If you want to find people on LinkedIn then there’s a great search tool. Just click on the rightmost link at the top of the Home page that says "Advanced". This will then bring up the four tabbed pages of "Find People", "Advanced People Search", "Reference Search", and "Saved Searches". I’m confused by the "Reference Search" section because it seems to throw doubt on the validity of the Recommendations section present in some people’s profiles. It appears that back scratching recommendations may be worthless.
The Find People tab allows you to immediately see all of your current contacts. These can be sorted by their number of connections, keywords, relationship, and recommendations. Additionally, your LinkedIn cotacts can be seen in a concise basic view or in an expanded view. To see other people, outside of your network, you need to enter a search keyword. Seven other filters exist. These allow you to refine your search by the person’s Current Company, Relationship, Location, Industry, Past Company, School, and Profile Language.
The Current Company refinement lets you select “all companies”, from a default list of 11 companies, or you can add additional companies to the current company search criteria. The Relationship choice allows you to select “All LinkedIn Members”, 1st Connections, 2nd Connections, Group Members, and 3rd plus everyone else. The Location option enables individual countries to be selected for the search, or the default of “All Locations” can be used. You can specify the Industry that you are searching within from “Arts and Crafts” through to “Writing and Editing”. The Past Company can be specified in a similar way to the present company selection. The School or university can be identified, as can the Profile Language from English, Spanish, French, etc. If you choose to upgrade your LinkedIn account then you may also filter your search results by Groups, Years of Experience, Function, Seniority Level, Interested In, Company Size, Fortune 1000, and Recently Joined.
The LinkedIn Advanced People Search tab is a more complex version of the previously discussed Find People tab. It includes all the features of the previous tab, with the addition of First Name, Last Name, Post Code, Within [search radius] and [job] Title.
If you choose to upgrade your LinkedIn account and pay US$24.95 per month then you will access to the Reference Search tab. This allows you to get the real story on any cadidate for a job by finding reliable references in your network. You need to enter the name of the job applicant’s previous employer, candidate’s name, and employment years. From this, for the monthly fee, LinkedIn will tell you who worked at the same company as the job applicant and if they can be contacted by a LinkedIN InMail. According to LinkedIn, the purpose of this Reference Search tab is to “Make the right hire the first time and to find references who can give real, honest feedback and to allow you to reach out directly to past employers and colleagues with InMail Messages”.