your existing account, you can visit the LinkedIn website at

I recently learned about Zuula from my friend and colleague Shally Steckerl when I attended one of his training classes (his LinkedIn for Gurus class, to be exact). I suppose Zuula could be categorized as a meta-search engine as it doesn’t have its own database of websites for you to search but allows you to search multiple search engines simultaneously as some of the other meta search engines (, do. It has a nice, clean interface with a simple text box for queries. As of this writing, by typing in your search parameters one time, you can search the big three search engines (Google, Yahoo!, and Live) and some of the lesser-known search engines (Gigablast, Exalead, Alexa, Accoona, and Mojeek) at the same time.

Zuula also has an advanced search feature that allows you to easily build your search using ANDs, ORs, NOTs, phrases, and sites, even if you are not familiar with Boolean terminology.

Visit Zuula the next time you want to search the Internet for almost anything. You will notice each search engine returns results that are different than the other. One thing Shally and I both recommend in our classes is to use a mix of search engines when conducting almost any search in order to be as thorough as you can and get the most results for your efforts.

Google “Fill in the Blank Search”

You can get Google to answer simple questions for you by using the asterisk. It is very simple. You ask a question and put the asterisk in the part of the sentence or question that you want filled in.

For example, if I typed in “The CEO of Oracle Corp. is *” the first hit is a page with the statement, “Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation…”

If you are traveling, another example might be to type in “The weather for Atlanta is *” and get a number of pages with the weather forecasts for the Atlanta area.

Give the method a try whenever you have a question for Google.

Mark E. Berger, CPC, AIRS CIR, has been in recruiting since 1979. He is currently a partner in Ramsey Fox, Inc., an IT services firm, and has been there and at its predecessor, M.E. Berger & Associates, since 1986. He has been heavily involved in Internet recruiting and is an expert on recruiting and sourcing products and services available on the Internet, and how they add to the bottom line. Mark’s interests include successfully integrating both computer and Internet recruiting technology into a traditional recruiting environment. He has taken AIRS I and II training and has obtained the AIRS CIR designation. Mark is also on the board of directors for the Missouri Association of Personnel Services. He can be reached at His website is, and we recommend that you visit it to see archives of his articles and information offerings exclusively for recruiters.

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