How to Fight the Lack of Features in Recruiter

booleanstringsBoolean 11 Comments

Given the UI design for advanced people search dialog in LinkedIn Recruiter (that I would call user-unfriendly), there couldn’t possibly be a clean resolution for the vague “companies or boolean” field:

Indeed, if there is one word entered, which is a company name (like Apple), will it be looking for employees of that particular company (Apple) or for people from all the companies with this word (“apple”) in the company names? It is unclear from the UI. There is a big difference in the two searches, and we may want to do either. In fact, a basic FREE account conveniently has both capabilities – we can either search for a keyword in the company name or select companies:

Returning to Recruiter – if you select a company from the offered list in the “company or boolean” field, it will NOT search for the keyword, but will just for that company. Thus, it only duplicates the exact same functionality found in another corner of the same vast people search dialog.

However, when I search for a company name, I often want to include that same company, registered as a different company object on LinkedIn (perhaps due to a different location or division). Here is a (random) example of several entries in a LinkedIn’s company list that seem likely to be part of the same company:

If I go with the company choices, I would need to select each entry separately. If I only select the first entry, “Netrix”, I get only two results for members whose company is “exactly” Netrix.

Here is a hack that brings back this useful feature, company keyword search, to Recruiter. Use a Boolean string that looks like this. It is a choice between your keyword and something that never happens. Now we get many more results than two:

Problem solved!

Here is a sourcing challenge for my readers who also have LIR (Recruiter). Suppose we are searching by one keyword in the “company or boolean” field, and that word is not, by itself, a company name. How will the search be interpreted?

P.S. In response to Katie’s comment and question below, I have found the shortest string that would look for the keyword, not the company. Just add a space after the word, and get many more results! See below. (The troubling thing is, the same bizarre syntax rules apply to the Job Title).

Comments 11

  1. I tried the keyword Wells in lieu of Wells Fargo and all but a few of my results had the last name Wells.

    Can you explain and show another example of the Netrix OR aNonExistingKeyword search? Would this be simply (Netrix OR) but entered without the parentheses in the keyword field? When I ran this, it returned a variety of the Netrix company listings in LinkedIn.


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      Thanks for the comment. I use the company field, just alter the syntax for it to responding to the keyword properly.
      Obviously, per Boolean rules, if you are searching for word1 OR word2 and are sure that word2 is not present anywhere, you are going to always find word1. That explains the suggested method.

      In response to your comment, I tried playing with the search again and found that just entering a space after the keyword works as well. That doesn’t make any sense, but it works this way.

  2. Thanks so much for outlining this Irina.
    When sourcing in one company in LIR, I always used, for an extra measure of confidence, [companyname OR companyname], or in this case [ibm OR ibm]

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  3. Good overview Irina thank you. I use Recruiter Lite and I’ve always constructed Boolean strings in the ‘companies or boolean’ field because of ‘not trusting’ LinkedIn’s prompted companies from its index and of course to be able to capture all of the variants needed. GSK is a classic one with GSK OR GlaxoSmithKline OR “Glaxo Smith Kline” OR “GlaxoSmith Kline” OR “Glaxo SmithKline” to name but some!

    If there are any Sales Navigator users out there, we have noticed that the Companies field seems to behave differently again there (but also sometimes erratically and inconsistently over time). Our practice for Sales Nav is to use quotes around the single company names eg “Vodafone” which seems to force the treatment of the term as Boolean rather than an indexed company name. In my mind I was thinking of it working in a similar way to a verbatim command, but perhaps it is less sophisticated than this – given your experiment with the extra space Irina!

    1. Rachel,

      Thanks, as always, for your thorough observations.

      Let’s take a look at what goes behind the scenes here. We can search for companies:
      a) *by name*, trying out all the spellings, as you are describing for GSK;
      b) by the company *object* within LinkedIn, that has a company ID (a long number).
      The company object behind an ID may have different company names on profiles (e.g. IBM vs. “International Business Machines”.)

      Because when people add jobs to profiles, LinkedIn prompts with the company (“object”) *selection*, most people are likely to point to company objects.

      You are right in not trusting LinkedIn to bring “everyone” if you use a company selection vs. Boolean search by the company name, but ideally, it’s best to have access to both search options. (The free account has both!)

      Of course, LinkedIn Recruiter switching between company names and Boolean – with an invisible space making a difference – is pretty bad. Many people do not realize that they are losing results by not using Boolean. LinkedIn could also do a better job standardizing company objects…


  4. Thanks for this Irina! I’ve shared it with my team.

    Answering to your question, if you enter a non-existent company name LinkedIn Recruiter reads this as an specific company in quotation marks.

    For e.g.:


    LIR will interpret it as candidates who are working ONLY in company “TakeExample123”

    It will pick this as if you had selected this specific non-existent company name from the drop-down menu.

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      2. Hi Irina,

        Yes, indeed.

        It’s in LinkedIn RPS. Job title is consistently getting less results if done through this way, I have tested across my team.

        Also sometimes we are getting mixed results for the company name. Occasionally, when writing the name of the company and pressing enter it gives the same results as adding an space after that.

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