I recently had an old colleague who had an old presentation of mine (which I already sent him) land on his desk from another source. So thought I would put it on here for everyone to use as it seems to be doing the rounds.

A lot of the good recruiters out there will know all this already so apologies for boring you guys. But for the people that don’t understand X-Raying or how powerful it can be… Read on and thank me later.

Disclaimer: This is a condensed version of the original powerpoint as it was originally a presentation happy to send this on to anyone that wishes to see it privately.

Building an X-Ray Search:

You should all know what X-Ray searching is by now, and have a basic understanding of what it does. So I wont bore you with all the details. Below is how you create a basic X-Ray search and why we do it this way.

So lets say we are looking for a Programme Director who works with SME’s based in London (basic I know.)

“programme director” “london” “sme”-intitle:”profiles” -inurl:”dir/ ” site:uk.linkedin.com/in/ OR site:uk.linkedin.com/pub/

The above is our search string. Easy enough to figure out. So at the beginning we have our key searchable:

“Programme Director”



These can obviously be changed to whatever you are looking for and we can expand on this to get more complicated… But at present we want a Programme Director who lives in London and has SME knowledge.

We next see the phrase –intitle”profiles” and –inurl:”dir/”

The ‘–’ before them means to remove these items from your searches

Inurl means in the web address.

So we do not want “dir” (directory) coming in the web address. So we don’t get directories of candidates.

Intitle means in the web address title. So we do not want it to come up with any addresses that say the below, as it’s a public directory of people with similar profiles. We purely want peoples details which we can see on the right

So lets build a search from scratch, something we can test and refine:

So lets try it in steps:

1) The site we want to X-Ray, in this case LinkedIn.

site:uk.linkedin.com/in/ OR site:uk.linkedin.com/pub/

2) Removing the intitle & Inurls to refine (This is how all X-Ray LinkedIn searches should start)

site:uk.linkedin.com/in/ OR site:uk.linkedin.com/pub/ -intitle:”profiles” -inurl:”dir/ “

3) Now what shall we look for? Tax Executives?

site:uk.linkedin.com/in/ OR site:uk.linkedin.com/pub/ -intitle:”profiles” -inurl:”dir/ “ “tax executive“

1880 Responses, that’s quite a lot to run through in afternoon. So lets go deeper with the search.

4) So lets see if we can find Tax Executives or Tax Associates but purely with Corporate Tax knowledge only in London…

site:uk.linkedin.com/in/ OR site:uk.linkedin.com/pub/ -intitle:”profiles” -inurl:”dir/ “ (“tax executive” or “tax associate”) “corporate tax“ “London”

Now we are down to 85 results… That’s a bit more manageable?

But why do we use X-Ray searching on LinkedIn when you can do it in Linkedin?

There are a number of answers.

1) When you 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. So 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. So I ran the same search on LinkedIn that we ran above for Tax Execs… I returned 20 results. However my X-Ray search provided 85. Exactly the same search. That’s 65 candidates you would not have seen if you used LinkedIn alone.

2) When you look through your LinkedIn you will come across 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.

Finding CV’s on the T’Internet

So this is an interesting trick to have in your pocket. However generally more suited to the IT market. Purely because this trick is aimed at finding people with online portfolios or their own website. Hence IT people. We follow the same logic as X-Ray searching but without the “site:” search. We want to search the whole of the internet for these people.

So if we use the same process as X-Ray Searching and build our search:

(intitle:cv OR inurl:cv) -job -jobs -sample –samples

This is your initial template search. The above searches in the webaddress or the weblink for the word CV. And then we have a number of minuses. We do not want to see jobs in CV writing or any sample CV’s. Simples

Now lets build our search… So as mentioned this is more geared towards IT searches, specifically Development types. But say we are looking for Web Developer with Python based in London we would search

(intitle:cv OR inurl:cv) -job -jobs -sample -samples “python” “web developer” “london”

Simple as that. And to the right hand side you can see 436 results of CV’s. This is not an exact science and you will get people who once lived in London, or went to a Uni in London.

But this does have some great applications, if you ever work a role where you require someone with a PhD this is one of the best searches you can run. As most PhD grads will have their CV on the internet with their research documents. So you can find some amazing hidden gems…

You can also use the search tools, to search by upload date, if you feel so inclined…

Tim Chattaway – Recruiter and likes to say network a lot.