Spaced Out!

booleanstrings Boolean

If you use LinkedIn Recruiter, I highly recommend at least skimming this post and the next.

LinkedIn Recruiter fooled me this time! I was searching for managerial level people, putting the word “manager” in the title and varying other parameters. In a while, I have started feeling suspicious about the number of results. It seemed unreasonably small. After a bit of investigation, and remembering how the “company names or boolean” search option is messy, I discovered this.

Adding a space ” “

After the job title

In LinkedIn Recruiter search

Multiplies results

I will explain what is going on there in a second, but let me share a couple of screenshots first. If you don’t care about the explanation, that’s all you want to see.

>>> Start adding a space after job titles and you will be getting tons of extra results.

Here is another example:

So why does the search behave in this bizarre way? This is a “side effect” of LinkedIn trying to make sense of their data (and not doing a great job there; pun intended). As part of the internal classification, LinkedIn has given numerical IDs to members, companies (responsible for this odd behavior in Recruiter), groups, skills, etc. Apparently, they gave numerical IDs to the “standard” job titles that they have identified – such as “manager”, “senior manager” (but not “mgr” or “Sr. Manager”).

For example, for the standard title “Manager”, the internal ID equals 2. For “Senior Manager”, ID=50. (In the back-end call, inspecting the call, we see “&jobTitleEntities=Senior+Manager_50” or “&jobTitleEntities=Manager_2”). A search for the standard title with an assigned ID, for example, “Manager”, selected from the menu of job titles, will pull out ONLY the profiles where the title is exactly “manager” (no more words) or somehow is tied to the standard “manager” title. (It’s a tricky business; I will go into better detail in a future post). A problem with searching for job titles with IDs, is that lots of profiles that have the word “manager” as part of the title, would not show in this kind of search. The added space ” ” helps – it switches the internal search to not use the IDs and search by the keywords instead (it will look like “&jobTitleEntities=Senior+Manager” or “&jobTitleEntities=Manager”); the latter will get us many more results.

Recruiters: ALWAYS use Boolean search in the job title in LinkedIn Recruiter or RPS. Don’t use the selection of standard titles – if you do, it can throw away up to 90% of matching results.

Job Seekers: Use everything standard on LinkedIn – that includes your job titles as well. Otherwise, recruiters, who trust the system, and did not read this post, will not find you.

LinkedIn: When will you get it right?

 

Update! Two days after this post was published, the discrepancy shown in the two screenshots above has stopped happening (which a couple of readers have noticed too). We will never know whether my post had influenced the LI Engineering Team to make the change, or whether it is a coincidence. Well, at least my examples from the two screenshots above now return the same results, which is already an improvement. I am happy that this post got outdated so quickly! Alas, other discrepancies show up in the new release. I am not yet able to explain the new algorithm, but, whatever it is, we are already seeing search inconsistency and bugs around the job title search.

Want to help me?

[Sourcing Challenge, for LIR Users] Come up with a right-sounding, backed by examples, and tested, algorithm on how LIR parses and searches for user’s input in the job title field. What is going on with searches by a title as an object with an ID? a search by Boolean? Is there any sort of “semantic” interpretation in either case? The first person who emails me the right answer will get a prize.