We continue our series dedicated to LinkedIn recruitment with an article about candidates search. We will cover how to search for candidates on LinkedIn, how to discover both passive and active ones, and LinkedIn search operators that make your job easier.

Finding the Right Candidate on LinkedIn

First things first, let’s start with the basics and look into ways that LinkedIn helps you with your searches and how to search for the right candidates.

How does LinkedIn help

According to LinkedIn, over 4.9 million professionals are using the platform to search for jobs. This is the first way LinkedIn helps you with your recruitment efforts – it gives you access to an extensive database of profiles for active and passive candidates.

Moreover, the platform offers you various functionalities – from free to paid- to help you filter, search and source suitable candidates for your open jobs.

Plus, LinkedIn gives you access to basically an online CV of that person and the possibility to search for similar profiles. This helps you reach people beyond what traditional methods offered up until now.

All these available functionalities on LinkedIn are great, however, to enhance your chances of getting the talent you are looking for, there is 1 key step you shouldn’t miss when you start your search.

This key step is defining who the right candidate for you is.

Before doing any search, paid advertising, or InMails on LinkedIn, you should have clarity about the person you are looking for. Some of the things you should know firsthand are:

  1. What are the skills you are looking for?
  2. What is the level of experience?
  3. What are the hard and soft skills you are aiming for?
  4. What are the dealbreakers for your company?

After you have defined what the right candidate looks like for you, you can move towards starting posting the job on the Job Posting section, create a Company and Career page or use a boolean search to reach passive candidates.

Searching for Candidates Using LinkedIn Recruiter

If you have never heard about LinkedIn Recruiter, let us give you a quick definition.

By LinkedIn’s own definition, LinkedIn Recruiter is an all-encompassing hiring platform for talent professionals that helps find, connect with, and manage the people you want to be on your team. You’ll get up-to-date insights on more than 770M+ members, advanced search filters, and recommended matches to prioritize based on who’s most open to hearing from you.


One of the most useful LinkedIn Recruiter functionality is the filters option.

Job Titles

One of the filter options is Job Titles. This allows you to search for specific job titles and see the years of experience in that job. Also. you can search after “current”, “past”, “current or past” and “past not current” status.


The name is self-explanatory. You can use this filter to find candidates based on geographic region. Here you have, as well, a few options: “current”, “current or open to relocate”, and “open to relocate only”.

Workplace types

Since COVID-19 changed the way we work, the good news is that you can use a workplace types filter where you have 3 available options: “on-site”, “remote” or “hybrid”.

Skills and assessments

Another useful filter is the one dedicated to skills and assessments. It gives you access to search after a specific set of skills you already defined in the Job Description.


If you are interested in recruiting people that have or had experience with a specific company, you can do that by using the companies filter. You can choose between “current”, “past”, “current or past”, and “past not current”.


Another interesting filter is the one based on industries. However, be aware that LinkedIn will only show you profiles that match that specific industry. You can make multiple choices to make sure you get the best results.

Similar Candidates

Do you know that feeling when you finally found that ideal candidate and you would love to have the option to clone them?

Good news.

You can’t clone them, but you can find similar candidates on LinkedIn.

  1. You can start by searching for a job title or skill you are interested in.
  2.  Use the previously mentioned filters and look for specific keywords in those profiles that match your requirements.
  3. Once you have that profile, use the People also viewed `feature on Linkedin and it will offer you a list of similar profiles.

Another option is to use LinkedIn’s Advanced search feature or the paid version of the Recruiter tool.

How To Search For Open To Work Candidates

Apart from filters, LinkedIn released a super helpful functionality: Open to Work. It is that badge that you see in people’s profile pictures. It is a great way to spot candidates actively searching for a job.

You can use this option by following the next steps:

  1. Log in to your account and click on the search bar
  2. Type the keywords you are interested in
  3. Use the Open to Work filter at the left-hand side of the page
  4. You can also go to the People category and check the Job seeking section to select Open to work

How To Search For Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are the ones that aren’t actively looking for a job but might be interested in one when the opportunity presents itself.

The best way to reach them is to use the filters we already talked about.

You can also go to the Connections sections and select 2nd, and 3rd under the Relationship dropdown menu. This will show a list of candidates not directly in your network.

How To Search For Female Candidates

Although we encourage hiring with diversity and inclusion in mind, we know that sometimes you might want to look for a specific gender.

LinkedIn gives you this option. You can go to the People category, and under the All Filters option, you will have the Gender section. Once you select it, you can see the list of profiles that match that criterion.

LinkedIn Search Operators

LinkedIn Search operators are a set of words that you can use to refine your search results and find the most relevant profile for you.

AND Operator

The AND operator, represented by the symbol “&”, is used to search for profiles with two or more keywords. For example, if you use Finance & Marketing, LinkedIn will return results that contain both keywords.

OR Operator

OR, represented by the symbol “|”, is used when you are looking for profiles that contain either of the keywords. Taking the previous example, using OR LinkedIn will return results either with Finance or Marketing or both.

NOT Operator

NOT operator, represented by the symbol “-”, is used when you want to exclude specific keywords from your search results.

Quotation Marks

Quotation marks can be used when searching for a specific phrase, such as ‘’digital marketing’’.


Parentheses can be used to group search terms. For example ‘’(Finance  Marketing) & Manager”. You will get a return with a list of profiles with these keywords in their description.

LinkedIn Candidate Search FAQ

How do LinkedIn recruiters find candidates?

You can find candidates by using search filters or advanced search options.

How do I source more candidates on LinkedIn?

You can source candidates on LinkedIn by using the filters options such as industry, location, and title. Also, you can use LinkedIn’s search operators to access a larger database of profiles.

What are passive candidates on LinkedIn?

Passive candidates are the ones that are not actively looking for a job but might be interested if the opportunity arises.

Can I search for resumes on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn no longer offers options to search for specific resumes. However, it allows candidates to upload them in the About section.

Written by
check LinkMatch Team
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