I can see it now – you show up to work and something is a bit different – there are people all over the place and what appear to be paparazzi swarming the parking lot. As soon as you step out onto the asphalt the flashes start popping and you hear people chant (enter your name here).
So what happened? Did you win American Karaoke (err…. Idol)? Did you beat out the competition on Dancing with People We Don’t Care About (err…. Celebrities)? No – you just learned how to source like nobody’s business!
Of all the skills it takes to become proficient at recruiting, the one that eludes so many in our ranks is the ability to dive deep into a database (or the Internet) and find that candidate that is not ‘low hanging fruit.’
Today we are going to look at some of the basics of using Boolean and Google to do just that. While there is much more to being a recruiting rock star than just learning a few search operators and how to become an outside the box user of a search engine, those things can help send you down the right path.
Boolean search was developed by a 19th century Englishman, George Boole, and allows you to effectively search most databases and search engines using a few simple search operators.
- AND narrows a search by combining terms. If you were to search civil AND engineer it would return results that had the words ‘civil’ and ‘engineer’ in them.
- OR widens a search by returning one of (potentially) many terms. Searching civil OR engineer would return results that had EITHER the words ‘civil’ or ‘engineer’ in them.
- NOT narrows a search by eliminating a search term. Searching civil NOT engineer would return results that had the word ‘civil’ and not the word ‘engineer’ in them. (in most cases you will see NOT represented by ‘-‘ so that the search string would appear civil -engineer)
- Exact match narrows a search through the use of quotation marks to put search phrases together. Searching “civil engineer” would return results that had the word ‘civil’ followed by the word ‘engineer’ (i.e. civil engineer) in them.
- Forcing the order widens your search through parenthesis to give the database options on what to return. Searching (civil OR mechanical) AND engineer would return results that had either the words ‘civil’ or ‘mechanical’ and the word ‘engineer’ in them.
As an example, Google site:dell.com (“vp” OR “vice president” OR “senior director”) -jobs and it will return any public facing part of Dell’s site with “vp” or “vice president” or “senior director” attached to it that does not mention the word jobs (thus eliminating most, if not all of their career center entries).
- SITE: allows you to x-ray a website and find information that would not be readily available otherwise. To use, put the site you are wanting to examine right after site: (with no space) and then your keywords afterwards.
- INURL: allows you to search specifically what is in the URL of a website (i.e. www.google.com) and
- INTITLE: allows you to search the specific title that the developer of a website gives each portion of that site (i.e. About, Contact, etc)