September 28, 2016

Who’s Viewing You on LinkedIn? Take Control with Privacy Settings

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Personal Branding Blog


linked in mobile phone

Who’s been looking at your LinkedIn Profile? What LinkedIn Profiles have you been looking at?

There are three options for LinkedIn profile privacy. LinkedIn Privacy Settings allow you to determine how much information you share when you are viewing someone else’s LinkedIn Profile.

I’ll explore all three of them here and show you how easy it is to make a change. One key point is that these settings can be adjusted at any time you like. (The video below is a quick 2 minute video that also walks you through the process.)

LinkedIn Privacy Settings Options

Why Three Options?

So, you can view a profile with the default recommended settings for your day to day use of LinkedIn. However, if you are doing research … whether it’s part of a job search or part of your industry research efforts, you can change the way your profile appears to the people on the other side.

One of the options is complete private mode. While this might seem a little sneaky there are reasons for this that I will go into below.

Three Options for LinkedIn Profile Viewing

  1. The default setting – which shows up as the “Recommended” option includes your name, company, industry, location and your profile picture.
  2. Semi-Private shows a generic title, industry and general location.
  3. Complete Private Mode – Is exactly what it says. Nothing is shown to the user whose LinkedIn profile you visited.

Why Hide?

I give the LinkedIn team credit for creating this LinkedIn Privacy Settings option. There are times where you might be looking for things on LinkedIn that you don’t want the other person to know you are looking.

The obvious situation is a job search.

However, there are other scenarios where a Private Mode viewing option is also helpful. For example, when you are doing research on the industry — whether it’s your current industry, a competitor, or a possible business partner. You might want to see what they post and how they position themselves.

Researching Job Candidates — If you are researching a job candidate you might not want to show that the five people in your firm are checking out their profile.

Why would anyone ever want to hide?

There are valid reasons. The good news is LinkedIn makes it really easy to adjust these settings as often as your like.

Changing your LinkedIn Profile View settings is simple:

  • Login to LinkedIn
  • Go to top right corner –
  • Hover over your profile picture.
  • This is the “Account & Settings” and look down the list to click on “Privacy & Settings”
  • Click on “Manage”
  • A new page will pop up.
    • Note: It may request that you login again. This is for your privacy.
  • In the middle of the page there is an option labeled as:
  • “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile”
  • Click on this option
  • Another Dialog Box Pops Up.
  • The “What Others See when you’ve viewed their profile” dialog box.
  • There are three options — Recommended, Semi-Private and Private
  • Select the privacy option you would like to use
  • Click “Save Changes” and you are good to go.
  • The selected setting will stay in place until you change it.
  • Change this setting as needed.

Is this a valuable LinkedIn feature?

I’m curious to know if most people know about, use or like this option. This is a very informal survey. I’d like you to add a quick comment with your thoughts. I’d also like to hear from the experts at using this option. I’m guessing HR professionals and industry researchers have some great use cases. Or perhaps they just always leave their settings as Complete Private Mode as their permanent setting.

  • Did you know about this option?
  • Do you use this option?
  • How do you use this option?

I always am looking for better ways to use LinkedIn. Even though I’ve been using LinkedIn for over 10 years there are new features … which means new tips and tricks popping up all the time.

LinkedIn Photo via Shutterstock

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7 Reactions

  1. Martin Lindeskog

    I have to check my LinkedIn setting. In general, I want to have it as open as possible, but it could be good to know how to adjust it to a more strict option.

  2. While I understand the reason for the option, I wish LinkedIn would also add an option to not allow private searchers to view your profile. Then if they truly want to see your profile, they could turn off their stealth mode to do so. This gives some control to both parties.

    • I agree. It is not just non-linkedIn users that you have to protect yourself from. You also have to protect yourself from some users as well. After all, it is free to join and everyone can just join and view your profile at will.

  3. Aira Bongco

    Is there an option to just block certain people from viewing your profile? It can be bothersome to set up a security feature and then you end up blocking the people that you want to see your profile as well.

  4. It is nice that they now provide different options in terms of privacy. I think that we need this in just about every social network.

  5. I think you missed the biggest reason that people search in Private Mode. We are all “stalkers” at heart, and sure we want to know how our colleagues are presenting themselves without them knowing. Or how that guy we went to college is doing. Or what so and so is up to these days. To pretend that LinkedIn is all about networking is naive.

  6. I always keep private mode on as I use Linkedin for work and advertising and don’t want people to freak out if I visit their profile couple times a week.

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