LinkedIn Recruiter: More Confusion

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Remember, LinkedIn Recruiter finds more results when we enter a company name vs. point to a company object? We discussed this in LinkedIn Recruiter: Not WYSIWYG.

Well, it turns out that, when searching for job titles, it is the opposite: selecting a value (Software Engineer, in the screenshot) brings many more results than entering the same words in quotation marks – or even writing Software AND Developer.

So what is going on here, why is there such a difference?

The answer to that is: in the first case, LinkedIn Recruiter also brings synonyms of the job title (the way it guesses them). By using the quotes or the operator AND, we eliminate any such guessing and Recruiter brings only the results for members whose title is Software Engineer (or, perhaps, Senior Software Engineer).

How well does LinkedIn identify synonymical job titles? Sorry to say, not so well. Here are some job titles that came up as synonyms for Software Engineer. Only some are correct – others are not:

  • SDE
  • Architect/Programmer
  • Java Developer
  • SAS Programmer
  • Quality Control Inspector/ CMM Programmer/Operator
  • Recruiting Coordinator – SWE (OOPS…)

To avoid getting these false positives in your results, it’s best to use the Boolean search syntax for job titles, i.e. add the quotation marks, AND, OR, or NOT. Or simply add a space at the end of Software Engineer.

Recruiter Lite has the same deficiency.

LinkedIn interpretation of its data can be improved.

Sourcing Training Library and Certifications

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Our Sourcing Certification Program is now in its sixth year. We have had hundreds of professionals enroll in our Subscription and take the Exam. I wanted to update everyone on our offerings.

The Training Library has twenty recorded classes, to study at your own pace. The classes cover a variety of sourcing topics in-depth. Some webinars include two sessions, a Lecture, and Practice. Every webinar comes with one month of unlimited support on the topic.

We also offer interactive workshops on “Sourcing without LinkedIn”, “Finding Contact Info”, and “Advanced Googling” – you can always find the scheduled live classes at Upcoming Sourcing Webinars.

We administer the Certification Exams quarterly; the next upcoming dates are in April of 2018.

You can get all of the above – full access to the Training Library, the Exam, and, additionally, the Boolean Book by joining the Training Library Subscription. The Subscription costs just $99 per month ($1188 billed annually); that is an over 75% discount compared to getting webinars and the Exam individually.

While many people choose to subscribe, some have also taken five or six webinars from the Library (contact us for suggestions) and taken the Exam. The most requested classes have been:

If you are interested in the Program, you may want to take a webinar first. You can then upgrade to the full subscription, saving the cost of the webinar.

Finally, we have trained multiple Teams. We have customers who have subscribed their recruiting teams and have all Recruiters take the Exam. We have also delivered series of customized sourcing classes to various teams, both online and face to face. Our customers include a number of Fortune 100 companies and large recruiting agencies. To inquire about your Team training, please reach out to us.




LinkedIn Recruiter: Not WYSIWYG

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Well-designed user interfaces follow the rule of WYSIWYG – “what you see is what you get”. Unfortunately, LinkedIn Recruiter doesn’t do the best job in this regard. Just look at the screenshot of two searches for company=Apple I have done. Which number is correct, on the right or the left?

The secret in the two different numbers displayed is that, on the right, I have added a space to the company name: Apple<space>. I’ll get the same number as on the left if I enter Apple in the quotation marks (a slight difference in large numbers of results is to be expected).

What is happening here? If we choose the company Apple from a list of company choices, the results are employees of the company Apple. But, if we enter a space after Apple or put the word in “, we get employees of companies whose name contain the word Apple, such as Apple, but also Apple and Associates, Apple Vacations, etc. Some of the companies found may be Apple’s affiliates, but not all.

To negate each of the above conditions (company equals Apple, and Company name contains Apple) in Recruiter we have two different types of UI: negating the company Apple or the word in the company name:


Take a note of it.

P.S. And here is another story on the subject.

LinkedIn Locations and Traffic in the Bay Area

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The traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, is pretty bad. What the commute is like is a serious consideration for anyone looking for a job. Let’s take a look how LinkedIn job posts treat locations – posted and searched for.


LinkedIn has 1) “area” locations and 2) specific cities as locations. The city locations are part of the “area” locations. For example,  San Jose, California; San Francisco, California; and Berkeley, California (which are at a distance from each other) all belong to the San Francisco Bay Area.

When we post a job, we are given both “areas” and cities as location choices.

When we search for a job, the same location choices are available:

Given the commute times, we can expect job seekers to enter the city closest to where they live when searching for a job.

However, when we search for jobs, LinkedIn treats all Bay Area location the same. Even that I have entered San Francisco in this search, the second result is in San Jose (quite far from San Francisco). (This is not very helpful!)


  1. When posting jobs on LinkedIn, it is best to enter a specific city name (e.g., San Mateo, California) vs. an area name (e.g., San Francisco Bay Area. When potential applicants see the post, they will know what their commute is going to be.
  2. When people search for jobs near their locations in the Bay Area, they, in fact, see job posts from all of the Bay Area, even if they enter a city name as location. The same LinkedIn rules apply to other “areas” and cities. Quite inconvenient for job seekers! But it is how it works.

Increasing Candidate’s Response Rates

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This is a guest post from Martin Lee.

We can be as creative as we like with our sourcing, writing killer Boolean strings, utilizing the latest tools and unearthing profiles that others wouldn’t, but without a response from prospective candidates we have only done 50% of what is required.

According to a number of sources the average user spends 17 minutes on LinkedIn.

When we reach out to prospects – it’s about them, not us. Too many recruiters’ (agency & internal) messages lead with a job they are trying to fill. Often this is based purely upon a keyword search and an assumption that the person is a fit and is actually interested in the position.

If our target candidates spend 17 minutes on LinkedIn and they receive a lot of similar looking messages what chance do you have of getting a response if you do the same as everyone else ?

The purpose of the first message is always to motivate the potential candidate to want to have a conversation. It should be casual, no commitment or resume required. Internal recruiters should have ongoing interesting vacancies and should lead with a “career discussion” approach. There could well be live vacancies that this person is suitable for but unless you know their personal situation and motivations & timings to move you can not make a match. Agency recruiters have it slightly tougher but if they’re credible and market specific they too should be able to convince someone to at least have a talk with them. A conversation focused on the candidate shifts the emphasis from a job we are trying to fill to talking about them, so more people will respond.

The first message is your chance to show you have read and understand their profile(s) and to cut through other recruiters’ messages. Using personalized messaging is key whether using their name, skills, current company (and technology used), location, projects, etc., are all indications that you are being specific about them. It’s better to send fewer more personalized messages than using obvious templates.

Asking for referrals or resumes at the first message is a definite no-no.

In addition to electronic messages many recruiters are being more creative these days. Personalized videos to specific people are being used successfully now. “Hangouts” where technical people can look around the offices, ask questions to other techies are popular.

Big corporations marketing can sometimes be seen as cheesy and fluffy. We remember an example of our friend Jim Stroud who promoted working at Microsoft Canada over 10 years ago by shooting a video only on his Iphone. That video still ranks highly on YouTube as he uploaded it from multiple sources.

Check out our online class thoroughly covering the topic Improving Candidate Response Rates, and supplied with one month of support.

Learn to Search for Diversity

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We know that diversity in the workplace positively affects outcomes. Including a diverse pool of candidates in the talent  pipeline is a must for any forward-thinking recruiter and hiring manager.

When we search for diversity candidates, the same sourcing principles apply, as always – look for “what you are going to find”, “visualize success”. Here are some diversity Boolean search strings, based on that principle.

And here is a Diversity Associations Custom Search Engine –

Join us and learn how to Source for Diversity in the upcoming class – Tuesday, February 6th (lecture) and Wednesday, February 7th (practice).

Six Free Boolean Strings from e-Book

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I am excited to announce that the 3rd edition of the e-Book “300 Best Boolean Strings” has been released. To prepare the new edition, I went through the 300 strings in the previous version and removed about sixty that were no longer working. I also dug into my Google search history and added multiple strings to the book. I got carried away a bit – the new edition contains almost 400 strings!

The Boolean Strings in the Book can be considered as examples, for the reader to explore the possibilities of searching and understand what each search brings and why. It’s not a phrase book, but it will help the reader “speak” Boolean. Here is a random sampling of some Boolean Strings from the Book, particularly those that find resumes.


Easy Sourcing with NO Boolean

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Lots has been said about using the natural language to search for potential candidates. Examples would be “I am a Software Engineer at Microsoft” or “earned her MBA from Wharton”. It’s a fruitful technique.

Here is a different twist on searching in English. Suppose we wanted to find LinkedIn profiles on Google, but doing so without the operator site: or any other operators. It turns out, it is quite possible. All we need to do is to identify a phrase (or several phrases) that:

  1. Appear on every profile
  2. Don’t appear on other pages, that are not profiles.

Here is an example search, using a phrase present on LinkedIn public profiles (those that are in English, of course) :”500 million other professionals”.

linkedin “500 million other professionals” “head of localization”

Even if we drop the word linkedin from search, the results will be pretty much all LinkedIn profiles:

“500 million other professionals” “head of localization”:

We can use alternative phrases to single out LinkedIn profiles, for example: “full profile it’s free”. Here is a search:

“full profile it’s free” registered nurse ICU

For Twitter, we can search for the common element “”tweets & replies”:

“tweets & replies” biotech conference.

For Meetup and Github, “member since” is a good token to use.

Who can suggest other examples?

Check out the new online class Sourcing without Boolean.

For those who do like Boolean searches: my e-Book “300 Best Boolean Strings” is out of the press and has almost 400 search strings for all occasions.



Nine Association X-Ray Templates

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Association sites are an excellent source of professional and contact information. Are you familiar with associations in your industry? Finding them is as easy as Googling for <industry name> <location name> association.

When I research an association site, I am interested in pages with lists of members and in contact information (that will let me look up additional background).

Here are nine simple Google search templates I use when researching an association site:

  1. “”
  2. “” “”
  3. <some company email extensions>
  4. filetype:xlsx
  5. member directory
  6. search for members
  7. roster
  8. attendee list
  9. Bob Mary Lisa (or other names)

Depending on the association, these strings can unveil some treasures!

Check out the online class 300 Best Boolean Strings where we spent 90 minutes exploring a multitude Boolean Strings included in my book.

Facebook Research Hacks

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Facebook member’s groups, posts, comments, and events that we are allowed to see per member’s privacy settings can help us identify professional details on potential candidates – as well as find additional candidates. Unfortunately, this information not that easy to search for any longer, ever since Facebook retired its “official” Graph search.

Here are some simple but useful “ex-Graph” searches, that work today. Many of them use the person’s ID, which we can quickly identify by the Facebook URL.

Jim Stroud’s groups
Boolean String Group Members
Suzy Tonini’s co-workers
Shane McCusker’s events
Irina Shamaeva’s past events
Posts by Phil Tusing
Posts commented on by Randy Bailey
Pages liked by Suzy Tonini

The (dangerous!) tool Facebook Scanner provides a few more ways to run Graph searches.

The Facebook Mastery class on Tuesday, January 16th was SOLD OUT. Join us for a repeat on Tuesday, February 20th, and learn many more Facebook hacks, tips, and techniques! Seating is limited.