It’s No Longer Safe to Lurk on LinkedIn by @bryanchaney

Portrait Of Dangerous Man Hiding Under The Hood In The Forest

Creeper. Lurker. Stalker. We’ve all done it.

Curiosity is one of the many things that makes us human. We observe the people around us to investigate, model behavior and most importantly, to learn.

Using Twitter’s analytics, you can see your views and clicks. Facebook groups and Messenger let you see when people view your post/message. But Linkedin goes one step further and shows you specifically who has been peeking at your profile. You don’t even need a paid Linkedin account to see them.

When sourcing, sometimes I want people to know that I’m looking at their profile. Then I just click away. When I’m trying to be all super secret, I just hover over their profile pic in the ‘Advanced’ search results or within a group member list. But in the past few months, I’ve been told by some contacts that my Linkedin ‘stalking’ has been more apparent.

The odd thing? I hadn’t even been viewing the full profiles of my connections when Linkedin told them that I had. So much so, that I decided to do some investigating of my own.

Step 1) Check my security and access settings (properly freak out) and then LOG OUT of all sessions. This is just in case someone has hacked my account, and is most important for step 3.



Step 2) Double-check how I appear to those people who caught me looking.


Step 3) Test profile views by looking at specific people and then have them check who’s viewed their profile. I did this after a recent SourceCon LIVE hangout with Jim Stroud and Randy Bailey to confirm my suspicions. Please thank them for enabling my paranoia.

Article Continues Below

What did I learn? That hovering your cursor over someone’s picture or name (whether in a group member list, person search, or in the update stream) notifies them that you viewed their profile. Even if you didn’t. See the group shot below, and thanks to Stacy Zapar for tolerating my stalker tendencies.


For those of you concerned about what info is showing up to your network connections, make sure to check your status update settings. This is helpful when you don’t want people to jump to conclusions and think you’re looking for a new job, or when you are simply polishing your personal brand:


*You can also update the status broadcast setting while editing your profile directly as well.

Personally, I think this is a broken indicator for both free and paid Linkedin users. But I don’t see them making a change to ‘fix’ this any time soon. Because the value in the network is how many people you can reach, multiplied by your connections, and their connections. The more people are looking at you, the more you’re likely to look at your connections. Assumptions are made, conversations and introductions happen, the network grows and Linkedin wins. And in theory, so do we.

Been warned, you have. May the source be with you.

image credit: bigstock

Bryan Chaney is director, employer brand, Indeed. He has worked in recruitment, technology, and marketing, providing him insights into the marketing of hiring, the importance of technology and the buying process that candidates make when applying for jobs. He’s an international speaker and trainer on the topic of recruitment and talent branding and loves to travel. Find him at @BryanChaney



11 Comments on “It’s No Longer Safe to Lurk on LinkedIn by @bryanchaney

  1. Holy cow Bryan. Just checked mine and it said I was signed into 42 sessions in some very strange locations in parts of the US I have not visited in years. [Session Terminated]

  2. Anyone else noticing Twitter as a source? When I view someones twitter profile that has a direct link to their LinkedIn profile- I show up as viewing that persons page on LinkedIn

  3. The completely gonzo part about all those sessions that they never log you out of is that LinkedIn requires you to re-register all apps every 30 days (Hootsuite, IFTTT, etc) for security. The session is linked by browser cookies, so you know they are doing additional tracking of your activity. You have every reason to be freaked out.

  4. I agree with this Bryan “Personally, I think this is a broken indicator for both free and paid LinkedIn users. But I don’t see them making a change to ‘fix’ this any time soon.” because LinkedIn needs to look like there is plenty of activity – for shareholders & for selling recruiter licenses.

    This is also why now, when you reply to a LinkedIn message that’s in your email inbox, it is now sent via LinkedIn (whereas before you would reply directly to their email.) All gimmicks to increase usage.

    It’d be lovely if they just returned the features that actually helped members, then usage would increase naturally.

    1. Gimmicks to increase the illusion of usage, in the interest of increasing usage. Because that will never backfire.

  5. This made me thing of the old thing of ‘is it a fault or a feature’ … consider this

    “hovering your cursor over someone’s picture or name (whether in a group member list, person search, or in the update stream) notifies them that you viewed their profile. Even if you didn’t.”

    So if I am wanting to leave digital footprints through a search list – because I’m keen to raise my profile and brand awareness amongst a specific market place then I don’t have to actually open their profiles anymore I can just create a search result list and hover over their profile … nice!

    1. Exactly, Stephen. Sometimes you want people to know, and sometimes you don’t. Glad you’re enjoying the ‘feature.’

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *