LinkedIn has become one of the most popular professional social networking platforms, with over 800 million members worldwide. As a professional networking site, LinkedIn allows you to connect with colleagues, clients, recruiters and more to grow your professional network. One of the key features of LinkedIn is the ability to see who someone is connected to on the platform.
Checking someone’s LinkedIn connections can give you insight into their professional network and relationships. However, LinkedIn has privacy settings that allow members to control who can view their connections. Here are some tips on how to check someone’s LinkedIn connections, within the bounds of their privacy settings.
View Connections of 1st Level Connections
If you are connected to someone on LinkedIn as a 1st level connection, you can view their list of connections. To do this:
- Go to their LinkedIn profile
- Scroll down and click “See connections” under the Connections section
- This will show you a list of their 1st level connections
One exception is if the person has set their connections to private in their account settings. In that case, you will not be able to view their connections.
Use LinkedIn Search
You can also use LinkedIn’s search feature to look for connections of someone you are not directly connected to. To do this:
- Go to the LinkedIn search bar
- Type in the person’s name and location or company
- In the filters on the left, check “2nd-degree connection”
- This will show you profiles of people who are connected to the person you searched for
This allows you to see the person’s 2nd-degree connections, providing some visibility into who they are connected to. One limitation is that you will only see connections who have a public profile and allow 2nd-degree connections to view their profile.
Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator
If you have a LinkedIn Sales Navigator account, you can use their advanced search filters and lead builder tools to find connections. Some key features include:
- Lead Builder – Input someone’s name and company to see their profile, contacts, groups, and recent activity.
- “Connections of” filter – Search for “Connections of [name]” to surface their connections.
- TeamLink – See the connections between your saved leads to uncover relationships.
Sales Navigator provides more visibility into someone’s network, beyond what you can see with a free LinkedIn account. However, some privacy settings may still limit the connections you can view.
Use a Browser Extension
There are some browser extensions like LinkedIn Helper and Social Bro that enhance LinkedIn searching and viewing connections. Features include:
- View up to thousands of a person’s connections
- Expand the contact info visible for connections
- One-click exporting of a person’s connections
However, these extensions may violate LinkedIn’s terms of service if improperly used to scrape data. Make sure to comply with LinkedIn policies if using these tools.
Request an Introduction
If you want to connect to someone directly, you can request an introduction through a mutual connection. Here’s how:
- Go to their profile and click “Connect”
- Select the option to ask for an introduction through a shared connection
- Choose the connection and send them a message to request an introduction
This allows you to establish a direct connection to gain full access to their profile and connections. However, the person must accept the connection request for you to view their connections.
Connect by Working Together
Some other options to connect with someone on LinkedIn include:
- Connecting at an event or conference where you meet them in person
- Getting introduced through a coworker at the same company
- Reaching out online after working together on a project
- Finding an opening through shared group membership or content interactions
Finding opportunities to connect organically can help build a relationship to eventually become direct connections. This provides full access to their profile and connections list.
Consider Privacy and Ethics
When trying to view someone’s LinkedIn connections, be mindful of ethical boundaries and their privacy:
- Only use legitimate features LinkedIn provides – no scraping or hacking.
- If a profile is private or shows limited info, respect their privacy.
- Don’t misuse tools or extensions to override privacy settings.
- Build relationships gradually instead of “cold connecting.”
- Be transparent about your intent and any outreach.
It’s fine to be curious about someone’s network, but avoid creeping on their connections or forcing access through technical means. Build connections through mutual trust and benefit.
Why Check Someone’s Connections?
There are a few legitimate reasons why you may want to check a person’s LinkedIn connections:
- Networking and sales prospecting – Identify relationships that can help you get introduced or build rapport.
- Market research – Understand connections at companies you want to learn about or do business with.
- Partnerships and investments – Gauge their connections to evaluate partnerships or investment opportunities.
- Recruiting and hiring – Assess candidate connections as part of screening and vetting.
- General relationship building – Figure out what connections you have in common to bond over.
The key is doing this for productive reasons rather than just lurking and prying into someone’s network unnecessarily.
Connection Privacy Settings
To control what connections are visible to others, members can update their privacy settings. This includes:
- Profile Privacy – Set profile to private so only connections can view.
- Connections Visible – Choose to show “Only to 1st-degree connections” or “Your connections only.”
- Sharing Profile Edits – Disable sharing changes to your profile to limit visibility.
- Hide Profile and Network Info – Prevent search engines from indexing your page.
By default, your connections are visible to 2nd-degree connections. But you can limit access through the above settings.
LinkedIn also allows customizing visibility for specific connections. You can:
- Hide your connection individually from certain connections
- Show limited profile info to custom groups of connections
- Restrict inbound connection requests to only people who know a secret password
Fine-tuning settings like these allows precision control over which connections can view your full profile and network.
LinkedIn Recruitment and Visibility
For recruiters and job seekers, LinkedIn connections and privacy play an important role. Here are some key factors:
- Recruiters may check connections to evaluate candidates during hiring.
- Job seekers may limit visibility if they are discreetly looking while employed.
- Connections between job seeker and recruiter can signal interest and relationships.
- Recruiters value recommendations and endorsements between connected profiles.
Balancing openness for opportunity while guarding privacy can be tricky for candidates and recruiters alike.
Job Search Caution
If currently employed, job seekers should be cautious about revealing their search, such as:
- Keeping profile visibility limited only to connections
- Being selective about connecting with recruiters
- Customizing visibility of recruiter connections
- Using privacy settings and discretion in general
This maintains confidentiality until ready to fully open up their search. Connections and privacy settings help control this.
Social Selling and Connections
For sales professionals using LinkedIn to generate leads, networked selling is critical. Connections play an important role in social selling on LinkedIn by:
- Viewing connections of leads for warmer introductions
- Expanding networks by connecting with prospects and their connections
- Showcasing clients and strategic partners through connections
- Following company pages to see news and employee updates
This “social selling” helps sales build relationships, establish authority, and convert leads through networked connections.
Sales and Privacy
However, contacts may guard their privacy, limiting social selling options. Salespeople should:
- Respect privacy settings of prospects
- Provide value through content sharing rather than hard-selling
- Be transparent about sales intent when connecting
- Build trust and rapport before pushing sales conversations
With good etiquette, salespeople can still capitalize on LinkedIn connections while respecting boundaries.
Evaluating Business Partners
Vetting potential business partners often involves evaluating their connections and relationships. Key ways LinkedIn can help include:
- Identifying common connections to get insider insights
- Assessing connections with competitors and related companies
- Checking for partnerships through co-branded showcase pages
- Contacting connections for referrals and testimonials
This provides greater context about shared relationships and reputation before entering partnerships.
You can also fact check claims using LinkedIn connections. For example:
- Verifying employment history through coworker connections
- Checking claimed credentials through alumni connections
- Validating expertise by endorsements and recommendations
- Contacting connections to confirm business relationships
This helps avoid entering partnerships based on false claims that lack verification.
For businesses, LinkedIn can provide intelligence about competitors. Connections help reveal:
- Partnerships through shared connections
- New hires between competitors through connections changing jobs
- Technology providers powering operations based on employees
- Geographic expansion by connections in local areas
This competitive intelligence gained through LinkedIn connections is valuable for strategy.
However, ethical lines still exist, such as:
- Not using deception or fake accounts to connect
- Avoiding invasive personal details unrelated to business
- Preventing harassment of competitors’ employees
- Honoring opt-outs and privacy settings
The goal should be understanding the competition, not sabotaging or attacking them.
Growing Your Network
Checking someone’s LinkedIn connections can also help grow your own professional network. You can:
- Connect with shared 1st-degree connections
- Join relevant groups and communities based on connections
- Engage with status updates from new connections
- Get introduced to connections through your own connections
This expands your network through 2nd and 3rd-degree connections, bolstering your own professional opportunities.
Viewing LinkedIn connections can provide professional insights but should be done ethically. Focus on building relationships, providing value, and respecting people’s privacy and boundaries. With a mix of tools, settings, and conscientious networking, you can check someone’s connections successfully on LinkedIn.