Of late, I have been using X-Ray search on LinkedIn actively and what I like the most about this method is that it is a powerful way to search public profiles on just about any site. Often, you can view more information for people outside of your network than you could find if you were running a search directly from the website. Now you can search like a pro without having to know how to construct complicated boolean expressions.


In other words, X-Ray search is the method of looking inside of a specific website to find specific information & it is also known as “Site Search”. We can easily find the data, web pages, documents that aren’t directly accessible via links on the main public home page using x-ray/site search.


Advantages of the X-Ray search on LinkedIn


I have listed a few advantages of the X-Ray search on LinkedIn.


1) When you do LinkedIn Search, your search is powered by your network. Your network is only as powerful as the size of your network. The bigger your network, the more people you return. So as new people to LinkedIn your network is relatively small. hence your search results are limited. X-Ray searching ignores this and searches the whole database and even returns people with hidden profiles. So, you see everyone possible. Let’s say you run the search on LinkedIn that search for.Net Developer, you could return with 20 results. However, if you use X-Ray search it could through 85 results. Exactly the same search. That 65 candidates you would not have seen otherwise if you had used LinkedIn alone.


2) When you look through your LinkedIn, you will come across the profiles that say you can’t look at them as your more than 3 degrees of separation. However, if you use your X-Ray search you can see their full profile with nothing hidden. This is a great way to find hidden candidates and get their details and see if they are relevant.


Structure of LinkedIn’s URL There are two types of URLs that are allocated by LinkedIn;
o Default URL: in.linkedin.com/pub
o Customized / Personalised URL: in.linkedin.com/in


• The Structure of LinkedIn’s Default URL: When you create your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn allocates a default URL & URL has the keyword ‘pub’ before the name and some numbers after the name.


• The Structure of LinkedIn’s Customized/ Personalised URL: LinkedIn allows you to customize/ personalize your profile’s default URL. Also, it has no numbers after the name and it allows you to give a name of your choice. The personalized URL looks polished than the default one and something that people can easily remember.


• Observation: Personalised URLs have the keyword ‘in’ in the middle while non-personalised URLs have the keyword ‘pub’ in the middle. Hence, the default URL will be http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ followed by default string, whereas the personalized URL will be http://www.linkedin.com/in/ followed by the user defined name. Now that we know which two URLs we are targeting let’s go over the Structure of a Google search string.


Tip Sheet- Boolean Search Rules for X-Ray search on LinkedIn

• SPACE is considered as AND on Google
• OR can be replaced by | sign
• all the keywords in OR combination should be in brackets ()
• there should not be a space after the opening bracket and there should not be a space before the closing bracket. E.g.: (asp.net OR c#)
• all the Boolean operators should be in Capital Letters
• there should be a space before MINUS -sign
• there should not be a space after MINUS sign
• You should use quotation marks (“ “) to denote exact phrases of 2 or more words


LinkedIn X-Ray Search Syntax Experiment:

(site:in.linkedin.com/in OR site:in.linkedin.com/pub) AND (msbi OR “ms bi” OR “microsoft business intelligence”) AND (ssis OR “sql server integration services”) AND (ssrs OR “sql server reporting services”) AND (ssas OR “sql server analysis services”) AND mdx AND (architect OR architecture) AND (bangalore OR bengaluru) -job -manager


(site:in.linkedin.com/in OR site:in.linkedin.com/pub) “.net developer” AND (bangalore OR bengaluru) AND current* *engineer AND “looking for job change”

recruiting 1

(site:in.linkedin.com/in OR site:in.linkedin.com/pub) AND (sales OR “business development” OR “new business”) AND (“health care” OR healthcare) AND (“cold calling” OR “lead generation” OR “inside sales” AND (bangalore OR bengaluru) -head -director -vice -vp -recruiter

(site:in.linkedin.com/in OR site:in.linkedin.com/pub) AND (“ms dynamics” OR “ms crm” OR mscrm OR “dynamic crm” OR msdynamics OR “microsoft dynamics”) AND (bangalore OR bengaluru) AND (implement OR implementing OR implementation) -training -functional -recruiter -head -sales -director

(site:in.linkedin.com/in OR site:in.linkedin.com/pub) AND iOS AND (“core data” OR “core graphics” OR “core text”) AND cocoa AND “objective c” AND (hyderabad or secunderabad)




To sum up, while there is a growing number of recruiting professionals and organizations who pay for the premium access to LinkedIn, there is still a large number of people who leverage LinkedIn with a free or “Personal” account. They do LinkedIn’s new people search interface with searching LinkedIn from the “outside” using Google and the X-Ray technique. Becoming an X-Ray Search Expert may require some practice and you may have to experiment or tweak your search query several times before you get the results you want. Needless to say, one of the most efficient and effective methods to find and engage prospective candidates is by X-Raying LinkedIn via search engines.


HR Manager