Whether you’re in the Matt Charney camp, or the camp occupied by the likes of Irina Shamaeva and Glen Cathey, 13-LinkedIn-dos-and-donts-600x337LinkedIn 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.

Here are 13 things you need to consider to find more candidates on LinkedIn:

#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.

275,872 results for Analytic*

2,519,265 results for Analytic OR Analytics

#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.

456,382 results for “Java Enterprise Edition” – JEE

[Tweet “13 things you need to consider to find more candidates on #LinkedIn”]

#3: Split words that shouldn’t be split

1,205,929 results for Offshore

153,822 results for “Off Shore”

#4: Join words that shouldn’t be joined

656,028 results for “Front End”

90,664 results for “Frontend

#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.

53 results for Audit AND “Interest Rate” AND ACA AND “Investment Bank”

189 results for (Audit OR Audits OR Auditor OR Auditing) (“Interest Rate” OR “Interest Rates”) (ACA OR “Association Chartered Accounts”) (“Investment Bank” OR “Investment Banking” OR “Investment Banks” OR “Investment Banker” OR “Investment Bankers”)

#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.

696,085 results for MGR OR Mngr

#7 Capitalise OR

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

83,549 results for Analytic or Analytics

2,519,289 results for Analytic OR analytics

#8 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.

 5,072 results for “Director of Analytics” OR “”Director -Analytics” OR “Director, Analytics”

5,072 results for “Director of -) for ( & * the by,%;’#.at Analytics”

The moral – skip all of the special characters and just use the main words. In this case, LinkedIn will do the rest

5,072 results for “Director Analytics”

[Tweet “#Recruiters should STOP using special Characters when sourcing on #LinkedIn”]

#10 Forget AND

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

15,693 results for Audit “Interest Rate”

15,693 results for Audit AND “Interest Rate”

#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).

1,930,315 results for “VP”

5,386,586 results for VP

#12 Stop treating LinkedIn profiles like Resumes and you’ll find more candidates

There’s a temptation to search LinkedIn profiles just like you’d search for Resumes. Particularly in niche markets, it can mean missing out on huge numbers of candidates.

Why will I miss out on candidates?  There is no spell check on LinkedIn

For that reason alone there are typos abound on profiles. Misspellings of Manager and variations are found on almost 2 million profiles. That doesn’t mean people can’t spell these words, it’s just they haven’t noticed the mistake.

1,959,666 results for Manger OR Managment OR Mangement OR Manging

Let’s look at the common misspelling below for Manager, Management and Managing

That’s a large pool of candidates to miss out on and these oversights are also found on heavyweight profiles at heavyweight companies.

Users aren’t always looking for a job 

and so don’t attribute the same level of care when creating their LI profiles as they would to their Resume/CV. They’re often thrown together in a few minutes without great consideration, unsurprisingly resulting in errors.

#13 Abbreviations

557,005 results for Mgr

Many people put their profiles together using abbreviations. I’ve noticed this is particularly common among candidates in the Financial sector but it applies across the board.

There’s the age old view of discounting candidates who “can’t spell”, but for me this is a completely different consideration on LinkedIn, for the reasons mentioned above.

Eminent misspellings include:

  • A Managing Director at Deutsche Bank
  • A Chief of Staff at Microsoft
  • A CFO at Apple

If these guys are still in work, in spite of an inability to spell correctly on LinkedIn, then that’s good enough for me.


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?

About the author

stephen BeckittSteve spends his days trying to come up with new and innovative ways to find more talent in less time, as well as maximising results from traditional sources.

You can see more from Steve by following him on Twitter, connecting with him on LinkedIn and following him on Google +

By Ryan Leary

Ryan Leary helps create the processes, ideas and innovation that drives RecruitingDaily. He’s our in-house expert for anything related to sourcing, tools or technology. A lead generation and brand buzz building machine, he has built superior funnel systems for some of the industries top HR Tech and Recruitment brands. He is a veteran to the online community and a partner here at RecruitingDaily.