LinkedIn Is Not The Only Fruit

Last week I attended the Social Recruiting Conference (#SRConf) in London. Pete Crosby from Viadeo was one of the speakers.

Viadeo is a professional networking site with around 45 million members, 10 million of which are in Europe. While this isn’t as many as LinkedIn – Viadeo has significant penetration in France.

Viadeo at srconf

If you are looking to identify talent on the continent, it could well be time to check out viadeo.

At #SRConf we heard from EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services, employing around 133,000 people at more than 170 sites worldwide. They have had significant success using Viadeo. They launched a group there which grew to over 700 members in less than one week.

Viadeo have recently launched their company pages too.

While this video focuses on small business, at the conference, Pete Crosby identified American Express as one of the first businesses to make the most of the new feature. You should also take a look at Viadeo’s own page.

If you are wondering if the kind of people you wish to hire in the UK are using Viadeo, why not try an x-ray search from Google by adding a job title or a company keyword to this search string:

inurl:profile site:gb.viadeo.com

Google estimates that this string returns 300,000 viadeo profiles on the gb subdomain, which might not sound like a lot, but it might include someone that you wouldn’t otherwise have found.

Do connect with me on viadeo if you are already a member or if you decide to join.

You might also want to look at Xing. Xing has over 12 million members and great coverage in Germany. Here’s my profile.

Live Sourcing at Reconverse

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! 🙂

Capital Letters – The Key To Boolean Success

I’m about to share one of the most common things that people don’t realise about Boolean searching.

Boolean Ven

Boolean logic covers the operators AND, OR and NOT. The name comes from English born mathematician George Boole – his work with algebraic logic is the basis of the modern computer.

When were you last nagged about using capital letters? When you were in Primary school? Not if you’ve recently been in a training session with me.

When using these Boolean operators with a Search Engine, like Google or Bing, it is important to capitalise them.

A Search Engine automatically strips small words like and, or, if, but etc. out of your query. It only searches for what it considers to be a real keyword. By capitalising AND, OR and NOT we make sure the Search Engine takes notice of them as a Boolean operator.

Most job boards do not enforce this rule, so if you don’t usually capitalise your ANDs, ORs and NOTs you have probably still been having success when you search there. I tend to capitalise these operators as a rule – then my string will work everywhere.

The only problem is, I now automatically capitalise OR all the time – not just when I’m searching – Doh!

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.

inurl:user site:wikipedia.org

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

inurl:user site:wikipedia.org “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” site:amazon.co.uk/product-reviews

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 site:amazon.co.uk “game designer”

You will also want to consider using sites like goodreads.com 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) site:tumblr.com

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 pipl.com to find other online profiles.

What unexpected places have you unearthed talent from?