Friday, 25 March 2011

The Holy Grail of Internet Sourcing

I’ll start off by saying I need to see a doctor, it is now 04:00 in the UK and I have been awake since 02:30 thinking about sourcing candidates and what methods and tools yield great results.  I know I am addicted to sourcing!

I first became addicted to internet sourcing probably in 2007 when I first got sucked into the underworld and began to hear about Shally Steckerl, Job Machine and AIRS Training and certificates. 

What I was reading sounded like the Silver Bullet of recruitment, all I had to do was pump a few Boolean operators into Google or Yahoo and as I was going to find thousands of CVs of quality candidates hidden away in the depths of the World Wide Web, but that didn’t happen.

What I did find was a handful of CVs which were generally out of date and were contractors, not what a permanent recruiter wants.  So after extensive reading and exploring new ways of constructing Boolean search strings, I kicked the sourcing habit and went back to using online advertising, searching job board databases and LinkedIn.

Now its 2011 and I have to confess I have a MAJOR problem for me internet sourcing is the crack cocaine of recruitment, I am well and truly hooked.  So what’s dragged me back?  I have always been good at phone sourcing, getting through to key decision makers, getting information maybe I shouldn’t be able to get using the telephone, basically able to generate lots of recruitment assignments but then not always finding the candidates to fill them and that’s what prompted me and brought me back to internet sourcing.

So why am I well and truly hooked on internet sourcing after kicking the habit in 2007?  This time around I realise I am not going to unlock thousands of CV’s of C# developers who live and work in London or Cardiff or Bristol on a permanent basis, but I am able to discover social media sites where these guys converse on a daily basis and I can discover user groups, forums, blogs and search for Tweets relating to workshops and seminars, all of which provide lists of members, their names, companies these candidates work at, email addresses and telephone numbers. Internet sourcing enables me to X-Ray social media sites, search Twitter Bio’s and LinkedIn profiles and X-Ray company websites to gain list of employees.

Yesterday was a prime example, while searching the depths of the internet for London based Microsoft .NET professionals I unearthed one of the many .NET User Groups and bingo!  The site included a list of all its 227 members, 227 London based .NET developers whose profiles included information such as:

  • Where they work
  • LinkedIn profiles
  • Twitter IDs
  • Github profiles
  • Links to blogs
  • Email addresses

This is like winning the lottery, so, armed with all these individual pieces of information it is very easy to start dramatically increasing the depth of your talent pools and watch them grow almost exponentially.

For me sourcing by plugging keywords, Boolean operators and (inurl:cv | inurl:resume | intitle:cv | inurl:resume) into Google Yahoo and Bing and returning a few pages of CVs is not what it is all about, to be honest I recon my mum good do that.  To me, the Holy Grail is about thinking outside the box and using Boolean operators and keywords to trawl the net for snippets of information which when pieced together provide untapped, deep pools of talent that no online CV database or online advert could ever deliver.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

What Does a Google URL mean? Part II

As mentioned in What Does a Google URL mean? Part I, every query we ask Google to run is represented with a URL that points to a results page, these URL’s are not static, but dynamic links which are continually updated and therefore provide real time results. 

To fully maximize the use of our Boolean operators and Google queries we must understand the URL Syntax Google uses.  Let’s start with the first part of the URL, the location of Google’s search script:

As you can see if you follow the above link you are taken to a blank Google search page.  This blank Google search page can be likened to a “?” that we use in everyday language; it is from this point we can delve deeper into the World Wide Web.

Now we are ready to question or query Google we must provide a set of Parameters which instruct the search script, basically tell it what to do and conduct the search we want.  Parameters are separated by the ampersand (&) and consist of a variable followed by an equal sign (=) which is followed by the value that the variable should be set to:

*where a and b are both values

This is the part of the post I have been dreading and where all you techies and geeks will shoot me down!  If you look at the URL of any Google search you have conducted you will probably notice the use of special characters such as the percentage sign (%) and numbers this is hexadecimal you can read more about Hexidecimal, base 16 or Hex at Wikipedia  Lucky enough for us non techies most browsers support a auto correcting feature so we don’t need to worry about all that geeky Hex coding!

I hope you are still with me on this, the end is insight!  So why is all this relevant?  Generally our base or starting URL will come from a search submitted into the Google Web interface using our Boolean operators such as AND, NOT & OR and commands such as site: and link:  by looking at the Google URL we are then able to add parameters, change values of parameters, modify and delete parameters and resubmit the search by pressing enter.  Parameters can be added to the base URL in any order.

Here is a list of some of Google’s search parameters I find useful:

q or as_q                      A search query

as_eq                           A search term                          Terms will be excluded from the                                                        search

start                             0 to max number of hits          Result 0 is 1st result on page 1

num maxResults          1 to 100                                   Number results per page max 100

filter                            0 to 1                                       Filter set to 0, show potential                                                             duplicate results

restrict                         restrict code                            Restrict results to a specific country

as_epq                         a search phrase                        Value is submitted as exact phrase,                                                    no need for phrase with quotes e.g.                                                    “software engineer”

as_ft                            i = include file type                 include or exclude the file type as e= exclude file type                     by indicated as_filetype

as_filetype                   a file extension                        use above

as_qdr                         all – all results                         locate pages within a specified time m3 = 3 months              frame
                                    m6 = 6 months
                                    y = past year

as_nlo                          low number                             find numbers between as_nlo and                                                      as_nhi

as_nhi                          high number                            find numbers between as_nlo and                                                      as_nhi

as_oq                           a list of words                         find at least one of these words

as_occt                        any = anywhere                       find a search term in a specific     title = tile of page              location
                                    body = text of page
                                    url = in URL of page
                                    links = in links to the page

as_dt                           i = only include site/domain    include or exclude searches from
e = exclude site/domain          domain specified by as_sitesearch

as_sitesearch               domain or site                         include or exclude this domain or
site as specified by as_dt

as_rq                            URL                                        locate pages similar to this URL

as_lq                            URL                                        locate pages that link to this URL

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Gatekeepers, Telephones & Targets

I recruit niche, in demand technical skills across the UK and Europe, technical skills companies are continually looking to hire, as well as wanting to retain.

It is becoming more evident that companies do not want their prize technical assets taken away from them by “head hunters” and are implementing a variety of methods to ensure their technical staffs are not being poached.

Here are some of the ploys companies are using to make sure their staffs are not approached:

  • No name polices
  • Software/Technical/Engineering teams do not take telephone calls
  • Software/Technical/Engineering teams messages and emails can only be made through a Gatekeeper

It is becoming increasingly difficult to discover and make contact with technical talent so I am interested in hearing about out-of-the-box ways to overcome these hurdles as well as any other methods companies are employing to stop their prize assets from being poached.