How to See Full Names of 3rd Degree Connections on LinkedIn

For a while, there was an interesting little method for revealing the full name of 3rd degree and group connections on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn has changed the “get introduced” functionality and UI for most people and effectively eliminated that method (albeit unintentionally, IMO).

Oh well – it was easy and fun while it lasted.

Fortunately, I’ve recently become aware of another way of revealing the full names of 3rd degree connections on LinkedIn with a less-than-premium account that I would like to share with you.

But before we get to that, I’d like to cover some basics as well as some things I have been noticing about LinkedIn – I believe they may be tinkering with free access profile visibility.

Oh, and if you’re on the fence about attending SourceCon in Atlanta next week, it’s shaping up to be the largest in SourceCon history, and you still have time to register and get a 10% discount using my SC12GC code.

LinkedIn Public Profile Search to View Full Names

Now that the nifty “get introduced” full name visibility trick is seemingly dead, people without LinkedIn Recruiter access can of course still grab one or more unique phrases from 3rd degree and group-only LinkedIn connections and throw them into Bing or Google to find their public profile and thus their full names.

For example, I can take the headline phrase and couple it with the location phrase from a LinkedIn search result…

 

 

…and enter this into Bing: “Senior Software Development Manager, IBM” “Ottawa, Canada Area”, and here’s what I get:

 

 

You can do the same thing with Google, but Google’s first result isn’t the profile we’re looking for – that’s why I favor Bing for this technique. Google seems to index all of the nooks and crannies of LinkedIn yielding “dirty” and irrelevant results when searching for LinkedIn profile word/phrase combinations.

Is LinkedIn Tinkering with Public Profile Visibility?

I am sure I am not alone in noticing changes to the standard LinkedIn X-Ray search results.

For example, while you could see the full names of 3rd degree and group-only connections after clicking on a search result even if you were logged into LinkedIn, now I am finding that if I am logged in, once I click on a Google or Bing LinkedIn site: search result, LinkedIn recognizes that I am not connected to the person at the 1st or 2nd degree and thus only shows me the first name and last name initial.

Here is a screenshot of my Google search and the result – the full name is displayed:

 

 

However, once I click on the search result, if I am logged into LinkedIn, I only see the first name:

 

 

I know for a fact this has not always the case – I’ve been training people on this for years and I’ve done this 1,000’s of times.

Big deal?

No – but I still find it interesting to notice changes like this because it means what we have all been wondering about (fearing?) may finally be coming – evidence that LinkedIn is working to limit or close off free access to LinkedIn data.

In fact, I’ve also been running into some seemingly random funny business with LinkedIn public profile URL’s. I have encountered a number of instances in which I’m using either Chrome or IE and I click on (or cut and paste) a public profile link, LinkedIn tells me that the profile is not found, when I know it does exist because I just looked at it.

For example here’s one I found while writing this post:

 

 

When I click on that link or cut and paste it in Chrome or IE, this is what I get:

 

 

So far, there is no pattern to it that I can tell – and I have only begun to notice this in that past few weeks.

I am not sure what it is indicative of, but wondered if anyone else has encountered this and might have some insight.

Using Alumni Search to View Full Names of 3rd Degree Connections on LinkedIn

Last week, Patrick Ryan, a former colleague with whom I stay in touch, sent me an email with something he had discovered on LinkedIn. I asked him if he minded if I wrote about it and he said no, so here we go.

If you scroll down your LinkedIn home page, you’ll find the “Just joined LinkedIn” section with Colleagues and Alumni.

If you click on the school name under Alumni, you’ll be taken to an attractive dashboard with some interesting information.

 

 

From here, you can change the years attended, show alumni that don’t show a graduation date, and of course search.

When you configure your search and see some 3rd degree connections without full names, this is what they will look like – first name only:

 

 

If you click on “Connect” and you’re using either Chrome, Firefox or Safari (not IE – sorry), you’ll get a pop up that will allow you to send the person an invitation, and it will also show the person’s full name.

 

 

Okay – I am sure some of you are thinking, “Cool – but this is extremely limited because I can only search alumni from my school.”

Sure, it’s limited, but let’s just say you can similarly search through any school that’s in the education section of your LinkedIn profile.

Oh, and each school as a school ID. For example, mine is 18570.

 

 

Final Thoughts

You don’t need to have a premium LinkedIn account to view any public profile and see the full names of people who are not 1st or 2nd degree connections.

However, it’s not safe to assume that the ways in which we can currently search for and view the information on LinkedIn profiles beyond our network will remain unchanged.

In fact, I believe we can expect LinkedIn to develop ways that limit the ability to find and view certain info on LinkedIn profiles for free – and why shouldn’t we? LinkedIn isn’t a non-profit, and just as any other for-profit company, it’s their prerogative to look for ways to make money and to reasonably limit giving away too much for free.

Will LinkedIn read this post and change the ability to view full names of 3rd degree connections via alumni search?

Yes, they will read this post (Hi LinkedIn team – special shout-out to the Ninja!).

Maybe they will do something to change the appropriate functionality.

If they do, I’m happy to have helped.

Oh – and be sure to check out the comments.  Several readers offered other ways of revealing the full names of 3rd degree connections on LinkedIn.

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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.

  • Dan Wills

    Hi Glen,

    There is another way to do this.  If you click the option to share a person’s profile with another LinkedIn user, the recipient will receive a message showing the person’s profile including their full name. 

    You can either do this with the assistance of a colleague or by setting up a LinkedIn profile for this purpose. 

    Hope this helps – if it’s not clear, let me know.

    Best Regards,Dan Wills  

  • http://twitter.com/TomaszDrabikAMS Tomasz Drabik

    Hi Glen, thank you for yet again an interesting post.

    I have used a very similar technique to discover names of private profiles. Since each profile has an unique ID I used this link:
     “http://www.linkedin.com/msgToConns?displayCreate=&connId=” (default *send message* to no user)
    I copied the ID of the profile that interests me from the URL and pasted the ID after the “=” sign. This gave me the name and 1st letter of surname. As a follow-up I had to use the X-ray technique you described here to search for current title and company on a public profile to see the full name.

    Following up on your thought about public profile visibility, another thing I noticed recently is that while X-ray searching for profiles on LinkedIn via Google or Bing and logged into the account – you are directed to a public profile view and you are visible on the person’s “who has viewed my profile list”, this is not the case once you log off.

  • http://twitter.com/recruiterblog Johnny Campbell

    Love that Alumni trick Glen, thanks for sharing. If you search the alumni for job title and employer, the full name pops up (I tested on both a free and business account). It appears that you cannot search an alumni unless you have that institution on your profile (I tried copying the unique id into the url but it bounced me out) but LinkedIn doesn’t ask for verification if you add new education to your profile (not that I would condone that type of stuff!). Very nice…..

  • Garycozin

    Great post as always Glen = thanks for keeping us up to date with all the LI changes! I have been using the way Dan suggested in these comments for quite some time now & it does work by sending a message to another LI user/connection & if you cc yourself when sending the Message you will see the full name.

    Another way is to open the 3rd connections profile, in the URL ‘remove’ everything right after the Linkedin ID #, then hit the PDF link on the profile & you will see the last name!Gary Cozin

  • Margaret LaCugna

    Fascinating, Glen, and thanks for your diligence! 

  • Cathy Ou

    Glen, there are other ways but I won’t reveal it here! Thanks!

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

    Thanks Dan! I’m familiar with the messaging method you mention- it works quite well! I had not ever really ventured into the Alumni search before, especially with Chrome or Firefox, so I wanted to share it with the masses.

    Thanks for sharing Dan!

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

    Thanks Johnny! I too tried using other school ID’s but also could not get them to work. I did have someone reply to me privately today mentioning that his team has heavily and effectively leveraged this approach with multiple universities, identified from the schools typically attended by employees of specific target companies. :)

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

    Thanks Gary! I personally can’t make much use of the messaging method because my # of connections makes it slow to pull up anyone to send the message to.

    The PDF reveal is an interesting hole – thanks for sharing!

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

    I never revealed the one method that worked like a charm until LI made an interface change – it worked for about a year or so.

    Now I am curious Cathy – I wonder if your other ways are ones in which I am familiar. :) Care to email me?

  • http://www.jobsboard.ie/ Ivan @Irishrecrutier

    Great post! Also great comments!

     

    Reading all this, I am just realising it must not be easy to make
    business decisions in LinkedIn. The more you open up the profiles, the faster the
    growth. In the same time the more open the profiles are the less recruiter packages
    are sold. So whatever you do there – you are risking something. I wouldn’t like
    to be in that hot seat! J

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

    I really liked Alumni way… never knew. Thanks Glen.

  • ka2

    Thanks Gary. I tested both but I don’t seem to be able to see the full name with the PDF method. The message sending method works but is indeed somewhat a bit awkward.

    Karim

  • Irina Shamaeva

    Glen,

    Nice post on the familiar topic! The PDF hole is interesting. The Alumni trick is nice too. I haven’t heard about either.I believe, Glen, that we discussed the sharing trick a long time ago. It still works like magic; it also works for people outside of your network, with no first and no last name displayed, and for every profile, no matter public or not.
    Sending messages never gets anywhere if you wait for names to show up; it’s the same for me. But you could instead use the link mentioned below and add a member ID; as an example, use my ID which is 1769200. http://www.linkedin.com/msgToConns?displayCreate=&connId=1769200
    Here is a shortcut for message sending: http://bit.ly/messagemembers  

    I am not sure it’s a change that public profiles have more info than views of profiles while you are logged in. I think it’s been this way for a long time (and is a twisted case in the world of deep web and surface web) . However, if I read it correctly, in your experience looking at a public profile links takes you directly into LI if you are logged in, skipping the public view with “View Full Profile” button. Is that true? That seems odd…I wonder why this may be happening. I am able to see the profile http://www.linkedin.com/pub/patrick-ryan/15/80a/613 in Chrome, Firefox and IE.Good luck at Sourcecon, by the way!
    Thanks,Irina
    P.S.If I am not mistaken, there *are* some changes in the public profiles (but I haven’t seen anything major). I’ve used the examples in the past contest on http://booleanstrings.ning.com/forum/topics/linkedin-profile-search-contest-mds-in-atlanta-and-a-webinar to show the changes.

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

    Thanks for the message shortcut Irina – I completely forgot about being able to do that! The messaging method definitely trumps the PDF method in that I’ve found that it sometimes doesn’t work for 3rd degree connections, and I have yet to get it to work on “private” profiles in some quick testing. I must admit though, I’m just not a fan of sending messages to myself or another account -maybe I’m lazy (or a speed freak), but I really enjoy the speed of Binging (or Googling, depending on the day) profile content to get public profiles.

    Yes – I have been skipped directly into LinkedIn from public profiles in a few cases, and I have also gotten messages that the profile doesn’t exist, even though it does, and can be found by searching from within LinkedIn. If I get the time, I will try to capture it happening on video, as it’s spotty. Sometimes I get the “Sorry, that profile doesn’t exist,” and then I can try again later and get to it. I just tried the Patrick Ryan profile (from France) and I am not having any trouble with it today.

    On another note, have you come across the message of “You and this LinkedIn user don’t know anyone in common”? I am not sure if this will work for you (if you DO have someone in common with this profile), but tell me what you see when you click here: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=52770544&authType=name&authToken=Bpfj&locale=en_US&pvs=pp&trk=ppro_viewmore

    Maybe that’s normal, but I’ve only recently begun to encounter that.

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

    Karim – can you comment with the URL of a 3rd degree profile you’re having trouble with?

  • Anonymous

    Seems normal; I also see “You and this LinkedIn user
    don’t know anyone in common” if I click 

     http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=52770544

    Want to know who this is? The person has 0 connections.
    It’s http://www.linkedin.com/pub/a-k/15/80a/614

     

    Sharing is also fast: you do not have to go check that other
    account with whom you share, or call the friend; the results is right there in
    your won “Sent” folder. J

  • ka2

    Sorry Glen, I tried with a random profile at that time and I don’t remember it anymore. But I tried again with other 3rd degree connections just now and it worked! Maybe I did something wrong the first time around (even if I have the feeling that I did exactly the same as just now)…
    Anyway, thanks to Gary for sharing this method and thanks to you Glen, for further digging into this, but also for the great posts I’ve been reading here for about 2 years now!Cheers,Karim

  • http://twitter.com/alexasamuels Alexa Samuels

    Glen, thanks for this. I thought I was losing my mind when my Google searches stopped working (i.e. headline + first name + last initial). I’ll have to try some of the suggestions here. Nothing like a good game of cat and mouse….

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

    The act of sharing a profile may be fast, but I prefer not to have to go to my sent folder or my inbox (if I copy myself) to get the info – I get my results faster otherwise. :)

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

    Agreed! Although I must say I rarely get stumped by Binging or Googling a combo of profile info, but when I do, it is nice to have a plan B, C, D… :)

  • Patrick Ryan

    Very cool! I already had a dummy account set up to make sure certain things weren’t seen when making changes to my real profile; now I’ll just send these profiles to that account for viewing. 

  • Patrick Ryan

    I too can’t get it to work. Here is the URL cut down to the user ID that I’ve tried. 
    http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=96598790

  • Asaf Yaffe

    Yet another mind-opening post. Thanks a lot Glen!

  • ka2

    Hi Patrick,

    The person is also 3rd degree for me, I just tried by simply clicking
    your link and it worked. The generated PDF shows the full name.

    Karim

  • Patrick Ryan

    Just tried it again and it worked; not sure what’s going on. Thanks for the heads up!

  • http://twitter.com/LiamFTWI Liam FitzGerald

    I find that with this method, you don’t have to wait for it to arrive at a dummy (or colleagues) account – if you look in your sent items you can click on the link straight through to the profile in question.

  • http://www.amazeline.com/ aloydaleksy

    I was looking for exactly same info you shared here. I’ll definitely follow your suggestion to know how to see full names of 3rd degree connections on LinkedIn. Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/mkerr_recruiter Matt Kerr

    Don’t forget to check the “Send Me a Copy” box.

  • Chris

    All the elements of a good post, if a little long winded. I was actually looking just to find a quick way of just listing 3rd connections by name and company. Nothing more, nothing less. Any ideas?

  • Gtalkteam2009

    Just click share and send the profile to anyone of your 1st degree contacts(you can create a dummy profile also) and go to sent items and click view profile for the last message you have sent….

  • Tomasz Drabik

    It seems LinkedIn is making changes to visibility of 3rd degree connections again.

  • Shalini

    I can Get last name of each and every candidate contact.