A Few LinkedIn for Recruiting Tips

LinkedIn is the most obvious source of information about people, their careers and their professional backgrounds and is therefore a very good place to build a people-sourcing campaign on.

However, anyone new to using LinkedIn as a recruiting/people search platform is likely to encounter a few problems:

1)    Depending on the size of your network, you don’t get to see the full names of some of the people in your search results (any 3rd-level connections, generally).  This makes tracking those people down outside of LinkedIn very difficult, forcing you to pay to contact them (by upgrading your account/using an InMail etc)

2)    You’re not able to search the entirety of LinkedIn (including everyone totally outside of your network) unless you are willing to pay substantial amounts for a high-level recruiting account (yes, these do exist…)

3)    Once you’ve identified a list of people, contacting them can be arduous, time-consuming and cost you money

There are ways around all of these.  This little guide will show you a couple of little neat tips and tricks.

Tip 1: Searching LinkedIn Externally

Most people rely on LinkedIn’s search function.  Their function is great – it allows us a whole bunch of possibilities, but doesn’t give us access to the whole piece.  To work with LinkedIn really well, you need to combine LinkedIn’s search functionality with a general, web-wide search for public profiles.

Most (we don’t know what the percentages are) LinkedIn users have a public profile. Here, for instance, is mine. A public profile does what it says on the tin: it publically displays an individuals’ profile. It’s not necessarily a full profile (the exact content of your public profile is determined by your settings), but it will include that person’s full name, employer and job title.

So, another way of discovering information on LinkedIn about people is to go and find their public profile.

To do this, we need to run what is now becoming known as an X-ray Search, and we can do this from either Google or Bing (we prefer Bing for a number of reasons, but it doesn’t really make much difference).

Here’s some easy steps for you to follow to run your own LinkedIn X-Ray searches:

1 Go to bing.com or google.co.uk

2 Identify two or three keywords from the person’s profile that would identify them as opposed to anyone else. 
In my case, you might try “Nick” “mployability” “Natural Language” “Durham”.  These three keywords should differentiate me from anyone else.

3 Put this in your search bar – site:uk.linkedin.com {your keywords here} (inurl:in OR inurl:pub) –inurl:dir –inurl:jobs –inurl:groups –inurl:title

Again, in my case that’s: site:uk.linkedin.com Nick mployability “Natural Language” Durham (inurl:in OR inurl:pub) -inurl:dir -inurl:jobs -inurl:groups -inurl:title

(By the way, if you encounter problems when copying and pasting the above, try re-writing it.  Sometimes when pasting into search engines the sign for “minus” gets pasted with the wrong ASCII code for some reason.)

There are two big benefits to this: first, by being clever with your keywords, you can actually search the WHOLE of LinkedIn (well, most of it at least – limited by the number of people who have public profiles).  Once you have someone’s full name, you can run a search for their full LinkedIn profile, using LinkedIn’s search functionality.  From there, you can do what you need.

Second, you can run individual searches to uncover people’s surnames.  Imagine you had been trying to contact me but didn’t have my surname.  The search you ran above would have revealed it for you. 

Tip 2: Join Groups to Contact People for Free

Few people know that – in most cases – it’s free to send a message on LinkedIn to anyone who is in the same LinkedIn group(s) as you.

If you’ve ever looked at my profile and wondered why I’m in so many seemingly random groups, then I’m unashamed to say that this is purely because it enables me to send messages to people in those groups for free (with a few exceptions I’m relatively uninterested in what is happening in these groups).

So let’s say you’ve found 20 people on LinkedIn, and notice that all of them are members of a particular group.  Rather than InMailing them, join that group.

Once you’re a member (you may need to wait for a moderator to “approve” your membership.  Unless you’re a recruiter, they are unlikely to decline you), there’s two things you can do.  First, you can find the people you want to contact in the list of group members (go to Groups>Your Groups, then click the group in question and then hit “Members”.  There’s a little search box there for you to search for a name), highlight their name in the list and click the “Send Message” link:



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