x-ray search

Some Very Interesting Google / LinkedIn X-Ray Search Results

Posted by | Google, LinkedIn, x-ray search | 7 Comments

 

While I was writing last week’s post in which I explored using Google to X-Ray search within specific LinkedIn groups, I decided to perform some general X-Ray search syntax testing to challenge some assumptions, as well as to compare X-Ray results to LinkedIn Recruiter results.

I notice quite a few folks seem to use the “people you know” phrase when using Google to search LinkedIn, and I wanted to see if it was better than other phrases/techniques for isolating LinkedIn profiles and eliminating non-profile false positive results.

I ran 4 searches that were suitably limiting to get a manageable number of results back to back, only changing one aspect of the each search – how to target profiles and eliminate non-profile results:

  1. site:linkedin.com -pub/dir “location * new york city area” sqoop pig hive
  2. site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub -dir “location * new york city area” sqoop pig hive
  3. site:linkedin.com “people you know” “location * new york city area” sqoop pig hive
  4. site:linkedin.com “you know” “location * new york city area” sqoop pig hive

I scraped the total results from each search and sorted them in Excel so I could compare them for any variations.

When you look at the chart below, you’ll notice there is very little difference between the 4 different X-Ray searches, but the fact that there are differences at all is interesting. While the searches only vary from 22 to 24 unique results – 2 is 9% of 22. Also, notice that some searches have results that others don’t and one search had duplicate results (“people you know”) while none of the others did.

LinkedIn Google X-Ray Search 4 comparison

LinkedIn Recruiter vs. Google X-Ray Search

When I ran a [sqoop pig hive] keyword search in LinkedIn Recruiter and selected a location of “Greater New York City Area,” I got 48 results – 2X or 100% more than the best Google X-Ray search above.

LinkedIn Recruiter Sqoop Pig Hive New York

This is proof positive that when you X-Ray search LinkedIn, you are only finding a fraction of the results available.

Also, searching for [“location * new york city area”] does in fact find people who have a different location phrase on their profile that is included within LinkedIn’s “greater new york city area,” so this cannot explain the differences in results between LinkedIn Recruiter and Google X-Ray searching.

LinkedIn Location Phrase NJ in NY Greater

LinkedIn X-Ray Search Results Can Be Inconsistent

Although this was only a quick experiment, I noticed that some of my results changed from search to search, with the exact same search. Here’s an example:

LinkedIn back to back X-Ray searches

Granted, that’s a small difference – 1 result out of 23 – but the fact that you can get different results from the same search within 5 minutes is a bit disturbing. It also certainly makes performing and replicating these kinds of tests challenging.

Google Can See Some Things You Can’t (at first)

When I noticed Giri’s profile popping up in the second search above, I decided to check it out.

I clicked on his profile link and noticed he is a 3rd degree connection, and because I was logged into LinkedIn, it wouldn’t show me his full profile and I could not confirm that all of my search terms (sqoop, pig, hive) were all there.

I decided to type his name into LinkedIn and pull up his profile – then I checked for my keywords. I noticed sqoop wasn’t there.

Here’s all I could see in his skills – even though it appeared as though I was looking at his full profile, I clearly wasn’t – otherwise sqoop would have to be present.

LinkedIn Skills Sqoop Public Profile Not Present

I checked his profile out in Recruiter and could see all of his skills, including sqoop.

Sqoop in Skills LinkedIn

I then tried to view Google’s cached result for Giri, but for some reason I consistently got an error and could not view it:

Sqoop crash LinkedIn X-Ray Google Result

I then tried another person’s profile and successfully viewed this cached result, but alas, sqoop was still nowhere to be found via CTRL-F.

Confused for a moment, I right-clicked on the cached result and proceeded to view the page source. Lo and behold, sqoop was hiding in there in the “miniprofile-container jellybean” as an “extra skill:”

Google LinkedIn Cached Result Sqoop Page Source Code

Now that I had found my search term, I went back to inspect the cached page to see where sqoop could possibly be hiding. I noticed “View All (50) Skills” was clickable – so I clicked it, and all of the skills were then displayed, including sqoop.

Google LinkedIn Cached Result Keyword Not Visible

Google LinkedIn X-Ray Cached Result All Skills Sqoop

Full Location vs. Partial Location Phrase Searching

I then decided to run another 4 searches back to back – the same ones as above, but this time I put the full location phrase in the search by adding the word “greater” – [“location * greater new york city area“]

  1. site:linkedin.com -pub/dir “location * greater new york city area” sqoop pig hive
  2. site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub -dir “location * greater new york city area” sqoop pig hive
  3. site:linkedin.com “people you know” “location * greater new york city area” sqoop pig hive
  4. site:linkedin.com “you know” “location * greater new york city area” sqoop pig hive

Once again I scraped the total results from each search and sorted them in Excel so I could compare them for any variations.

When you look at the chart below, you should notice:

  • All searches returned more results than those above – 5, 5, 1 and 4 respectively
  • [-pub/dir] and [site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub -pub/dir] outperformed [“people you know”] and [“you know”]
  • [-pub/dir] and [site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub -pub/dir] both returned 1 false positive result of a job
  • For some reason [site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub -pub/dir] returned quite a few duplicate results when combined with [“location * greater new york city area”] vs. [“location* new york city area”]
  • When de-duped, [site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub -pub/dir] returned the same search results as [-pub/dir]
  • “people you know” had the least number of results (again)

LinkedIn X-Ray Search Full Location Phrase 4 search results comparison

Final Thoughts

From my very basic testing it appears that using the full LinkedIn location phrase, e.g. [location * greater new york city area”] is important for maximum inclusion, even though the asterisk in [location * new york city area”] should “cover” the word “greater.”

You may want to reconsider using the phrase “people you know” in your LinkedIn X-Ray searches to target profiles, as both of my tests showed it had the worst performance compared to other phrases/syntax.

Interestingly, simply using “you know” works at least as well as “”people you know,” and in fact outperformed “people you know”  – at least in my quick and dirty comparison tests.

[-pub/dir] appears to work as well as, and in some cases better than, [site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com -dir].

As I’ve implored many times before, please don’t just copy and paste other people’s search syntax – it’s easy and it may seem painless, but there can be consequences, such as getting fewer result than you could otherwise.

Please experiment more! Yes, putting even this minor experiment together was quite tedious – at least the results scraping, formatting and comparison – but as you can see, some discoveries were made that likely could never have been had I not painstakingly compared different searches back to back.

Finally, you certainly can’t find everyone on LinkedIn through X-Ray searching – you could be missing up to and even potentially more than half of the LinkedIn profiles that actually exist, for the reasons I detailed thoroughly in the middle of this post.

Using Google to Search for People in Specific LinkedIn Groups

Posted by | Google, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn Search, x-ray search | 8 Comments

In this post, I am going to share with you the journey I took and the discoveries I made while investigating the answer to a Boolean search request for help I recently came across online about using -dir in a Google X-Ray search of LinkedIn. Some of you may enjoy and appreciate seeing my methodology, others will likely learn a thing or two about using Google to search for people in specific LinkedIn groups, and I’ll remind you of a few reasons why you can’t find everyone on LinkedIn using Google, Bing or any search engine other than LinkedIn’s.

Here’s the original search that was shared in the request for help:

site:linkedin.com “Front end developers group” (.Net |dot Net) Greater Boston Area) -dir -job -jobs -sample -samples -template -resume service -resume writers -resume writing

I was going to quickly answer with a cleaned-up search string, but what really caught my attention was that he was trying to target folks in a specific LinkedIn group.

Now, I have a LinkedIn Recruiter license and I don’t often X-Ray LinkedIn to find specific group members, so I poked around a bit on the topic and found this little gem posted by Balazs, my former partner in world sourcing domination, back in 2011:

Here’s the sample string Balazs offered: site:linkedin.com inurl:(in | pub) “logo Boolean strings” -inurl:dir

I used his search and noticed the total number of results  was very low (only 2 pages) and also that there were many false positive, non-profile results. It was clear that much has changed since Balazs wrote the above post nearly 3 years ago and that, among other things, “logo GROUP NAME” no longer works as it once used to.

LinkedIn Group X-Ray search 1

As such, I decided to take a look into one of the actual profile results and view the cached version to see what Google was hitting on.

Cached view option

Then I right clicked to viewed the page’s source:

Here’s what I saw after using CTRL-F to search for the word “Boolean:”

You can see that the the logo image is followed by the phrase “Boolean Strings – the Internet Sourcing Community logo.”

Here’s the specific piece of code:

<img src=”http://m.c.lnkd.licdn.com/media/p/8/000/2be/00f/059184c.png” width=”60″ height=”30″ alt=”Boolean Strings – the Internet Sourcing Community logo” />

So, in order to leverage that specific format/order of words, I constructed a quick search targeting the LinkedIn group that the person from the original question that caught my eye was trying to target, which was the Front End Developers group, using “Front End Developers Group logo” in the string:

site:linkedin.com “front end developers logo” (C# |.Net) “location * Greater Boston Area” 

Google estimates 83 results:

However, you should never pay attention to Google’s “About XX” results. If you click to page 2, you can see there are really only 11 results.

I then decided to check LinkedIn Recruiter looking for people who live in the Greater Boston Area and either mention C# or .Net, and, using LinkedIn’s brilliant Any Group functionality, I searched for members of the Front End Developers Group.

Surprise, surprise – I got 11 results:

However, while the number matches between Google and LinkedIn, the people do not.

Interesting, yes?

That opens up a whole different can of worms, so to speak.

Google is not an All Seeing Eye

Keep in mind that people have the option to not show the logo of a group they’re in on their LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn Group Settings Visibility

If someone chooses not to display the group logo on their profile, then you won’t be able to use Google to find people in the manner demonstrated above presumably because the logo (and associated logo phrase) won’t be on their public profile. If it’s not there to be “seen” by Google, you can’t retrieve it.

Additionally, let’s not forget that:

1. Some people’s LinkedIn profiles are invisible to search engines which means you can’t X-Ray search them. People can choose to make their public profile “visible to no one” (see the image below for LinkedIn public profile content settings), meaning their profiles are not crawlable/indexable by search engines and thus cannot be retrieved.

2. Even if people choose to make their public profile “visible to everyone,” if they select “Basics,”  the only things that LinkedIn allows search engines to “see” are a person’s name, industry, location and number of recommendations. That means you can’t retrieve their profiles if you search for anything beyond their name, industry, and location. These folks could actually display group logos on their profiles, but searching for group logos won’t retrieve them because LinkedIn isn’t allowing search engines to “see” them.

3. Even if someone chooses to make their public profile visible to everyone and they don’t select “Basics,” they can still pick and choose from a long list of things that can or cannot be “seen” by search engines. Anything a person decides to not make visible can’t be found/retrieved with Google, Bing, etc., – this can include groups, skills, summaries, current and past positions, and more.

Another Way to X-Ray Search for and Target LinkedIn Groups

While writing this post, I stumbled across a specific question about how to use a Boolean search in Google to target members of a specific LinkedIn group. Lois Grimshaw responded to the question, and I noticed that she took a different approach than using the “GROUP NAME logo” phrase – she used “logo * GROUP NAME.” I added java to the search to get the results down to a more manageable number for testing:

site:linkedin.com “people you know” “logo * Ernst & Young Employees and Alumni” java

I scrolled to the last page of results to see that Google returned 461 results:

Googe X-Ray LinkedIn Group

I then decided to run the same search, but use my “GROUP NAME logo” phrase format, shortening it to “Young Employees and Alumni logo,” because there isn’t any other group that uses the same specific phrase, there is actually no need to include “Ernst &.” I also happen to be a fan of minimalist strings.

site:linkedin.com “people you know” “Young Employees and Alumni logo” java

That search returned more results – 496.

Google X-Ray LinkedIn Group

In case you were curious, I decided to also test this search format:

site:linkedin.com “people you know” “Ernst * Young Employees and Alumni logo” java – 480 results.

I then decided to check on LinkedIn using my Recruiter license – 735 results.

For the many reasons I listed above, I wasn’t surprised to find significantly more people using LinkedIn’s search than I did using Google.

Group Search: Asterisk vs. Straight Phrase

I decided to go back to my original Front End Developers group search and use Lois’s “logo * GROUP NAME” search approach to see how the results differed from my simple “GROUP NAME logo” phrase search:

site:linkedin.com “logo * front end developers” (C# |.Net) “location * Greater Boston Area” 

If you got to page 2, you can see that the search returns a total of 15 results, which is 4 more than my original search.

Works better, right?

Not so fast – in this case, using the asterisk allowed additional groups to get returned, such as the Chicago Front-End Web Developers group…

LI Group Logo 1

…and the Front End Web Developers – CA group.

LinkedIn Group Logo 2

One could argue that scooping up some additional groups is a good thing, and in this case, that is actually true (both folks live in Boston even though the groups are for locations other than Boston).

However, it’s easy to see that using the asterisk in a group-targeting search can have unintended consequences, and it’s not difficult to imagine scenarios in which irrelevant results could be returned.

Unique LinkedIn Group Name Search

Lastly, I’d like to point out that if the name of the LinkedIn group you’re interested in searching for is unique, you may not even need to use the word “logo” in your search.

For example – all 3 of these searches return 27 pages of results:

No mention of logo:

site:linkedin.com “boolean strings – the Internet Sourcing Community” “location * greater atlanta” “people you know” – 27 pages of results

“GROUP NAME logo”

site:linkedin.com “boolean strings – the Internet Sourcing Community logo” “location * greater atlanta” “people you know” – 27 pages of results

“logo * GROUP NAME”

site:linkedin.com “logo * boolean strings – the Internet Sourcing Community” “location * greater atlanta” “people you know”27 pages of results

The Boolean Search Bottom Line(s)

1. Be curious! Don’t just copy, paste and implicitly trust other people’s search strings – take the time to tinker with them to understand why and how they work (or don’t!), and to improve upon/simply them.

2. Don’t pay any attention to an Internet search engine’s estimate of the number of results on page 1- always navigate to the last page of results to get the real number, especially when comparing alternative search strings.

3. Always, always, always inspect search results below the surface and look for patterns to make sure your searches are working precisely the way you intended. If they’re not, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn by tweaking your searches and watching how the volume of your results varies and how your results get more or less relevant, and specifically why.

4. There are often many different ways of achieving the same search / information retrieval / sourcing goals – very seldom are Boolean search strings “right” or “wrong,” although there can be a wide variance in the volume, relevance and inclusiveness between seemingly similar searches.

5. The “GROUP NAME logo” phrase search works well for using Google to search for people within specific LinkedIn groups, and for unique group names, you don’t even need to use the word “logo” in your search.

6. You can’t find everyone on LinkedIn using Google, Bing or any search engine other than LinkedIn’s. One could argue that perhaps some of the best people on LinkedIn are unfindable via X-Ray search because, as highly sought after passive talent, they’ve taken steps to limit what, if anything, Internet search engines can “see.”

 

100+ Free Sourcing & Recruiting Tools, Guides, and Resources

Posted by | Analytics, Artificial Intelligence Matching, Best Practices, Big Data, Bing, Boolean, Boolean Search Experiments, Boolean Search Tips and Tricks, Data Science, Diversity Sourcing, Email Verification, Extended Boolean, Facebook, Future of Sourcing and Recruiting, Google, Google Plus, Graph Search, Hidden Talent Pools, How-To's, Human Capital Data, Information Retrieval, Lean/JIT Recruiting, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Search, LinkedIn SEO, Moneyball Recruiting, Monster, Monster vs. Google, Myths and Misconceptions, Passive Sourcing and Recruiting, Predictive Analytics, Proximity Searching, Recruiting Technology, Referral Recruiting, Resume Aggregators, Resume Sourcing, Resume Sourcing vs. Cold Calling, Search Automation, Search Process, Semantic Search, Social Discovery, Social Media, Social Networking, Social Recruiting, Sourcing, Sourcing and Recruiting, Sourcing Automation, Sourcing Challenges, Sourcing Mistakes, Talent Communities, Talent Mining, Talent Warehouse, Training Sourcers and Recruiters, Twitter, x-ray search | 3 Comments

 

It’s been a LONG time coming, but I finally got around to updating my free sourcing & recruiting tools, guides and resources page where I now keep a current list of the best of my work all in one place for easy bookmarking and reference.

You can find it here on my main page:

 

Here is where you can find all of the best of my Boolean Black belt content all in one place - free sourcing and recruiting how-to guides, tools, presentations, and videos - be sure to bookmark it, and if you're feeling  friendly, tweet it, share it on LinkedIn and/or +1 it on Google Plus.  Many thanks!

 

Additionally, I thought I might as well put all of my best work all in one blog post as well – over 110 of my articles in one place for easy referencing!

My blog is a pursuit of passion and not of profit – if you’ve ever found anything I’ve written helpful to you, all I ask is that you tweet this out, share it on LinkedIn, like it on Facebook, or give this a +1 on Google.

Many thanks for your readership and support – please pay it forward to someone who can benefit.

Big Data, Analytics and Moneyball Recruiting

Big Data, Data Science and Moneyball Recruiting

The Moneyball Recruiting Opportunity: Analytics and Big Data

Human Capital Data is Sexy – and Sourcing is the Sexiest job in HR/Recruiting! 

Is Sourcing Dead? No! Here’s the Future of Sourcing

The End of Sourcing 1.0 and the Evolution of Sourcing 2.0

How to Find Email Addresses

How to Use Gmail and Rapportive to Find Almost Anyone’s Email Address

Social Discovery

2 Very Cool and Free Social Discovery Tools: Falcon and TalentBin

Talent Communities

The Often Overlooked Problem with Talent Communities

Lean / Just-In-Time Recruiting / Talent Pipelines

What is Lean, Just-In-Time Recruiting?

Lean Recruiting & Just-In-Time Talent Acquisition Part 1

Lean Recruiting & Just-In-Time Talent Acquisition Part 2

Lean Recruiting & Just-In-Time Talent Acquisition Part 3

Lean Recruiting & Just-In-Time Talent Acquisition Part 4

The Passive Candidate Pipeline Problem

Semantic Search

What is Semantic Search and How Can it Be Used for Sourcing and Recruiting?

Sourcing and Search: Man vs. Machine/Artificial Intelligence – My SourceCon Keynote

Why Sourcers Won’t Be Replaced By Watson/Machine Learning Algorithms Any Time Soon

Diversity Sourcing

How to Perform Diversity Sourcing on LinkedIn – Including Specific Boolean Search Strings

How to Use Facebook’s Graph Search for Diversity Sourcing

Social Recruiting

How to Find People to Recruit on Twitter using Followerwonk & Google + Bing X-Ray Search

Google Plus Search Guide: How to Search and Find People on Google Plus

Facebook’s Graph Search Makes it Ridiculously Easy to Find Anyone

How to Effectively Source Talent on Social Networks – It Requires Non-Standard Search Terms!

How a Recruiter Made 3 Hires on Twitter in Six Weeks!

Twitter 101 for Sourcers and Recruiters

Anti-Social Recruiting

How Social Recruiting has NOT Changed Recruiting

Social Recruiting – Beyond the Hype

What Social Recruiting is NOT

Sourcing Social Media Requires Outside the Box Thinking

Social Networking Sites vs. Job Boards

LinkedIn Sourcing and Recruiting

Sourcing and Searching LinkedIn: Beyond the Basics – SourceCon Dallas 2012

LinkedIn’s Dark Matter – Profiles You Cannot Find

How to Get a Higher LinkedIn InMail Response Rate

The Most Effective Way to X-Ray Search LinkedIn

LinkedIn Catfish: Fake Profiles, Real People, or Just Fake Photos?

LinkedIn Search: Drive it Like you Stole It – 8 Minute Video of My LinkedIn Presentation in Toronto

How to Search LinkedIn and Control Years of Experience

How to Quickly and Effectively Grow Your LinkedIn Network

How to View the Full Profiles of our 3rd Degree Connections on LinkedIn for Free

How to Find and Identify Active Job Seekers on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Profile Search Engine Optimization

Free LinkedIn Profile Optimization and Job Seeker Advice

Do Recruiters Ruin LinkedIn?

The 50 Largest LinkedIn Groups

How to See Full Names of 3rd Degree LinkedIn Connections for Free

How I Search LinkedIn to Find People

LinkedIn’s Undocumented Search Operator

Does LinkedIn Offer Recruiters any Competitive Advantage?

Have You Analyzed the Value of Your LinkedIn Network?

Where Do YOU Rank In LinkedIn Search Results?

What is the Total Number of LinkedIn Members?

Beware When Searching LinkedIn By Company Name

LinkedIn Sourcing Challenge

How to Search for Top Students and GPA’s on LinkedIn

What’s the Best Way to Search LinkedIn for People in Specific Industries?

18 LinkedIn Apps, Tools and Resources

LinkedIn Search: What it Could be and Should be

How to Search Across Multiple Countries on LinkedIn

Private and Out of Network Search Results on LinkedIn

How to “Unlock” and view “Private” LinkedIn Profiles

Searching LinkedIn for Free – The Differences Between Internal and X-Ray Searching

Sourcing and Boolean Search

Basic Boolean Search Operators and Query Modifiers Explained

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Challenging Google Resume Search Assumptions

Don’t be a Sourcing Snob

The Top 15 Talent Sourcing Mistakes

Why Boolean Search is Such a Big Deal in Recruiting

How to Become a World Class Sourcer

Enough with the Exotic Sourcing Already – What’s Practical and What Works

Sourcing is So Much More than Tips, Tricks, Hacks, and Google

How to Find, Hire, Train, and Build a Sourcing Team – SourceCon 2013

How to Use Excel to Automatically Build Boolean Search Strings

The Current and Future State of Sourcing

Why So Many People Stink at Searching

Is your ATS a Black Hole or a Diamond Mine?

How to Find Bilingual Professionals with Boolean Search Strings

How to Best Use Resume Search Aggregators

How to Convert Quotation Marks in Microsoft Word for Boolean Search

Boolean Search, Referral Recruiting and Source of Hire

The Critical Factors Behind Sourcing ROI

What is a “Boolean Black Belt?”

Beyond Basic Boolean Search: Proximity and Weighting

Why Sourcing is Superior to Posting Jobs for Talent

The Future of Sourcing and Talent Identification

Sourcing is an Investigative and Iterative Process

Beyond Boolean Search: Human Capital Information Retrieval

Do you Speak Boolean?

Is Recruiting Top Talent Really Your Company’s Top Priority?

Sourcing is NOT an Entry Level Function

Boolean Search Beyond Google

The Internet Has Free Resumes. So What?

How to Search Spoke, Zoominfo and Jigsaw for Free

Job Boards vs. Social Networking Sites

What to Do if Google Thinks You’re Not Human: the Captcha

What if you only had One Source to Find Candidates?

Passive Recruiting is a Myth – It Doesn’t Exist

Sourcing: Separate Role or Integrated Function?

The #1 Mistake in Corporate Recruiting

How I Learned What I Know About Sourcing

Resumes Are Like Wine – They Get Better with Age!

Why Do So Many ATS Vendors Offer Such Poor Search Functionality?

Do Candidates Really Want a Relationship with their recruiter?

Recruiting: Art or Science?

What to Consider When Creating or Selecting Effective Sourcing Training – SourceCon NYC

The Sourcer’s Fallacy

Sourcing Challenge – Monster vs. Google – Round 1

Sourcing Challenge – Monster vs. Google – Round 2

Do You Have the Proper Perspective in Recruiting?

Are You a Clueless Recruiter?

Job Boards and Candidate Quality – Challenging Popular Assumptions

When it Comes to Sourcing – All Sources Are Not Created Equal

Boolean Search String Experiments

Boolean Search String Experiment #1

Boolean Search String Experiment #1 Follow Up

Boolean Search String Experiment #2

 

How to Find People to Recruit on Twitter with Google & Bing

Posted by | Social Recruiting, Twitter, x-ray search | 5 Comments

 

With over 200 million active Twitter users, you cannot and should not ignore Twitter for sourcing and recruiting talent. Here's how to find the people you need on Twitter using good old fashioned X-Ray search via Google and BingThere are over 500 million Twitter accounts with over 200 million represent active users globally. I’d say that qualifies it as a solid source for finding and engaging talent for recruitment.

Of course, you can’t engage someone you haven’t found in the first place, and it’s been far too long since I’ve posted an update to how to search Twitter to find people – can you believe it’s been 4 years?!?

It was just the other day that I was hacking around on Google and Bing trying to find people on Twitter based on the text in their bio’s (yes, I am familiar with Follwerwonk – you’ll see why I prefer Google/Bing in a moment) and while I was getting some results, I wasn’t getting as many as I thought I should, nor were the results as “clean” as I would like.

That led me to a few minutes of tinkering with Bing and Google and I made a few discoveries with some simple pattern recognition that I would like to share that will help you quickly find your target talent pool on Twitter.

I use two main examples – mechanical engineers in South Africa and software engineers in Chicago – you can of course fork my Boolean strings to suit your specific sourcing needs replacing my titles and locations with yours.

How to X-Ray Search Twitter with Bing

While I do search for what people tweet about, I prefer to search for information contained in Twitter bio’s/profile summaries where people often identify themselves by what they do for a living (e.g., software engineering, accounting, etc.).

Twitter bio example

Furthermore, I prefer to search for bio data using Google and Bing, as there is no service/app I am aware of that indexes as many Twitter profiles as the 2 search engine titans. When I was using Bing to search for Twitter profiles the other day, I was looking for patterns in the results that were consistent across my desired results (actual Twitter profiles) and not my undesired results (Tweets and jobs/job posting-only accounts),

I noticed that Twitter profiles all mentioned “followers,” “tweets” and “following.”

Twitter Bing 2 

I simply added “tweets” to a basic X-Ray search of Twitter and a little bit of magic happened. For example: site:twitter.com tweets “south africa” “mechanical engineer” 

Twitter Bing 7

Here is an example of a positive hit in the search results:

Twitter bio example South Africa Mechanical Engineer

Getting back to the Bing search results – you probably noticed the top 3 results were for “jobs” accounts.

I did too.

I tried adding a simple -jobs to the string and for some reason it kills the search and returns 0 results.

Then I noticed that many of the job posting accounts have “jobs” in the title lines, so I simply added -intitle:jobs to the string.

site:twitter.com tweets “south africa” “mechanical engineer” -intitle:jobs

As you can see below, only 1 job posting account was able to sneak in – the rest are profiles of people.

Twitter Bing X-Ray Search mehanical engineers in South Africa

Simply overlooking the job spewing Twitter profiles is easy – I often advise people that an acceptable percentage of false positives is fine with any search. Trying to “over cleanse” results can have undesired consequences, such as eliminating valid results.

Always remember – every search you run both includes AND excludes qualified people/desired results.  Think before you tweak!

So how many results would Follerwonk return in a Twitter bio search for mechanical engineers in South Africa? 51 vs 88 for Bing.

FollowerWonk search mechanical engineer south africa 

While there are no doubt a few false positives in the Bing search, I didn’t have much trouble quickly finding people in the Bing search results that Followerwonk did NOT find.

This confirms my concern with any search app/service like Followerwonk – they simply don’t index as many Twitter profiles as the major search engines such as Bing or Google.

Feeling pretty good about what I had found using Bing to find mechanical engineers in South Africa, I tried searching for software engineers in a large U.S. city.

site:twitter.com tweets “software engineer” “Chicago” -intitle:jobs

As you can see, 6 out of 12 of the first page results are people, and most of the other Twitter accounts are for actual companies, not just job spamming accounts.

Twitter Bing X-Ray Search software engineers Chicago 1

Twitter Bing X-Ray Search software engineers Chicago 2

Moving to page 2 of the results, 100% of the results are individual profiles of software engineers. Sweet!

Twitter Bing X-Ray Search software engineers Chicago 3

Twitter Bing X-Ray Search software engineers Chicago 4 

How to X-Ray Search Twitter with Google

When I switched over to Google, I tried the same search I used on Bing:

site:twitter.com tweets “south africa” “mechanical engineer” -intitle:jobs

As you can see from just the first page of results, Google turns up more job posting accounts than Bing, which returned only 1 job posting account with the exact same search. Google only returned 4 real people in the results.

I find it interesting to see the differences between Google and Bing, especially when it comes to such a simple search!

Google X-Ray Search of Twitter for Mechanical Engineers in South Africa 1

I’ve been trying to tell people for years that Bing is a bit “cleaner” than Google with regard to searching sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. The results above offer further evidence to support my claim.

Anyhow, I looked at the results and noticed a pattern in the false positives (job spewing/non-people Twitter accounts) – most mentioned “status” or “statuses,” so I decided to exclude those terms from the URL’s.

site:twitter.com tweets “south africa” “mechanical engineer” -intitle:jobs -inurl:(status|statuses)

Much better, yes?

Moving on to the search for software engineers in Chicago, I went a little crazier and added a number of additional exclusions, as is often necessary with Google: site:twitter.com tweets “Chicago” “software engineer” -inurl:(search|favorites|status|statuses|jobs) -intitle:(job|jobs) -recruiter -HR -careers -job Only 1 sneaky job posting account was able to slip past this search:

Google X-Ray search of Twitter for Software engineers in Chicago

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Twitter search services like Followerwonk do a good job of making it easy to search for and find people on Twitter, but they don’t index as many Twitter profiles as the major search engines such as Google or Bing.

As such, if you’re only using Followerwonk or similar sites to find people on Twitter, you’re only finding some people – and certainly not all of the people that are actually on Twitter.

Also, when it comes to any information retrieval exercise, a little bit of pattern recognition goes a long way.

Hopefully I’ve provided you with at least a couple of new ways to search Twitter via Google and Bing to find people with specific skills/titles in your target locations while reducing false positive results. Grab these bits of Boolean and add your location and title/skills:

Bing

site:twitter.com tweets -intitle:jobs -recruiter [location] [keywords]

Google

site:twitter.com tweets -inurl:(search|favorites|status|statuses|jobs) -intitle:(job|jobs) -recruiter -HR -careers -job [location] [keywords]

Of course, you should always be careful when searching social media/networking sites – especially Twitter. People can and do use non-standard terms to describe themselves and their locations. For example, here’s a project manager in “Chitown” that you can’t find by searching for “Chicago:”

 

Twitter Chitown nonstandard language location

Also, we’re lucky that this person took the time to explain what a “code sensei” is – if they didn’t make mention of “software engineer,” no one could find this person by searching for that title:

Example of non standard Twitter title software engineer cose sensei 

Imagine how many people describe themselves and their locations with non-standard terminology and you have a glimpse into the hidden talent pool waiting for you to explore on Twitter, Google Plus and other social networking sites.

Happy hunting!

 

Google Plus Search Guide: How to Search & Find People on G+

Posted by | Google Plus, How-To's, Sourcing, x-ray search | 10 Comments

 

Do you want to know how to search for people on Google+ by title/skill, company, AND location?

If so, you’ve come to the right place – I’m going to show you 3 different ways to find people on Google+, and only one of them allows you to reliably search for and find people based on where they live:

  1. Google+’s built-in search functionality
  2. FindPeopleonPlus
  3. Using Google to X-Ray search Google+ (the most effective way!)

Back in 2011 I wrote a post about how to search Google+ to find people in specific locations. At the time, Google+ wasn’t a ghost town, but it wasn’t exactly well populated.

Nearly 2 years later, that’s no longer the case – Google+ now has over 500M profiles, 235M+ of them actively using Google+ features, and 135M+ people are active in the Google+ stream, solidly positioning Google+ in the upper tier of the “Big 4″ social recruiting sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter).

In fact, Google+ is now actually the #2 most actively used service online:

 

 

Google+ Native Search Functionality

While the massive change in users and activity has been great, one thing that unfortunately hasn’t changed is that Google+ still doesn’t have any built-in functionality to reliably search for people by specific location, which is critical to any sourcing and recruiting effort.

While Google+ has recently released a new “Find People” functionality, it doesn’t allow you to find people by where they are located.

What you can do, however, is search for people who work at specific companies using the “Find coworkers” search functionality and entering in any company.

Searching Google+ via Find Coworkers

 

Google+ Find Coworkers

 

For example, searching for “coworkers” at Rio Tinto (world leader in mining and processing):

 

 

Here are some of the results – all currently employed at the target company:

 

 

What you can’t do with this search functionality is search by people who work at specific companies in specific locations. which is critical to most sourcing and recruiting efforts.

However, if you’re new to Google+, you should be impressed by your ability to find anyone.

In this respect, Google+ is similar to Facebook’s Graph Search and unlike LinkedIn, as you don’t have to be connected to people or have them in Circles to find them and view their profiles, which is fantastic for sourcers and recruiters.

Searching Google+ via the Google+ Search Bar

Moving on to Google+’s search bar, you can try to find people in a specific location by simply typing in a city along with the rest of your query. For example, take a look at the results for a simple search such as “software engineer” “new york” “google”

 

 

Pretty decent results, right?

Don’t be fooled by appearances.

You can see from just that screenshot that not all of those people work at Google (although many do), and if you explore the results individually, you’ll find that they all mention “New York” somewhere (as they should, based on my search criteria) – but they don’t all live in New York.

For example, taking a closer look at one of the results:

 

 

You can see she attended school in New York, but her location isn’t revealed on her Google+ profile as it is for others.

Cross referencing her on LinkedIn shows she lives in California.

 

 

I’m not slamming Google+’s search bar – it does a decent job, but it doesn’t offer sourcers and recruiters the search precision they need.

Just to show you that Google+ isn’t only useful for sourcing and recruiting software engineers in the U.S., for my readers in Oz, here’s a simple search for people at Rio Tinto in Perth:

 

 

FindPeopleonPlus

Some of you may be aware of FindPeopleonPlus, which you can use to find people by employer, occupation, and location.

For example, here is a search for software engineers who work at Google and live in New York:

 

 

Looks great, right?

Unfortunately, according to their own website, FindPeopleonPlus has only indexed 45M users, which is now obviously a small portion of the total population of Google+ users.

The above search found 109 people, which isn’t too shabby. However, I’ll show you how to use Google to X-Ray search Google+ to find more people in a moment.

FindPeopleonPlus does have some great functionality – you can search for/sort people by gender (diversity sourcing!), education (specific university), employer, occupation, state, and city.

Interestingly, it appears they are busy building a “Career Platform” – I’m assuming this won’t be free because what they’ve already built can easily be used by recruiters to find candidates.

 

 

Hopefully they will speed up their performance – I noticed my searches lagged significantly. But maybe I’m just spoiled.

Oh, and I just had to share these two nuggets of gold I found when exploring FindPeopleonPlus for this post:

 

 

Matt’s got a sense of humor. Maybe Kelly can add the ability to search Google+ for people by employer, occupation and location like FindPeopleonPlus can.

Am I the only one that is confused and disappointed by the fact that the Google team hasn’t thought to offer a greater degree of search capability? Even Facebook’s Graph Search offers the ability to search by location, current and past employer, current title, etc.

I thought Google = search?

How to Find People on Google+ by Location: X-Ray Search

To this day, using Google to search Google+ remains the best way to reliably find people on Google+ by location.

Over time, Google+ has made multiple changes to Google+ profiles, so while my original (circa 2011!) Google+ X-Ray search still works, there are a few small adjustments I’ve made based on profile changes that allow even greater control over search results (thanks Google+ team!).

Back in 2011, when it came to listing locations on Google+ profiles, they were displayed in the “Places Lived” section.

“Places Lived” doesn’t exist anymore – it’s now just “Places,” and the word “lived” is no longer there to search for exactly as I did in the past.

However, location information from Google+ profiles is now often also displayed in the summary info at the top of a person’s profile, and it can be listed as “Lived in ________” or “Lives in _________” – you can search for either or both.

X-Ray Searching Google+ for “Lived in”

Here is an example of a Google X-Ray search of Google+ to find software engineers who work at Google in New York, using “lived in _______:”

site:plus.google.com “lived * new york” “software engineer” “works * google”

 

 

Here’s where it’s picking up the “Lived in,” which pulls from their list of locations on their profile.

 

 

Don’t be confused by or concerned with the past-tense “lived in.” For these folks, the first location listed is typically where they currently live…

 

…they just haven’t checked the “Current” box by the location when they edited their profile:

 

 

When checking some of the Google+ results to see if the the people did in fact live in the location I specified, I cross referenced them on LinkedIn.

Interestingly, when I cross referenced one of the results from my New York search on LinkedIn, their LinkedIn profile stated that they currently lived in Bulgaria instead of New York, which was initially disappointing, at least until I performed a Facebook Graph Search for her, where I was able to confirm she does in fact live in New York.

 

Google+ cross reference location on Facebook Graph Search

 

Hopefully I am not the only who finds this interesting, although not all that surprising when you think about it – Facebook can be more accurate than LinkedIn.

X-Ray Searching Google+ for “Lives in”

Here is the exact same search as above, which is a Google X-Ray search of Google+ to find software engineers who work at Google in New York – except in this case, I am using “lives in _______:”

site:plus.google.com “lives * new york” “software engineer” “works * google”

 

 

You’ll notice some dupes in the results for hits on the same person from multiple places on their profile, such as the “About” and “Videos” sections.

If you wanted to clean those up, you could run something like this:

site:plus.google.com “lives * new york” “software engineer” “works * google” -inurl:(about|photos|videos) – you’ll get 118 clean results from the original 135.

One thing you can do using Google to X-Ray search Google+ for profiles that you can’t do on FindPeopleonPlus is Boolean search with no limitations.

For the Boolean bashers (I know you’re out there!), basic Boolean logic allows the ability to search for multiple titles, skills, and or companies in a single search string. Although FindPeopleonPlus does support basic Boolean logic for keywords, they don’t allow the use of Boolean logic to simultaneously search for any of a number of employers or occupations/titles.

With a search interface similar to FindPeopleonPlus’s, you’re limited to one company, title, etc. at a time per search. Yes – it still “works,” but it feels like wearing mittens vs. fingerless gloves when you know how to get exactly what you want and you can’t get exactly what you want in a single search like you can with Google.

For example, we can search for any of 3 titles at once using Google to X-Ray search Google+:

site:plus.google.com “lives * new york” (programmer | developer | “software engineer”) “works * google” -inurl:(posts|about|photos|videos|plusones)

That Google search returns 137 results in New York.

With FindPeopleonPlus, you get 3 results in the entire world.

Going one step further with Google+ site: search, you can search for both “lived in” and “lives in” in the same string to get 152 results:

site:plus.google.com (“lives * new york” | “lived * new york”) (programmer | developer | “software engineer”) “works * google” -inurl:(posts|about|photos|videos|plusones)

Of course, you don’t have to target companies in your search strings.

In fact, you can also search for people that don’t even mention their employer in the “work” section (although they do mention it somewhere else):

site:plus.google.com (“lives * new york” | “lived * new york”) (programmer | developer | “software engineer”) -“works * “ -inurl:(posts|about|photos|videos|plusones)

Like this person:

 

Google+ search result profile with no current employer. Kind of. :)

 

There are many other interesting things you can do with Google+ X-Ray searches – I just wanted to provide you with a few “starter” searches to get you going.

Google+ Got Your Attention Now?

There’s no doubt that LinkedIn is “where it’s at” with regard to deep and highly searchable human capital data, and I don’t think LinkedIn is becoming “saturated” as many people seem to be suggesting recently – most sourcers/recruiters only find and review 20-30% of what’s available to be found on LinkedIn, leaving at least 50M (if not 100M+!) profiles unfound/unviewed. No, I am not exaggerating for effect.

Even with sourcers and recruiters only scratching the surface of LinkedIn, Google+ cannot be ignored.

Google+ now has more profiles than LinkedIn and is the most active social network in the world second only to Facebook. Yes, I know – Google+ haters/doubters like to argue about what “active” really means…who cares?!?! Most Google+ naysayers haven’t spent 5 minutes on Google+.

Get on Google+ and do some searches and I think you’ll be impressed with what you can quickly and easily find. Explore Google+ a little bit (actually USE it for a few weeks) and I think you’ll be surprised by the functionality and the many benefits and advantages if can afford sourcers and recruiters.

Check out the kind of information you’re missing if you’re not searching Google+:

 

 

Yes, that’s an email address I blurred out. It’s there for anyone to find – it’s not listed because I know them or have them in a Circle – because I don’t.

Unlike LinkedIn, I’ve found that software engineers and other non-recruiting professionals do include email addresses and sometimes even phone numbers on their profiles that anyone can see – like the phone number of this UX Engineer at Microsoft:

 

Google+ mobile phone number

 

Of course, there are many advantages of using Google+ in your sourcing and recruiting efforts that are beyond the scope of this post.

As for me – I don’t care if you never use Google+ for sourcing and recruiting. It just means I have less competition.

:)

 

What’s the most effective way to X-Ray search LinkedIn?

Posted by | Boolean Search Experiments, How-To's, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Search, Uncategorized, x-ray search | 9 Comments

 

I’ve recently come across some blog posts and some Boolean Strings discussions on LinkedIn that inspired me to go back and tinker with searching LinkedIn via Google and Bing.

For example, I continue to see people talk about:

  1. Whether or not you should use “pub” and/or “in” (e.g. site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub)
  2. Whether or not you should use -dir
  3. Using country codes in site: searches
  4. Using different phrases to target public LinkedIn profiles – e.g., “people you know”

My first reaction when people are curious about the most effective ways of retrieving public LinkedIn profiles is to encourage them to experiment on their own first instead of looking for answers to copy and paste. Quite literally 99% of everything I know about sourcing (and recruiting!) I learned through being curious and experimenting.

People learn by doing, and more specifically by failing/struggling, and not by copying and pasting somebody else’s work. Read More

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

Posted by | How-To's, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Search, x-ray search | 33 Comments

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: Read More

Bing’s Semantic Search, Phonetics and Undocumented Operator

Posted by | Bing, Google, Semantic Search, x-ray search | 16 Comments

I was recently performing some searches on Bing and came across something curious that I had never noticed before.

I’m not exactly sure if what I found is new or simply something I’ve overlooked in the past. I updated Twitter with “Did you know that Bing supports the + query modifier?” on November 10th, wondering if it was something that other people knew about.

I only received a few responses, including a couple from noted sourcing luminaries, and the consensus was that I didn’t find anything because it wasn’t documented anywhere and they could not get it to work.

However, the +/Plus sign does in fact work when searching Bing – just not like it used to in Google.

It’s always a little exciting to think you are one of the first people to stumble across something most people don’t know about, although I won’t get my hopes up that I’m the only person outside of some folks at Microsoft who’s ever figured out that Bing supports the +/Plus sign in searches.

This discovery also led me to proof of Bing leveraging semantic and phonetic searchRead More

How I Search LinkedIn to Find and Identify Talent

Posted by | LinkedIn Search, Sourcing Challenges, x-ray search | 18 Comments

Would you like to know how I search LinkedIn when sourcing for talent?

I don’t have a premium LinkedIn account, so you may be surprised to learn that I don’t X-Ray search LinkedIn all that often.

I’ll tell you why in a moment, but first I would like to share my inspiration for this post.

I recently read a great post that addressed an issue with X-Ray searching LinkedIn and that pointed out that pattern recognition is critical to effective online sourcing.

I could not agree more – truly dynamic pattern recognition is something I think is unique to humans and is something that I believe cannot be replicated by applications claiming to leverage artificial intelligence, semantic search, and Natural Language Processing (NLP). I could elaborate further on this topic, but that would unfortunately bore 98% of my readers, so I will save it for another post that they can choose not to read later. :-)

Suffice it to say I wholeheartedly agree that is it more important to have the right investigative thought process than to have any specific Boolean search string or pre-built X-Ray search.

Getting back to how I specifically search LinkedIn to find people – you first need to understand some of the significant issues associated with using Internet search engines in an attempt to find public LinkedIn profiles. In other words, you should know they “why” before the “how.”

As an added bonus, you’ll also find that I’ve discovered that Bing and LinkedIn apparently don’t play well together anymore, and I’ll issue a LinkedIn Sourcing Challenge to the international sourcing and recruiting community to crowdsource the solution. Read More

Update Your LinkedIn X-Ray Searches for Location Names

Posted by | LinkedIn, LinkedIn Search, x-ray search | 6 Comments

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across something on LinkedIn that I am surprised I never noticed before – I’m not even certain if/when LinkedIn made the change.

Finally sitting down to write about it, I highly doubted that I could be the only person to have discovered this interesting little find, so I did some quick research and found that Gary Cozin and Cathy Ou recently noticed it as well.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about the fact that LinkedIn has alternate location names for certain postal codes.

While some locations only have one location phrase, I’ve found many have two and some have as many as nine! If you use Internet search engines to “X-Ray” LinkedIn for public profiles and you only use one location phrase, you may be unknowingly excluding people you actually want to find! Read More