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Advanced techniques to find people on LinkedIn

There's no denying that LinkedIn has become an essential tool for recruitment.

With that in mind, here's a list of the reasons we like it, together with a few tips and tricks we've picked up along the way to help you get the most from it.

Added on 18.11.2012

One key benefit is that LinkedIn, by definition, presents all its members in a consistent manner. Given the myriad forms that CVs can come in, a uniform way to get a quick first impression of someone is very welcome.

Another of LinkedIn's greatest strengths is the fact that it is a global network for professionals. The majority of LinkedIn members are 'passive' prospects (meaning they're not actually looking for a job) but, unlike other networks (Facebook, we're looking at you), they aren't posting about their social lives. LinkedIn might not be the best way to stay in touch with your prospects, but it is the best way to find them in 'work mode', with profile pages free of irrelevant personal chit chat.

Don't take it too literally

It's also been suggested that as LinkedIn profiles are public, that they're more accurate (due to the ability of ex-colleagues to call people out on fake achievements and responsibilities) - although do be careful about trusting intitial impressions too far. A recent survey indicated that there is some mutual back-rubbing going on when it comes to recommendations and the true size of a candidate's network.

Take advantage of the networking opportunities offered; join new groups (and take part in discussions), answer questions, and put yourself about. Remember that the majority of people on LinkedIn are NOT currently looking for work - but they're still there, and one day they might be considering a new role. So be friendly; make contacts and stay in touch with them.

Watch your contact's activity

One key tip for savvy recruiters is that (once you have established a talent pool) watching the activity of your contacts might give you clues as to their intentions. For example, a contact who updates their profile, joins new groups, or begins answering questions might be strengthening their network because they are are just about to embark on (or are at least considering) a career move.

Using Google advanced techniques

A good way to find new people to either add to your network is to use Google. The advantage Google has over LinkedIn's internal search is the fact that they display more information from the page. And, if you can get your head around a few advanced Google search techniques, you can conduct very targeted searches indeed.

First, you'll need site: which means 'show me pages from'; be sure there's no space after the colon.

Next, putting "" around a phrase ensures Google will treat those words as a phrase and look for them together, in that order.

You can use * as a wild card operator so manage* will search for 'manager' and 'management'.

To filter out a word (or phrase, if you also use speech marks) just add - before it, without a space.

inurl: will include (or, if you use -inurl: it will exclude) any url that matches the character string following; again, make sure there's no space.

() and | allow you to set up a list of options, for example -inurl:(jobs|company|dir) will exclude any job adverts, company profiles, and list pages.

You can see that using these different techniques in combination allows you to quickly put together your own list of profile pages.