Has the time come to pay for LinkedIn?

If you are a Recruiter and you are still using LinkedIn for free you have probably got a tough decision to make, either now or in the near future.

I have been training Recruiters how to use LinkedIn more effectively for nearly 8 years and in all that time I have always argued that LinkedIn can be used perfectly well without upgrading but I now believe the time has come to say what was previously unthinkable;

LinkedIn is no longer an effective tool for Recruiters – unless you are a premium user.

It’s a sad fact but LinkedIn have finally worked out how to make their site a free, highly effective tool for the majority of their members yet almost impossible to use as a Recruiter.

But it’s not all bad news.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to be able to get the most out of LinkedIn

The reason why I think this time has come now is that LinkedIn have recently made three key changes;

Limited number of searches

The commercial use limit on search restricts you to 30-50 searches per month (it can be less). Field of study, Alumni and connection searches are outside of this restriction but you can still hit the limit because of the below restriction

Limited profile views

Free users can now only view 500-600 profiles per month, this is also part of the commercial use limit which when combined with the above makes searching, and shortlisting pretty much impossible.

Restriction on free group messages

LinkedIn have recently announced that the ability to contact anyone you share a group with has now been restricted as follows;

  • All members are restricted to 15 messages per month across all their groups
  • The limit is not per group, its 15 group messages per month period.
  • This limit includes messages to 1st tier connections if sent within the group.
  • You can’t carry over unsent messages to the next month.
  • You can’t send messages in a group until you have been a member for 4 days
  • You also need to have been a LinkedIn member for 30 days to be able to send group messages.
  • This restriction includes messages sent as private replies in a group discussion.
  • Group owners, Managers and Moderators are subject to exactly the same restriction, even if the message is sent through the ‘Manage’ tab

LinkedIn constantly changes doesn’t it?

If you want to keep up to date with LinkedIn I have created this free email service – sign up today and you will get an email everytime something important changes.

The combination of the above three is a killer  but the good news is that you can overcome all of these restrictions by upgrading to the Business Plus account for just £29.99+vat per month (if paid annually).

Interestingly when you click on the upgrade link you will be presented with the options that LinkedIn want to sell you – namely their ludicrously expensive Recruiter product costing an eye watering £646+vat per month or the downgraded version called RecruiterLite which is still more than twice the price of Business Plus at £80+vat per month.

In my opinion these upgrades are overpriced and unnecessary for most recruiters.


With a business Plus account you can perform as many searches as you want (with extra filters), view 800 profiles a day (if you really need to) and you get an allowance of 15 InMails per month.

InMails are now re-usable provided you get a response within 90 days (including ‘not interested’) so 15 should be adequate for most and if not you can always buy more as and when required.

I know it’s a bitter pill to swallow but lets face it we have had it pretty good for many years and we all knew this day would come.

LinkedIn continues to grow and is still the best place to find, research and engage with prospective candidates and clients and I think that £360+vat per year is a reasonable price to pay for that service.

Mark Williams

Mark Williams (commonly known as ‘Mr LinkedIn) is widely regarded as one of the worlds top LinkedIn experts. Following a career spanning 20 years in the recruitment industry Mark set up ETN LinkedIn training in 2008. Since then he has trained thousands of LinkedIn users from a diverse range of industries and roles. He is also an accomplished keynote speaker, blogger and podcaster with his popular show ‘LinkedInformed' Mark’s passion for his niche subject shines through as he enthusiastically demonstrates why LinkedIn is such a key business tool.

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  1. Steve Critchlow
    Steve Critchlow says:

    All good things must come to an end! I keep hitting the Commercial use limit but a day off LinkedIn, say a Friday, seems to perform a “reset”.