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  • Writer's pictureJohn Rambo Rajendran

Basics of X-Ray Search


X-Ray Search is one of the buzz words of the last decade, yet not many recruiters are into it. May be it is so, because of their sourcing priorities or the working model of their teams. Just because you do not have the scope of using a technique, a methodology or a tool, it doesn’t mean that you should not learn it.

Whether you are a Recruiter or a Sales person or an Analyst, learning about X-Ray search is kind of fundamental.

X-Ray search just keeps improving and getting improvised basis the kind of change that gets incorporated in Search Engines. Google had been the preferred Search Engine of choice for X-Ray Search. Perhaps, you can try this out on Bing or any other Search Engine of your choice. But, we don’t have much of a choice here, do we? 😉

Anatomy of URL

Before we get into X-Ray search, it is important that we understand the parts of an URL. That will give us an idea about what kind of keywords we should adopt to pull the kind of data we need.

Lets’ consider the below URL as an example

https:// - This is the Scheme. It tells the web server to adopt a particular protocol as the URL is entered. www - This is the subdomain linkedin - This is the second-level domain .in - Top level domain /in - Path or Sub-directory or Folders

Check this post to get a better understanding of “The Anatomy of a URL

Importance of Path or Sub-directory or Folders in X-Ray Search

Not all websites keep the records of its members in a specific Path or Sub-directory or Folders.


In the above example, “/in” is where all the members are classified.

Whereas, facebook treats its members, posts, products the same. Each are its own Sub-directory. They don’t classify them in a separate folder in their URL.

To check this yourself, go to a forum or your preferred social site and go to your profile page. Now check the URL of your profile. You will be able to see if the website classifies you under a particular path or not.

This is fundamental when you X-Ray any website.

Action Time

Now lets’ start doing an actual X-Ray search for Linkedin using the below example.


A Recruiter is looking to do an X-Ray search for Python Developers in Linkedin.

This is how we start. “python developer”

This will lead results of all “Python Developer” related content in Including Jobs, People, Posts, Articles, leaving us with an infinite pool of data. Now lets' tweak it a bit. “python developer”

This addition of “/in” to the site will narrow down our results to only People who have mentioned “Python Developer” in their profiles. Still you might get profile suggestions and jobs with this results. So, lets’ tweak it a bit more. “python developer” -dir

This will remove all the profile suggestions and job postings, leaving us only with the actual profiles of Python Developers.

Now, lets' assume we need to narrow down only those profiles where the owner has mentioned “Python Developer” in their Title. intitle:“python developer” -dir

We can slightly tweak this a little bit by adding a keyword which will also include “python developer” in the URL of those target profiles. (intitle:“python developer” OR inurl:”python developer”) -dir

This will mostly remove the profiles of those Recruiters have mentioned “Python Developer” in their profile summary as part of their open jobs list.

Now we gotta add location. Come on, everybody needs people from the location of their offices. May be, the present COVID scenario has brought the world closer after going remote completely, but still there are companies who prefer local candidates only. So, here is for them. (intitle:“python developer” OR inurl:”python developer”) (bangalore or bengaluru) -dir

Now, this should pull out all those profiles where the owner has mentioned “Bangalore” or “Bengaluru” in their profile or location.


And that is definitely not the end of what we can do with X-Ray search. I do not want to overwhelm you with too much information in the first shot, just in case you are just getting started. May be, I’ll come up with another article that covers more advanced keyword possibilities in X-Ray search.

Feel free to use the comments section to share your views or add anything useful to this post. I’m also available via the Chat box in your bottom right end of the website.

Happy Recruiting!

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