The NOT’s not working in LinkedIn Recruiter by @RandyBailey

Have you been having trouble using the NOT operator with LinkedIn Recruiter (LIR) lately? Well I have! After about 5 weeks of back and forth with LIR Support I finally received a confirmation that there is, in fact, a bug. However, there is not an ETA of when it will be fixed. I should say up front that I don’t know how widespread of a bug this is.

About 6 weeks ago, I started noticing that certain searches didn’t seem to be giving me the results I expected. At first, I thought I was going crazy. Typically, when I’m doing a search, I will utilize one of my favorite filters – the “in project” filter – to remove prospects that I’ve already added to the project folder. I do this so that, as I constantly tweak my search, I don’t see the same people over and over again.

not 1POWER USER TIP: From the “in Project” filter type NOT AnyFolderABC
(this will not work until LinkedIn Fixes this bug!)

This is the functionality that stopped working about 6 weeks ago.

Initially, I didn’t do anything, figuring it would work itself out or that someone else would take care of it. While LinkedIn is notorious for removing very useful features, typically it is so that they can monetize the feature in some way. While I may not like it when they take something I often use away, I do understand. Surely they wouldn’t remove this type of functionality on purpose! Since I use this on a nearly daily basis, I found the lack of functionality to be more than a little frustrating. This led me to finally open a ticket. I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty details, but nearly 6 weeks after discovering the bug, and 4-5 weeks of back and forth with support, I received this email early this week:

Thank you for your patience with this! 

We are undergoing a change in systems for our searches. With this change it appears the NOT filter is not functioning properly so our engineers are working on a resolution. I would hope to see this resolved by the end of the month, but unfortunately, with an escalation I am not able to provide an eta. 

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There does happen to be a workaround for this problem. I also should say that I am not a huge fan of this method as it can easily exclude people from your search without you realizing it. The workaround is to use the Recruiting Activity filters, the check boxes towards the top of your search within LIR.

not 2Workaround: If you select Projects, then “people without”, then from the Within dropdown, select 3 months

By doing this, you will eliminate anyone from your search that has been added to a project folder within the last 3 months. Remember, this includes all prospects added to any project folders by you or by anyone else on your team with a LIR License. If you work for a large organization, there is a fairly decent chance that someone else within your company may have added them to a different project folder. If you do this and don’t think to check, you will miss that individual!

Let’s hope LinkedIn fixes this bug in a timely manner. I know I don’t like conducting searches when I’m not sure if the Boolean operators I use on a daily basis are functioning as I would expect.

Randy Bailey, CPSP-2, PHR, is a Career Consumer Insights and Analytics sourcing professional currently working on contract within Corporate America and has been a 2 time finalist for the Grand Master Challenge in 2013 & 2014. He has nearly a decade of experience working in both a corporate setting and for a small retained employment consulting company as both a senior researcher and sourcer. He loves the thrill of the hunt, playing with Data and experimenting with the latest tools and tricks while also staying grounded in the basics. You can find Randy on Twitter orLinkedin.



9 Comments on “The NOT’s not working in LinkedIn Recruiter by @RandyBailey

  1. Randy, I only have the free LI account, but did you try the “-” to see if it would work?

    1. Hi Mike,
      I did not, but officially the “-” is not supported by Linkedin, with the free or LIR versions. For that reason, I stopped using it that way and go with NOT instead.

  2. Randy, I just ran a boolean string like this…. “Software Engineer” (.NET OR MVC OR WCF OR WPF OR ASP.NET) and came up with some 522,000 results and then I ran this…. “software engineer” (.NET OR MVC OR WCF OR WPF OR ASP.NET) -recruiter -talent -“talent acquisition” -manager -“Sr. Manager” -“Senior Manager” -director -“head of” -CTO -senior -sr -sr. and yielded me only 185,000 results. Maybe the “-” does work!!

    1. I know the “-” will work, however it is not a supported operator. I think I stopped using the “-” when I studied for the Linkedin Certified Recruiter exam. It is personal preference I suppose. I had said I wasn’t sure how wide spread the issue was, some results seemed to be inconsistent. I only opened the ticket, regarding the Projects filter in LIR.

    1. Hi Tim,

      You can see my response to Mike below. Here’s more discussion about it on Glen Cathey’s blog from several years ago. Notice Glen Gutmacher’s comment about the minus sign not working for every field. I have no idea if this is still the case or not, I have not used a minus sign in a while…:

      An offical tip sheet:

  3. Just confirming “-” does work, even if not officially supported. I guess it really is personal preference, but if “NOT” is not working, then people should know that this is an alternative that does work. Also, you don’t need to “-” everything you want to exclude. Just write a single “OR” statement -(x OR y OR z).

  4. Anyone find a work around for this? In LinkedIN recruiter neither “NOT” or “-” seem to be reliably working for the company field. Thanks.

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