Last week I was the guest speaker at Reconvers’ Direct Sourcing event in London.
Jamie had asked me to show the group what sort of candidate information is out there on the web and freely available if you know how to look for it.
I gave a very brief intro to sourcing, and Internet research in particular, followed by a live sourcing demo, just to show what you can find with a little knowledge of search engines and boolean logic. I asked the recruiters in the room to give a profile they were looking for and I started a search there and then.
Example – Interim Datastage Consultant in Watford
One attendee was looking for an interim contractor specialising in an old IBM product called Datastage. This person would have to work in Watford.
I started by using Google Maps to look at the area surrounding Watford and choose some appropriate place names to include in my search – something like this might work:
(London OR Watford OR “St Albans” OR Slough OR “Hemel Hempstead” OR Cheshunt OR Enfield OR Luton OR Harlow OR “High Wycombe” OR Stevenage OR Dunstable OR Uxbridge OR Amersham OR Hatfield)
Then because we were uncertain how candidates might write Datastage, we included in our search string some different permutations. I also added some job titles to help us find pages that were mentioning people:
(datastage OR “data stage”) (developer OR programmer)
We’re now running into lots of job postings, so I look to take out some words that commonly appear on job ads. I also include words that will help us find people willing to work on a contract basis. Giving us a final boolean search string of:
(London OR Watford OR “St Albans” OR Slough OR “Hemel Hempstead” OR Cheshunt OR Enfield OR Luton OR Harlow OR “High Wycombe” OR Stevenage OR Dunstable OR Uxbridge OR Amersham OR Hatfield) (datastage OR “data stage”) (developer OR programmer) (interim OR contractor OR freelance) -job -jobs -vacancy -required
Because the key difficulty with this search is that we need someone still working with an old technology, we need to look for people that are using Datastage in their current role.
You’ll notice on LinkedIn profiles that your current job is listed separately to your past positions. So if we tell google to search linkedin.com for UK profile pages with the word “current” near to the word “Datastage”, we should get what we’re looking for.
“Current * Datastage” site:uk.linkedin.com/pub
Google brings us LinkedIn profiles that look relevant. You might also choose to add our list of place names onto this string to make sure you are getting people in the right part of the country.
I had an excellent question from the Reconverse crowd about using search engines other than Google. If you put the search query above into Bing then you get some great results on the first page, but not as many results in total.
I always recommend mixing up the search engines you use and trying your strings on more than one.
I use brackets (or parentheses) in my search strings above. This is purely to keep my own thoughts in order – Google actually ignores brackets completely. Bing does not ignore brackets, but that is a post for another day.
For more details of my “Live Source” – check out this video recording. Unfortunately you can’t see what I am typing or the results on the screen, but the audio, despite being quite quiet, might prove informative.
Check out the Reconverse website for more great events. I think the glass of wine to one side of the shot above sums up the atmosphere nicely! 🙂