LinkedIn Errors

booleanstringsBoolean 11 Comments

My LinkedIn account is having multiple problems with the functionality. It’s happening for the second time in the past few months. I can’t use my RPS account (it is a variation of LinkedIn Recruiter). I hope they will fix it again.

The nice LinkedIn managers, who support my RPS account, point out that I am a power user and am likelier to break a software system than an average user. I suppose, they have a point.

The LinkedIn Support suggests that my problems are created by my large number of connections. Now, that is not true (or so I hope!) , since there are hundreds of people with many more connections than I have. The Support people have also told me to clean the cookies


Anyway, being locked out of my account – and feeling like I may have put too much pressure on LinkedIn’s functionality by pressing too many buttons – has prompted me to run an exploration of LinkedIn as a user who joins today and simply follows prompts to add connections.

I had created a test account for a non-existing person by the name of Barbara Nelson in order to go through this exploration. What to do, I couldn’t stay away from LinkedIn for several days in a row; I am used to using it all the time! Given that thousands of non-existing people are members of LinkedIn I didn’t feel too guilty.

You know what? In the first hour of being a new LinkedIn user Barbara could see a problem or two as well. Here is a brief report.

Per LinkedIn’s suggestions, Barbara uploaded some contacts. Not to bug LinkedIn members who may not know her, she uploaded some contacts of “open networkers” who are happy to accept invitations, into her Imported Contacts folder, and pressed “invite”.  She got redirected to her Inbox as the result, with no invitations being sent out. This was confusing but she persisted.

She then repeatedly ran into this screen while trying to invite connections and while trying to delete some of the uploaded contacts whom she had already invited:

Needless to say, cookies were enabled and repeatedly cleaned, with no luck.

Finally she succeeded and got the first few connections in. I’ve long been unable to export my connections; Barbara was able to do that! However, look what she got in the export; these are the last names of connections reduced to the first letter where they shouldn’t be. Some were OK; some were not.

Now, the next Barbara’s experience was something even Irina had never seen before! Look how the connection Randy was previewed in the list of connections:


Huh? You see what’s happening? Instead of Randy’s profile preview there’s a window with some pale-colored error report, that looks very out of place.

…The next thing Barbara did was trying out a people search on LinkedIn. She knows from Irina, and from just slightly wrong LinkedIn’s own Tip Sheet, that it’s possible to exclude terms by putting the word NOT in front of a term.

Alas, the LinkedIn Boolean people search was broken for Barbara. Take a look at this example. This is a search for recruiter NOT manager NOT contract (within a geographical area). The results show the second excluded term being not only included but in bold:


What would the Boolean Black Belt Glen Cathey say about this? This seems to be a bug that affects both Irina and Barbara and, my guess is, the rest of the members.

This is five (5) major bugs, found by gentle, suggested use of LinkedIn by a new user, within one hour. If I were managing the LinkedIn Quality Assurance department (I imagine they must have a QA department?) I would never allow a release to go live with these. Would you?





Comments 11

  1. Linkedin QA seems to be slipping badly in the last few months. I’ve noticed when I try to view my connections or manage my contact tags that my connections simply won’t load. Some days it works others it doesn’t. I haven’t been able to import contacts via .csv for months and advanced search isn’t accurate. I can view a profile and enter queries (both typed and cut & paste) into the advanced search that should bring up that profile and they don’t come up. This has happened on both recruiter and standard linkedin accounts. I’m not sure if there are settings so that profiles don’t come up but it is concerning when their search function isn’t working 100%.

  2. Hi Irene, thanks for your analysis, but what can we do next, once we have been blocked, frozen for one day or so, etc. Almost everybody in business is now on LinkedIn, at least in North america cause in Europe they seem not so found about it and they use another Community insted (can’t recall the name).

    Since every user is one and there is no commune complain all together and see what other may experience with linkedIn..

    Could be a good idea to start a LinkedIn Bug Discovery or Bug Solver Community?

    Best to you,


  3. I do not feel your search example is a true bug. The person does not list contract as their title. I tested this by searching for ninja recruiter -current title:ninja (first name name Holli to quickly id a case).

    Perhaps ‘professional headline’ should be a search field that is introduced?

    The bug I found last week was searching for open link people:

    I started in advanced search, did a basic recruiter search, and added Openlink members. I found 1 out the 1.4 million non open link results. Does anyone else have this issue?

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      Hi John,

      Thanks a lot for the comment. I appreciate you trying this out. I might have not dug deep into the posted example/screenshot, but using two NOTs NOT one NOT two has been buggy for several of us for a few weeks. It’s somewhat intermittent but it has been showing the second term included. There was a discussion on FB around the same

      Apart from that, negated items have been shown bolded if they come up in a different field (such as the headline vs. the job title), which is not a bug per say but is somewhat confusing. There was a separate discussion about that a few months ago on our LI group.

      Can you please try several searches also?
      title = three NOT one NOT two
      is likely to include three and two in the title. Just give me a few minutes.

      As for searching for Open Link, it has not worked for me for a very long time.

  4. I think you are referring to searching the Title field, ‘Current or Past’. When you search for ‘Software Engineer’ -qa -quality, you still get QA folks. I works better than it did last year when what seemed to be null searches (title search/Past or Resent: manager -manager) yield results. If you search for the same terms, manager -manager, there are now no results now but a title search/current or past of: “q/a” -qa -quality still shows QA titled folks.

    Personally I have come to terms with this, knowing it is not me, its the system.

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      I agree that it’s subject to interpretation when you negate more than one term in the “current or past”, and LinkedIn’s is not the best one.

      But I am referring to a bug where the Boolean logic in a search for the current title or sometimes in the keywords was not working if you negate more than one item. LinkedIn support has admitted that they have problems with that, too. Right now, however, I am not able to reproduce from the test account. Did you look at the screenshot on FB?

  5. I was able to duplicate the facebook link results once but it was challenging to put together a string that recreates its.

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  6. LinkedIn seems to have an ever increasing number of bugs. I have not been able to download my connections for a few months now. (7500 connections) LinkedIn have told me it is a know issue although it does not seem to affect too many people.

    Some months ago I was getting some strange search results using – operator. The search Recruiter -Recruiter gave me results where -Recruiter Recruiter didn’t. I made a video talking about this here


  7. A few months back I had a very similar issue when uploading a .csv list of contacts to my profile. LinkedIn literally locked me out for almost 3 weeks. To this day I have NO CLUE what happened. Support kept giving me the run around (Try a different browser, try clearing cookies) and nothing happened. Finally it just started working. Needless to say, I’m not going to try and upload contacts again….

  8. Be grateful that you can’t export your connections for the moment – I exported mine three weeks ago and LinkedIn wiped them all from my account! It took them a week to reinstate them so I could see them under the Contacts / Connections tab. The LinkedIn support team were really quick to respond when I alerted them to the issue, but I did not receive a satisfactory explanation as to why the connections disappeared from my account after exporting them.

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