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How to work properly with X-Ray Search?

Evotalents May 25, 2020

We brush our teeth every day. And we do it automatically, out of habit. Do we really think whether we do it in a right way? The same often happens  in our profession - we do our work automatically and do not check the accuracy of the results.

Recently I had to check if recruiters use X-Ray Search correctly in their work. And it happened under interesting circumstances.

A few weeks ago, a new feature appeared on LinkedIn – a questionnaire. Now you can conveniently and quickly find out the opinion of your network on the issue you are interested in. However, there are only 4 options of answers, not more. The questionnaire can be active for up to 2 weeks. More about LinkedIn Pool.

I wanted to test this feature and the first thing that came to my mind was to ask about the X-Ray Search. I expected nearly 95% correct answers and was really surprised when I saw only 48%.  You can see the results from all the channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram) below. Also, given the relevance of the topic, I will explain how to work with the X-Ray Search on Google.

Survey results

LinkedIn: 6 out of 24 answered correctly.

Out of curiosity, I went to other channels to refute/confirm these data.

Facebook: 15 out of 18 answered correctly.

Telegram: the situation is the same as on LinkedIn - 9 out of 25 answered correctly.

Instagram: 11 answered correctly.

A total of 85 recruiters took part in the survey. I think that some of them could have answered on 2 or even 3 sources, but still, more than half of the respondents don’t know how the X-Ray Search works.

Based on the results of the survey, I think it will be interesting for you to learn how it works, understand its logic and how to form queries on Google properly.

How does X-Ray Search work?

First of all, I’d like to remind you that the X-Ray Search is a kind of search using the operator site:. The search structure looks like this:

site:ua – domain search – search throughout the entire site – search in the required section

Google Help about Boolean Search

Full list of Google Operators 2020 from the sourcing guru Irina Shamaeva.

Google Advanced Search allows you to search without knowing the logical operators.

Now let's analyze four options offered in the questionnaire.

1. site:

In the beginning this query seems to work, but it doesn't help us make our search easier. The main goal of the operators is that, knowing the logic of Google, we can find the most relevant result as soon as possible. Also, talking about the operator site:, there is an unspoken rule to form a query with it without the protocol "https://".

2. site:

This query may also seem to work, but it doesn’t give a correct result (because of the extra space between "site:" and ""). Keep in mind that we use this operator without any space between the operator and the words which follow this query.

3. -pub.dir

This is the right option. Only here the syntax is done correctly.

More than 4 years ago, LinkedIn included a pub/dir extension in the url-address, which indicated the storage directory of all the files from the server. This query is now similar to the query

4. site:""

This is the most common mistake among the answers. Note that we don’t use quotes with the operator site:. They help to search for the exact phrase throughout the whole query, excluding monosyllabic words and synonyms. 

What you have to keep in mind when forming X-Ray Search:

  1. There is an unspoken rule to generate a query without the "https://" protocol with the operator site:. 
  2. We don’t use a space after the operator site:.
  3. Quotation marks aren’t used with the operator site:.

I hope that after this article you will be able to easily answer the question "How to work properly with X-Ray Search?" and recruiting will be even more exciting for you.

And if you want to gain or deepen your knowledge of sourcing, we invite you to our sourcing courses at EvoTalents.School. There Luda talks about sourcing on LinkedIn and shares a lot of other interesting and useful information for sourcers/recruiters.