Frustrating LinkedIn Search

Longtime readers will know that I’m generally supportive of the things that LinkedIn does – and concentrate on giving readers advice that helps them best use the site as it exists.

But today’s article takes a look into search and I’ll be a little frank – it didn’t go as planned;-)

Long time users

My thought was that I’d have a little fun with connections to users that have been around a long time.

You see, I connect to Craig Elias, and he’s been using the site since very close to the beginning.  How close? Really close…  He’s got an id of 3956, and started using the site on May 13, of 2003.

I tracked down two LinkedIn founding members, and they have ids of 1210 and 1215 – and one started with the company in March of 2003, so Craig was literally there when the site started accepting members from outside the company.

In comparison, my id of 749, 830 goes with a joining date of June 21, 2004 – still early on, but a year and a couple significant digits away;-)

Still good for kicks and grins

I haven’t run across any flagrant overstatements lately, but I do check into them once in a while.  Most outrageous are ones like “a LinkedIn user since 2002” – rather impossible don’t you think?  Another good one is “Years of LinkedIn experience” when the individual’s profile id is forty million something – indicating they joined in the last year or so…

You can check your own joining date in the “Settings” section – look for the light grey text in the top right area.

And you can check other’s ids by looking for the string “key=” in the url for a profile.

Finding long time members

So I was going to suggest a little contest – of the people you connect to, who joined earliest?

But to put on that contest, I’d have to be able to show you how to find them, and therein lies my troubles…

I can’t find a reasonable way to search for that criteria.


So – the brute force method…

Visit every one of your direct connections, starting with the first. Note their id. If this id is the lowest you’ve seen, note the id and the individual. Move to the next connection.

If you happen to have just a few connections, this could be reasonable.

If you’ve been following my advice to connect to people you know and trust, you’ve got at least a few dozen, and hopefully a number somewhere in the hundreds.

If you’ve been adding connections like there’s no tomorrow, this just won’t work…

LinkedIn advanced people search

And while I scoured the advanced people search, it just doesn’t do the trick.

The “When Joined” selector only goes to 1-3 months – so you can find people who have recently joined.

The “Sort by” doesn’t have a time based selection.

And I just don’t see any other reasonable selections there…

Exporting data

And so I also went into the data that LinkedIn exports when you’re backing up your connections (you’re remembering to back up you data and connections, right?-), but it does not include the id key in the information…

So – I can’t offer the contest with any hope that people will take me up on it.

If however, you happen to connect to someone with a really low id, I’d love to hear about it – and will give you bragging rights – if you leave that information here as a comment.  (And please don’t use the connection’s name unless you’ve cleared it with them – I checked with Craig, and he thought this was a cool article idea;-)

Better luck next search

But life goes on – I’m hopeful that my next oddball search idea will come up with better results.

Best of luck this week in your own endeavors.

To your continued success,


Steven Tylock