By now we have shared a number of other quick ways to figure out the hidden names with each other. You can still export a third level connection’s profile into PDF format and click the link, found in the exported file, to see the last name.
Alternatively: I have created a link that is a shortcut to figuring out anyone’s name. As many other tools, this “back door” is based on the functionality found in the “people you may know“, “PYMK”. You can see the feature on the LinkedIn site here.
(Altogether, people you may know is an interesting concept and a great sourcing tool as well, on a number of social networks. PYMK in the context of online social networks was invented at LinkedIn. It first showed up on the site in 2006.)
To access the simple shortcut, click on the link below and then replace my LinkedIn ID number with the person’s ID number. The member’s ID can clearly be seen as a large number that is part of the URL when you look at their profile, even if the name is not shown, as it happens in personal results for out-of-network members.
Here’s the shortcut:
If you use it, you will see my ID (1769200), which you can replace by the user’s-in-question ID and see his or her full name.
If you click on the name then, you will see the complete profile with all of the info there is.
I must say that I find it to be rather poor user experience, that a profile would be found by keywords that are the hidden in the search results due to the member’s being away from you in the network. Further, LinkedIn invites those of us with lesser accounts to send the member an Inmail, while we can see very little info about them. We need to use tools that are available to us with caution and professionally.
(To add to the subject of the name discovery, note that if you use the last name or part of it to search, you are in luck! You will see the full profiles for everyone in the search results, no matter what. This allows us to search for people who have added a certification or a degree to the last name, and see the complete info right away.)
I remain a passionate supporter of LinkedIn, and have talked with their team about user experience improvements on a regular basis over the past year or so. I see major improvements in handling large personal networks.
It’s not the “only” site for sourcing, of course, but there is still nothing anywhere close to LinkedIn as a site for People Sourcers. More posts about it to come.