Repeat After Me (Give Keywords Weights in Google)

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It was not the case 10-15 years ago, but now, Google pays attention if you repeat a keyword or a key phrase. Repeating, in theory, should not be necessary; you would expect the same results if Google followed formal Boolean logic and displayed “all” results. However, Google puts some informal “thinking” into the string interpretation, so:

  1. If you repeat a keyword, and the number of results is under 100-200, Google will change the order of the results. It will prioritize pages with a “stronger” presence of the keyword (whatever that means)
  2. If you repeat a keyword, and the number of results is over 300-400, Google will also present you with a different set of results (!)
  3. As a bonus, you also will see the repeated word in the snippets more often.

Examples are easy to come by.

So, alter your strings by repeating keywords, and possibly, the word order, and you are off to collect thousands of profiles from X-Ray.

Do not miss the upcoming Talent Sourcing Bootcamp – July 6-8. We will cover “everything” sourcing. (Only a few spots are left at this time.)

You Are Missing 570MLN+ LinkedIn Members, 12M+ Open To Work

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In our training, we look into restrictive search filters on LinkedIn and LinkedIn Recruiter. Some restrictions come from members with “shallow” profiles; many (such as seniority, function, or company size) are there because LinkedIn cannot interpret some of its data correctly.

If you use LinkedIn Recruiter, you likely search by years of experience. But have you tried searching for any years of experience, from zero to 30 (max)? This search finds only 290M+ LinkedIn members (and you are missing the rest):

Equipped with the hidden search operators, you can find people with more than 30 years of experience; there are 21M+:

So how many people are missing when you search for years of experience? And how many of them are “open to work”? Ready?

570M+ LinkedIn Members Have No Years of Experience
Of These, 12M+ Are Open To Work

Indeed, these profiles do not have enough information. But when you search for years of experience, apparently, you only access about 34% of LinkedIn profiles.

If you have a hard-to-fill opening, you might want to drop the filter or even search for people with no “yoe” on purpose. Your response rate will be higher!

Join me for a repeat of the Talent Sourcing Bootcamp, July 6-8 and learn many things about LinkedIn (that “Help” does not tell us) as well as Google, Boolean, Tools, and scraping.




Raise inanchor: Sail to LinkedIn Locations, Titles, and Schools

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Guest Post from Talent Sourcer Mike Santoro

This post is Part 2 of another post that featured the helpful discovery that Google’s inanchor: operator will search LinkedIn Headline text through X-Ray search. You can read Part 1 here: Sink Into LinkedIn Headlines Tie inanchor: To Your Strings.

Part 2 – X-Raying LinkedIn with inanchor: will search more than just LinkedIn Headlines

First, I’ll share What’s New with inanchor: and show “How to Steer the Boat” using an all-inclusive example of its newfound power for Sourcers and Recruiters to benefit from.

Second, for those readers who want to understand “Why the Boat Floats,” I’ll share more technically why inanchor: works the way it does and a “Deep Dive” to see under the Google waters (if you like technical “scuba diving”). =)

What’s New?

After the Headline discovery documented in Part 1, Irina and I collaborated on researching inanchor: more deeply. Based on early testing, I suspected that inanchor: would also search for someone’s most recently attended school (or currently attending). Irina suspected that inanchor: would also search someone’s current location.

In summary, we uncovered that inanchor: will search *ALL of the following 8 areas of LinkedIn Profiles:

  1. Headlines
  2. Geographic City Location

All global city names, areas, and countries can be searched with inanchor, but “U.S. City + state abbreviation” combinations have the most precision!

When searching for U.S. Cities

Use both the city and state abbreviation together for the most accurate results: inanchor:”Philadelphia PA”

You can also query for profiles with the “Greater” verbiages like this: inanchor:”Greater Chicago Area”

When searching for most non-U.S. cities

Use only the city name inanchor:london

You can also query for profiles with the “Greater” verbiages like this: inanchor:”Greater Cambridge Area”

  1. Most Recently Attended School Name

i.e., Universities and Colleges.

  1. Most Current Company Name

If currently unemployed, then inanchor will return Most Recent Company Name

i.e., inanchor:Amazon can find people who currently work at Amazon but also find someone like this who recently left in Feb 2022 and “closed” the job on their profile:

Notably, you can’t search for “closed jobs” with X-Ray using Google’s intitle: operator (which only searches current companies that are presently open). Nor can you use LinkedIn Recruiter’s Advanced Search. Using inanchor: has an advantage here for the Recruiter/Sourcer to find additional unemployed candidates by the most recent company they left.

  1. Full Name

Or by just First Name only or just Last Name only

  1. Any Professional Designations

Letters people append to their names like CPA, PMP, CPIM, Ph.D., etc.

  1. Recommendations Given To Others

Clarification: It is the Recommenders words given to someone else.

I.e., if you search a phrase like: inanchor:”John is an outstanding leader”

Google will show you profiles of people (not named John) who wrote such a phrase about a random person named John. Unfortunately, we have not yet found a helpful use case.

*Note: Because inanchor: searches ALL of these 8 fields on a LinkedIn Profile, you will have some false positive results to your search when there is crossover in these areas.

i.e., using inanchor: to search School Names could show you three different types of results:

1) Results of alumni who already graduated

2) Those who are currently enrolled, and

3) Those who currently (or most recently) work at the school

How to Steer the Boat

Let’s have some fun and create one Boolean string example to show how powerfully simple it can be to use.

Using inanchor: let’s find LinkedIn profiles with ALL of the following:

1) “Software Engineer” in the Headline

2) Currently work at Amazon

3) Most recently attended/graduated from the “University of Southern California”

4) Currently live in Seattle, WA, or “Greater Seattle Area”

5) Have worked in their most recent role at Amazon for approximately 3..6 years. inanchor:“Software” inanchor:“Engineer” inanchor:“Amazon” inanchor:“University of Southern California” (inanchor:“Greater Seattle Area” OR inanchor:“Seattle WA”) “present 3..6 years”

Wow! That’s Powerful! =)

Note: There will be some false positives of profiles where someone recently left Amazon and started a new job somewhere else within the past 1-2 months or so from the time of the query. These false positives are due to Google’s indexing lag on its public directories. More on this below.

Why The Boat Floats

Why does inanchor: search all of these areas?

I’ll try to make it as simple as possible:

  • X-Raying LinkedIn with Google will search public LinkedIn profiles (you know this already)
  • (What you didn’t know) Those public profiles have specific fields that are hyperlinks from LinkedIn’s Public Directories.
  • LinkedIn’s Public Directories are lists of profiles grouped by first names, last names, full names, and other ways. 
  • (Key Analogy) Just like an old-fashioned white pages phone book is a directory of names in alphabetical order that also includes other information like the person’s residential street address and phone number like this:

Similarly, LinkedIn’s public directory pages also include other information along with the names on its directory’s list.

What else does it include?

You guessed it:

  • Name
  • Headline
  • Location
  • Most Recently Attended School Name
  • Most Current/Recent Company Worked For

Here is an example of what it looks like:

Because LinkedIn public directory links point to LinkedIn Profiles, the directories are considered “Anchor Pages” by Google’s Index.

Therefore, when you are searching with inanchor: combined with the x-ray site: command for profiles, you are asking Google to search the text on the “Anchor Pages” of the LinkedIn Public Profiles, thus the public directories they are linked to.

In other words, you are saying:

“Google, please search for these keywords in the LinkedIn’s Public Directory Pages and then return the public profile pages that are ‘anchored’ to those places in the directory.” 

Deep Dive (Under the Google Waters)

Keep reading if you like technical “scuba diving.” There is more treasure to be found below. =)

So how do you find these LinkedIn Public Directories?

i.e., Let’s find all of the LinkedIn public directories that Irina Shamaeva is in: “Irina Shamaeva” Sourcer

You’ll see Irina is currently in at least 4 LinkedIn Public Directory Pages indexed by Google:

Note: if you want to view these public pages, you will need to log out of LinkedIn first to view them as they appear to Google.

  1. (U.S. Directory by Full Name)
  2. (U.S. Directory by Last Name)
  3. (China Directory by Last Name)
  4. (Switzerland Directory by Last Name)

Question –      Why does it matter that Irina is listed in multiple LinkedIn directories?

Answer –         The Recruiter/Sourcer can uniquely find someone by their old headline and their new headline (or both old location and new location) for several weeks or months.

Each directory is re-indexed by Google at different times. Therefore, if Irina updated her LinkedIn profile headline (or location) today, the new change would be found with inanchor: when at least 1 of the 4 directories is re-indexed (updated) by google. Thus, you could also find her by her old headline (or old location) until the other 3 directories are also re-indexed by Google.

Inevitably, there will be some discrepancies when there are recent profile changes, but such discrepancies are minimal and can even be an advantage! Knowing that someone just recently changed their profile can be leveraged advantageously.

I.e., imagine messaging a candidate with something like this:

“John, I noticed you recently changed your Headline from (X) to (Y). Good move. Let’s talk.”

How many recruiters can reach out to a candidate with that kind of unique perception? =)

Lots more use cases for Recruiters and Sourcers to explore the advantage of the indexing lag of multiple directory pages.

Finally, enjoy “Sailing through LinkedIn Profiles” with these new methods and have fun experimenting with higher quality and more precise X-Ray Strings than ever before!

“For Love of Sourcing and Sourcers” –Mike Santoro

Sink Into LinkedIn Headlines – Tie inanchor: To Your Strings

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Guest Post from Talent Sourcer Mike Santoro

How to Search Linkedin Profile Headlines with X-Ray

You won’t find a “Headline Search Field” option in LinkedIn Recruiter, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Recruiter Lite, or Basic Search. Isn’t that strange? ( Yes).  Irina shared a headline search tip (first discovered by Aaron Lintz) in her Facebook Group Boolean Strings, the Internet Sourcing Community – FB.  If you have a Linkedin Recruiter level account, then there is a “Hidden Unpublished Operator” headline: that still works if you insert it into the “job title search field” that will allow you to search headline text.

(BTW, you should join Irina’s Facebook Group. Many great discussions, collaboration, and peer reviews of new methods like this one were first published and peer-reviewed in her FB Group).

However, what about those who don’t have a LinkedIn Recruiter level account?  You’re in luck! This discovery will show you how to easily X-Ray search for keywords in LinkedIn Headlines using a lesser-known advanced google operator.

But first, a Question:  Why is it essential for Recruiters and Sourcers to have the ability to search for Keywords within LinkedIn Headlines exclusively?

Answer: Professionals are more and more often understanding the value in editing their LinkedIn Profile Headlines beyond just the default “JOB TITLE at CURRENT COMPANY NAME.” The Headline is their key profile “real estate” to define themselves. Whenever someone posts anything on LinkedIn, the news feed will show three things, their Full Name, their Profile Picture, and their Headline!  Professionals are now more often putting their CORE skills in their Headlines or their REAL “functional job title” (what they do) while putting their often corporate given “generic job title” under their work experience section. And, since LinkedIn makes Headlines challenging to search with precision, it’s harder for Recruiters and Sourcers like us to find them.

Therefore, I’m sharing this discovery of a new X-Ray method to help Recruiters and Sourcers who don’t have LinkedIn Recruiter and want to more precisely search Headlines for how people self-identify themselves and their skills.  It can make your job easier and make your hiring managers happier.

“For Love of Sourcing and Sourcers”  –Mike Santoro

Google Search has an obscure, lesser-known advanced operator called inanchor: that I’ve never seen any other talent sourcers or recruiters use effectively.

The discovery is simple.

When used through X-Ray Search, Google’s inanchor: advanced operator will search text within the “Headline’s” section of a LinkedIn Profile.

Yes, it’s that simple!

Try this: inanchor:”Retail Sales Manager”

This example above will show all those who have the phrase “Retail Sales Manager” exclusively in their Headline!

Here’s one way this can be very useful. Since Irina and others have published that we can use Google’s intitle: operator to search for someone’s Current Job Title (or current company’s name), then we can now combine intitle: with inanchor: in many useful ways like this: inanchor:”Retail Sales Manager” -intitle:”Retail Sales Manager”

This example above will show a new group of formerly “less discoverable” candidates who self-identify themselves as “Retail Sales Managers” in their LinkedIn Headlines but have a different Current Job Title like just “Sales Manager” or “Retail Manager” or “Retail Store Manager.”

You can also do the opposite.  Search for those who have “Retail Sales Manager” as their current job title but a different phrase in their Headline: intitle:”Retail Sales Manager” -inanchor:”Retail Sales Manager”

Here are more inanchor: examples to inspire your sourcing creativity.

You are a Tech Sourcer and want to find a Python expert. Many of those candidates will have the generic corporate job title like “Software Engineer” or “Software Developer” in their experience section. But those who are true “experts” in Python will likely describe themselves and their experience in their Headlines more clearly as a “Python Developer” or “Python Engineer” or “Expert in Python,” or list the word “Python” with other software skills, etc.

Therefore, you can search LinkedIn Headlines for those phrases using Google’s inanchor: operator to find more accurate candidates like this.  Those who have “Engineer” in their current job title and “Python” in their Headline (but not “python” in their current job title): inanchor:python intitle:engineer -intitle:python -inanchor:engineer

You will find a formerly less discoverable candidate like Brandt Bucher, who self-identifies himself clearly in his Headline as a “Python Core Developer,” but his current job title is vague “Software Engineer II” at Microsoft:


You are doing an Executive Search, and you want to find a CEO who also uses the word “Visionary Leader” in their Headline. Now you can search for those candidates like this: inanchor:”visionary leader” intitle:”CEO”

You will find someone like Victoria, whose job title is a “CEO” and whose Headline states the phrase “visionary leader”  :

Furthermore, you can get complex and more specific too! (This is where it gets fun and very exciting to use)

How about we look for “Open to Work” Sales Professionals with Digital Marketing Experience who are NOT Managers, Directors, or Executives.  We will use inanchor: to search for those who put the phrase “Open to Work” or “Open to New” in their Headlines. We will use -inanchor: and -intitle to (more cleanly than ever) remove managers, directors, and executives from the search results by profiles with those words in both the Headline and current job title sections: (inanchor:”Open to work” OR inanchor:”Open to new”) inanchor:”Sales” digital marketing -inanchor:director -inanchor:executive -inanchor:manager -intitle:director -intitle:manager -intitle:executive

So many new and fun possibilities to find new candidates with more precision!

Enjoy this!

LinkedIn Does Not Understand Its Data (and a Conference May 31 – June 3)

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When your requisition asks for a Bachelor’s degree, do you use the Degree filter in LinkedIn Recruiter? I used to but have now stopped. When you search for Bachelor’s, LinkedIn misses profiles like this:

Here is what happens: LinkedIn has allowed members to enter their data in a relatively “free-form” format, but it fails to interpret the data correctly. It results in “false negatives” in search results: many matching profiles do not appear.

It is the same story with other filters. For example, LinkedIn cannot assign Seniority, Function, or Company Size to almost half of its members.

How do you find profiles in this hidden, uninterpreted data?

With filters like Company or Job Title, where you have a choice of text (Boolean) or selection, use Boolean most of the time. Value selections will only find profiles that LinkedIn “understands.”

With filters like Degree or Seniority – do not use them, at least not in some of your searches.

Please join me and several other speakers (whose names you will recognize) at

Global HR & Recruitment Forum,

where my talk will be:

“How LinkedIn Recruiter (Really) Works.” LinkedIn has the best professional data. However, finding the right profiles with LinkedIn Recruiter (or Lite) is not straightforward. The UI/UX is highly unintuitive, and users who follow the prompts miss a lot of potential matches. Irina will explain the algorithms behind the LIR search and hacks to get deeper into sourcing, unearthing candidates that LIR has not made easy to find. She will also explain why stepping outside of Recruiter and using and X-Ray widens your search.

70% of the registration fees will go to help Ukraine, which is a great reason to join and hear first-class content on sourcing and recruiting!

Finding Contacts via Custom Search Engines

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Google Custom Search Engines (CSEs)add much power to Google search. Based on object definitions, sites can “tell” Googlebot that they have objects, like a Person object. The definition of a Person has tons of fields, but sites usually implement only some. CSEs can pull sites with “Persons” and narrow down to the presence of some fields or their values.

What is interesting is sties that have the Person object with an Email field. To find sites that do support it, you can use a Find Everything CSE, which searches across the web with no restrictions. The operator to locate “email-friendly” sites is


Here are some sites with the field Person-email, where you will land on pages with contact information using CSEs. Try the links to results in the following:

Getty, for Software Engineers sourcing:

Join us next Wednesday, May 18, 2022 for a webinar Become a Custom Search Engines Expert and add the powerful technique to your Sourcing Toolbox. We have included an optional workshop for those of you who want to practice the skill.

If you use our sourcing tool Social List, you can not only run these searches but collect results in Excel.

We have authored the only detailed book on CSEs – Custom Search – Discover more:, which has become popular among Sourcing and #OSINT professionals globally.

“See” you on Wednesday?









Search Is Broken on LinkedIn – NOT, AND

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What is going on here? The operator NOT did not exclude – even highlighted – the word “recruitment.” I started running into this phenomenon a few weeks ago, but the output seemed random: sometimes, NOT was acknowledged, sometimes, ignored. Then I saw weird results without the NOT, but the NOT “deficiencies” was easier to illustrate on social media.

My share of “what is going on here?” on Facebook got 2.5K+ views and reactions; on LinkedIn – 41K+ views and climbing! Most commenters complained about intermittently seeing this too. Some suggested changing the syntax – but neither extra parentheses, quotation marks, nor the minus instead of NOT help.

In the LinkedIn thread, we heard from a LinkedIn manager that the keyword search in (including the business accounts) is not “Boolean” and should be used to find people you know. The unhappy “news” flew around various Facebook groups. It sounded like something Recruiters expect of LinkedIn, to be pushed into higher-paid products.

But I believe that what we are experiencing with NOT is not intentional (which means there is a disconnect between some managers and developers at LinkedIn; we have observed it before.)

Here is an example to prove my point: David Galley has the keyword “blending” in the About section of his profile. Compare these searches:

There are no Boolean operators in these searches. They should be identical. Why is the first one not working? I think, it is a bug (or bugs). There are other examples and variations of keyword searches that look odd shared in the two LinkedIn and Facebook streams above.

There are additional “circumstantial” signs (I watch a lot of British TV!) that it is not that LinkedIn wants us all to buy LinkedIn Recruiter by intentionally restricting search on

  1. There is no “please upgrade” sign, just the wrong results
  2. There is nothing about it in the documentation
  3. This was such big news around FB because nobody has heard this, while there should be a promotion.
  4. You can see from the multiple comments that many have had a negative experience with search. Why would LinkedIn want this? They could have set the expectations.

So it seems to be an unintentional code change. The bad news is that, for now, we do not understand how exactly the search is broken. If we could guess the underlying mechanism, we could develop workarounds (as I have shared on this blog before). Before one of us figures it out (guesses are welcome! but it is not fixed by different syntax) or before it is magically fixed, expect your people search results to be imprecise.

P.S. I am only guessing and there is a chance I might be wrong, meaning that it is not bugs, and now searching in keywords on is heavily restricted on purpose. If so, it has been implemented in odd ways, either intentionally (built into the algorithm) or unintentionally (bugs), as seen from just these two examples above. And the help documentation claims that Boolean works.

Let’s hope for some sort of resolution.





How I Read Your Resume: a US Recruiter Notes

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Guest post from Julia Tverskaya

Your resume provides that all-important first impression. Writing a good resume is not simple. It can and should take several hours or even several days. But the effort pays off.

The purposes of the resume are:

1) to be selected for an interview;

2) to provide a conversation starter during the interviews.

Everything you put on the resume must serve these purposes.

For a resume to be selected, it must stand out from the crowd (in a good way 😊).  This means that the resume focuses on results and achievements and not as much on job responsibilities. This is what distinguishes a good resume from an ordinary one. Think about it this way: what you do every day, somebody else does every day. Putting your day-to-day responsibilities on the resume does not help you stand out from the crowd, nor does it provide a good topic for a discussion during an interview.

Even worse, when a Software Engineer says that they fix bugs, or a Physician says that they treat patients, it creates an impression of a junior person who does what they are told, someone who does not “own” or does not care about the results.

What have you done that was especially interesting or complex, something you are proud of, or something that earned you an award or praise?  Focus on that.

Reading a resume is just that: reading. First, it has to be interesting. Secondly, it needs to be clean: anything that distracts or irritates the eye is not welcome and may annoy the reader.

Let’s talk about the specifics.

Describe your experience in the reverse-chronological order. I want to see what you did and when; a “functional” resume does not work for me (and most hiring managers).

Keep it short:

  • 2-3 pages

Keep it clean:

  • Do not use many fonts and colors: it distracts me from the reading.
  • No need to include a picture.
  • Do not include any personal details like your marital status, DOB, etc.
  • Consider including visa info if the resume suggests you do not come from the USA (e.g., you graduated from a foreign university or worked abroad).
  • If you’ve won awards, graduated with a top GPA, or are a recognized leader in your area of expertise, include that information
  • If you have interesting hobbies or achievements in other areas, are a volunteer, feel free to list them at the bottom of your resume
  • Proofread your resume. Ask a friend to read it before sending it over – especially if English is not your native language. Ensure there are no spelling errors, and the grammar is consistent and correct.

Work history:

Some industries evolve very quickly. If you work in one of those (e.g., are a software engineer), everything you did ten or more years ago should be described briefly or not at all, for three reasons:

1) the further back in time, the less relevant (usually) your experience is for a reader.

2) You can be asked about any project on your resume. Are you prepared to talk in detail about something you did 15 years ago? Of course, if you did something fascinating and want to talk about it, do include this, even if it happened in the last century.

3) It helps to keep the resume short 😊


A “functional” resume is often the choice when there are gaps in the work history. However, hiding gaps will not work; I will discover them anyhow. If you have good explanations for the employment gaps (e.g., you had a baby, took a year off to travel the world, or went back to school), you can explain that in a cover letter upfront. But be prepared to talk about these gaps.

Describing your experience:

  • Describe the things you want to talk about (to be asked about) during an interview. If you have used a tool a few times but are not an expert, do not list it. I recently talked to a candidate who claimed she was a “BI expert” but could not name any BI tools she used.
  • Avoid generic terms like “involved” (variations: “deeply” or “actively” involved); “worked on”, “participated (or actively participated) in”, “assisted with”, etc. For example, software engineering is a team effort, and everybody is involved: from an architect to an intern, including an office manager who orders pizza for the team. Using these words does not provide information, but it is also irritating for me as a reader. Instead, think about what you have been responsible for and what you have done. Describe your experience using active words, showing ownership, such as “was responsible for,” “led,” etc.
  • If you are applying for a position that you are not a match for, please explain your reasoning. Otherwise, it creates an impression that you have not read the job description before clicking the “Apply” button.
  • If the job would require you to relocate, it’s better to address this upfront. Please do not make me wonder whether you missed the job location.

When applying for a job:

  • Check that you have all the “must-haves.” If you do not, your application will likely be ignored. If you do not have the required experience but still think you are a strong candidate, please address that in a cover letter. Be specific; remember that you compete with those who meet all the requirements.
  • If you have not worked for more than a few months, consider volunteering, getting a contract, and networking to “refresh” your resume first.

Thank you for reading! Recruiters, please feel free to add your comments.

(Also, check out LinkedIn Profile SEO: How to Be Found).

YOE in LinkedIn Recruiter Demystified

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For years, I have been annoyed at the “years at company” , “years in position”, and “years of experience” filters in LinkedIn Recruiter. I get false positives like many other. For example, I search for people with more than one year of experience and see those who have only worked for eight months. I have filed it in the (long) “known bugs” category. (Filing bugs with LinkedIn has never proven fruitful for me.)

And then it dawned on me what it is doing. It is not a bug, it’s a feature! It is an undocumented feature. LinkedIn is rounding the number of months! (This way, someone’s 7 months at a company is rounded to 1 year, and the person wrongly appears in the results. It “works” the other way around, too. Someone with 2 years 5 months at a company or in a position will be found in a search for people with less than 2 years of the same. The “years of experience” has the same flaw (though it is also buggy in other ways).

(If I had a requirement to search by the rounded years of experience, it would be right on! I would have said, “thank you, LinkedIn”! But I do not recall being asked to do so.)

How does it happen that “the” site (LinkedIn) and “the” type of account (Recruiter) most corporations use has such a fundamental misunderstanding of what Recruiters need? My best guess is that at LinkedIn, Developers end up inventing what the user wants. Communicating users’ needs to Developers is the role of Product Managers. It must be the PMs do not know about recruiting, or they do not talk to the Developers. It is hard to say.

And we waste time opening non-matching profiles.

Learn about other ways LIR “really” works in LinkedIn Recruiter Mastery.

At least understanding what’s going on makes it less annoying. The radical way to deal with such inconveniences is scraping. After you have scraped the data, you are in control of finding and filtering by the correct values, and not their interpretations,

If you have not done scraping data as part of your sourcing process, it is time to start.

The Rule of Three In Search

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It is like mushroom gathering. If you see a few mushrooms, you would look around for more. (It was a favorite family vacation activity when I was a child).

If a web page has (about) three values of the same kind – for example, company names or email addresses – it will likely have more.

There are two ways to exploit this idea.


If you are looking for a product (of any kind) and know some product names, put 3 (or 2-4) of them in a search string to find pages with lists of those products. For example, if you are researching best Chrome Extensions for finding emails, list three you know of in your string to find more. It is the same story for threes of target company names, etc.

Then, if you wish, you can create OR strings out of the values you find.

Sourcing for Lists

Contact lists of professionals that Google can find is a largely untapped resource in recruiting. That is because most pages with lists are not ranked very high. You will not find them by Googling unless you make an effort.

If you search for something like a list of nurse practitioners in florida, your top results will be sites that sell that data. But if you search for threes of first names, company names, job titles, email domains, or phone extensions, along with some “list indicators” like list, directory, or roster, results will be beautiful.

You will find examples of the Rule of Three for list-searching at the end of this post.

In the just-delivered class LinkedIn Solved, I spoke about utilizing both techniques to proceed to find potential candidates on LinkedIn.