If AI Improves, Do We Need LinkedIn Recruiter?

I’m a life-long (at least career-long) LinkedIn Recruiter (LIR) user, it’s how I generate over 90-95% of my placements, so when someone suggested, “Why don’t you get rid of LIR and just use an AI sourcing tool?” I laughed at them and brushed it off.

But then I got to thinking – will an AI sourcing tool handle what I need it to instead of LIR?

Short answer: Yes, depending on how you use LIR.

The first things to ask are, “What AI sourcing tools are out there?” The two most dominant in the market right now are Hiretual and HiringSolved. I will be writing another article that compares the two together, but for the sake of this topic, know those are the two big ones.

Second thing – what can’t the AI sourcing tools do right now that LIR can? The list is very small:

  • Open to new opportunities (OTNO)
  • Daily Saved Search Results
  • Messaging without email addresses (InMails)

So, are these three playing a significant role in your placements/hires? If not, maybe it’s worth evaluating getting off LIR completely and downgrading to something like Recruiter Lite or Premium.

Article Continues Below

Open To New Opportunities

Open to new opportunities (OTNO) is excellent to use to find the folks who are actively looking for roles. While this may seem like a “no duh, I need that,” it’s important to note that the AI sourcing WILL find these folks, but you won’t know they’re OTNO. So, if you’re not explicitly messaging people mentioning that you know they’re OTNO, this won’t be a loss to you. Also, check your data. Are you getting hires from OTNO folks or are they filling up your pipeline with little results?

Daily Saved Search Results

Are you using them? Do you get daily emails from LinkedIn with all the folks in your saved searches that have updated their profile? And then, are you reaching out to them first thing in the morning to get the first point of contact? If not, understand you’re not making full use of the platform, which is okay! But it might be time to save some money and energy and let an AI sourcing tool work for you.


A lot of people have said, “InMails don’t work, people just don’t respond.” I think this is a skill-set issue, not a “LinkedIn InMails don’t work” issue. For the past three months, I’ve put a focus on trying to see if this is valid or a gap in skills, and I’ve been able to maintain between a 24% and 26% response rate on LIR. But again, if this isn’t working for you or your organization to MAKE HIRES – re-evaluate!

There is no “right answer” as to whether AI sourcing is better than LIR for your organization, it all depends on your data. I can tell you though, if you’re not using an AI sourcing tool, you are spending a bunch of time doing something that a machine could do far better and free you up to do more creative searches.

Mike (Batman) Cohen has been in the talent acquisition space for over 10 years with a focus on the agency-side of the house. For the past several years he's spent his time consulting for organizations in the area of T.A. Training, Process creation & improvement, Change Management, and Tooling.  Batman has been on several recruiting panels, spoke at Scala Up North in Montreal, Scala.io in France, and ERE 2018 in San Diego.


17 Comments on “If AI Improves, Do We Need LinkedIn Recruiter?

  1. Hi Mike, If you want an excellent alternative to LIR – an AI sourcing tool that can do the 3 things you’ve noted regarding LIR – you should take a look at a French start up called Yatedo and their talent search engine : Pipler. Real time searches on public big data, you can even know if your emails have been read + AI predicting future behaviors of people.

      1. Yes and it’s just the beginning, they plan to double staff within the year. An ascension to follow.

    1. I’m definitely going to check that out Marion! Thanks so much! I’m loving the AI platforms I’m testing, and ideally I’ll be off LIR in the next few months!

          1. I have asked Pipler/Yatedo for a demo and they are holding onto my info for the future because he said they are not addressing the US Market yet.

          2. Ok, keep an eye on it, as the solution will continue evolving till their entry on the US market.

  2. LinkedIn has done an exceptional job of solidifying themselves not only in the recruiting world, but also in their users. Those of us that were early adopters of LinkedIn (waaaaaayyy before LIR) have seen the shift. People are now conditioned to use LinkedIn as a society for their job search. It will be some time, but all things change. Great article, Mike.

      1. Would definitely make it easy for consulting. Hey, yeah, so what you really need to do is just get LIR. Okay, great, that’s $10K. Good luck!

        I’m a little shocked the SourceCon crew isn’t going crazy calling you out on this, to be honest. They usually rail pretty hard on folks who just recruit using LI.

        I’m a believer in doing what works regardless. Most of my clients are probably 70% hourly hiring and 30% salaried/professional, so there’s no way LIR will give anywhere close to 90% of their hires, but there are definitely some shops that only hire professional.


        1. I’ve spent all almost all of my time doing FTE software engineering so LIR made the most sense in terms of initial identification. GH/SO were great, but only as an ancillary tool because I don’t know how to code.

          I think diversifying and getting creative is super important, as I’m discovering using more tooling / creative search techniques. But the truth is that most people (not 51%, more like 80%) don’t use LIR / InMails effectively.

          That being said, it is incredibly over-priced based on the other tooling available that does what LIR does at a much higher and more efficient level.

          What you mentioned about the consulting piece of just getting LIR and charging $10k is a bit debasing. LIR, like anything, else is a tool. When used correctly it’s effective. When not used to its fullest, it’s not worth the money or time-investment. It’s fantastic for identifying and tracking. The research beyond identification, understanding the human scope of the candidate, and the engagement of the candidate, are all areas that I believe LIR falls short.

          I don’t do hourly though so I can’t relate to 70% of your experience – but I appreciate your feedback / thoughts / opinions on the matter – definitely gives me pause for thought and reflection!

          1. Batman –

            True story on the misuse of LIR. I was invited to a meeting with LI’s top ten clients at LinkedIn and their leadership team – folks who have north of 1,000 LIR licenses. Most of those clients were only using around 60-70% of those licenses and even those there were used were ineffective. It’s an expensive investment to make and if you do you have to measure it’s effectiveness. I find way to many corp TA have it and spend all day on it, but do little measurement around it. When I do ROI analysis by source and spend, LI falls down the list, but is usually a top spend. Also, my recruiter surveys say it’s the one tool they can’t live without, but it makes up less than 30% of their hires. That disconnect is concerning.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *