Do these 11 things, find a lot more candidates on LinkedIn

Whether you’re in the Matt Charney campor the camp occupied by the likes of Irina Shamaeva and Glen Cathey, LinkedIn is one site where you must use Boolean search to get the best results.

In light of another client engagement where Consultants were missing out on huge pools of freely accessible talent, I decided to put this together to cut through a couple of the assumptions that are costing Recruiters, in some cases, the majority of relevant candidates.

1. Don't use Asterisk*

As sourcing luminaries have been saying for years, just because you enter key words and get results, it doesn’t mean it’s a good search. This is one of the starker demonstrations of that fact.

Before even touching on anywhere else, this Recruiter’s candidate pool was increased almost 10x over.

2. Include full names of acronyms and vice versa

Looking for someone with JEE experience? Almost half a million candidates missed by not using the full name as well.


3. Split words that shouldn’t be split


4. Join words that shouldn’t be joined


5. Stem terms

Don’t stem for the sake of it (Analytical left out at the top because it gives too many false results) but always stem relevant terms. I covered this in an earlier post so won’t labour the point.

6. Include abbreviations

Linkedin is more formal than other social networking sites, but not to the point of a Resume / CV. Candidates will still abbreviate their titles.


7. Capitalise OR

If you don’t, LinkedIn will treat it as a search term.

8. Include common spelling mistakes

Again one I covered in an earlier post. No spell check on LinkedIn = a lot of typos.


Save time and space 

LinkedIn’s search tends to break for me at around 1800 characters. This is considerably smaller than most major job boards so when you’re doing detailed searches, every character counts.

9. Stop using “Of”, “the” etc and Special Characters

Don’t bother with them as LinkedIn ignores them.

Skip all of them and just write the main words. In this case, LinkedIn will do the rest.


10. Forget AND

You never need to use it, a simple space will do.

11. Only use “Quotation Marks” around 2+ words together

Recruiters seem to be encouraged nowadays to put “quotation marks” around every word. This is a huge waste of time and space, it’s only needed for two or more words together.

***Unless*** you want to stop LinkedIn doing a small amount of the synonym work for you - for example VP returns Vice President as well, "VP" only returns VP (from free & Premium accounts).


I've undoubtedly missed something, what would you add to this?

What have I said that you disagree with?

Which one of the above will you find the most useful?

A note from the Team:

Running into search limits on LinkedIn? Our LinkedIn CSE search tool is also an option for getting around these new restrictions. 

Views: 3415

Comment by Matt Charney on January 19, 2015 at 12:08pm

@Steve - nice post with some great points. Even the Matt Charney camp agrees that Boolean is essential for search on LinkedIn, considering their new search limitations ;-) - these are some great workarounds that every sourcer should find very valuable. Really appreciate your weighing in with your insights and expertise.

Comment by Stephen Beckitt on January 19, 2015 at 12:50pm

Thanks Matt, glad you agree. LinkedIn trying to make life difficult for everyone as usual!

Comment by Chinmay Chavan on February 4, 2015 at 3:02am

Great article. Almost everything put up in one writeup!

Comment by Stephen Beckitt on February 4, 2015 at 5:27am

Thanks Chinmay, glad you found it useful!

Comment by Steve Levy on February 13, 2015 at 8:29am

Steve - one more subtle search "art trick."

Even if you're stemming your Booleans, you generally produce boatloads of false positives in terms of "on target" results. Since you're also likely to see profiles of people who are +1 and even +2 above the role in question, take note of the "performance distinguished words" used by these above-grade folks, and put these in the strings.

If you don't know the content area as well as you think you do, take these hot-stuff profiles to the hiring manager and have them highlight the "performance distinguished words" that get them hot and bothered - then rerun the search.

Comment by Stephen Beckitt on February 13, 2015 at 9:04am

Thanks Steve nice point, knew there'd be a great tip to add!


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