LinkedIn X-ray search is a powerful sourcing strategy that recruiters and hiring managers use to discover the cream of the crop.
This method allows you to harness both the power of LinkedIn profiles and the ubiquitous reach of search engines, primarily Google, to find the right candidates.
I will dive into why this approach is essential for efficient sourcing, how to utilize specific features like boolean search, and the best search tools to help you x-ray LinkedIn easier.
I will also show you how to use X-ray search on LinkedIn Basic Search, LinkedIn Recruiter, and Sales Navigator.
By leveraging boolean search and expert use of asterisk, parenthesis, and other boolean operators, you can uncover 2nd & 3rd-degree, out of network connections and the perfect candidate regardless of the LinkedIn network size
What is LinkedIn X-ray search?
LinkedIn X-ray search is a technique that allows you to search for LinkedIn profiles using Google or other search engines. It is also known as Google X-ray search or simply X-ray search. The name comes from the idea of using Google to “X-ray” LinkedIn and see through its limitations.
Why Use Linkedin X-Ray Search?
3 reasons to use Linkedin X-Ray Search:
- Bypass commercial use limit
- Bypass search results limitations
- Access all Linkedin members
1. Bypass the commercial use limit
If you are using the basic linkedin search engine intensively, you will end seeing the commercial use limitation popup.
This limit is trigger when Linkedin detects you are using the free search engine for sales or recruiting purposes. The goal is to make you pay for Linkedin Sales Navigator or Linkedin Recruiter.
With Linkedin X-Ray search, you don’t have this problem. You use Google to search Linkedin as much as you want. You will never be limited.
That makes X-Ray search a great technique to bypass linkedin search limitations.
2. Bypass the search results limitation
Each time you make a search on the free Linkedin search engine, you are limited to 100 pages of 10 results. That makes a total of 1000 maximum search results available.
With Google X-Ray Search, you don’t have this problem. When you write a specific query, you get access to all the Linkedin profiles displayed in the Google search results.
3. Access all Linkedin members
If you use the search engine to search for 2nd & 3rnd degree connections you will notice that you can’t connect with some profiles.
You can’t even see their names. You will only see the mention: “Linkedin Member”
This means these people are way out of your network or they activated a specific setting to hide their profiles.
With Linkedin X-Ray search, you don’t have this problem. Google doesn’t take into accounts your network or specific users settings when indexing Linkedin profiles.
You will then get public access to all Linkedin profiles that have allowed Google to index them.
Now that you get all the theory, let’s dive into the details of how to use Linkedin X-Ray search to find candidates.
Mastering X-Ray Search Operators
2 types of X-Ray search operators:
- Google search operators
- Boolean search operators
1. Google search operators
You can use Google search operators to give specific instructions to the search engine like:
- Only display search results from this specific site
- Only display search results with “X” in their Google title
- Only displays search results with “X” in the page text
Here is a complete list:
|Google Operators||What It Does||Example with link|
|Search for results from a particular website.||site:linkedin.com/in/|
|Search for pages with a particular word in the title tag.||intitle:developer|
|Search for pages with multiple words in the title tag.||allintitle:python developer|
|Search for pages with a particular word in the URL.||inurl:linkedin|
|Search for pages with multiple words in the URL.||allinurl:linkedin in|
|Search for particular types of files (e.g., PDF).||linkedin filetype:pdf|
|Wildcard matching any word or phrase.||reid * linkedin|
|Group multiple searches.||(sales OR marketing) apple|
Click on the link in the examples to concretely see what the operator is doing on the Google search results.
To search linkedin profile, the operators you will use more often are
- site: to search on linkedin
- intitle: to search specific job title
- intext: to search for additional specific keywords in the profiles
To only get linkedin profiles in your search results, write:
As all the Linkedin profile URLs start with linkedin.com/in/ that will only display Linkedin profiles in your search results
2. Boolean search operators
Boolean search operators are part of Google search operators. However, it’s important to differentiate them as they can also be used on Linkedin search engines.
Here are a complete list of boolean operators you can use on Linkedin and Google.
|Boolean Operators||What it does||Google Example||Linkedin Example|
|OR||Look for a profiles with at least of keyword in a list||Sales OR Marketing||Sales OR Marketing|
|NOT||Exclude keyword||Consutant NOT Freelancer||Consutant NOT Freelancer|
|Quotes||Look for exact expressions of several words||“Head of Sales”||“Head of Sales”|
|Parenthesis||Combine boolean opératos||(VP OR Head) AND (Sales OR Marketing) NOT Assistant||(VP OR Head) AND (Sales OR Marketing) NOT Assistant|
You can click on the links in the table to see concrete examples of what the operators do on Google on Linkedin search.
If you want to use boolean operators in Google search, you must include them in these google operators:
If we take a linkedin recruiting use case, it will look like this:
In this search I am looking for people who have:
- Senior Developer in their job title
Here are the results:
To make the same search on Linkedin I would to:
- Select People
- Write “Senior Developer” in the job title filter
How To Use Linkedin X-Ray Search On Google?
3 steps to use Linkedin X-Ray search:
- Write your X-ray search
- Paste it into Google search bar
- Export the results to CSV
1. Write your X-Ray query
As X-Ray queries can be long and complicated, I recommend to first write them on a notepad, Google Doc or Notion page to be able to edit them easily.
If you close the window without intention: you don’t want to lose 30 min of work over a dumb misclick.
It’s also a good practice to save your X-Ray search over time as you might improve them and use them again in the future.
2. Paste into Google Search Bar
Once you are happy with your X-Ray query, you can paste it to Google and press enter to get your results.
Iterate on your expression until you are satisfied with your search results.
3. Export the results to CSV
You have two options once you are satisfied with the search results:
- Visit all the profiles manually
- Export them into a CSV
I recommend exporting them as it will be much easier to organize your outreach. The natural next step would to import these profiles into your CRM or Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
To do this where are going to use Scaleserp.
After you create your account, the first step is to copy-paste the URL of your Google search in the URL field.
Then define the number of pages you want to extract along with the number of results per page
The number of search results per page depends on what you have chose in your Google settings.
To change it you can go to google.com > Settings > Search Settings
Then change the number of search results per page, click on Save and you’re done
Back to Scaleserp, next thing you need to do is to define the output. Most of you will need a CSV so you can select the CSV option in the dropdown.
Once the results are ready, you can download them by clicking on the download account in the top right.
You will get a clean CSV will the title of the search results and the linkedin URLs.
You can now upload this file into your CRM Software or to your linkedin prospecting campaigns.
Google LinkedIn X-Ray Search Tools
The 3 best Linkedin X-Ray search tools:
- Recruitement Geek
Recruit’em is a free tool that helps you create LinkedIn X-ray search queries easily and quickly.
You can use Recruit’em to search for profiles on LinkedIn by country, location, keywords, education, current employer, and more.
You can also use Recruit’em to search for profiles on other platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, Stack Overflow, etc.
To use Recruit’em, you just need to fill in the information that you want to search for in the fields provided, and then click on the “Search” button. Recruit’em will generate a search query for you and open it in a new tab on Google.
You can then see the results and refine your search further if needed.
The advantage of this tool is that it’s completely free.
2. Recruitment Geek
RecruitmentGeek is another freemium tool that helps you create LinkedIn X-ray search queries easily and quickly.
You must start by writing a boolean query top get results, so this is a bit more complicated if you don’t have the skills yet.
Also, the free offer is pretty basic as Recruitment Geek won’t generate a Google search URL but simply display the first results directly on the page.
They have a premium version at $3.99/month that allow to specify the country. It does not worth it at all considering you can do that for free and more with Recruitem.
Lisearcher is another free tool that helps you create LinkedIn X-ray search queries easily and quickly. They allow you to use various search filters like:
- Job title
You must use boolean search in the input fields to run more complex searches.
Once you entered your inputs you can press search and Lisearcher will generate an X-Ray query that can copy and paste on Google.
Lisearcher is simple but get less filters than Recruit’em.
That is Recruit’em is the best linkedin x-ray search tool.
How To Use X-Ray Search on Linkedin?
Using X-Ray Search on Linkedin boils down to using boolean search. You don’t use Google operator on Linkedin. You can use it in three different places:
- Linkedin Basic
- Linkedin Recruiter
- Linkedin Sales Navigator
1. Linkedin Basic X-Ray Search
You can use boolean search on several fields of the Linkedin basic search:
- Job title
You can do decent searches with Linkedin basic engine but as mentioned as the beginning of this article you will be limited by the commercial use limit and get access to only the first 1000 results.
2. Linkedin Recruiter X-Ray search
You can use Linkedin Boolean search on Linkedin Recruiter in filters like:
- Job Tilte
This tool will be much more powerful if your goal is to find ideal candidates. Recruiter is a premium tool that offers much more search filters and data to engage your leads with messages that get replies.
3. Linkedin Sales Navigator X-Ray Search
Last but not least, you can use boolean search on Linkedin Sales Navigator. This is also a Linkedin premium tool but its mission is mainly to help salespeople identify and reach out to qualified.
You can use boolean search on filters like:
- Current Job Title
- Past Job Title
- Current Company
- Past Company
That being said, you can also use Linkedin Sales Navigator for recruiting. It’s pretty handy because you can use the same tool to find leads and candidates.
If you want to export your sales navigator lead lists into CSV files that is also really easy using the Evaboot Chrome Extension.
Find Open To Work Candidate with Linkedin X-Ray Search
There are several ways to find jobseekers using the linkedin search engines which I describe in this video
But you can also use Linkedin X-ray search to find them.
For that you can use intitle: “the job you are looking to recruit for” + intext: all the expression you can think off that someone would add on his profile if looking for a job
- looking for new opportunities
- seeking new opportunities
- open to work
Here is an example with accountants:
site:linkedin.com/in/ intitle:accountant intext:(looking or seeking OR open to) AND (opportunities OR opportunity OR jobs OR job OR work)
When I copy-paste this expression in Google, here is what I got:
So now you can simply copy and paste this expression and replace accountant by another other job title or several job titles using AND like:
site:linkedin.com/in/ intitle:"Product Manager" OR "Product Owner" intext:(looking or seeking OR open to) AND (opportunities OR opportunity OR jobs OR job OR work)
What are you waiting for?
Try it now!
LinkedIn X-ray search is a powerful technique that can help you find more profiles and information on LinkedIn than using the native LinkedIn search.
You can use LinkedIn X-ray search to search for profiles by using Google or other search engines, or by using external tools such as Recruit’em, Recruitment Geek, and Lisearcher. You can also use boolean operators and other operators to create more complex and accurate searches. You can also use LinkedIn X-ray search to find candidates who are open to work.
Whether you are a recruiter, a salesperson, or a job seeker, LinkedIn X-ray search can help you achieve your goals and connect with the right people on LinkedIn.
DisclosureThis content was partly written by AI (ChatGPT 4), I added my own perspective, fact-checked it and made sure it is helpful for you.
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