These candidates are (almost) impossible to find on LinkedIn.
These candidates are (almost) impossible to find on LinkedIn.

These candidates are (almost) impossible to find on LinkedIn.

Suddenly, while eating dinner with my good friend Michiel Wiersema. A new source of inspiration. Will you miss any candidates on LinkedIn if you search by zip code, city, or province?

As an example, LinkedIn's Database of the Netherlands

This business social media platform has 9.4 million profiles in the Netherlands. You have a job opening that needs to be filled. You've created a boolean string to help your employer or client find potential employees. You'd like to make it smaller. Reduce the number of candidates, so that you can approach them with a message.

A typical recruiter will use a city, province, or zip code with a radius around it. There's nothing wrong with that. There isn't, or there is.

I'll test my theory using LinkedIn, LinkedIn Recruiter, and Recruiter Lite.

LinkedIn Recruiter or Recruiter Lite search

First, consider the provinces. What number do I get if I choose all 12 provinces in the Netherlands? I'm missing over 1.7 million people.

All provinces are chosen on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Basic or Premium search

And if I do the same search on a basic LinkedIn account. When I select all provinces, I find a total population of 9 million or more in the Netherlands. I have a slightly lower number, which is possible because my basic LinkedIn account does not cover the entirety of LinkedIn. However, there is a 1.7M+ population difference.


I chose a different strategy for sourcing the Netherlands.

It appears that sourcing all locations in the Netherlands is too much to ask of me. That is not something I intend to do. It would be a lengthy search, and I'm not going to bother. I'll take a different approach.

That's what I'm going to do: select all postal codes. But how do you go about doing that? Simply put, you take the center of the Netherlands. Consider the city of Utrecht. The radius is then set to 200 miles (321 kilometers).


Then there's a chunk of England, France, Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg.  These countries were excluded from the search. And what are your thoughts on 7.7 million people? As a result, 1.7 million or more candidates are virtually untraceable.


What about Australia, on the other side of the world?

What about another country, or even another continent? Let us go to Australia. Australia has over 12 million profiles. I can't use the ZIP code. This continent is far too massive. I have access to all provinces. This hypothesis also yields fewer 10M+ profiles. I miss having 2M+ profiles.

How to solve this and find these candidates?

This method allows you to find people without having to search through 9.4 million LinkedIn profiles. This method is simpler than you think. How?

After selecting the Netherlands, you must deselect all 12 provinces. Then there are the 1.5 million+ candidates who have only applied in the Netherlands. Any recruiter who searches by zip code, city, or province is unlikely to find these candidates.


We are still missing two hundred thousand profiles. Those 200K people are still missing.

The same applies for Australia. There we are missing 100K people.


Last tip to find unicorns or purple squirrels.

Another tip for finding a niche candidate. A unicorn or a purple squirrel. You know, the one you have to hunt down with a flashlight. There are only a few of these in your country. Select the entire country or multiple countries as your search area.

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