How to Search by City Location on LinkedIn

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The worst part of people search is that we no longer can search by any location other than a standardized one, like “San Francisco Bay Area” (where I live). But my area is large; people won’t commute from San Jose to San Francisco, for example.

The workaround for narrowing down to a “city” location, like “San Jose, California,” is to search in keywords. Interestingly, though on some profiles you will see only a generic area name, the profiles will be found if you put a location name in the quotation marks into Keywords. (Not quite WYSYWIG!)

I recently chatted with Henk van Ess who pointed out that if he searched just by a city name, he would get profiles in this area, in his example, “Apples.” I think I knew about this but have looked into it deeper this time.

Here you go:

  1. will find profiles in a search by a city location name. To avoid false positives, you need to enter the full LinkedIn location name in quotes. The location names are the ones you can see in Recruiter, but you can often guess.
  2. (Good for us!) does not search within work locations. So we won’t have too many false positives.

Here is an example from our discussion with Henk:

“Apples, Vaud, Switzerland.”

It produces a little over 70 profiles, all of which do reside in the area, though many won’t have it visible on their profiles:

Enjoy! 🙂

We have lots of other tips in our recording “Overcoming LinkedIn Limitations.”

The Full List of Google Operators – 2020

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Operator Meaning
Pages containing keywords in:
allinurl: / inurl: – the URL
allintitle: / intitle: – the Title
allintext: / intext: – the text
allinanchor: / inanchor: – the anchor text
filetype: – file types
site: Narrow results to a site
related: Shows similar sites (being phased out)
info: Shows page info
define Gives a definition
The quotes (“”) Search for a phrase
The minus (-) Exclusion
OR Alternatives
Numrange (..) Search for a range of numbers
Asterisk (*) Stands for a word or a few words
AROUND (n) Proximity search
before:, after: Date search


Working on my presentation “‘Visualize Success’ as the Google Search Principle” for Online Sourcing Learning Day – May 6, I have updated the full list of Google search operators and thought it would be a good idea to share it here. (As you know, Google no longer documents most of these.)

Bookmark it! 🙂

Using Your Hands vs. Boolean Builders

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My Dad was a simple man. For him, life was about figuring out what is right and wrong and then doing the right thing, which he expected of others – and didn’t hesitate to tell them. (Needless to say, I did many things wrong.) But, in his Partial Differential Equations, he was quite intuitive and subtle, often thinking and speaking in metaphors, as Mathematicians do.

I think Dad would have been able to appreciate an intuitive yet common sense approach to searching on the web as superior over “Boolean Builder” tools.

I would advise against Boolean-building tools. They seem attractive, there’s marketing angle to how they sound, and a long-lived tradition of (outdated) long OR searches that recruiters continue to share. Yet these automation tools are all ineffective; I can give you multiple examples using your favorite Builder and your current search. On a given search, they will have missed too many matching results and found too many false positives. Additionally, Boolean ORs are not a good practice on Google (see my latest post about it). A notion that Boolean Builders are for novices or busy, or non-technical people is a myth. It’s best to search “by hand,” and search on Google simply (and repeatedly).

“Boolean building” tools shift your focus to creating a “string” (or even “the string”) while your focus should be getting results, which you achieve by changing the searches all the time to get more and different data. I suppose there are exceptions, where you may need a long OR list of companies or schools to include. You can accomplish it by an Excel “OR” builder, but you would still need to review the list – to have the right coding, include abbreviations, etc. The output would be a string for LinkedIn because Google restricts you to 32 keywords.

Your comments are welcome (especially if you disagree)!

Please join my seven international friends and colleagues and me at the Online Sourcing Learning DayMay 6th! We already have over 100 participants – which we expect to double – from most US states, Canada, Mexico, many Europan countries, Australia, India, and are quite excited about it! If you have a team, please get in touch. I will be speaking on concepts like this one 🙂

Please Say No to OR on Google

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As I tweeted the other day, “I celebrate each time I talk a recruiter into stopping using long ORs – or any ORs – on Google. Stop – it is an outdated, ten-year-old technique.”

And I do not mean using | instead.

Here are some brief notes on the subject – and I hope to convince you, too!

1. Using OR defeats useful Google’s semantic interpretation of your search

What happens if you use the OR operator, for example, search for Developer OR Engineer? Google will find pages with “Developer” and pages with “Engineer.” It mixes them up and displays. But it will have a hard time deciding which should go first because you have asked about several different things, not specifying priorities. (Does it make sense?)

If instead, you search for (just) Developer, Google will find Developer, developing, development, Software Engineer, Coder, Programmer, and others who develop code and show the most relevant pages first.

On a tight search, with no ORs, you will get more results than with ORs. You can test it yourself.

Using ORs for synonyms and similar terms on Google is counter-productive. If you want to include either term in your search, it’s best to run two or more consecutive searches, where you will know what you are looking to find in each.

2. Using OR does not help to find many terms on one page

For example, if you search for Accenture OR Deloitte, Google will run queries with one, then another, and mix up the results pages. It won’t prioritize pages with both terms if that is what you wanted.

3. If you must use ORs, look into Custom Search Engines

In some cases, you will have a long series of search terms that are not synonyms – for example, school or company names. If you must search for a long Boolean OR of terms, Google will not help very much because its searches are limited to 32 words. This approach can help, though it’s a bit technical. But you may want just not to utilize Google for those.

I will be sharing this type of content, with many how-to examples, at our upcoming

Online Sourcing Learning Day, May 6th.

You must join us!





Invitation: Online Sourcing Learning Day – May 6th

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Have you ever wanted to make a big jump in your sourcing skills in just a day? I would like to invite you to join David Galley, Guillaume Alexandre, Kim and Gordon Lokenberg, Balazs Paroczay, Marcel van der Meer, and me on May 6, 2020. We will present a unique six-hour online event with an in-depth, diverse, actionable content on Sourcing and Recruiting. So, don’t wait and head over to:

Online Sourcing Learning Day May 6, 2020 Registration

You’ll find the details on the site, but here are some points, briefly:

For those with a serious interest in sourcing: this is going to be a one-of-a-kind event.

Presenters are all experienced sourcing hands-on practitioners. We are also all trainers and speakers; most of us have met at Phil Tusing’s Sourcing Summits and have become good friends since. I have listened to each of our speakers and guarantee you inspiration and quality, up-to-date content, delivered from diverse angles.

Our topics cover “everything,” from running intelligent Google searches to recruiting unicorns to peeking inside a Sourcer’s mind to OSINT techniques.

We will be running a side-by-side virtual coffee bar and break room throughout the event. Get together with your favorite presenters and ask any questions you like!

Not up for listening six hours straight? Want to review some points later? All who sign up will get the slides and video-recordings for you to keep and use to practice what you have learned.

We have priced the event to be affordable. We expect participants from many countries, with the majority being from the US and Europe (hence, the times of day). Please help us to promote Learning Day by sharing the link on Social Media and with colleagues. Our hashtag is #OLSD. Your support is appreciated.

We will be able to accommodate teams on an individual basis. (Tip: a “team” does not have to come from one organization. Contact your colleagues and form a team.)

I hope to “see” you there! Sign up now.




Search for Women in Your Industry: 5 Tips and a Bonus

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I live in a very diverse area (and love it). Let me demonstrate what it is like in the streets and parks, when people are out, by showing a screenshot for local Python Developers (no diversity filters applied):

However – search for CEOs in the same area and you will see a very different picture:

(A stunning difference, isn’t it?)

Different industries, locations, and career levels have their diversity employment challenges. And every company, at every level, benefits from hiring diversity for all roles.

Let’s talk about searching for Women, with the purpose of including them in the talent pipeline. Our webinar this week will serve as a Complete Guide to Sourcing Females. I have forty slides on that. 👩👩‍🦰👱‍♀️ In a short blog post, I will mention a few approaches that will complement your diversity efforts.

1. Searching in a Diverse Area? Use Women’s Names for Ethnicities.

It is highly applicable here in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Indian and Asian Software Engineers are a majority. I wasn’t finding many profiles on LinkedIn for my diversity project by searching for common (English) women’s names until this occurred to me! Strings I had started using then, like an OR of Indian women’s names – (Aditi OR(Bipasha) OR(Damayanti) OR(Eva) OR(Gayatri) OR(Harshita) OR(Indira) OR(Jesminder) OR(Kanika) OR(Lata) OR(Madhumita) OR(Nadia) OR(Padmavati) OR(Rajadhi) OR(Saloni) OR(Tanisha) OR(Uma) OR(Varsha) OR(Yamini)) (etc.) – brought the desired results.

2. Continuing on the fruitful “image for *” technology exploration, started by my friend @theBalazs, search for diverse colleges and organizations. For example:

or, just this (add your terms):

Note that you will find additional results with

Switch to the Image Tab to see how accurate your search is.

3. Have you noticed that diversity searches often require long lists of terms, such as relevant associations or schools, as part of the approach? Custom Search Engines can automate relevant searches for you.

Here is my X-Ray LinkedIn for Women’s Names.

4. Some sites allow us to X-Ray by gender:

We could also create one for CrunchBase, since member profiles have the gender info.

5. Every industry has associations oriented toward women, which you can find by Googling. For each site, you could potentially be constructing searches like:

and find profiles of females in that industry.

Bonus. Here are two additional Diversity CSEs:

Please join me at the fully reworked webinar “Sourcing for Diversity” on April 15th, 2020. Seating is limited.

Avoid These Nine Mistakes on Google

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Google indexes 35 trillion web pages. (Compare the volume with LinkedIn’s. LinkedIn profiles are 0.001% of Google’s Index!)

However, mining Google is not straightforward because the web has different kinds of pages. We can search for terms in the page titles, URLs, or links to the page but usually not for values like job titles or companies. If you want a reminder, here is The Full List of Google Advanced Search Operators.

Compared to, say, ten years ago, Google’s search has changed dramatically, not only adding trillions of pages but learning to recognize user’s intent when they are searching. That is a definition of Semantic Search. Because of clever Google’s interpretation of search strings, we need to be Masters of Boolean – and know when to let Google control results as well.

From our experience training, we have consistently seen two kinds of attendees. Some have an open mind and try to “get it” and apply what they learn right away. We offer a month of support on all our offerings to stimulate that – and are celebrating with the students when they get to understanding and success. Others, especially self-identified “old school” recruiters, copy and keep search strings or use Boolean Builders, all of which have less than optimal templates, or write very long strings on Google. They do not try to understand why the results look like this or that on the screen.

However – everybody can learn, and many have! Boolean search is not Rocket Science. All you need is an open mind and a computer with a browser and wi-fi.

If you are Googling, do overcome these mistakes and unhelpful habits:

  1. There is no operator AND
  2. NOT needs to be written as the minus -, no space between the minus and keyword
  3. Parentheses are ignored. OR is always a priority (unlike it is on Bing or LinkedIn)
  4. Operators like site: must be lower-case, no space between the operator and keyword
  5. Do not trust or compare the numbers of results
  6. Put your terms in the order you expect to see them
  7. Do not try to “catch everything” with one search string. Strings are not “built”, they are run and immediately modified
  8. Do not be a perfectionist. Searches will have false positives and miss something. Your goal is not strings but results
  9. Overusing the operator OR leads to shrinking results – search simple

I cannot stress #9 enough. It is not a good idea to use ORs on Google. (I never do). I can give you numerous examples of how simple search works better than long ORs. It is time to change this habit.

Please join me at our fully refreshed webinar “Boolean Basics & Beyond” coming to your laptop at home on April 7, 2020. We will mostly cover Google but will talk about other sites as well. Seating is limited (due to our need to support everyone who signs up).


How to Correctly X-Ray LinkedIn for Headlines

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It is quite unexpected – and 99.99% of LinkedIn members do not realize that – but in LinkedIn people search, Headlines are not taken into account! (Easy to check). The Headline is the main intro on your profile that you want the world to see but you cannot be found by it. OOPS, LinkedIn. The moral of the story is that you might want to check that your Headline wording is repeated in your Summary so that others will find you as you expect.

Google, of course, does not discriminate between parts of profile pages, and you can search for anything, Headlines included.

Better yet, Google Custom Search Engines (CSEs) provide us with a unique way to search specifically in Headlines! That compensates for LinkedIn’s neglect of its own design. Thanks to my friend and Master Sourcer Pierre-André Fortin for pointing it out. Somehow I’ve been missing it.

While there has been a negative shift in the relationship between Googlebot and CSEs, one (the only one as far as I can tell) way to narrow down to a field that currently works, Headline, is described below. (Note that searches in this post will only find profiles indexed more than six months ago due to the relationship going wrong around that time. CSEs “think” that current profiles do not even have a Person object. It is such a loss! I hope to see it fixed.)

The syntax for the Headline search is not pretty. But you will clearly see which part you need to copy (the operator) and which you can vary (the arguments). The Asterisk * means AND. This search –


finds profiles of members who have both words javascript and python in their Headlines (but obviously not in the job titles). The results are JavaScript and Python enthusiasts.

(To note, the link above is the best LinkedIn X-Ray CSE, whether you use operators or not.)

We have seen many cases in our sourcing practice where Headlines had uniquely qualifying information and brought up additional results, that couldn’t be found on LinkedIn.

Please join me at our class

Overcoming LinkedIn’s Limitations, Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

to get fully updated on search algorithms, workarounds, less-known functionality, and X-Raying of LinkedIn. As we all know, LinkedIn changes are vast, restricting, undocumented, and unannounced. Spend interesting and productive 90 minutes to get up-to-date, choose the right sourcing tracks, and feel confident. Slides and video are included, as well as 30 days of support from us. Note that seating is limited. Those who can’t attend at the scheduled time will get all the materials and support if they sign up.






more: Healthcare Sourcing Techniques

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In sync with the times, I want to share some Healthcare sourcing tips to implement in addition to what you are already doing.

I know that sourcing for Healthcare professionals is challenging from experience. Last year, I ran a project sourcing for (bedside) Registered Nurses with 2-3 years of experience for a hospital in Texas. While LinkedIn is a site that can verify the length of experience, it produced a ridiculously small outcome: 200 RNs out of tens of thousands RNs who live in Texas.

However, the industry has its advantages in terms of finding info online, including:

  • There are searchable databases
  • Hospital websites have bios and contact lists
  • Hospital websites have “structure” for filtered search via Custom Search Engines

Sites, where you can search for doctors and nurses, include,,, and (Google these together and you will find more). Physicians’ profiles usually have degrees, licenses, specialization, education, affiliation, address, phone number, and ranking. Some profiles have more info, including email or gender. However, searching within the sites is limited.

Luckily, these sites have public profiles, which we can X-Ray, for example, like this: gastroenterology intitle:”San Francisco”.

Examine profile titles and URLs for each site to see if it’s possible to search for specific values such as specialty with inurl: or intitle:, like I did in the example.

And we can do even better using Custom Search Engines (CSEs). I used to work with doctors back when I was a Software Developer and have found them to be “computer-unfriendly”. So I was surprised to discover that healthcare-related sites like the ones above, as well as websites of hospitals, are rich with structured information, which we can query. (Hospitals may have strong IT staff or use some standard hospital website-building tools, I don’t know.) provides healthcare webmasters with many Objects such as Hospital, Physician, and MedicalOrganization. Now, if you are prepared to deal with gibberish-sounding “more:p:” search operators, you can take advantage of searching for Objects’ values. If you are not, sorry! Please read some other posts.

In the following examples, I will be using the CSE Search Everything, which has no restrictions. (The reason to use a CSE vs. is that only CSEs support operators to query pages’ structure.) You can modify each of the links below to serve your needs.

Physician search across sites:

more:p:physician plastic surgeon cleveland.

If you start seeing many results from one particular site in searches like the above (which is likely to happen), you may want to X-Ray that site alone and also search excluding the site.

Search for Physicians by specialty (add your keywords):


Search for keywords in description:


(The Asterisk * serves as an AND operator).

Search for hospitals by name:


Whoever worked on creating Schema Objects had a weakness for all things medical:

There is even an Object for Medicalwebpage. There is lots to explore.

Among general search sites, Doximity provides especially rich structure to query:

Our tool Social List has Agents for Doximity and Healthgrades, allowing you to search without writing out operators and export results in Excel.

If you have any questions, please let me know.







LinkedIn Activity Called Working from Home

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I have just discovered that X-Raying LinkedIn on Google in the following manner: “image for * * activity called <keywords>”

– finds profiles that have shared a status on LinkedIn that includes <keywords>. Combined with professional terms such as skills and job titles, the search can point you to people who are more open to new opportunities, as an example. We are sort-of getting a flavor of structured search, similar to this example, since the <keywords> after “activity called” would be searched for in member’s shares only. (I’ll work on saying the above more clearly if you feel you need it.)

Here are some examples (to be combined with other parameters):

These X-Ray searches can provide value, both as a sourcing tool, looking for individuals, but also as a research tool, looking, for example, where work from home is popular or who is hiring and firing.

If you have other ideas on what to include along with the “activity called,” please share!