LinkedIn Basic Search is Galene – LIR Search is Lucene

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search linkedin

It was comforting for some LinkedIn Recruiter users to hear about the search results discrepancies, shared previously in the posts

Here is some feedback I got:

“GREAT GREAT GREAT article on the discrepancies in search (LIR vs Personal LinkedIn). A few colleagues and I have been experiencing the same problems but were chalking it up to software bugs…”

“Glad you posted this! You validated the fact that I am not crazy! I had the same exact thing happen to me about two weeks ago. Side by side searches yielding less profiles from the LIR account search vs my own personal one.”

Here is an update.

I am happy to report that I got a clear explanation of what is going on there at a recent live “Technical Deep Dive” at LinkedIn San Francisco.

Bottom line, LIR search is still Lucene (the old search algorithm) and Personal search is Galene (the new search algorithm). Yeah!

I was impressed with the Software Engineers at LinkedIn at the meeting; they are obviously high-class folks. They were explaining the complex ideas behind the new search algorithm and relevance. The difference in the search code behind LIR and Personal was not a central point of the Meetup in any way; it was just mentioned in passing. Of course, it is not the Engineers’ responsibility to explain to Recruiters what changes have been implemented.

So – not that we are getting any updates on when LIR is going to be moved to Galene (and it will be); not what user query interpretations are coming… but at least the basic reason for the differences is quite clear.

I heard about some exciting new features coming up with further development of Galene. If you are curious, I believe you can find some slides and materials online from the Software Engineers, to whom I listened, Sriram Sankar and Rahul Aggarwal, as well as from other LinkedIn Engineers.

I am proud that my guess, that semantic interpretation of the personal search happens before the search is executed, proved to be the case in reality. The Engineers used this language for it: “converting user query into a structured Galene query” and, in another instance, “query rewriting”.

As a side note, this information makes me worry about searching in LIR. Apparently the “old search”, Lucene, cannot be properly scaled to manage searching on that much information. The scaling necessities is what initially triggered the Galene development a year and 1/2 ago. LIR is currently working on a weak search mechanism, inadequate to handle 300+ MLN profiles and other data.

One More Sourcing Challenge (Advanced!)

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I received over 20 responses for the #HIREConf Sourcing Challenge in one day. Most participants sent me the right answer; well done! I now have a correct answer for each of the two great prizes. So that search is over.

Here’s an additional Advanced Advanced Challenge, for which I am adding two prizes of the same kind: a Special Guest Pass to HIREConf and a webinar from the Training Library. If you have not participated in the first challenge, you have a chance to jump in right now!

#HIREConf Advanced Sourcing Challenge – Open to Everyone

Please read carefully.

Suggest ONE SEARCH STRING on ONE SITE, that would instantly identify the person who fits the first two requirements. THE SEARCH STRING MUST BE NO LONGER THAN 20 CHARACTERS.

(By a SITE above I mean a website that allows searching, which could be Google, Github, Google+, LinkedIn, or some other site.)

As a reminder, here are the first two requirements. That person:

1) Works at an office on the 8th floor, at an address within the same zipcode as the hotel where HIREConf is held;

2) Has a Github profile, created in 2014; has somewhere between 60 and 70 followers there, but is not following anyone.

Of course, if you already know the answer to the previous challenge, that may put you at an advantage. (Or not.)

Email me the URL for that search.

Have even more fun!

#HIREConf Sourcing Challenge

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(Wherever you live, if you enjoy solving fun Sourcing Challenges, don’t miss the one below.)

If you are a Recruiter in the San Francisco Bay Area:

If you can make it, I’d be glad to meet live at the upcoming HIREconf, a full day conference with training and talks focused on Sourcing and Recruiting in highly competitive markets. It’s coming up on November 4, 2014. I will be giving a live 3+ hour interactive Sourcing Workshop, covering lots of Sourcing tips and techniques for the modern Recruiter.

The HIREConf price is affordable and is incredibly low, given the amount of great content that is going to be revealed. If the price is a problem, however, our Boolean Strings members get a discount. I also have 5 free tickets given to me by the organizers; be one of the first 5 people to email George and he will give you that secret registration link. (Actually, if you are a really good Sourcer, you won’t even need to email George.)

Local Sourcing Certification Program past attendees and supporters: it’s also your chance to meet David Galley and George Glikman, who are on the Program Team, and my business partner Julia Tverskaya of the Brain Gain Recruiting fame; they will be attending. They are all very cool people!

I would like to offer 1 (one) Master Sourcer Guest Ticket to HIREConf to the person who is the first to solve a Sourcing Challenge, identified shortly.

To make it interesting for those who live outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, I will also offer 1 (one) webinar from our Training Library to the first person who submits the right answer.

We’ll have one local and one non-local winner.

#HIREConf Sourcing Challenge – Open to Everyone


Find a person who:

1) Works at an office on the 8th floor, at an address within the same zipcode as the hotel where HIREConf is held

2) Has a Github profile, created in 2014; has somewhere between 60 and 70 followers there, but is not following anyone

3) His company was established in 2012, and has something to do with JavaScript… well, OK, one can learn JavaScript there.

Send me an email with the subject #HIREConf Sourcing Challenge and let me know what his last name is. Please follow these directions exactly to qualify!

  • As soon as I receive the winning answer for attending HIREConf, I will update this post. — Solved!
  • As soon as I receive the winning answer for getting a Sourcing webinar (non-Bay Area people) I will update this post. — Solved!

Have fun!

hireconf>>> note: I posted a new (advanced) challenge.

Sourcing without LinkedIn: Wed Oct 29, 2014

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The most popular Recruiting/Sourcing webinar of 2014, Sourcing without LinkedInis coming to a computer near you on Wednesday October 29.

Pretty much all of us extensively use LinkedIn as the top site for Sourcing, and rightly so. I use it quite a bit myself! However:

  • “Everyone is searching for the same person”
  • It’s expensive
  • It takes away functionality without notice
  • (most importantly!) At least 80% of qualified professionals cannot be found on LinkedIn by searching

The webinar will go over the most efficient Sourcing techniques that use the vast Internet outside of LinkedIn.

I have updated the material quite a bit, to reflect new tools and all the changes in search engines and networks. The webinar was sold out multiple times in the past.

Who will benefit:

Recruiters; Recruitment Managers and Teams; Sourcers; Staffing Managers; Talent Hunters; Inside Sales Managers; Business Development; Executive Search Firms; Searchers; Researchers; Hiring Managers.

You will learn how to:

  • Navigate top 10 People Finders
  • Identify data-rich sites in the target:
    • Industry (forums, associations; certifications)
    • Geography (local chapters, meet-ups)
    • Gatherings (recent conferences)
  • Extract lists of professionals from websites based on:
    • Boolean search and X-raying
    • Deep Web search
  • Locate social profiles on professional niche sites
  • Find contact information:
    • Corporate email address formats
    • Email addresses
    • Phone numbers
  • Pre-qualify people for calling and make the call warm

Review and register at Seating is limited.

Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
Time: 9AM PDT / 12PM EDT — (Check your local time for this Webinar)
Duration: 90 minutes
Included: The slides, a video recording, and one month of support on the material.
Everyone who registers will receive the complete recording, slides, and one full month of support, whether you attend live or not.


Social Emailing: Networks Comparison

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Back in 2009 I published a post on “Call or Email or Use Social Media?” The post was about reaching out to potential candidates, or to business prospects, using Social Networks. While some of the technical details are, of course, outdated 5 years later, the idea remains – and you can do MUCH more now than back then.

I’d like to clearly identify the topic of this post. It is not about messaging your friends on Facebook and not about using “Social Messaging” apps on mobile devices. I’m going to go over messaging capabilities available for Social Network users, that may help to reach prospects – even if you do not know an email address or a phone number.

We know that some LinkedIn members send invitations to connect, carrying the messages to engage in business or apply for a job. I am not a fan of the approach; but if it’s your cup of tea, you might want to check a recent post How to Connect if the Reason is Not Listed.

(Other methods to reach out to prospects, that I prefer to avoid, are direct-messaging on Twitter and messaging on Facebook; I will skip them in this post.)


On LinkedIn, you can send messages to your 1st level connections and to fellow group members. These messages go to the recipients’ email address, registered on LinkedIn.

Since your business prospects are not likely to be your first level connections, your chance to use LinkedIn messaging remains with the groups. A member has a limit of 50 groups. Given the groups’ population numbers, if you max out on groups (and if your prospects do tend to join LinkedIn groups), you might be able to reach roughly 1% of LinkedIn members via groups. That would be ~6 MLN people. If you want to message any of  the remaining ~310 MLN members, who are outside of your groups, you would need to pay for InMails.


It’s VERY different on Facebook! You can email pretty much any Facebook member who has the default preferences. I imagine that would be 99% of Facebook users (probably more than that). That would be ~2 BLN people. Note that, just like on LinkedIn, the message will go to their email address, registered with Facebook.


It’s VERY different on Google-Plus as well. If you’d like to send a message to someone on Google-Plus, simply include the member in your circles, then use the “sharing” dialog and select that member (start typing their name to get a prompt). I am afraid I can’t provide a good estimate but it could be that’s another ~2 BLN people there as well, imagining that 99% members have the default settings. (I am not going to go into further detail on how Google+ accounts are tied with using Google, making Google-Plus population to seem very large. Even if you only look at active Google+ users, that would be a pretty large number as well: the number of active users monthly is about the same as as the whole LinkedIn Network has.)

If you want to learn more about “Social Emailing”, or if you prefer to call or email your prospects, but are not sure how to find the contact information, please come to my webinar on Name Generation on Tuesday 21 October 2014. We’ll go over Top 7 dangerously powerful Name Generation Techniques. We would expect that those who attend will use that power wisely and responsibly. The materials and one month of support are provided to all who sign up.


LinkedIn Basic Search is Semantic – LIR Search is NOT

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In the previous post Discrepancies in Search: LinkedIn Recruiter vs. Personal we looked at some differences in the search results. While we have no word from @LinkedIn, my guess is that the Basic search does additional “lightly semantic” interpretation of  the search queries, which leads to those differences.


In the first example with “computer games”, it matters that it’s the exact name of an industry. LinkedIn personal account adds the profiles that have that industry to the search results.  That’s a guess backed up by a good number of tests. I find this “light semantic” addition to be quite relevant. As an example, let’s narrow the example search to current company = Apple. People who work at Apple do not necessarily work with computer games; those who do may express that as their industry. If we look for people at Apple with C++ 3D iOS “computer games”, the personal account finds 8 profiles, while LIR finds only 3.

Thanks to Glen Cathey for his comments on my last post and his new blog post with some exploration of what’s going on. (Glen: I just tried to see what the difference might be between a word used in the industry name and as a keyword otherwise – and ran across a search that I don’t even know how to begin to explain! A search for software NOT games/industry: “computer games” finds 28 people in the US – it will find more people in other countries! – and 4,623 results in LIR. Of course, that search itself doesn’t make much sense other than a test search.)


Responding to Glen’s request to provide examples of searches that do not include searches for industries: it is not hard to find, once you know that, generally, the personal/Basic search is “lightly semantic”.

EXAMPLE ONE. Search for VP Recruiting, Bank of America: personal – 22 results, LIR… 6 results. Guess what, personal account knows that VP is Vice President, LIR doesn’t! Here’s a variation: “VP Recruiting”, current or past, BofA: personal: 9 results. LIR: 2 results.

EXAMPLE TWO. Search for Sr. Manager at Deloitte in the US; personal: 60 results. LIR: 3 results. Personal knows that Sr means Senior; LIR doesn’t.

EXAMPLE THREE. Search for Morgan, Senior Project Manager, NYC Area  9 results, while LIR provides a whooping 358 results. I didn’t find the time for a better example and wanted to point what is going on: the personal decides to use Morgan as the first or the last name only, while LIR finds past and present employees of Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan.  In this case (the personal names interpretation), I’d rather the semantic interpretation didn’t happen.

There are other examples of discrepancies I have run into, that I still can’t explain.

Needless to say, LinkedIn Recruiter subscribers don’t expect the differences in the search results to be so significant, in some cases seeing way fewer results in LIR, in other cases seeing many more results, yet in some – roughly the same numbers (as it used to be before Galene). That provides for poor UX, to say the least.

Once again, I seriously recommend searching “on both sides” and perhaps X-ray as well.


Discrepancies in Search: LinkedIn Recruiter vs. Personal

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Up until recently, search results in LinkedIn Recruiter (LIR) and in (any) personal account were the same. LIR provides more results available for viewing for a given search and better results visibility (and also some facets that are not available in a personal search).

This has changed dramatically.

If you have a LinkedIn Recruiter account, you must read on.

Here are three examples of searches, compared side-by-side for a personal vs a LIR account. (Guess, which account provides more results?)


Search for C++ 3D iOS “computer games”, title = engineer OR developer, in the Bay Area 

Personal account: 150 results.



Click on “View Results in Recruiter”



… the same search shows only 43 results in LinkedIn Recruiter:



So, in the EXAMPLE #1 the numbers are:

C++ 3D iOS “computer games”, title = engineer OR developer, in the Bay Area 

  • Personal: 150 results
  • LIR: 43 results



hospital health care, NYC, currently at New York Presbyterian Hospital

  • Personal: 5,574 results
  • LIR: 1,302 results



Research Intel Labs China

  • Personal: 283 results
  • LIR: 119 results


In the above examples, LIR provided anywhere from about 50% to 20% (!) of the numbers of results that a member would get with a personal account – including a Basic account.

I do have some guesses for the reasons of the discrepancies, but I can’t be sure. There’s no official documentation or information in blogs about this, as far as I can tell. I don’t think the discrepancies are caused by software bugs. My best guess is that these are “side effects” of developing Galene and the Economic Graph.  I have seen some cases where the discrepancies are the other way around: LIR shows more results than personal, for no apparent reason.

Bottom line:

Take a note of it. Don’t lose matching results. I’d recommend to search from both personal and from LIR and, perhaps, X-ray as well.

How to Connect if the Reason is Not Listed

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(“Part One” briefly outlines some background. If you are only interested in “how-to”, please jump to the “Part Two” below.

Please note, that I think that inviting others for no good reason is NOT appropriate.)

Part One. Reasons to Connect

LinkedIn is a business networking site, where people can “connect” with each other. Connecting provides for ways to keep each other’s contact info; track interactions; perhaps get on the phone or meet in person; or follow-up after having met; follow each other’s business activity; refer business to each other, and more. In fact, LinkedIn is “the” Business Networking site.

LinkedIn provides us with a number of choices on why we’d like to connect with someone, including: colleague, classmate, we’ve done business together, and a friend. Up until a few days ago there was also a “fellow group member” option, that seems to be gone as of now.  This could be just a bug (or not).


(Here’s a post about the missing feature: OMG! LinkedIn Invite No Longer Has “Groups” Option. If it is a bug we’ll hopefully see it back soon.)

Whether the absence of groups among choices is “a bug or a feature”, sometimes it’s hard to find the reason to connect and network among the offered “radio button” choices.  Sometimes there’s not a group in common either. How about these reasons:

  • “I [read your books/posts/ listened to your presentations] and would like to connect to hear more and stay up-to-date”
  • “I met you at a business gathering/conference, enjoyed our conversation, and would like to stay in touch”
  • “We have not done business together (yet) but from your profile information I see a really good reason to discuss the opportunities”
  • Such-and-such has advised I connect with you because…


NOTE: I think inviting people who (you suspect) may NOT want to connect with you is a bad idea. This is spamming.

Compare with the InMail choices for the Reasons

By the way, compare the above with the choices for InMails.  These still may not cover all the possibilities, but the selection is, obviously, wider. (Why?):

Thanks for reading through the brief intro. Comments are welcome.

Now, here are two workarounds. Here’s how to invite while avoiding the limiting choices for the “reason”.

Part Two. How to Connect if the Reason is not listed

Let’s say you have a good reason to connect with this person (listing a co-worker here as a real life example):


OPTION ONE: Search (for what you have already found!)


Select the person’s name and a few keywords from the headline.


Search on LinkedIn for the selected text. In the search results page you can now connect without stating a reason.


That’s it!

The advantage is that you can do this really fast. The drawback is that you cannot customize the connection message.

OPTION TWO. Save and Invite

 If you are able to Save the profile


(which is subject to some LinkedIn limitations), you can then invite the person from your Contacts page and customize the text as well.


Save the profile.


Go to the Contacts Sorted by New – see a way to invite – with customization text (and no selection list for the “Reason”)…


… and send a customized invite:


Thanks for reading :) I hope many readers will benefit from the “how-to” part.

What is Sourcing? vs. What Does a Sourcer Do?

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Humpty_Dumpty“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass


A definition of a term works, if the majority of practitioners agree to it. It’s quite remarkable, that with Sourcing becoming hugely popular and necessary, we still lack a definition. Sourcing still “means so many different things”.

Back in January Glen Cathey wrote:

“It believe it would certainly be helpful and beneficial to have a universally agreed upon definition of exactly what sourcing is.”

The question “What is Sourcing?” remains unanswered, because, apparently, at this moment in time our definitions still vary dramatically. Yet conferences, discussions, and classes on Sourcing very much exist and bring together like-minded people.

Not wanting to go into a useless round of arguments yet another time, at a panel at the recent Sourcing Summit Europe I replied to someone from the audience: “Sourcing is what we do”:) 

…But then, it occurred to me that we may be stuck simply because we mix “Sourcing” with “What a Sourcer does”, and those are two different things!

I was reminded about this topic again, looking at today’s SourceCon tweets:



To add to this, here are some definitions from elsewhere on the web:

That is all over the place!

Below I will try to provide a suggestion that may lead us to agree on what Sourcing is (or not – who knows!).

Let’s pause with definitions for a moment and let’s imagine a sole Recruiter serving a small, growing start-up. With a job requisition in hand, the Recruiter:

  1. Searches for matching professionals
  2. Calls them and tries to engage
  3. If all goes well, interviews follow, etc.

Everyone agrees so far?

If during the step 1 (searching for potential candidates) you walked up to the Recruiter and asked what she is doing, what do you think she’d answer?

  • “I am sourcing”
  • “I am recruiting”

I bet you expect her to say “I am sourcing”.

Attention, please! Now, if during the step 2 (calling potential candidates and trying to get their interest in the company and the position) you walked up to the Recruiter and asked what she is doing, what do you think she’d answer?

  • “I am sourcing”
  • “I am recruiting”


I think she is recruiting.

What do you think?

Now, let’s go back to what a Sourcer’s job functions are? - which is a different question from what is Sourcing?

We may say that part of the job is Sourcing and part of it is Recruiting. (Maybe part of it is also making good coffee for the office.) What a Sourcer does, obviously, varies from place to place.

It’s a fact that many Sourcers engage candidates on the phone before passing the information on. I’d say many Sourcers recruit as part of their job.


Eight Ways to Guess and Verify Email Addresses

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Suppose you are determined to find someone’s email address. With the new LinkedIn InMail policy, some say, this may happen in their practice more often. The post below outlines top eight ways to figure that email address out, starting with a list of guesses.

Before we go there: as the creator of one of the most popular email-finding techniques Rob Ousbey says,

With great power, comes great responsibility.

Let’s keep that in mind! (Don’t spam anyone.)

To find someone’s email address, you can try to come up with a number of guesses, using “email permutators”, known email formats for employers, and, perhaps, your imagination. For larger companies, try this custom search engine to find company email formats.

Note #1: Researching company email formats deserves a separate blog post; I am not covering it here in any detail.

Note #2: The eight verification techniques listed below can work with whole lists of guesses. Verifying just one or two email addresses can be done in some additional ways; that would be the subject of yet another blog post (coming soon).

Once you have a list of email address guesses, here are the eight ways to try and pinpoint the correct address. These eight methods all work in different ways, so if you are not successful with one, you can try another and you may succeed. Each of the 8 ways is quick to try; all are free except the last one.

  1. Find emails with Rapportive (by Rob Ousbey). LinkedIn recently changed Rapportive , so this technique is less powerful now: it won’t cross-reference against any Social Networks, other than LinkedIn, any longer. But the technique still works, by finding the LinkedIn profile registered with the correct address, if the profile exists.
  2. Find Almost Anybody’s Email Address with #LinkedIn: this, actually, works differently from Rob’s technique. This is dynamic cross-referencing; Rapportive provides cross-referencing against stored information, which can, in some cases, be incomplete or outdated. It’s pretty reliable and provides up-to-date information.
  3. Find Almost Anyone’s Email Using MS Outlook: this technique will check email address guesses against LinkedIn, Facebook, and possibly XING, depending on your Outlook version.
  4. Uploading a list of emails to Gmail will identify those with Google-plus accounts. Unfortunately, this is not 100% reliable in our experience, meaning, it may miss the correct profile even if it exists; it’s still worth a try, of course.
  5. The post Find People on Google-Plus by Emails  has a few more relevant hints.
  6. Uploading a list of emails to Gmail will let you to cross-reference them on Twitter. This will not work with large lists, as our experience shows, but will work just fine with a few dozen email guesses.
  7. You can verify a list of email guesses against Facebook. This option is not easy to find! On the page Invite Your Friends locate the link “Import your email addresses” and point to a text file with a list of emails. No worries, you can use it without inviting anyone. Cancel all the invites – and see which email address is right. Note that if you work with a larger volume of addresses to verify (say, for several people at once) and wanted to look at the imported list in detail, the page Manage Contacts is not that helpful, but exporting your Facebook data would be. In the exported data you will clearly see the addresses which have and have not been identified as belonging to members. (I guess there’s another blog post this can be expanded into.) The downside to exporting is that you can’t select only some data to download, so you’ll have to get a complete archive.
  8. Finally, tools like provide free email checking for one address at a time. They “ping” email servers without sending an actual email. We know that they only work with some email servers. Checking email lists using that technique is offered by a good number of vendors for a price; I have not used that, so my comments will be minimal. Aaron Lintz has pointed me to this site as a good one.

Come to my Webinar on Generating Lists on - NEW DATE! Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 – to hear detailed coverage of these and many other productivity techniques, see examples, get one month of support to practice, and learn not to depend on InMails as much as before. Hurry, I am told there’s not much space left.