When it comes to sourcing for a hard to fill or niche role, knowing which tools and methods to use is key to success. The candidate you’re looking for may not be an active job seeker and it’s becoming increasingly common that they may not be active or present on LinkedIn. So, what do you do? The sourcing series will give you insight into some out-of-the-box strategies and tools you can use to help find that purple squirrel.
Part 1: Advanced search engine sourcing
This year, I’m speaking at SourceCon, the biggest sourcing conference in the world which attracts hundreds of the best sourcers from the globe and I’ll be hosting a session on 'advanced search engine sourcing'. Aside from the biggest search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, there are hundreds of alternative platforms and techniques you can use to find talent and with the number of options growing every day, knowing what’s available and how to leverage them is important.
For example, using techniques such as Boolean and X-ray search can take your sourcing efforts far beyond what is possible with Google alone.
The latter refers to searches that are refined by using a combination of keywords and the terms 'And', 'Not' and 'Or'. This allows searches to be narrowed or widened accordingly. For example, searching for 'web developer not London' will exclude London-based candidates from the results, while searching for 'web developer or Java' will include both web developers and other candidates who have Java skills. These search phrases are known as Boolean strings and can be used to pinpoint your sourcing efforts.
X-ray search allows you to search a website, such as LinkedIn, using Google or another major engine rather than the site's own search function. Google is a far more powerful search tool than the functions you'll find in-site, so this technique can allow for more in-depth sourcing.
So, what else do you do need to know about advanced search engine sourcing?
One of the first things you need to be aware of is that all search engines index web pages differently, as they have alternative ways of analyzing the information contained in each document. They also use different complex algorithms that determine which result should be displayed for a keyword search and where it appears in the listings. Google is the biggest player in this space, dominating around 70 percent of the market, but other search engines will bring you alternative results that Google may not. For this reason, using search engines such as Bing and Yahoo will help to broaden the search when sourcing. It’s also worth noting that Bing and Yahoo accept slightly different Boolean operators and commands - you can find this information on their sites.
Meta search engines
An alternative to using one search engine at a time, a Meta search engine is essentially an aggregator and will save you time by bringing back results from a variety of search engines at the same time. This is perfect for when you want to search Google, Bing, Yahoo and others simultaneously and get a more refined result. Some of the biggest Meta search engines include Yippy.com, Search.IO and Sputtr.
Type of search
Did you know search engines also index documents? This is just one of the many different types of alternative search engines you can use, depending on what results you’re looking for. For example, if you’re piecing together a company structure or looking for high profile names, searching for presentations or slides may help. There are many search engines built specifically to search for publicly-available presentations and you could start off by using Slide3. You can also use specific search engines to search social media profile usernames, hashtags, blogs, cloud documents or even instant messengers. The list is endless!
Custom search engine
You can build custom search engines (CSE) in Google. Essentially, a mini search engine to save you from having to build Boolean search strings for the same site every time you do a search for profiles. For example, you could build a custom search engine that allows you to Xray LinkedIn and all you’d need to do is type in the keywords you’re looking for and your search engine will do the rest by bringing back results that are only related to LinkedIn or whatever sites you have specified.
The internet is growing with more and more pages being indexed every day, yet what we access is only around four percent of the actual internet. It’s unknown how large the deep web actually is, but it’s estimated to be 500x the size of the surface web we access through search engines such as Google. While the deep web is home to illegal activity and can be tricky to navigate, it is useful for hard-to-find information such as searching databases, journals and even old versions of websites. The best way to access the invisible web is through a Tor browser.
These are just some small insights into how you can use advanced search engines to source talent. To learn more, I invite you to attend SourceCon in September and come along to my breakout session!
Posted 9/14/2015 By Gurprit Bhambra
Gurprit Bhambra has over seven years of recruitment experience, having worked with companies to develop their in-house resourcing functions with a focus on direct hiring, employer brand development and creating end to end recruitment processes.
She is currently the Strategic...
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