Is It Time to Upgrade to LinkedIn Recruiter or Navigator?

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Big changes are coming now! LinkedIn Advanced Search as we have come to know and love it is in the process of going away. LinkedIn is rolling out the new desktop user interface globally now and over the next few weeks and months. You are probably sitting next to someone with a different user interface than yours right now!

Is It Time to Upgrade to LinkedIn Recruiter or Navigator?

As a result of the newest LinkedIn changes, upgrade fever is in the air among the power users that have been enjoying the free platform. Notifications have been sent to certain users about this feature degradation. LinkedIn is offering free trials for Recruiter Lite or Sales Navigator. Both of these platforms are designed for the “hunters” in your company: Active sales and recruiting professionals. These power searchers or “hunters” should consider making an upgrade.

And, yes, now may be the best time to upgrade. There is still a search function available in the free version of LinkedIn, but without some of the premium filters that are so valuable. Casual or occasional users will be okay in this new LinkedIn environment. In fact, those folks will find the new user interface easier to navigate.

The two leading premium solutions (LinkedIn Recruiter and Sales Navigator) operate on a different platform connected to the database. They all feed off of that incredibly valuable “big data” set comprised of over 460 M global professionals.

The best searching capabilities are available now through either Recruiter or Sales Navigator. Both of these platforms search across the entire database and offer the largest number of filters that allow you to fine tune the search. Recruiter Lite allows for unlimited searches across your first, second and third level of connections. The LinkedIn Recruiter search radius is 500 miles, while Recruiter Lite and Sales Navigator are limited to 100 miles from a particular zip code. All three allow for saved searches, which was previously available as part of the Advanced Search.

For recruiting professionals, it’s time to considering upgrading. Take a look at both Recruiter and Recruiter Lite. In addition to the search differences, Recruiter allows for multi-user and hiring manager collaboration, more InMails, more project folders, and more robust talent pipeline capabilities. There is a fairly substantial price difference between the two. If you are not sure, you can start with Recruiter Lite and then upgrade later as your needs grow.

Search filters vary to accommodate both sales and recruiting functions within the platforms.  It makes sense that LinkedIn is slicing and dicing the database differently for each functional use. Small business owners may want the features and functions of both Recruiter and Navigator. But the current LinkedIn premium solutions are squarely targeted at Corporate users with dedicated recruiting and sales teams.

Recruiter Lite Search Filters are shown here:


For Sales Navigator, prospecting is done with a feature called “Lead Builder.”  Below are the search filters in Navigator’s Lead Builder. Certain “recruiter oriented” filters are not available in Navigator (such as skills) because it is obviously geared for selling professionals.



There’s more to love about Sales Navigator. The sales person can identify and follow people as “leads” and targeted companies as “accounts.”  They can also be tagged and noted.  Sales Navigator presents a dashboard showing job changes; lead news and shares; account news and shares; and suggested leads. Sales professionals can easily access their personal Social Selling Index score on the Navigator platform. This score is a leading indicator metric which measures effectiveness with personal brand, prospecting, engagement, and network building. As a long time sales leader, I find that the job change and lead news information is particularly valuable from my Navigator account.


Communicating to prospects and candidates is another important feature for hunters. All three ( Recruiter, Recruiter Lite and Navigator) provide the ability to  send InMail messages beyond your first level connections. Each has a separate mailbox within the platform. The number of allowable InMails vary but the full blown Recruiter service offers the highest volume.

As the new year begins, we are all establishing our sales and recruiting goals or trying to figure out how to attain assigned targets. Consider LinkedIn’s offer for the free trial of Recruiter Lite or Sales Navigator. Both are powerful ways to segment those folks within your target market. Each of the solutions also offers other valuable features. Is this change from LinkedIn enough to trigger you to upgrade to a premium service? How will you be searching on LinkedIn this year?

Sandra Long

Sandra Long is the author of the bestselling book LinkedIn For Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide. She is also the managing partner of Post Road Consulting LLC. Sandra and her team work with corporations, universities, and individuals to drive successful sales, career, and talent acquisition results.

Reader Interactions


  1. mary says

    Hi Sandra!

    Does LinkedIn Sales Navigator account has a “current” and “past” filters on title search?
    I’m planning to upgrade my account from business plan to navi.



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