The Matter of Time in Alumni Search

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It’s not surprising to discover that LinkedIn doesn’t do what we expect it to do in our search queries. This time it is about the study years, and it’s a mystery what is going on!

While grading our Exams, David Galley and I ran into the following inconsistencies:

1. Search for graduation dates using operators (I am searching in “Alberta, Canada” in all examples):

startyear:2016 AND endyear:2018 AND school:”university of alberta” (3 results right now)

2. Using the Alumni search: Link (1,535 results for me; you may get a slightly different number).

3. Using LinkedIn Recruiter (which apparently provides the same results as the alumni search):

4. Now, this search produces 155 results.

5. And this, 232 results.

To get puzzled even more, take a look at an alumni search for people who started school later than they graduated!

Where do the differences come from and which search provides the right answer? It’s especially important to figure out if you are using LinkedIn Recruiter: from the examples above, and by examining search results, we can say with certainty that Recruiter doesn’t produce the results we are looking for.

There are several things at play here. (I will be sharing some explanations and workarounds in my future posts and webinars.)

It’s a great Sourcing exercise to try and figure out what is happening. For starters, here are some things to consider:

  • Does the search look for the last school or any school?
  • Does it look for graduation dates at this particular school or any school?
  • Does it include people with no graduation dates?

Want to share your thoughts? Please do so in the comments or on our Boolean Strings Facebook Group.

Comments 1

  1. Clearly there is a Linkedin bug about someone graduating even before they started.

    I got 1,539 alumni search results. Based on reviewing certain profiles, it is very clear Linkedin is collating all students based on the year in their profile.
    Ex: If someone studied at UoA between 2012-2016, Linkedin algorithm cannot seem to distinguish between 2016 start date in the query and the actual end year 2016 of the student’s graduation.

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