Sourcing Quiz – Test Your Skills

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Sourcing Quiz

Would you like to test your Sourcing Skills for 2019? Our quarterly Exam is coming up. You can get certified during the week of January 19-25, 2019.

I want to invite you to test your skills with five questions below. (These questions are similar to those that we include in the Exam). I will publish the answers in one week. Email me the answers for a chance to take the January Exam free of charge – we will randomly select a person who provides the correct answers.


Q1. Find a LinkedIn member, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose headline is “Student at SDSU Executive MBA” and who started school in 2018. What is his last name?

Q2. For this github user – – who is his current employer?

Q3. Find a LinkedIn profile with a headline containing the person’s Yahoo-based email address and also a phrase: “Strategist | Influencer | Disruptor | Innovator”. What is the email address shared in the headline?

Q4. There is a member of the “Women Who Code” Meetup, based out of San Francisco, who states her interest in four programming languages, including Java and Scala. She has misspelled the name of one of the languages (starting with an “H”). What is the correct spelling?

Q5. Which of the following works as a search operator on resume search?

  • employers:
  • employer:
  • schools:
  • skills:
  • yoe:

Hope you have some fun solving these!

Want to test your or your team’s Sourcing Skills? Read more about the Sourcing Certification Exams here.

LinkedIn Operators: One More and a Tip Sheet

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[Edited: please note, that, as of the end of April 2019, all operators have stopped working. They may come back, we’ll see!]

Your new undocumented LinkedIn operator (in addition to the ones I covered in a few recent posts) is functions:, with the values from Job Function Codes.

Example: functions:4 looks for people in Business Development.

As with other operators, you can search for several values at the same time, and LinkedIn does assign several functions to some people (example: functions:”4 8 9“).

As a summary, below is the full list of LinkedIn search operators that work with any basic or premium account, in the main search box. Many of the discovered search facets have only been available in LinkedIn Recruiter, and the operator headline:, uniquely, works only in a basic/premium account!

For each operator, you can use it with several values in the quotation marks, which means an AND of terms. For example, headline:”engineer senior” searches for both words senior and engineer to appear in the headlines (but not for a phrase).

You can certainly combine the operators and use the Boolean logic.

Note that the values calculated by LinkedIn are less reliable than those entered by members, no matter which account you use to search (I have marked those in the last column).

Tip Sheet – LinkedIn Search Operators

Operator Meaning Values Calculated by LinkedIn
headline: search for keywords in Headline no
skills: search for keywords in Skills no
spokenlanguage: search for language proficiency by a language name no
startyear: search for the start year in college no
endyear: search for the end year in college no
geo: search for a Geoname Geonames no
title: search for current job title no
company: search for current company name no
school:  search for school name no
firstname: search for first name no
lastname: search for last name no
industry: search for the industry by Industry code Industry Codes no
seniority: search for seniority Seniority Codes yes
profilelanguage: search for profiles in other languages by a two-letter language abbreviation Language Codes no
functions: search for functions Job Functions yes
yoe: search for “years of experience” yes
[Edited:] I have found one more operator – fieldsofstudy: – search for fields of study – the argument is a code (or codes) that can be identified using a “company/people” search dialog like this– select the field(s) of study in question and you will find the codes in the search URL.

[Edited: I have put the list of all known operators here – LinkedIn Search Operators]

The Webinar “Sourcing Hacks” presents an in-depth guide to LinkedIn operators and twenty-four other cool hacks for your productivity. The webinar is based on our new ebook “Sourcing Hacks” (2019)


Oh, NOT!

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Not only has LinkedIn restricted Boolean ANDs and ORs in its basic and premium accounts, but it has also now restricted the NOT operator as well.

In the help document Boolean Query Limitations they are saying: “While we do limit the amount of AND or OR Boolean operators, we don’t limit the amount of NOT Boolean operators.” Well, the last part is now wrong. Just try searching for engineer NOT senior NOT manager NOT director NOT recruiter NOT cto NOT ceo and you will get no results (while there should be plenty). Please make a note of it.

I have been sharing a LinkedIn OR workaround based on expressing the Boolean OR through the Boolean NOT. (It was a fun one!) Please note, that workaround no longer works.

However, sourcers never give up. We have come up with a brand new LinkedIn OR workaround that makes any OR query work. We have also figured out how to fix the NOT queries. We are sharing the working workaround in our new eBook “Sourcing Hacks”, just released! Check it out!


Adventure Continues (Five New Undocumented Operators)

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Adventure continues! By now, I have discovered five more undocumented LinkedIn search operators in addition to those covered in my recent posts Two Undocumented LinkedIn Search Operators and Three More Operators!

So here are some other values you thought you couldn’t search for with a free or premium LinkedIn account – but in fact, you can! Let me introduce the additional operators.

1) Operator profilelanguage: searches for the profile languages and can be helpful for expat and diversity searches, along with spokenlanguage:, covered earlier. The values need to be two-letter language abbreviations. Example:


looks for members who have a profile in French.

2) yoe: is the operator to search for years of experience. Example:


looks for members with 3 years of experience. Note that, with the years of experience, LinkedIn gets quite “uncertain” and assigns multiple values to some profiles like these: yoe:”1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8″.

3-4) Operators startyear: and endyear: search for years in school. Example:


looks for members who graduated in 2017;


looks for members who will graduate in 2020.

5) Operator geo: searches for locations, but in an unexpected way. It doesn’t take any geo-codes as parameters (not these codes at all). Nor does it work with postal codes. Instead, it searches within the text of Geonames, which can be found at, as well as within LinkedIn standard area names for members who chose to display them.

For example,

geo:”berkeley california”

searches for all people who live in Berkeley, CA,

geo:”berkeley california bay area”

searches for people who live in Berkeley, CA and are displaying “San Francisco Bay Area” as the location on their profiles, while

geo:”berkeley california” NOT geo:”bay area”

finds those who live in Berkeley and display “Berkeley” as their location too.

So – congratulations, you can now search by a location name for any postal code, which in practice means that you can search for any city and state. Compared to selecting from the standard location names (such as “San Francisco Bay Area”) provided in the advanced search dialog, this gives you much better precision. (I know Bay Area Recruiters will appreciate this for sure).

So here are ten hidden LinkedIn search operators that you can now use with a free or premium account:

  1. headline:
  2. skills:
  3. industry:
  4. seniority:
  5. spokenlanguage:
  6. profilelanguage:
  7. yoe:
  8. startyear:
  9. endyear:
  10. geo:

That is not much less and, in some ways, better than what LinkedIn Recruiter provides!

Like what you read? Check out our new eBook “Sourcing Hacks”, coming out shortly, available for pre-order here. It is full of “hacks” like these undocumented operators and will help your sourcing productivity for sure!



Three More Operators!

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I have discovered three more never documented LinkedIn search operators, that work with any free or premium account, in addition to the ones highlighted in Two Undocumented LinkedIn Search Operators.

The first one is industry:, with the possible values listed in Industry Codes. Example:


searches for people in Accounting.

While the advanced people search dialog does include industries, the operator provides a way to look for an OR of industries or exclude industries from the search. For example,

NOT industry:104

excludes people in Staffing and Recruiting from the search.

The second one is seniority:, with the possible values ranging from 1 to 10, listed in Seniority Codes. Example:


finds VP-level members.

Note that, for some members, LinkedIn has assigned more that one seniority levels (I guess, it felt undecided 😉). For example, this search

seniority:”5 6″

will find members who are both at a Manager and Director levels.

The third operator is spokenlanguage: – quite useful when sourcing for bilingual or diversity members. Example:



P.S. Like what you read? Check out our new eBook “Sourcing Hacks”, coming out shortly, available for pre-order here – it is full of “hacks” like these undocumented operators 😉.

Look Up Contacts with Outlook Online

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It’s been a while since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn. We have been anticipating some sort of integration between MS Office and LinkedIn, but nothing major has happened. (The “Resume Assistant” in Microsoft Word is a joke! All it does is make the users to add details to their profiles) However, we can now look up contacts (email addresses) in Outlook Online. Here is how.

  1. Connect Outlook Online with LinkedIn: log into your Office account online if you have a subscription – if not, create a new account at (it’s free). Your email must be registered on LinkedIn.
  2. Upload the list of email addresses, that you would like to cross-reference, into your contacts.
  3. In, select a contact and the “LinkedIn” tab to see the profile!


Check out our latest presentation on LinkedIn – Overcoming LinkedIn’s Limitations.

X-Raying Bloomberg for Executives

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We have run quite a few Executive Sourcing projects in the last few months, searching for various CxO roles. While LinkedIn is always a site to search, I have found that many executives have “slim” profiles – or no LinkedIn profiles at all! has executive bios that we can find by X-Raying on Google. X-Raying can provide excellent results for those who search for executives.

First, how do we find what to put under the site: operator (for Bloomberg or any other site)? An easy query, searching by a common name, shows the profile URLs:

So, the X-Ray templates would be:

We can combine the site: searches with an OR. Here is an example search.

With several URLs to search, it makes sense to create a Custom Search Engine, looking in all of the above links. You can create your own or use this one:

If you are comfortable with advanced search operators (more:pagemap:…) in Custom Search Engines, note that the Bloomberg public profiles have the “Person” object and a rich internal structure that we can query. We can search specifically by job title, company, industry, school, and work location. (Since this is of little interest to most folks, I will leave out the details, but I’d be glad to explain, just message me.)

Taking advantage of the profiles’ structure, we have just added a Bloomberg Agent to Social List. (You need a subscription to use the tool).

The new Agent runs complex queries that most of us (including me) don’t feel like typing. Here is what the Agent looks like:

And here is an example search results export:


Tip: Find Contact Info for LinkedIn Profiles with Social List

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Are you using Lusha, Nymeria, ContactOut, Hunter, or other tools and Chrome extensions to find email addresses for LinkedIn profiles? The number of tools to find contact emails for LinkedIn profiles is diminishing, and some tools are raising prices. And, LinkedIn is increasingly watching for members to stay away from contact-finding Chrome extensions (see an excellent post from Josef Kaldec). Given all that, I am finding our tool Social List to be my go-to tool to find email addresses when I source. Since Social List uses Google’s Index to find profiles, I can be 100% sure that it is not affecting my LinkedIn account – it doesn’t even “touch” the LinkedIn site.

While the main Social List functionality is precise searching for matching profiles, the tool can be used to find email addresses for profiles you have already found. (You need to be subscribed).

Here is how.

Copy the URL of the profile in question into the Keywords field of the LinkedIn Agent. Select “Enrich Selected Results,” and Social List will show the email address (sometimes, more than one). Here is a screenshot illustrating the technique:

If you are not a Social List user yet, give it a try!

Two Undocumented LinkedIn Search Operators

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LinkedIn supports two search operators that they have never documented. There are no blog posts about the operators either; this is the first one. The operators are available in any basic or premium account.

Using the operators would substantially increase your productivity while searching. Take a look.

Undocumented Operator skills:

Syntax: skills:<skill-name>

Example: skills:boolean
(finds people with the skills “Boolean Search,” “Boolean Searching”).

Interestingly, searching for

skills:”<word1> <word2> <word3>…”

looks for each of the words somewhere in the skills (but not for a phrase). It’s and AND search within the skills.

The ability to search for skills (which is only “officially” available in LinkedIn Recruiter) helps us to create more targeted searches.


Undocumented Operator headline:

Syntax: headline:<keywords>

Example: headline:Python

Note: this is only available in a personal account (not in LinkedIn Recruiter!) I have a Recruiter subscription but I search this way in the personal account and get extra leads.

Like skills:, headline: searches for each keyword to be present, not a phrase.

Uses of the headline search are multiple. For example, we can search for members who are open to new opportunities, or hiring, or those who have listed a specific skill in the headline, for example, Python.

Like the tip? We will be sharing many more Sourcing tips and techniques in the upcoming webinar Overcoming LinkedIn’s Limitations on Tuesday, October 23rd. Seating is limited, sign up now!

Edited: our October webinar is sold out! We have scheduled a repeat in November. Sign up early!

Work Around Restricted Boolean on LinkedIn

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As so many of you have encountered, using more than a few ANDs or ORs in a LinkedIn query now results in this screen:

(We can still use multiple NOT operators – those are not restricted). I wrote about the unfortunate restriction in a previous post.

Don’t feel like upgrading to a more expensive LinkedIn account? I have great news for you. You can stay with a basic account and work around the Boolean limitations.

AND Workaround

This one is easy. Just don’t use AND explicitly.

Java AND spring AND rest AND aws AND nosql AND “elastic search”  AND microservices doesn’t work, but

Java spring rest aws nosql “elastic search” microservices – does.

OR Workaround

The inability to use multiple OR statements seriously affects everyone who searches for professionals.

I have come up with a workaround that will return this functionality to you! You will be able to search for long OR statements without the restrictions.

Due to the sensitivity of the subject, I am not posting this hack publicly.

We have included the workaround, along with lots of other useful “hacks” (including some useful undocumented search operators and more) in the webinar Overcoming LinkedIn’s Limitations.