How to Use LinkedIn’s Advanced Operators as Search Agents

Posted by | February 21, 2011 | LinkedIn | 35 Comments

 

In January 2009, I wrote a feature about LinkedIn’s advanced operators. Two years later, I am still surprised that remarkably few people leverage the ability to bypass LinkedIn’s advanced search interface and “hand-code” search strings.

Before I demonstrate how you can use LinkedIn’s advanced operators as search agents, here is a quick refresher detailing the all of the advanced search operators:

 

You can use these operators in conjunction with standard keyword search terms in the people search box.

In this quick example, I am targeting profiles with a current title of engineer and a current company of Google:

 

When you look at the results, you can see the that not only was the search was executed as I intended, but my search terms and parameters (current title and current company) are properly configured on the left search rail:

 

 

With LinkedIn’s advanced search operators, you can search by current title, past title, title (current or past), current company, past company, company (current or past), school, country, zip code radius, industry, interested in, and recency of joining LinkedIn. Not everything you can do when using the advanced search interface, but quite a bit.

How to Catch People Who Just Created a LinkedIn Profile

While there are 90M+ people already on LinkedIn, that’s only slightly more than 1% of the nearly 7B people on the planet, so there are new people joining every day.

In fact, a new person joins LinkedIn every second!

Similar to setting up search agents on job boards such as Monster, Careerbuilder and Dice, you can configure searches to capture and notify you of results of people who have recently joined LinkedIn. It can be advantageous to be one of the first people aware of these individuals as they join.

Here is an example of a search targeting people who have joined LinkedIn in the past week who currently work at Google and live within 100 miles of Mountain View:

ccompany:google joined:w country:”united states” zip:94043 radius:100

Here are the results:

 

That worked beautifully.

It’s not surprising that I am not connected to many of these people, as they just joined LinkedIn. However, if I had a LinkedIn Recruiter account – I would be able to see their names. With a free account, I can search for their public profiles using Bing to discover their names and identify them, or you can apply your favorite unpublished technique to do the same thing.

After you run the search, you can save it so that you can be notified on a weekly basis of all new profiles created on LinkedIn of people who live within 100 miles of Mountain View, CA.

 

 

Then name and configure how often you want to get emailed results:

 

 

I must say I am surprised at how many people aren’t even aware of the ability to save 3 searches with a free account. You get progressively more with premium accounts – from 5 to 7 per week up to 10, 15, even 50 per day depending on the level of your account!

If you wanted to, you could even target people who joined LinkedIn in the last day (joined:d), or even since your last login (joined:login)!

For example, here is a search for all of the people who have joined LinkedIn in the past day that mention Java on their profile.

Save an Unlimited Number of LinkedIn Searches

What’s great about LinkedIn’s support of advanced search operators is that regardless of your level of account, you can “save” an unlimited number of pre-configured search strings in Notepad (or the program of your choice) that you can simply copy and paste and use whenever you like.

For example, if you wanted to stay on top of engineers at Facebook that mention Hadoop in their profiles, you could save this string and use it whenever you like to find new people as they join LinkedIn:

ccompany:facebook country:”united states” engineer hadoop

If you wanted to find employees of Facebook on LinkedIn who don’t have the title of “engineer” but do mention Hadoop, you could save and run this string:

ccompany:facebook country:”united states” hadoop -engineer

Did you catch that? To the best of my knowledge, it’s not documented that LinkedIn supports the minus sign as the NOT operator, but it definitely works.

Notice the left search rail:

You can also combine the – sign to exclude entire parenthetical statements

ccompany:facebook country:”united states” -(recruiting OR recruiter OR marketing OR sales OR “business development”)

Bonus!

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About Glen Cathey

Glen Cathey is a sourcing and recruiting thought leader with over 16 years of experience working in large staffing agency and global RPO environments (>1,000 recruiters and nearly 100,000 hires annually). Starting out his career as a top producing recruiter, he quickly advanced into senior management roles and now currently serves as the SVP of Strategic Talent Acquisition and Innovation for Kforce, working out of their renowned National Recruiting Center with over 300 recruiters. Often requested to speak on sourcing and recruiting best practices, trends and strategies, Glen has traveled internationally to present at many talent acquisition conferences (5X LinkedIn Talent Connect - U.S. '10, '11, '12, Toronto '12, London '12, 2X Australasian Talent Conference - Sydney & Melbourne '11, '12, 6X SourceCon, 2X TruLondon, 2X HCI) and is regularly requested to present to companies (e.g., PwC, Deloitte, Intel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup, etc.). This blog is his personal passion and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone other than himself.

  • http://twitter.com/EricJaquith Eric Jaquith

    Has anyone discovered the operator name for profile last updated? I’m not that interested when someone joins. I am very interested when someone adds new data to their profile, changes to a different city, or starts and new job. I could save a search and see only the new profiles that have been modified since yesterday. It is my understanding that the LinkedIn API that developers have does handle this date. Contact me if you find it?

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  • http://www.careeroutlook.in/ Career Outlook

    very useful post, Linkedin is very useful business networking tool :)

  • http://booleanstrings.wordpress.com Irina Shamaeva

    Hi Eric,

    Catching recently updated profiles would be a nice feature – pointing in many cases to people thinking of starting a job hunt. :)
    It seems that LinkedIn has abandoned the advanced language, the main reason, I am guessing, being that different levels (facets) of search have since become available to different levels of accounts. As far as I can tell, the list of operators Glen is presenting here is not linked to from the site any more. (The last two last operators in the list are only otherwise available from paid accounts.) I believe that facets developed later in the LI history have no matching advanced syntax expressions.
    On another note, it is pretty interesting to browse the developer site maintained by their programmers; you can learn quite a few things even if you are not technical.

  • http://twitter.com/Sarangbrahme Sarang Brahme

    That’s a great cheat-code Glen. I hope LI guys are not seeing this – please hide :)

    I wonder if we can put results page into RSS feed? Also, not sure whether we can search for multiple companies with OR using this method – my search results failed.

    We can find out a date when LI page was created but not when it is updated. It would’ve been a great feature.

    We all are really thinking LI on the same lines of a job board isn’t it….. Reading Glen’s blog is like a treat.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Eric – I haven’t found an operator to search by last update, although you know I will be looking to accomplish that task. While convenient, I’m not so interested in hints that someone might be looking for a job, because you can recruit anyone, regardless, IMO.

    Irina – the chart exists. Scroll to the bottom of this page: http://learn.linkedin.com/linkedin-search/ All of the operators work for me – give them a try.

    Sarang – don’t think we can convert the LinkedIn search to an RSS feed. However, you can search for multiple companies with an OR statement. For whatever illogical reason, the only way it works is if you don’t use parentheses and use quotes instead, like this – ccompany:”facebook OR google” country:”united states” You can’t copy and paste that string because my blog alters the quotes. Build that string in LinkedIn or Notepad and it works.

  • http://twitter.com/GlenCathey Glen Cathey

    Eric – I haven’t found an operator to search by last update, although you know I will be looking to accomplish that task. While convenient, I’m not so interested in hints that someone might be looking for a job, because you can recruit anyone, regardless, IMO.

    Irina – the chart exists. Scroll to the bottom of this page: http://learn.linkedin.com/linkedin-search/ All of the operators work for me – give them a try.

    Sarang – don’t think we can convert the LinkedIn search to an RSS feed. However, you can search for multiple companies with an OR statement. For whatever illogical reason, the only way it works is if you don’t use parentheses and use quotes instead, like this – ccompany:”facebook OR google” country:”united states” You can’t copy and paste that string because my blog alters the quotes. Build that string in LinkedIn or Notepad and it works.

  • Cathy Ou

    Hi Glen,

    Great post! I have printed this article out & added it to my “textbook.” :)

    You mention above: “With a free account, I can search for their public profiles using Bing to discover their names and identify them, or you can apply your favorite unpublished technique to do the same thing.”

    Can you please share how to find the profile via Bing? I have a free LinkedIn account and I find some candidates that are a match for some of the reqs I am working but they aren’t part of any groups (so I can’t join the groups to try to send them a message that way) OR they just can’t be contacted unless I am a paid subscriber of LinkedIn.

    Thanks!

    Cathy

  • http://www.facebook.com/mdhepler Matthew David Hepler

    Glen,

    Thanks for all the great wisdom. Its funny that you posted this because I asked a question sort of about this about a week ago.

    I came across the issue of needing a certain skill (Microstrategy) but needing to avoid the company MicroStrategy because of false positives on LinkedIn. I have figured out how to do it through the Advanced Search on linkedin (NOT Microstrategy) but what about the Boolean String equivalent? This is a string that a co worker and I came up with that has been the most successful.

    site:linkedin.com “baltimore, maryland area” powered microstrategy NOT (current near:4 microstrategy)

    Any advice for isolating the company but still searching for the keyword in the profile?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mdhepler Matthew David Hepler

    Cathy,

    When I had a free account I would send an email directly to their work email. With having no inmails this method worked great, here is how…

    I would look at their profile to see where they are currently working and then to see what the company URL is (aol.com, constellation.com, linkedin.com). I would than take this information to Bing and type in (email near aol.com) When the results come up I would scan the descriptions to find something like (mhepler@aol.com) this would tell me the email format that the company uses. With this information you can send the individual an email directly to their work email account.

    You may say, “I don’t want to be intrusive!” In the 100 emails I have sent to a work email only 1 was upset about it. Others went through the hiring process. This method is also not full proof, but I have acquired a word document with 30+ company email formats from it.

    Hope this helps!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mdhepler Matthew David Hepler

    Actually this one is working!

    site:linkedin.com “baltimore, maryland area” powered “microstrategy” -ccompany: “Microstrategy”

  • Cathy Ou

    thanks Matthew! this is very helpful!

  • John

    you can also often search *@(company.com) or whatever their company URL is.

  • Laurie DesAutels

    Eric,
    There is a new feature on your LinkedIn homepage right below share an update. It is dark orange and says “new” search updates. You can create a string as simple as “updated job title” and save the search once your results appear. I do not think it will alert you but I honestly just discovered it the other day and still testing :) Laurie DesAutels

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Sarang – don’t think we can convert the LinkedIn search to an RSS feed. However, you can search for multiple companies with an OR statement. For whatever illogical reason, the only way it works is if you don’t use parentheses and use quotes instead, like this – ccompany:”facebook OR google” country:”united states” You can’t copy and paste that string because my blog alters the quotes. Build that string in LinkedIn or Notepad and it works.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Irina – the chart exists. Scroll to the bottom of this page: http://learn.linkedin.com/link…/ All of the operators work for me – give them a try.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Eric – I haven’t found an operator to search by last update, although you know I will be looking to accomplish that task. While convenient, I’m not so interested in hints that someone might be looking for a job, because you can recruit anyone, regardless, IMO.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Cathy – thanks for reading!

    The easiest way to explain/see how to use Bing to search LinkedIn can be found here: http://www.booleanblackbelt.com/2010/12/the-big-deal-about-bing-for-sourcing-and-recruiting/

    Please let me know if that helps. Thanks Cathy!

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Matthew,
    The string you and your coworker came up with definitely works, with some limitations. For example, here is a result of someone who works at Microstrategy currently, and the result is returned because the company name is 5 words away. http://bit.ly/fN0EaX

    If you chose to extend to NOT (current near:4 microstrategy) – that could bleed over into the “Past” line and eliminate some good results.

    One idea is to prevent any results from being returned of anyone who has ever worked at Microstrategy. We can try to do this by eliminating the phrase “at Microstrategy” because that is how LinkedIn formats work experience at the top of profiles – “TITLE at COMPANY.”

    For example:
    site:linkedin.com “baltimore, maryland area” powered microstrategy -”at Microstrategy”

    Results: http://bit.ly/ibdywR

    Of course, that could also eliminate people who have worked for Microstrategy in the past, but not currently. Interestingly, the above search allows past but not current employees of Microstrategy to show up in results.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Matthew, your use of -ccompany should not work in Bing, or at least not be processed properly, because ccompany is a LinkedIn advanced operator, so I am not sure what Bing is doing with it. Oddly enough, it does seem to clean up the results somewhat, although I must admit I am not sure how.

    However, some people who currently work at Microstrategy do slip into the results – see “Thomas” at the bottom of these results http://bit.ly/hfnvDC

  • John-lui

    Glen, thanks for your contributive sharing, again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mdhepler Matthew David Hepler

    It seems I might have unearthed something? I am going to try strings with the other LinkedIn Advanced Operators to see if any of those work positively as well.

  • Laurie DesAutels

    Yes – Good point Glen. Thanks for all of your hard work creating this blog post – !

  • Eric Patki

    I would love to see real life stats on what % of employees (in a certain organization or broadly speaking in a certain industry vertical) get hired thru LinkedIn alone vis-a-vis most traditional but still domineering sourcing methods such as employer’s internal reference programs and corporate website job postings

  • Joe Allen

    What about setting up a google alert?

  • Thomas A

    Within a given company’s profile in LinkedIn, there is a host of newly hired individuals. I am wondering if it is possible to capture this information in a broader manner…

    Is it possible to uncover new hires across specific parameters such as a handful of named companies, a certain job title or perhaps industry?

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  • Detwilzl

    Did you ever find this out?

  • Chris

    i think the joined: operator no longer works.

  • Vien Nguyen

    Hi, is there a linkedin advanced operator for the “education” section of profiles?

  • Lem

    Have you found that the – or NOT operator doesn’t work in the Title filter?  I’ve done multiple searches where I, for example, included -”front-end” and the results include folks with Front-End in their title.  Frustrating.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Lem,
    Are you referring to using the -/NOT operator with the Advanced Operators, such as ctitle? If so, it does actually work.

    For example:
    java ctitle:’-front end’

    Results:
    http://linkd.in/s92yO0

    The -/NOT functionality definitely works in the title field.

    When I used -”front end” in the title field and selected “current” – it worked just fine. I also added -recruiter.

    For example:
    http://linkd.in/solCH7

    Thanks for commenting – let me know if those links don’t work for you, or if you have additional questions.

  • Crystal

    This is all such useful information! If I need to find an iOS engineer, keywords: objective-c, xcode, cocoa, Three20 that have an app in the appstore and live within 100 miles of 94107 w/ at least 2 years of experience what would you suggest? I have been using ” iOSDevCamp OR iOS OR objective-c OR “mobile developer” OR “app store” OR “app store” OR “Apple App Store” OR “Best mobile application” OR xcode OR cocoa OR Three20″ +United States, within 100 mi (160 km) of 94107. If anyone has had luch with a great iOS search string please let me know.

  • Steve Kravitz

    This does not work. I put -”LPL Financial” in each of the following fields, resulting in ZERO results returned, not all results EXCEPT for LPL Financial: Keywords, Company.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Glen Cathey

    Steve,

    Is that all you entered, -”LPL Financial”? LinkedIn doesn’t like an exclusionary-only search. All you have to do is enter some other keywords. For example, I targeted software engineers and used -”LPL Financial” in the keyword and company fields and got results: http://linkd.in/10StpdH