Death of LinkedIn X-Ray, What Next?

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Guest post from Ashfaq Ahmed.

I got on a call with Irina & David & we discussed how sourcing will be impacted in the Post- X-Ray era.

First things first, why were we able to access LinkedIn via Xray before? Because when you’ve logged out from LinkedIn and visited a profile via Google, the profile data was more or less similar to what you saw when logged in.

Now, LinkedIn didn’t want scrapers or even Recruiters to access their data from search engines, and thereby, they changed the UI of Public Profiles by hiding almost all crucial data.

Sourcing Tools :

This change will not affect Large enterprise sourcing tools because they never relied on Google/Xray for scraping data at scale. Most Sourcing tools buy data from large data providers like Brightdata and others.

Recruiters :

In the post-x-ray world, if recruiters have to master something at all, then it is their foundational sourcing. Knowing to write a good boolean is just one step, and the others are – strong personal understanding + Big Data Concepts in Sourcing.

The Big Data concept is nothing but the ability to write mutually exclusive searches for a given JD. For instance, you write Devops & you spot 10,000 candidates. Can you slice this data into 10 search buckets, each consisting of 1000?

Such data slicing helps you organize your sourcing approach & classify your data based on the efficacy of results.

In the next post, I will touch on the details of how to implement big data concepts with an efficacy framework. Meanwhile, want to test your tech sourcing skills? Take up a couple of quizzes right here: quiz.recruitingmonk.com

 

Google’s filetype: Decline and Workaround

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The Google advanced search dialog still shows file types:

But search using the operator filetype: and keywords no longer works. For example, filetype:xlsx attendees returns all sorts of pages.

For now, you can use a workaround: filetype: will still work if your search contains either site: or inurl: operator. We can use them with the minus, essentially excluding nothing, like this:

We all wonder how long Google will support its operators (I will need to update the operator list).

[edited] Danny Sullivan says it is probably a bug.

I Want My Profile To Be Public, But I Have Lost Control – So Have You

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LinkedIn X-Ray is gone (or soon to be gone, depending on your location).

So, what did LinkedIn do?

The screenshot above shows my LinkedIn public profile settings.

For the majority of members I know, the settings are the same. We want to be found on Google and Bing, which the UX promises.

However, this is my experience and education on the public profile. Profiles all went to “extreme privacy” starting about a month ago. Most data went to the deep web, which search engines cannot access.

1. Members were never informed of the changes – or asked whether we wanted them.

2. LinkedIn Help still says we are in control. Not true.

Here is a quote in response to my inquiry from a LinkedIn Engineering Director:

“Our trust team is rolling out (As they always have, none of this is new, it is an ongoing thing) changes to what is visible in public profile.  The idea behind public profile is to identify a person, to decide if that person is someone you wish to connect with, or reach out to.  If you want to connect, then of course that person can choose to accept or decline.  Same with messages and outreach.  But all of this is being done for member trust and member data.  Members expect us to help them control exactly where their data shows up, is used, and how it appears.”

This – Members expect us to help them control exactly where their data shows up, is used, and how it appears. – is exactly what has stopped happening. And it is new, and unfortunate.

How does it support our trust in LinkedIn? is a question for LinkedIn’s Trust Team.

Join us at the brand-new class

LinkedIn Sourcing in the Post-X-Ray Era

on February 28-29 and figure out how to source in the new circumstances.

Sales Navigator Revelations and Function Codes

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The death of X-Ray prompts everyone to study LinkedIn’s search closer.

LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator has different algorithms from both Premium and LinkedIn Recruiter. There is no good reason for that. Different Developer teams fell out of sync.

Sales Navigator “thinks” most of LinkedIn. (I am being sarcastic.) It has a huge population of

1,665M+ profiles.

What are the 665M profiles unaccounted for in other accounts and in press? It is hard to say. In 2022, I posted LinkedIn Software Crisis (a Summary). At that point, LinkedIn Recruiter showed 400M “extra” profiles. It was a bug, that was fixed then due to the post and subsequent connection with an Engineering Director for LIR. Maybe it is the same bug in Sales Navigator, counting uploaded resumes as profiles.

Despite that, I think Sales Navigator is a fine choice for sourcing. It has a nice set of search filters. If it understood the hidden operators, it would be awesome. But it does not.

What I like about Sales Navigator is its search URLs. They are “readable,” can be shared, and expose various internal codes.

For example, I selected every function in the search, and from the URL, got this list of Function codes, which are not officially documented:

Accounting = 1
Administrative = 2
Arts and Design = 3
Business Development = 4
Community and Social Services = 5
Consulting = 6
Education = 7
Engineering = 8
Entrepreneurship = 9
Finance = 10
Healthcare Services = 11
Human Resources = 12
Information Technology = 13
Legal = 14
Marketing = 15
Media and Communication = 16
Military and Protective Services = 17
Operations = 18
Product Management = 19
Program and Project Management = 20
Purchasing = 21
Quality Assurance = 22
Real Estate = 23
Research = 24
Sales = 25
Customer Success and Support = 26

The secret operators do not work in SN, but you can use these codes in Recruiter or Lite with the operator functions:.

As always with LinkedIn-computed data, there is a warning. LinkedIn is not good at interpreting its data. Lots of members do not have functions assigned. Sales Navigator shows 1BN results without functions. It is 2/3 of the profiles. Since it has some ghost profiles, the high number may be the consequence of that. But always make sure that some of your searches do not include calculated values such as function (or seniority, etc.)

LinkedIn, unfortunately, falls behind in these AI times. No matter what account you use, it is best to use Boolean search where possible and understand how selections work.

Our latest webinar LinkedIn 2024 Solved is up-to-date.

 

 

LinkedIn X-Ray No More. Now What?

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Last week, Google has adjusted its index. It no longer finds me and many others by the Headline, About, Experience, and Education.

Bing is in the process. It already does not find some profiles:

Any search engine is affected. (A search engine does not have a LinkedIn login, right? Even if Microsoft owns them both.) X-Ray has lost its power. If it “works” for you, it is only a matter of days, maybe a few weeks before it stops. And it will no longer find updated info on profiles, i.e., your results get outdated daily.

X-Ray going down is a new challenge to respond to!

Nobody has data comparable to LinkedIn. Many would love this not to be the case, but such is life. Because a Premium account does only partial indexing, in order to source within, you need to have LinkedIn Recruiter, Lite, or Sales Navigator and learn how they search. It is not straightforward and is poorly documented. Learn how to search on LinkedIn in our comprehensive class.

You can also X-Ray the shallow data and go from there.

A productive way to source is to come to LinkedIn with some data collected to cross-reference. It can be emails, names, and other things you find outside of LinkedIn. While names are not unique, running a long OR of names combined with what you know about your target profiles, such as industry keywords or companies, can narrow it down to your prospects.

If you are after Software Developers, try our GitHub User Search Tool – no login required. (But please make sure you read the Help!) Once you have the data, go to LinkedIn to cross-reference.

How do you assess continued access to the full profile data if you are using a search engine or an outside system? Here is what I recommend. To (collectively) test how well systems deprived of LinkedIn profile public data will perform:
1) Change YOUR LinkedIn headline
2) Set up alerts on search engines and systems to check whether and when they will catch up, i.e., search for yourself with the new headline in keywords.
Let us know what happens 😉

Join us at the brand-new class

LinkedIn Sourcing in the Post-X-Ray Era

on February 28-29 and figure out how to source in the new circumstances.

The Adventures of X-Ray Are Mysterious

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I have “Saved As” my public LinkedIn profile, and it looks like this:

This is my “Experience” and “Education.” Nothing much is visible without logging in. A large percentage of profiles look the same.

But things are in flux on the web.

Google LinkedIn X-Ray is back!

Mike Santoro has noticed. We think it is temporary.

In his post, Marcel has a screenshot of this search, pulling words from my now-hidden public LinkedIn profile: site:linkedin.com/in social list elsevier sourcing training verge brain gain. Here is Marcel’s image;  Google could not find me two weeks ago.

Here is today’s screenshot. Google has reverted to the previous Index state of the page! I believe it is currently true for all public profiles.  You will find them all.

Custom Search Engines have not been affected all along. Yet.

Bing finds me, but without a name (and finds my two partners):

It shows me again on page 3, with a location of “45K followers:”

Locations are pretty messed up in Bing’s snippets for most profiles.

It’s unclear what has happened with Google’s Index. Common sense dictates that Google and Bing will adjust to redacted profiles in the future.

It’s an adventure! To search on LinkedIn correctly, consider getting a recording of the recent class,

LinkedIn 2024 Solved.

 

 

 

The Best Github Tool In Industry

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Guest post from Julia Tverskaya.

Are you a Technical Recruiter? Are you looking for Software Developers?

On January 16th, Irina announced a new GitHub search and export tool in her LinkedIn article.  We are happy to report that the tool has immediately attracted hundreds of users and we hope many more will discover its value.

The GitHub User Search tool empowers sourcers to find, export, and contact GitHub users. Our email search is optimized to be as precise as possible. You can find and export up to 1,000 results in each run. At this time, we do not require a login. There is nothing comparable available in the industry.

However, using the tool efficiently requires a solid grasp of GitHub’s search, including its peculiarities and constraints. Although the tool’s help page provides guidance, errors still happen.

Let’s look at the most common mistakes to help you improve your searches.

Qualifiers (GitHub search operators) are your friends!

GitHub search distinguishes between searching users’ general information, such as their names and bios, and searching within special fields. Keywords are used to search in general information; reserved words called “qualifiers” are used to search in fields. These fields include a user’s primary language and their location, parameters Sourcers are interested in.

Not using qualifiers, or using them incorrectly, leads to getting poor results – or in some cases, not getting any results. Here’s how to use the qualifiers correctly.

Searching for location

Use qualifier location:

This qualifier directs the search to exclusively examine the location field in users’ profiles.  Without this qualifier, any geographical term used in your search query is treated as a general keyword. Consequently, the GitHub search engine would only scan through keyword-searchable fields like usernames and bios.

Let’s say we are looking for users with experience in AI who live in Prague.
This search: AI location:Prague specifically targets users who have indicated Prague in their location field. It returns 89 results.
Compare it with AI Prague which returns only 20 (the ones where “Prague” is used in the users’ bios). 

Searching for two locations or different spellings of the same location?

Use qualifier location: twice, e.g.:  AI location:Prague location:Praha searches for users with AI who spell their location as either “Prague” or “Praha”. 

Searching for a programming language

Use qualifier language:

This qualifier allows you to refine your search for GitHub users by their primary programming language. For example, to find users proficient in C++, use: language:C++

Compare these two searches looking for users who live in Latvia and whose primary language is JavaScript:
location:latvia language:javascript returns 619 results. 
location:latvia javascript returns 49 results – all people who mention JavaScript in their bios. Not only did we get fewer results, we cannot be sure that JavaScript is indeed their primary language.

Searching for different languages?

Use the language: qualifier twice. E.g, to find people in Latvia whose primary language is either C++ or Python: location:latvia language:c++ language:python

Using Boolean operators in GitHub searches

While the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT are fundamental in many search contexts, their application in GitHub searches comes with specific considerations.

  • Keep it simple

GitHub’s search engine is designed to interpret only simple boolean expressions. Parentheses do not work (the search will not return any results). Combining operators AND and OR in a single query often leads to unexpected results, and we do not recommend it. 

  • Boolean with qualifiers is restricted   

The words “AND”, “OR”, and “NOT” can only be used with keywords and in: qualifiers (in:email, in:name, in:login). You cannot use them with other qualifiers. AND and OR are always implied, and NOT is expressed as a minus sign. 

For example, “java developer” AND location:barcelona does not return results because the qualifier location: cannot be used with the operator AND. Omit AND to get the desired result: “java developer” location:barcelona (remember, AND is implied).

Do you remember how we looked for people whose primary language is either C++ or Python? language:c++ language:python (OR is implied). language:c++ OR language:python does not work.

The operator NOT is always expressed as a minus sign when used with qualifiers, e.g. location:”estonia” -location:”Tallinn” returns people who live in Estonia but not in Tallinn. 

Because we cannot use AND and OR with qualifiers, some searches are simply not possible.  For example, we cannot search for users whose primary language is Java and who also mention Java in their bios. language:java AND java returns an error (and omitting AND is interpreted as OR by the Github internal algorithms). 

Our help page contains additional details and examples of Boolean search. 

Final notes:

  • Boolean operators are always capitalized: AND, OR, NOT
  • There is no white space between the minus sign and a search term, e.g. -language:javascript
  • Qualifiers are always lowercase: location:, user:, fullname:, etc.
  • There is no white space between most qualifiers and the search term, e.g.language:java, location:london, etc. 
  • Do not forget about the colon after qualifiers, e.g. repos:, followers:, etc.

Do you want to learn more? 

Sign up for our three-day tech sourcing bootcamp for an in-depth discussion https://sourcingcertification.com/course/three-day-tech-sourcing-bootcamp-january-2024

 

LinkedIn X-Ray Workaround

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The loss of LinkedIn X-Ray saddens our community. Indeed, we can no longer find the About, Experience, and more on Google. Bing will naturally follow.

However – here is a productive way to use the “remaining” X-Ray.

Step 1. Start with X-Rays for the location, job titles, and, optionally, companies, like site:linkedin.com/in “san francisco bay area” python developer at google.

Step 2. Collect the URLs from the search with Julia‘s brilliant Google Search Results Scraper.

Step 3. Use SalesQL’s bulk profile URL upload. Alternatively, use SeekOut or Phantombuster. (Beyond a limit, these tools are paid.)

Step 4. Download the enriched list. It has all the names, current companies, past companies, titles, and more, plus contact information.

Step 5. Filter the Excel file for promising profiles and review them on LinkedIn.

What are the benefits?

  1. As a result, you have an outreach email list that is highly personalizable. (Put the company name in the subject for a high opening rate.)
  2. Search results will not depend on your LinkedIn network or personal data. They can complement your LinkedIn searches.
  3. You can run the process regardless of your LinkedIn account type. You will not be blocked by LinkedIn, for sure.

That said, correctly searching on LinkedIn is crucial. Unfortunately, LinkedIn’s help documentation is incomplete and misleading,

Join us at the brand-new class

LinkedIn Sourcing in the Post-X-Ray Era

on February 28-29 and figure out how to source in the new circumstances.

LinkedIn Profiles Redacted, X-Ray Dying, Aggregators Will Suffer

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My friend Marcel van der Meer’s message shocked me this morning. He was the first to notice a huge reduction in LinkedIn public profiles. The Headline, About section, Experience, and Education are gone. There are still some public profiles with the full data, but it’s a matter of time before all will be reduced. LinkedIn has notified Google, so there is no old indexed data for us to X-Ray.

Why did LinkedIn do that? Not because some of us use LinkedIn X-Ray for sourcing. The obvious reason is harming LinkedIn’s competitors, people aggregators like SeekOut that provide a superior search over LinkedIn’s data. If a tool depends on using public data, its LinkedIn-copied information is now becoming obsolete by the minute.

The good news is that tools like PhantomBuster and my favorite SalesQL will continue to work for now because they interact with the data from your login.

LinkedIn X-Ray is not completely dead; you can still do things with the inanchor: operator. But with so much data hidden, it is not a tool of choice for most tasks.

Some things will now never be found. LinkedIn does not index grades at school, and public profiles have lost them. I would have a huge problem running a (past) sourcing request for CS grads with good grades in Europe.

With that in mind, our focus is now on utilizing LinkedIn’s not-so-great search. To find the fullest data on profiles, you must have the Recruiter, Recruiter Lite, or Sales Navigator subscription.

Join us at the brand-new class

LinkedIn Sourcing in the Post-X-Ray Era

on February 28-29 and figure out how to source in the new circumstances.

 

 

 

AI and LinkedIn Are Like Oil And Water

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My AI-related experience as a LinkedIn member has been interesting. I have been getting hilarious (or sad?) notifications for my potential job-hunting from LinkedIn – see LinkedIn Wants Me to Pack Groceries and Learn Fluoroscopy.

This morning, I took a look at my skill suggestions. Unfortunately, they were not any better – I have as much skill in Manufacturing Process Improvement as in Finance (none):

Next, go suggested skills. I have nothing to do with 6 out of 8 and little with the other two (while I do have a few other, not listed here, skills):

And my desired roles are those I would dread of. Seriously.

I hope not too many members rely on LinkedIn’s suggestions!

I believe that LinkedIn is not doing a great job incorporating AI into any of its products. Here is what this means for Recruiters and Sourcers:

  1. Keep your BOOLEAN up! It is and will be the best way to search in LinkedIn Recruiter going forward.
  2. (If you have the budget), reconsider people aggregators. While their deficiency is out-of-date data, they may run well-functioning AI over the data they have.
  3. Become a ChatGPT Prompter. While LinkedIn’s implementation of AI is not quite there, you can improve work significantly with AI.

If you want to catch up on all things AI in recruiting – our January ChatGPT class is sold out; you can register for the February 2024 class at

ChatGPT and AI for Sourcing and Recruitment.