X-Ray is the recruiting hack that LinkedIn doesn’t really want you to know about because they would prefer to sell you premium LinkedIn services. But since the X-Ray search results use public LinkedIn profiles, there’s not much that can stop you by using X-Ray search. So if you are tired of not being able to see the full names of people in your searches or if you’ve reached your limit of the results that LinkedIn will return for your searches with a free account, it’s time to try out X-Ray.

An X-Ray search is a powerful way to search public profiles on just about any website. Many times you can view more information for people outside of your network than you could find if you were running a search directly from the web site thanks to the built in features of most search engines like Google. This comes in handy when you want to find potential candidates on LinkedIn.
The primary difference is that the Google Search returns results from all of LinkedIn while the LinkedIn search is limited 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Another big difference is that the Google search returns results from anyone who ever had Sacramento (or surrounding geography) in their profile even if they have moved away.

There are just a few things you need to know to start using X-Ray LinkedIn searches. First, I recommend that you use Google as your primary search engine. It has the most features.  Second, you’ll need to take advantage of some these  features of Google search, specifically  the tools that allow you to search within a web site and URL.
I am looking to hiring a Demand Generation Manager in our San Francisco office. I’ll use this job as an example to show you how to do  X-Ray search on LinkedIn.

Start by opening  a  Google search and start your search string with the “site:” command.

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Example: site:linkedin.com inurl:pub | inurl:in “san francisco” demand generation manager -inurl:dir

Targeting the site linkedin.com makes the search an  X-Ray  search.  In other words, I am  targeting (xraying) LinkedIn by using the site operator – site:linkedin.com.

I further narrow my LinkedIn search for content in peoples’ profile not job descriptions, companies, groups, etc. by using the “inurl” “operator. This operator is unique to Google (that’s why I only use Google).  If you’re like me and have a personalized  profile URL, you’ll have an “in” in the URL. If you don’t have a personalized profile, it will have a “pub” in the URL. That’s why, I use the parameters inurl:pub | inurl:in. The “|” represents OR (Boolean trick).

I am targeting the San Francisco area with “San Francisco”. The quotation marks indicate I am looking for this exact phrase.

Demand generation manager is the job title that I am targeting in my search. I could easily add additional search keywords here. I would simply continue to list them: demand generation manager marketo salesforce

The minus “-” operator removes results. I use the minus “-” operator because otherwise Google will return directories of profiles on LinkedIn. These URLs usually have “dir” in them somewhere. Therefore, I am removing these by including -inurl:dir in my search string.





Becoming an X-Ray Search hacker takes some practice.  The easiest way to get start is to take my example search string (site:linkedin.com inurl:pub | inurl:in “san francisco” demand generation manager -inurl:dir) and tweak the attributes to fit your needs. Embrace your new super powers and welcome to #recruitinghacks.


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