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Bluesteps, GatedTalent and Linkedin – How do they differ and what do they cost?

For the executive aiming to increase visibility with executive search consultants, there are a host of options. Linkedin is the obvious starting point, but the public nature of the site can make it challenging for a leader who cannot be seen to be on the job market. As a result, many senior level executives turn to sites like Bluesteps and GatedTalent. What are these services, how are they different from Linkedin, what do they cost and are they worth it?

Linkedin versus Bluesteps and GatedTalent – What are the core differences?

Linkedin is a public social network. It’s free to create a profile but – once created – that profile is essentially visible to anyone who wishes to review it.  Any updates may be noted.

For a senior executive looking to catch the eye of headhunters without being too public about it, Bluesteps and GatedTalent offer an alternative model. On these platforms, any profile you create will not be visible publicly – only recruiters will have access. As a result, the idea is, you can share far more detailed information than you would on Linkedin.

Privacy is the most fundamental point of difference. However, both GatedTalent and Bluesteps members benefit from additional career management support that is not provided by Linkedin.

Who owns Bluesteps and Gatedtalent? Who am I sharing my data with?

Bluesteps has been around for more than a decade. It is a product of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (the AESC – a trade association for search firms and leadership consultants).

GatedTalent is considerably younger. Launched late in 2017, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a UK based public company.  It is also the sister company of Dillistone Systems, a supplier of CRM products to executive search firms. The “FileFinder” software product has been named the number 1 software product for executive search firms on several occasions and the exclusive integration license with FileFinder has been a major driver in the success of the GatedTalent platform as it gives recruiters direct access to member data.

Which search firms use Bluesteps and GatedTalent?

The Association of Executive Search Firms sees Bluesteps as a member benefit and, as a result, the Bluesteps platform is accessible only to its search firm members.

Currently, the AESC membership is slightly less than 250 executive recruiting firms, although these include some of the larger firms in the industry.

The GatedTalent search firm client list is comparable in size to that of Bluesteps and includes a notable number of AESC member firms – there is some crossover. However, it also includes other retained search firms that may not be AESC members.

In addition to these ongoing subscribers, GatedTalent also offers a second way for executive search firms to access the platform.  For executive recruiters that do not require ongoing access to the candidate database, GatedTalent allows recruiters to use the platform on a project by project basis.  This attracts a significant additional number of smaller, high-quality boutique firms that might see the need for ongoing access and means that, at any one time, there are likely to be more firms with access to the GatedTalent platform.

Who has access to my resume, CV, profile or any other data I share?

Both GatedTalent and Bluesteps limited access to your data.

Bluesteps is only available to AESC member firms and so your data is only available to those organizations. However, your data is available in full to all of these organizations.

GatedTalent provides limited profile access to all of its executive search firm clients, but only shares your full profile with your specific permission on a firm by firm basis. Executive search consultants review anonymous profiles to spot appropriate executives and then send a “connection request” to those candidates who appear to meet the criteria of the hiring organization.  These requests typically share details of why the recruiter wishes to access your details. Based on this request, the potential candidate can then either accept or decline the connection.

As a result, on GatedTalent, executives can control which firms have access to personal information such as contact data and uploaded documents. This level of control is not available to Bluesteps members.

How many members do Bluesteps and GatedTalent have?

Bluesteps do not reveal information on membership numbers or the size of the Bluesteps database. It is estimated that there are 120,000 – 150,000 Bluesteps members.

However, GatedTalent does and, as at October 2019, GatedTalent had around 85,000 members, with this group including senior executives from more than 100 countries.  In comparing these numbers, however, it should be noted that GatedTalent is around two years old – Bluesteps has been trading for considerably longer.

Publicly available data, however, suggests that GatedTalent is growing faster than Bluesteps, with more visitors and more engagement from these visitors.

GatedTalent member growth versus Bluesteps

What do Bluesteps and GatedTalent cost?

Bluesteps and GatedTalent offer fundamentally different approaches to membership pricing.  Bluesteps requires a significant upfront investment, followed by an optional ongoing fee.

GatedTalent offers free membership with an optional fee for premium career services.

  • Bluesteps – Lifetime Membership: $309
  • Bluesteps – Premium Services (included in Lifetime Membership for 6 months – then an additional fee of $79 per annum)
  • GatedTalent – Basic Membership: Free
  • GatedTalent – Premium Membership – $35 per month (month to month subscription – Discounted annual fees are available)

Read on for a promo code for GatedTalent Premium Membership!

Does either platform provide additional career support beyond the subscription?

Both services provide additional, paid products to support the executive job search process. These include executive resume review and writing and Linkedin profile optimization.  Both sites have relationships with third party career consultants.

Are there independent reviews of Bluesteps and GatedTalent?

At the time of writing, there are approximately 800 independent reviews of GatedTalent on Trustpilot. The rating is “Excellent” with 4.5 stars out of 5.

There are no reviews of Bluesteps on this site, but a Google search finds reviews and comments (some from Bluesteps itself, it should be noted!).

GatedTalent Reviews

Are sites like GatedTalent and Bluesteps worth it?

These platforms offer two sets of benefits to executives. The first is for an active executive job seeker who is in transition and requires support during this period. The second use case is for ongoing career development- executives can share information with recruiters on an ongoing basis and this should support the long term career of the executive.

From a return on investment perspective, there is little doubt that if an investment in these services can either expedite a job search or landing a better job with a superior executive compensation package, then a huge ROI is likely.

The question, therefore, is will membership deliver this?

Well, this is where independent reviews come in – always look before signing up. As noted above, GatedTalent enjoys excellent reviews.

How can you try these services out?

For an executive who is looking to increase visibility among executive recruiters, the obvious initial step is to create a free GatedTalent profile (Bluesteps does not offer a free service).

This will allow you to share your information with executive search consultants from across the World. You’ll also have immediate access to a complimentary webinar providing executive career advice and guidance – and that features a live Q&A. There is no risk or commitment to this.

Optionally, GatedTalent allows members to “go Premium” on a month to month contract which allows the executive to better understand the benefits associated with the platform for a nominal cost.  This is particularly relevant to executives who may be in transition and do not wish to make a long term investment until they are sure of the value offered.

Are there any alternative sites worth considering?

GatedTalent and Bluesteps are the primary products in the executive search sector, although a third to consider is ‘NotActivelyLooking’. You might also want to look at AdvisoryCloud (recently rebranded from ExecRanks – Most reviews are under the previous brand) while Execunet provides an array of coaching services to support executive job seekers.

There is also a wide range of job boards targetting senior managers and executives. These include The Ladders and Experteer.

Most senior level opportunities are not filled by job posts, and so generally you should be wary of any service which is designed to offer access to job listings.  We strongly recommend you look on Trustpilot or Google for reviews of any sites you are considering working with before signing up.

How do I sign up for GatedTalent?

You can create your free profile here.  If you wish to go Premium, you can do so from within the App – you can use the Promo Coupon Code:  MONTHLY100 and get your first month free.  Good luck with your career!


All information in this blog is correct as of October 19 2019, to the best of our knowledge, and is based on publicly available information or internal understanding.  Please contact if you have questions about the content of this blog.

GatedTalent Reviews
Recruiting Brief