Top 25 Fake Profiles

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In this post, I am sharing some observations about the new (and unusual) public LinkedIn pages in the “Title Directory” and ways to discover them by X-Raying.

Note: To try out some of the following content and access the right links, it’s best to log out of LinkedIn.

The home page has links to various directories:


It includes a Title Directory. If you browse the directory, you will see the “endpoint” pages that look like this: (Don’t forget to log out or use an incognito window – it’s the only way to view the right content). The URLs for these pages start with; the page titles usually say something like “Top 25 (or 24, or 23)  <such-and-such specialists> at <company>”. Some page titles also include location names. What “Top” means in this context is a mystery! We’ll skip investigating that at the moment.

As all public pages, these “/title” pages help to drive traffic to LinkedIn. It’s an SEO (search engine optimization) thing.

Using Google, we can X-Ray the title directory in this fashion: (add keywords). This X-raying capability is not new; we have been able to X-Ray the title directory for several years now.

A few months ago the “title directory” started being populated with pages that sound different from the above example, “benefits-specialist-at-ibm”.

Without going into much detail, I will share some example results that come up in X-Raying the /title directory. Here’s an example using my name and a couple keywords:

“irina shamaeva” sourcing certification

(Somehow, at this point, the results contain “top 25 webmasters”; I have never been a webmaster!)

You can do similar X-Ray searches for your name and other professionals’ names. Add a few keywords, as in the example above, to make sure it’s that professional’s profile that will appear in the results. Let me know what you find!

Then, here are some other searches:

1) (42 pages at the moment)


2) (currently, 265 pages in the results – including the Top 24 What Not Profiles!)

3) is also interesting:


Though I saw some concerns from some members who also noticed the /title pages indexed by Google, I don’t think there are privacy issues related to it. I do know that there are new ways to Source using this relatively new expansion of public LinkedIn pages.

I will teach some related sourcing insights at the upcoming repeat of Overcoming LinkedIn Limitations webinar on July 7th.

Boolean Strings Sourcing Community Milestone

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The LinkedIn Group Boolean Strings – The Internet Sourcing Community, along with the Boolean Strings Ning Network, is the largest (by far!) community of professionals that talk about all things Sourcing.

A few days ago our LinkedIn group passed 30K members.

Compared to the time when I started the group, back in 2008, the Internet “traffic” is much heavier, yet we have kept informative, engaged conversations going within the Group all along. New members join us every day and everyone benefits from ongoing discussions.

I wanted to share some statistics.

CONTENT. On most LinkedIn groups, members see links to online posts as the most or all of the content. Few other groups – Recruiting-related or not – have the healthy balance between posts and discussions comparable to our group’s:


(In fact, I would challenge you to find any other LinkedIn groups that have more comments than posts! If you want to take a look, LinkedIn shows group statistics and activity for the groups under the settings icon in each group).

If you are a member, you are always welcome to post questions and comments on the group. We also allow posting jobs for Sourcers (only) in the Discussion section.

GROWTH. As of today, the group has 30,500+ members. Here are the growth charts:


During the work hours in the most-represented locations, we have a new member join every 1/2 hour.

COUNTRIES. The Group has members from 123 countries! The largest countries represented are the US (~20K members), India (2,700+); United Kingdom (~1,800); Canada (~800); Australia (~700); Ireland (500+); Philippines (500+); Netherlands (~400); and Poland (200+). Other countries with larger representation include South Africa, Germany, Singapore, Hungary, UAE, New Zealand, China, Switzerland, Romania, France, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Israel, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Mexico, Japan, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Italy, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Nigeria, Vietnam, and Finland.

INDUSTRIES. Not surprisingly, the majority of our members – 35% – come from the “Staffing and Recruiting” Industry, followed by HR, Information Technology, Computer Software, Internet, and Financial Services.

The “sister” Ning Network has 7,5K+ members from 88 countries. We’ve kept the popular free bi-weekly Sourcing CHATS going there for over five years now. Check out the upcoming Chats and Events.

Thanks to all members for your participation and let’s keep the conversation going!




Overcoming LinkedIn Limitations – Webinar

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Overcoming LinkedIn Limitations

Double-Webinar: Lecture – Wednesday June 24, optional Practice – June 25

In 2015, we are witnessing tighter limits on using LinkedIn for Sourcing and messaging than ever before. All accounts, basic and paid, and even LIR (LinkedIn Recruiter) have newly introduced restrictions. Depending on the account, members face the limits on the numbers of search to perform per month; numbers of search results displayed; profile visibility; group messaging; and InMail usage. Additionally, X-Raying LinkedIn through Google has lost some of its power due to the recent public profile redesign.

It is everyone’s individual decision as to what type of LinkedIn account works best. However, no matter what type of account you have, you can increase productivity by using clever workarounds and “back doors”. In this new webinar, I will go over all the new limitations that slow down searching and messaging on LinkedIn and explain the ways to work around the restrictions, for every type of account.

Note: By signing up for the webinar, you commit to NOT sharing any of the tips online.

Overcoming LinkedIn Limitations – Lecture (Irina Shamaeva) – Wednesday June 24, 2015, 9 AM-10:30 AM PDT

Overcoming LinkedIn Limitations – Hands-on Practice (David Galley) – Thursday June 25, 2015, 9 AM-10:30 AM PDT

Included: the slides, video recording(s) for everyone who signs up to keep, and one month of support.

Seating is limited for both sessions.

Register for “Overcoming LinkedIn’s Limitations” now.

Expect to get the login information within one business day after your submit a payment.





Understanding the Universal Search on LinkedIn

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LinkedIn provides a universal search box on top of the home page, to Search for people, jobs, companies, and more…

You can search for “everything” or select the type of objects to search: People, Jobs, Companies, Groups, Universities, Posts, or Inbox.

In this post, I will cover the searches for each type of the object in the Universal search dialog.

If you think you can type a Boolean expression- as an example, (Developer OR Engineer) NOT Manager – and find any of those types of objects as the Boolean logic dictates, think again. It’s actually NOT the case.

Searching for each type of object has its own rules and they are NOT the same.

  1. Search for People accepts the Boolean syntax – AND, OR, NOT, ().
  2. Search for Jobs accepts Boolean (for me, but I heard others complaining that it doesn’t)
  3. Search for Companies accepts Boolean
  4. Search for Groups is not Boolean – it always works as an AND search – compare, for example, Group search #1 and Group search #2 – the results are identical
  5. Search for Universities is not Boolean – it always works as an AND search – compare, for example, University search #1 and University search #2 – the results are identical
  6. Search for Posts is not Boolean – it always works as an OR search – compare, for example, Post search #1 and Post search #2 and Post search #3 – the results are identical
  7. Search in Inbox  is not Boolean – and it’s up to you to find out how it works :)

Are you surprised? (Do you think it is a little confusing how this works, given that all these searches are combined in the Universal dialog?)

There are other search dialogs in LinkedIn that do and don’t support the Boolean search syntax.

Googling for Resumes is Obsolete

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CV OR Resume

There are still many resumes on the Internet. Google is still by far the best search engine. However, Googling the world wide web for online resumes has stopped being productive for the majority of locations and industries, with few exceptions.

I’ll share some thoughts, as to why Googling for Resumes is Obsolete, shortly. Let us first look at a typical Google “Boolean String” in the style still taught in some Sourcing classes or auto-created by a “Boolean builder” system.

jquery javascript (engineer OR developer) (415 OR 650 OR “Bay Area” OR “San Francisco”) -embedded -expected -student -professor -designer -manager -scientist (filetype:pdf OR filetype:doc OR filetype:docx OR filetype:txt) (intitle:”CV” OR inurl:”CV” OR intitle:resume OR inurl:resume) -job -jobs -sample -samples -template -linkedin

In this example, I have used a “light” target keyword set – jQuery JavaScript (engineer OR developer). I have excluded some keywords (embedded, etc.) to make the search more focused. I have used some location keywords. The rest is a typical “template” search string.

Even with a search this “open-ended”, the number of results is small – and there are still plenty of false positives. We have found fewer than 100 resumes worth viewing; some of them are outdated.

(Note that the target here is Software professionals who are more likely to own websites and more comfortable posting content than many other professionals. In a search for accountants or registered nurses, chances to get any results at all would be slim.)

Compare the above Google search with these searches. (A comparison can only be approximate, of course; I am trying to look for similar target profiles):

You see? Way fewer people post resumes online on their sites, compared to ~10 years ago. Many more people post professional information on various social sites.

Here are some additional reasons why Googling for Resumes in the above “old style” is not productive.

  1. The location keywords are less precise than they used to be. Almost nobody lists zip codes on resumes (remember the Google numrange trick to look for those?). People list mobile phone numbers – so the area codes “travel” with their owners to the “wrong” locations.
  2. There are more online resumes in “document storage” type of sites (such as than on personal sites – but a Google search like the above will not find them, since the template uses the operator filetype:
  3. Sites that want to sell resume search, have learned how to best structure their pages. Searches like intitle:resume OR inurl:resume OR intitle:CV… will often show teaser pages from those sites, with no useful info. This just complicates the search by creating a need to exclude these results.
  4. A long time ago, Google was showing the first 1,000 results if there were more results than that. Now, Google often “decides” to show 200, 300, or 600 maximum. Google usually responds to very long search strings with fewer results.

It’s time to stop Googling for Resumes “old-style”. I have and will be sharing ideas and methods that do work for Sourcing on this blog and elsewhere. You can count on that.

If you feel like seriously updating your Googling Sourcing skills, I recommend coming to the Boolean Basics presentation. It is a repeat of a recent webinar, now scheduled for June 16/17, 2015, in response to multiple requests. Here are three fresh quotes from the attendees: “great presentation and learned a few new tips.” “That was very informative and really wonderfully relayed.” and “This is the most in depth lesson I have had.”

Your Favorite Boolean Strings

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I have created the above word cloud out of the “Favorite Boolean Strings” submitted by the members of our Boolean Strings Sourcer’s Network on the Ning platform.

If you are a member, you can see everyone’s “Favorite String” when looking at their profile. You can also search for members’ search strings in the Member search dialog.

Prompted by the recent “Boolean Strings Basics” webinar, I took a look at this crowd-sourced library. Here are some data and reflections .

The most common words (operators) used are:

  1. OR – mentioned 2397 times
  2. AND – 707 times
  3. inurl: – 643 times
  4. site: – 224 times
  5. intitle: – 212 times
  6. filetype: 122 times

The most common keywords:

  1. resume – 107
  2. linkedin – 198
  3. jobs – 125 (perhaps being excluded from searches)
  4. cv – 120
  5. java – 102
  6. vitae – 76 (wow!)

Here are some observations on this crowd-sourced String Library.

1) Some search syntax has changed since members had posted their Boolean Strings. For example, the tilde ~ no longer works as a special symbol on Google.

2) Some search strings do not follow the correct search syntax. Mistakes in syntax include:

  1. using AND as an operator on Google
  2. searching for the symbol @ to look for email addresses on Google
  3. using an asterisk * as a wildcard (to look for part of a word) on Google.

I’ll publish a separate post about the most common Boolean Syntax mistakes.

3) The operator OR is overused. In some rare cases, perhaps more on LinkedIn than on Google, long OR statements continue to make you productive. In many cases of Googling, they would not.

4) A good number of the Favorite Strings are copied from a template that perhaps everyone has seen at some point:

…intitle:vitae OR intitle:CV … OR inurl:vitae (etc.)

The syntax is correct… However, these search strings were useful about 10 years ago – they rarely provide anything useful these days. Why? Few people publish their online resumes outside of some social networks or sites like Many vendors, who know how recruiters search for resumes, have flooded the internet with the sites having “resume”, “CV’, and “vitae” as part of their site URLs- only to try and get you in and pay for their services. There will be another blog post about that.

So – what is your today’s favorite String? :)

Let us know? Please edit yoru string on the Ning profile and please share on the Forum or on our LinkedIn Boolean Group.

Hint: You can source Boolean search strings on Google by searching for something like

Google site filetype inurl OR intitle

If you “borrow” one of the strings published somewhere, just make sure they follow the current search syntax and produce useful results.


Boolean Strings Basics Webinar – New Dates! – June 16-17

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Hello Followers: 

You are invited to attend my most popular presentation – Boolean Strings Basics Webinar – on June 16, 2015, and an optional hands-on Practice on June 17.

Boolean search syntax and algorithms keep changing. Online references become obsolete. It is time to brush up on your searching skills if you haven’t lately. 

This webinar covers the core Boolean search functionality. It can serve as an excellent resource and an up-to-date reference guide for the “beginner” and “intermediate” level users of searching systems. I also recommended it for experienced professionals who want to refresh and update their advanced Boolean search skills. 

We’ll go over the basics of Boolean Strings building for Google and other search engines; LinkedIn; job boards; and people aggregators. Included with the webinar, and delivered to all who sign up, are 100 (one hundred!) “top” sample Boolean Strings, to help you in crafting your own, and a Boolean Tip Sheet. 

Who Should Attend: Recruiters, Sourcers, Researches, Talent Acquisition Specialists, Sales, Business Development, and Managers who are looking to find qualified professionals online as part of their job. 

What You Will Learn: The fundamentals of the Boolean Search syntax and the best practices for searching for professionals online. 

Included: The slides, video recordings, and one month of support on any “Boolean Strings” questions 
Included: A completely up-to-date Tip Sheet with the Boolean syntax 
Included: A new list of 100 “Top” Boolean Strings 

The format is Double-Webinar: 
Lecture – June 16 (Tuesday) at 9 AM PDT/noon EDT 
Practice Session – June 17 (Wednesday) at 9 AM PDT/noon EDT (bring your questions and see the Boolean techniques in action!)

Sign up for either or both. See more detail and register at 
Seating is limited. 

-Irina Shamaeva


Candidates: Why You Don’t See the Salary Range on LinkedIn Job Posts

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In the previous post Why You Lose Potential Candidates with LinkedIn Job Posts, I talked about the (wrong) estimated salary ranges used on LinkedIn Job posts and – unfortunately! – in the advanced Job Search.

Here’s another piece of information on how LinkedIn job posts work. It may unpleasantly surprise you even more. (Sorry!) If you read further, you will see that stating the salary range on a job posted on LinkedIn is allowed – but it does exactly nothing. Read on.

As a side note, candidates often don’t realize that those who post jobs are often not in a position to state the expected salary ranges.

However – many recruiters and hiring managers can post the salary range. In fact, I just did that – I posted a salary range on a job description on LinkedIn. To do that, I (appropriately) used the “edit” job post function on LinkedIn, then saved the result. Here is a screenshot of the edit window; the arrow points to the salary range I had entered:


Great! (I expected the estimated salary range not to be a problem any longer.)

Here is what the job post looks like after editing:


Where is that salary range? – You might ask. The answer is: the posted salary is (still) not shown anywhere on the job page. The only salary mentioned is still that “estimated” one, on the right, and it provides the same wrong info as before (for this job):


You may also notice that I am getting desperate for qualified candidates and am offering a serious referral fee of $5K . That lucrative offer is also nowhere to be found.

Then, I proceeded to check what happens in the job search dialog. If the correct salary range is taken into account in the search, it would be an indirect pointer to the range, but at least this job will not be filtered out by candidates when they search.

Alas! I did a very narrow search, to display that one job only…


… and then looked at the salary selection on the left:


It was clear that my job, in spite of the explicitly posted salary range, is still found in the salary range that is “estimated” and is about $20-30K lower than what I had posted.

Conclusion: In the case of LinkedIn Job posts, please blame LinkedIn, not Recruiters for not providing the correct salary information. (For hiding the referral bonus info, blame LinkedIn, too!)

P.S. I hope LinkedIn will fix this very soon.

Why You Lose Potential Candidates with LinkedIn Job Posts

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While professionals may consider changing jobs for many reasons other than money, the salary is one of the most important factors. If you post jobs on LinkedIn, you need to be aware of the salary information, automatically communicated to your potential applicants. Look what happens when you post a job on LinkedIn.

Here is a screenshot of a job opening, showing the salary info. The low end shown is $67K, and the average is $88K.


This job requires: “Bachelors with 6 years of industry experience, Masters degree in computer science or related field with 4 years of industry experience, or PhD in computer science or related field with 2 years of industry experience.
Industry experience working for 3+ years in of system software development using C++ , and python. Knowledge of Java is a plus. Hands-on experience working on Linux/ Unix systems – preferably RHEL and SLES.” and more.

If you have even a tiny bit of experience hiring Software Engineers in the San Francisco Bay Area, you would be surprised seeing the “estimated” salary numbers. The real numbers are much higher. I would think that anyone with these qualifications, working in the industry, at this location is earning at least a six-digit salary.

Here’s even more surprising salary info, in a similar but more senior job post:


The second post requires “Bachelors with 8 years of industry experience, Master’s degree in computer science or related field with 5 years of industry experience, or PhD in computer science or related field with 2 years of industry experience.” – i.e. this post calls for more experience than the first one, yet the “estimated salary” is lower.

Now, suppose you are sharing a link to the job post with a potential candidate. If that person subscribes to a premium LinkedIn account (which is free for the first month), he or she will see the salary data on the job description and may hesitate whether to respond because of that.

Premium LinkedIn members can also search for jobs by the target salary range.

A job search for the title Software Engineer C++ with keywords Distributed Systems in the San Francisco Bay Area results in these salary choices:


The job seeker will likely assume that these salaries are provided by those who post jobs. In the above search results, out of 14 found job posts, only two seem to be in the realistic desirable salary range. The potential applicant will filter out the jobs where the salary is (wrongly!) stated as too low for him or her to apply.

The wrong (or the right) estimated salary information is provided by the site and is included on LinkedIn job posts and in the LinkedIn advanced job search dialog. The info may be misleading, but we have no control over it other than changing the job description.

Conclusion: If you don’t want to lose potential candidates, you may have to tweak your LinkedIn job description to sound more senior – to raise that estimated auto-calculated salary range. (Well, you’d better do this at least if you are looking for Senior C++ Developers in the Bay Area!)

Since we have little idea about the algorithms, we’d have to guess what the right job titles and wording should be for the salary ranges to look more on target. Since we also need to provide correct information in the job description, editing may be challenging and time consuming. But who wants to lose potentially qualified candidates?

If you are in need of improving candidate engagement, please join me at the new webinar “Improving Candidate Response Rates” coming up this week. We’ll carefully go over various factors and measurement of candidate engagement, depending on the social media channels. I will also cover the best ways of sourcing contact information, to be able to reach potential candidates directly. Seating is limited, register early.

The Boolean Template for International Lists

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Here is how to find lists of professionals in a specific industry, from given countries or regions.

1) Start with one of the words: members, list, participants, attend (etc.)

(Note: Do NOT combine these words with an OR statement).

2) Add two to three specific country email domain extensions such as “de”, “nl”, “au”, “za”, etc.

3) Optionally, add a few phone codes such as 44, 31, etc.

4) Add one or two job titles or industry key phrases.

Here are some examples:

Repeat multiple variations of 1)-4) until you see some interesting results.

What you can do next:

Work with the lists: narrow them down to the “right” professionals by filtering and cross-reference to find out more about those that are promising.

These searches are simple, do not use any advanced Boolean operators, yet they can be quite efficient.

Want to master your search for professionals across countries? Join me and my business partner, Master Sourcer David Galley for a deep dive into Sourcing Internationally (Lecture and Practice Session), coming up this week. Hurry, seating is limited.