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Linkedin Recruiter VS Sales Navigator: What is The Best Tool for Recruiters?

You are a recruiter wondering if you should subscribe to sales navigator vs linkedin recruiter?

Here are some answer:

  • Sales Navigator advanced search filters are better than Recruiter Lite ones.
  • Sales Navigator can find candidates AND clients. Recruiter only helps you find candidates.
  • Recruiter Premium worth it if you value integration and collaboration features, but it’s expensive ($835/month)

Even if Sales Navigator has been built for salespeople, the tool can be used to find candidates and clients for your recruiting business.

In this article we compare the 2 basic version of these tools: Linkedin Recruiter Lite vs Sales Navigator Core and also the premium versions: Linkedin Recruiter vs Sales Navigator Advanced.

Let’s dig into this.

What is the Difference Between Sales Navigator and LinkedIn Recruiter Lite?

LinkedIn recruiter is mainly for recruiters and hiring managers to find talent on LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn Sales Navigator is made for lead generation. You can easily find potential clients and people within organizations using it.

The branding is not the same for the two products, but they work in really similar ways.

They are both an upgraded search engine that will be much more efficient to the basic linkedin search to look into the linkedin database.

They also offer additional features that make recruiting and prospecting easier.

Linkedin Sales Navigator VS Recruiter Pricing

Linkedin Sales Navigator and Linkedin Recruiter are two linkedin premium services that both offers several levels of memberships.

linkedin sales navigator cost

Sales Navigator offers 3 different plans:

  • Core (Professional): $99/month
  • Advanced (Team): $149/month
  • Advanced Plus (Enterprise): starts at $1600/year

Linkedin Recruiter offers two different plans:

  • Recruiter Lite: $170 per month
  • Recruiter: $835/month per month

You can see that Linkedin Recruiter is more expensive than Sales Navigator on the basic plans.

linkedin recruiter vs sales navigator offers

Linkedin Recruiter Lite VS Sales Navigator Core: Advanced Search

Linkedin Recruiter Lite and Linkedin Sales Navigator search engines looks pretty much the same. You can use both to look for potential candidates and clients.

Linkedin Recruiter Lite VS Sales Navigator Search Filters

Linkedin Recruiter Lite offers 21 filters to find candidates.

linkedin recruiter filters vs sales navigator

Linkedin Sales Navigator has 29 filters to find people.

linkedin sales navigator search filters vs recruiter

1. Linkedin Recruiter and Sales Navigator have many filters in common

Among the filters Linkedin Sales Navigator and Recruiter have in common there is:

  • Job Title
  • Keyword
  • Location
  • Current Company
  • Past Company
  • Company Size
  • Schools
  • Industries
  • Keywords
  • Profile languages
  • Network relationship
  • Seniority Level
  • Function
basic search filters linkedin recruiter and sales navigator

These are really basic search filters that will be really helpful to build candidate or lead lists.

2. Recruiter Lite doesn’t give access to +3rd degree connections

This is a big difference between the 2 tools.

Linkedin Sales Navigator let you access the whole linkedin database including +3rd degree connection (people not connected with your 3rd degree connection).

linkedin sales navigator vs recruiter 3rd degree connection

Linkedin Recruiter doesn’t.

It means that your candidate searches will be limited to:

  • Your connections (1st degree)
  • The connections of your connections (2nd degree)
  • The connections of the connections of your connections (3rd degree)

No more than that. It considerably reduces the number of people you can search on the Recruiter Lite search engine.

3rd degree connection access linkedin recruiter vs sales navigator


If you want access to the entire linkedin database, you will need to pay $835/month for Recruiter whereas Linkedin Sales Navigator has them for $99/month.

3. Filters Specific to Linkedin Recruiter are not game changers

Linkedin Recruiter Lite has 2 filters that Sales Navigator doesn’t have.

The first one is Skills And Assessments. It allows you to look for candidates that display certain skills on their profiles like programming languages for example.

skills filter linkedin recruiter

The problem is that this data can’t be trusted. The skills section on linkedin profiles is often full of crap.

skills section linkedin profile

If I take my profile as an example, I’m recommended in Excel and photoshop even if I am a total noob.

The second filter specific to Linkedin Recruiter Lite is Year of Graduation

year of graduation filter recruiter

Honestly I don’t see any super relevant use cases for this one. It is not a game changer as you also have the “Years of experience

year of experience filter

So if you want to know for how much time someone is working, better use this filter that is also present on Sales Navigator.

year of experience filter sales navigator 1

4. Filters Specific to Sales Navigator are game changers

Sales Navigator has more than 5 filters that Recruiter Lite doesn’t have:

  • Year in current company
  • Year in current position
  • Company Type
  • Company Headquarter
  • Groups

As a Recruiter, it’s interesting to know for how long someone is in position.

filters specific to sales navigator

Indeed, someone that is in a company for 6 months – 1 year is way less likely to leave than someone who has spent more than 3 years in a company.

Boolean Search Can Be Used On Both Tools

Boolean search is a really simple programmatic language that uses a combination of logical connectors (AND, OR, NOT) and punctuation (parenthesis and quotes) that allow you to run a really specific searches on Linkedin database.

Here is a video describing how to use it on Linkedin Sales Navigator.

The way it works it’s exactly the sames on Linkedin Sales Navigator and Linkedin Recruiter

boolean search linkedin recruiter

For example writing “Developer AND Python” in the job title field will look for people who mentioned Developer and Python in their job title.

boolean search on sales navigator

Regarding this feature, Linkedin Recruiter and Sales Navigator are completely equal.

Linkedin Recruiter VS Sales Navigator Advanced Filters

Linkedin Recruiter is the upgraded version of Linkedin Recruiter Lite and gives you access to more search filters.

linkedin recruiter spotlight filters

There are 6 of them but the most 2 important are “Open to Work” and “More likely to respond”

1. Filter on “Open to work” profiles with Recruiter

This filters highlights candidates who match your search criteria and have indicated that they’re open to hearing from recruiters.

open to work filter linkedin recruiter

This is obviously a nice filter to have as these candidates are proactively looking for a job.

This can work for a certain type of recruitment, but top profiles rarely display “Open to work” on Linkedin.

2. Filter on “More likely to respond” profiles with Recruiter

This filters will show you candidates that have interacted with your company, and insights from your past recruiting activity. You have to trust the linkedin algorithm on this one.

Now you have yourself, do these 2 filters worth $835/month?

I don’t think so.

Moreover, there are some ways to replicate these filters on Sales Navigator.

3. Replicating Recruiter Filters With Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator Advanced and Advanced Plus don’t come with additional search filers.

However, there are some ways to replicate the missing filters existing on Recruiter.

Indeed, if you want to filter profiles that have interacted with your company, you can use the “Following your company” filter on sales navigator.

It will show you all the people in your list who follow your linkedin company page.

follow your company filter sales navigator

To find open to work profiles with Sales Navigator, it’s a bit more technical.

For that you need to export your leads from linkedin sales navigator into a CSV file.

For that you can use the Evaboot Chrome Extension (demo in the video).

Sales Navigator doesn’t allow you to filter on “Open to Work” profiles but Evaboot will detect who are the “Open to Work” profile among your lists.

The extension will add a new button on your Sales Navigator that will allow exporting all your lists into a CSV in one click.

linkedin sales navigator scraper chrome extension

Once you have your file, scroll to the right.

You will find the column “PROSPECT IS OPEN TO WORK” with the mentions “TRUE” OR “FALSE”

detect open to work sales navigator


Now that we analyzed all the search filters, let’s take a look at the other filters offered by these tools.

Linkedin Recruiter Lite VS Sales Navigator Core Features

Advanced Search Filters are not the only feature offered by Linkedin Recruiter and Sales Navigator. They also include inmails, saved searches and more…

Sales Navigator Core offers more Inmais than Recruiter Lite

Linkedin Recruiter Lite comes with 30 inmails per month for one user.

linkedin recruiter inmail credits

Sales Navigator comes with 50 inmails credits per month whatever the offer chosen.

linkedin sales navigator inmails credits

You don’t know what are inmails?

Well, there are premium linkedin messages that allow you to skip the connection request step and land directly into the candidate’s inbox. More on that in this video.

Both Tools Offer Saved Search Feature

Both Linkedin Recruiter and Sales Navigator offers the possibility to save your searches.

This feature is really powerful as it allows you to be notified every time a new candidate or a new lead match with your search filters.

saved search linkedin sales navigator

On Sales Navigator, simply click on Saved Searches > New Results

saved search results sales navigator

Then you will see the new people matching with your search filters. You can come back to the original search anytime.

saved search feature linkedin recruiter

On Linkedin Recruiter, the feature works exactly the same way. You can decide to receive your notifications daily or weekly and Linkedin will send you updates automatically.

Linkedin Sales Navigator Helps You Find Clients

The big plus of Linkedin Sales Navigator is that you can use it to find candidates AND Clients.

Indeed, Sales Navigator also gives the possibility to use the search filters to look for accounts.

account search linkedin sales navigator

Among these search filters is a game change “Hiring on Linkedin”

This filter is super useful as it allows you to find companies that have at least one job offer opened on linkedin.

hiring on linkedin filter

Once you have identified these companies, you can save them into a list and get some insight about them.

save companies into list sales navigator

Sales Navigator also makes it really easy to find decision makers inside these companies.

Let’s say you spotted some startup looking for developers.

  1. Go on the lead search
  2. Go to Workflow > Account List > Select your Account List
  3. Target a job tittle like CTO
  4. Boom, you have the list of all the decision makers to contact

find clients recruiting business sales navigator

if needed, you can use Evaboot to extract this list into a CSV and get emails.

Linkedin Recruiter Lite include a Recruiting CRM

Linkedin Recruiter is not only a search tool. It also includes a recruiting CRM to manage your candidates pipeline.

Inside this CRM, you can create “Projects” that will centralize 3 sources of candidates:

  • Candidates you found through searches
  • Applicants to Job Posts published on Linkedin
  • Candidates Recommended by Linkedin Algorithm

You can easily access these sources through the “Talent Pool” Tab.

linkedin recruiter project crm

You can then transfer your favorite candidates to your Pipeline, this feature allows you to organize your outreach and your hiring process.

candidate pipeline recruiter

Note that you can also add candidates not present on Linkedin by clicking on “+Add candidate”

add candidates outside linkedin recruiter

Recruiter CRM also allows you to post job offers direcly from the platform and get some stats about them.

manage job post from recruiter linkedin

There are also few analytics about Inmails (sent, response rate, replies etc…)

report inmail recruiter

Linkedin Recruiter VS Sales Navigator Advanced Features

Now that we compared the basic offers (Lite vs Core), let’s take a look at the other premium offers: Recruiter VS Advanced.

Advanced Recruiter Features to Find Candidates

Linkedin Recruiter offers 3 things compared to Recruiter Lite:

  • More Inmails
  • Easier Collaboration
  • Integration to recruiting CRMs

1. More Inmails

Linkedin Recruiter gives 100-150 per month per team member.

linkedin recruitier corporate inmails

You can add up to 20 team members to your Linkedin Recruiter account so that mean your team can send up to 2000-3000 inmails per month.

2. Easier Collaboration

Linkedin Recruiter add many tools make team work easier like mention, message sharing, activity tracking etc…

linkedin recruiter collaboration features

These tools are a great time saver if you need some decision makers or client to be involved in the recruiting process.

3. Integrations

Recruiter integrates with most popular recruiting CRM and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) like Workable, Workday or Oracle.

linkedin recruiter integration features

It also integrates with the other Linkedin recruiting products like Talent Insights and Talent Hub.

linkedin recruiter ats integrations

Linkedin Recruiter also propose advanced reporting feature like Pipeline and Job analytics reports.

Sales Navigator Advanced Features To Find Client For Your Recruiting Business

Linkedin Sales Navigator offers 2 premiums plans:

  • Linkedin Sales Navigator Advanced (Team)
  • Linkedin Sales Navigator Advanced Plus (Enterprise)

Their additional features are obviously direct to Sales and not Recruiter.

1. Create Account List From CSV Upload

Let’s say you identified some companies recruiting on Indeed and you want to find their decision makers on Sales Navigator: no problem.

Extract company names and website from Indeed and upload it into Sales Navigator.

Linkedin will find the companies inside your CSV in it’s database and after that you’ll be able to find decision using Lead Search > Workflow > Account List.

2. Track Sales Presentations with Smartlinks

Sales Navigator Smart Links allows to create Sales presentation aggregating files and websites, and then easily share and track your prospects interactions with this content.

what are linkedin sales navigator smart links

Look at a live example here.

It’s really useful to track how your potential clients are interacting with your Sales presentations.

3. Synch Your CRM to Linkedin with Sales Navigator Advanced Plus

Linkedin Sales Navigator Advanced Plus is really expensive ($1600/month) and made for Enterprises with high budget.

It offers advanced features like Advanced CRM Synch, Real Time Contact Update, and chirurgical targeting on Linkedin Ads

If you want your Sales CRM to be perfectly synchronized with Linkedin database, Sales Navigator Advanced plus has everything you need.

Linkedin Sales Navigator Vs Recruiter: Final Thoughts

To wrap this up, here are the elements you need to make your final decision.

1. Can you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Recruiting?

Yes. Definitely.

Linkedin Sales Navigator has access to the whole Linkedin database and has better search filters than Linkedin Recruiter Lite.

The advantage is that you can use a unique tool to find candidates and handle sales operations for only $99/month.

By the way, here is a whole article on how you can use Sales Navigator for recruiting

2. Linkedin Recruiter VS Sales Navigator: What’s the Best Option?

If you need only Linkedin Recruiter for the access to Linkedin database, you’d better go with Linkedin Sales Navigator.

You will get better search filters and access to +3rd degree connection for only $99/month.

If you have the budget and are interested in the other Linkedin Recruiter features:

  • CRM
  • Collaboration and Reporting features
  • Integrations to ATS

then Recruiter is the best option.

3. How Do I Switch From Recruiter to Sales Navigator?

You can switch directly from Linkedin Recruiter to Sales Navigator. You need to first unsubscribe from Linkedin Recruiter and then subscribe to Sales Navigator.

To cancel Linkedin Recruiter, go to Product Settings and then click on Cancel

cancel linkedin recruiter
Once your Recruiter subscription is canceled, go to the linkedin homepage, click on Work > Find Leads to subscribe to Linkedin Sales Navigator
swith from linkedin recruiter to sales navigator

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