Your Basic Search Engine Handbook from UK Sourcers

Search Engine HandbookHave you ever wished you had a reference that would talk you through the basic building blocks of using Search Engines and Boolean?

The idea of using a Search Engine to find information about people is natural to some and a totally new idea to others. Search Engines like Google and Bing can be a valuable addition to your candidate sourcing toolbox.

When you have searched your database, checked the job boards and scoured LinkedIn, do you then turn to Google or Bing to access information available to all on the Internet?

This handbook aims to explain the basics of querying a search engine – add in your own industry knowledge and creativity and you should be able to track down anything (as long as it is out there in the public domain to be found).

We will start with AND, OR and NOT (the three Boolean operators) then look at other commands that will make your searches more targeted.

Download your copy of the  UK Sourcers’ Basic Search Engine Handbook for Recruiters by Katharine Robinson (aka TheSourceress)

A copy of the handbook will be given to all attendees of tomorrow’s Talent Sourcing conference in London. If you are not coming along to the event then follow proceedings via Twitter using the hashtag #TSUK – if you are unsure what a hashtag is, then check out this guide to hashtags that we published earlier this month.

If you have any feedback, please get in touch.

Twitter Search Gets An Important Overhaul

Twitter birdYesterday Twitter announced that they have made some major improvements to Twitter Search. Some of the new features may be important in helping you engage with a targeted audience.

Many of the new Twitter Search features don’t seem to be live across the board yet.

Spelling Corrections: Twitter should now make suggestions if it thinks you have spelled a word incorrectly. I have tried deliberately misspelling words, but am yet to see this feature in action.

Related Searches: Twitter will now suggest you other searches that you might be interested in. It sounds like Twitter will suggest search terms that provide more results for you. I am yet to see this feature in action for a search other than Twitter’s example of ‘Jeremy Lin’.

Real Names and Usernames in Results: According to twitter “When you search for a name like ‘Jeremy Lin,’ you’ll see results mentioning that person’s real name and their Twitter account username.” When I search for ‘Katharine Robinson’ though, it does not return results mentioning @TheSourceress too. This feature does work with Twitter’s ‘Jeremy Lin’ example – I can only suppose that the feature is a work in progress.

Probably the most useful new Twitter Search feature is working and working well

Results from people you follow: 
Up until now, when you ran a search on, you got the option of seeing ‘All’ tweets or just the ‘Top’ tweets. There is now an added option to see results from only the ‘People you follow’.

It shouldn’t be underestimated just how tricky this was for Twitter to build – with Tweets coming in at 250 million per day, separating them out by an arbitrary list of users must have been a technical nightmare!

Twitter have got this feature working perfectly though – I have used it already to see what my network is saying about the Formula 1 racing at the British Grande Prix this weekend, rather than sifting through the noise of all the tweets about the F1 today.

The ‘People you follow’ results are a great feature if you are using Twitter to engage with a particular community. For example, I almost exclusively follow UK based recruitment professionals from the @UKSourcers Twitter account. I want to engage with that community because those are the people I want to work with. I don’t always want to talk to them about recruitment though – I have other interests and so do they. I can now run a search for ‘cheese’ or ‘F1’ or ‘pie’, see which UK recruiters are talking about those things and join in.

I expect that those of you using Twitter for recruiting purposes have accounts that follow people who are all involved with your particular niches – the exact people you want to engage with. You now have a tool to help you find people in your niche community that share other things in common with you. This will help you build more meaningful relationships.

This feature also adds incentive to corporate Twitter accounts to follow back real people – they will now be missing out even more by not following back those that have shown an interest in their brand as an employer.

How will you be using these new Twitter Search features?

Show Off Your Internet Sourcing Skills With Smarterer

If you know you’ve got mad Google search skills, or you think you know LinkedIn better than the back of your hand, why not show off with Smarterer’s short tests and funky badges.

You can take tests in all sorts of things from Web Development skills to using Powerpoint. Of most interest to us Sourcers are probably the tests in Google Search and LinkedIn.

I have taken a few tests and here are my results:

You can see even more on my Smarterer profile.

If you take a test, share the link to your profile in the comments and show off!

Thanks must go to Bill Boorman for pointing out this tool 🙂

3 Sites You Have Never Thought About Sourcing From

Do you see sourcing opportunities everywhere you go? You should.

Here are three sites not usually associated with unearthing talent…

Wikipedia Logo

1. Wikipedia

We already know that Wikipedia is a great site to have in our sourcing tool kit, but what about actually finding candidates there? The thing to remember about wikipedia is that anyone can edit it. It stands to reason that the people editing or creating the articles have some expertise in that area. For example I can see that the page on Sourcing (personelle) was created by Rob Macintoch, one of the founders of SourceCon and all round sourcing legend.

Let’s say that I am trying to track down some games designers to work at a tech startup in London. If I check out the wikipedia article on Game Design then I not only find a lot of handy info that will help me with keyword identification, I also find a list of people. “Where?” I hear you ask.

On the top left of every Wikipedia article there is a “View History” tab. This allows you to see all the changes made to that article. Some people edit anonymously so you can only see details of their IP address on the history page. Other people have set up a User profile on Wikipedia and I can see their usernames against the changes they have made.

I start to look for users with profiles that have made changes to the section about the different roles of a games designer, it’s most likely that these are actually people doing the job. The first one I come across is Tom Edwards. He lists the company he works for on his profile, they just happen to be based in the UK. This is a rather hit and miss approach, so I look to use Google or another search engine to find these people more efficiently. I now know that user profiles have the word “user” in the url of the page so I can start to build a search string.


this will give me wikipedia user profiles. I can add keywords and phrases to find the people I want e.g.

inurl:user “game designer” (uk OR “united kingdom” OR london)

I could also include the names of particular games or game makers in my search string.

2. Amazon

Amazon Logo

Next time your boss catches you browsing Amazon while at work you will have a legitimate reason for being there. You’ll be sourcing talent.

One of the most useful shopping features on Amazon is the product reviews. This is the bit that is useful to us for sourcing too! Think about it, who is going to be reviewing books on game design? You could either look through the reviews of particular publications or use a search engine to find reviews that contain certain words and phrases.

“game design”

will find me product review on amazon that mention the phrase “game design”. I might need to narrow that down with some more keywords once I assess the quality of the results. We can now look at the profiles of the people that wrote those reviews. Amazon profiles don’t usually contain much information, but it’s usually enough to get you a name, which you can then put back into a search engine to find out more about a person.

You will also notice that profiles on Amazon contain the word “profile” in the URL, allowing you to search for people profiles that mention certain keywords – by doing this you will probably find profiles that have been filled in with more detail. e.g.

inurl:profile “game designer”

You will also want to consider using sites like in a similar way.

tumblr Logo

3. Tumblr

Tumblr is a blogging platform that makes it really easy to share a wide range of media types very quickly. It lends itself very well to visual content. It is definitely a darling of the social media world but not talked about very much in recruiting circles. At the time of writing, tumblr has over 57 million blogs.

Just like any of the myriad of blogging platforms out there (wordpress, blogger, posterous etc…) it is worth site: searching tumblr to see anyone you are interested in is using tumblr to demonstrate their expertise.

Sticking with our Game Designer example;

“games designer” (uk OR “united kingdom” OR london)

Among other things, this brings up a post from a Tiggy Tuppence actually showcasing some work. Tumblr does allow users to connect up Twitter and Facebook accounts but not all choose to do this. The only way to get in touch with this user through tumblr is to use the “Ask a Question” feature. I decide to google her username first though to see if it’s being used elsewhere. I’m lucky, I quickly see that Tiggy Tuppence exists on Twitter and Google+ too. I could also run the username through to find other online profiles.

What unexpected places have you unearthed talent from?

UK Sourcers News – 21st May 2012

Search Engine News

Google launch Knowledge Graph

Social Media News

By far the biggest news in Social this week was Facebook’s IPO. The Social Networking giant filed the paperwork for its initial public offering on 1st February and began trading last week. Mashable have a section dedicated to the Facebook IPO where you can find out more.

Twitter Confirms 10 million active users in the UK.

Another Pinterest CV caught the attention of the guys over at Simply Zesty this week.

Social Talent Search – Looks like it would be an interesting tool. “Like” on Facebook of follow on Twitter for news.


Jobs for recruiters and sourcers:

Talent Attraction Specialist – Ochre House in Twickenham, UK
Resourcing Manager – in the Clothing team at Tesco
Head of Sourcing – Amazon
Senior Recruiter – NVIDIA – Bristol, UK
Research Associate – EH Partners Executive Search – London
Talent Acquisition Researcher (contract/perm) – Verizon Business in Reading, Berkshire
Recruiters with 10+ Years Experience – Find The Engineer in Bristol

Recruiters and sourcers looking for work:

Senior Recruiter looking for an opportunity in IT/Banking/Finance in London or Sussex

Do you have something you’d like to share with the community? A job, an event or a new product – Just let me know 🙂

UK Sourcers News – 14th May 2012

Search Engine News

Learn about MillionShort – The Search Engine That Removes Top Sites From Its Index On Purpose

Not only has Bing taken 30% of the search market in the US but you can now get a look at the Bing’s new social features (rolled out to users worldwide this week) in this video:


  • Indeed is hiring – Click here to view available positions, including some in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Top Dog Jobs – Looking for a recruitment consultant in London
  • Digby Morgan – Head of Employer Branding in London

Jut for fun

Have you seen the “S*** People Say” YouTube meme? Well, there’s now one for recruiters. I’m sure this “S*** Recruiters Say” video will seem familiar!
I hope you found this week’s roundup useful. If you have anything you’d like me to share in future, just let me know 🙂

Event: #rcnvs Direct Sourcing – Thursday 14th June 2012

If you’re interested in advancing your direct sourcing model, you’ll love the next in the series of Back To Basics events from Reconverse.

Reconverse will be hosting a day on Direct Sourcing in Central London featuring a live-sourcing session from me.
What Reconvese say about the event:

In our unique speed meeting format, delegates will get a chance to meet a number of new suppliers that can help empower your recruiters and rely less on third parties when it comes to finding the passive candidate market.
Then after lunch, the afternoon session will start with an introduction to Sourcing from Katharine Robinson, followed by a live demonstration of what you can do using only Google as a sourcing tool. We encourage delegates to bring along roles they are currently working on in order for Katharine to find you some names and demonstrate the power of real sourcing. Katharine Robinson started out in Internet sourcing with an Executive Search firm; she has also had In-house sourcing experience with Capgemini Consulting. Katharine’s work as a freelance consultant has given her research experience across many industries and roles and we’re delighted to have her along.
We will then break into the round table discussion, where delegates can choose to be as involved as they like. Our round table discussions are now somewhat legendary in the market, having lead to heated discussions, innovative conclusions and real peer to peer learning.

If you need more convincing, here’s a video from a previous event:

Reconverse from Jamie Leonard on Vimeo.


UK Sourcers News – 8th May 2012

More than 2,000 UK Recruitment types listed on Twitter

When I started UK Sourcers back in 2009 I had a mission to list as many recruitment related twitter accounts from the United Kingdom as I could. Twitter lists were new and this was how I first discovered that the maximum number of people you can have in a list is 500. Did you know that?

The UK Recruitment Types Twitter list is now in it’s 5th part! That means I’ve listed more than 2000 recruiters from the UK. Want to follow UK Recruiters? It’s a good place to start

UK Recruitment Types – Part I
UK Recruitment Types – Part II
UK Recruitment Types – Part III
UK Recruitment Types – Part IV
UK Recruitment Types – Part V *New List*

Search Engine News

Google is still No.1 for search traffic – check out this infographic from Mashable
Introducing Blekko, the Self-curated Search Engine – An intro from the Problogger blog

Social Media News

Pinterest sees user base double in three months – Via CNET News
If I send them an InMail… where does it go? – Some great research by Social Talent
LinkedIn to Acquire SlideShare – See the press release on Market Watch


This week’s Recruiting Through Social Media conference from Recruitment International had some great speakers. See their presentations here.

Coming up on 24th May is UK Recruiter’s Recruitment CRM/ATS & Innovative Technology Event. Check it out if you’re a recruitment decision maker interested in candidate management software.


I’ve spotted a few job opportunities this week, follow @UKSourcers on Twitter to see the links first.

Technical Talent Attraction Specialist (11 month contract) at Skype in London, UK – See the ad on LinkedIn
HR / Recruitment Specialist (Social Media Savvy!) at Vertex Solutions Interna in Hemel Hempstead, UK – See the ad on LinkedIn
Researcher – Executive Search at Resource Solutions Group in Bristol, UK – See the ad on the SourceCon website.

Looking for opportunities

HR and Talent Management Professional looking for new career opportunities – See Howard Rudder’s tweet.

I hope you found this news roundup useful – if you have anything you’d like me to include in future, do let me know.

Also see – last week’s news.

The UK’s Secret Sourcers

It is easy to think that there aren’t any great talent sourcers in the UK.

They are certainly not very visible online, and wouldn’t they be if they existed?

A few weeks ago at the Executive Research Association’s Annual Conference, I met a whole group of undiscovered secret sourcers!


I was really impressed by the people I met there. Some identified as researchers, some as recruiters, resourcers or head hunters, but all of them were clearly very passionate about tracking down hard to find talent. I really hope some of them decide to raise their profiles by sharing their skills with us online.

I was asked to share with them some tips and tricks when it comes to searching the web for candidates. When I sat down to write my presentation, I decided to share some of the first things I had learned when I started out as a researcher in 2008.

Here are the slides I shared with the ERA group – giving you a crash course in Google-ing for talent.

Andy Headworth also gave a fantastic keynote presentation “Social Media – Friend or Foe” – I’d recommend checking that out too.


A Google A Day Keeps The Cobwebs Away

Worried that your search skills might get a little rusty? Google can help.

Last week Google launched a trivia game called “A Google A Day”. Unlike other trivia games, this one encourages you to search the web for the answer.


The questions (more like riddles or clues) are supposed to get more difficult throughout the week – let’s hope so!

You might worry that in searching you will simply discover other people revealing the answer in their social updates. There’s no need to fear – if you search from the A Google a day site, you will be using the Deja Google interface that strips out all updates from after the challenge was published.

You can find a more detailed write up about A Google A Day here. 

So go on – test your search skills!