Tutorial Tuesday: Search not working? Let's begin at the beginning...it's your keywords...

Lately I've been helping alot of clients with their searches. One of the things I'm noticing, on a consistent basis, is a lack of search strategy. Everyone's been really focused on one quick hit, thinking one fabulous search string will find all the people they need. And sometimes those are one hit wonders.

One set search string or methodology is not going to find all your candidates. If you've attended any training with me, you know I treat search as a game of "can I find it?". I'm rather persistent too. I'm still emailing some of my March class attendees with even more strings for their hard to find req's.

We all know that on a daily basis as recruiting professionals we are inundated by multiple items on our work agenda and sometimes I find recruiters and sourcers suffer search ADD. I've been victim to it as well. But maybe because I'm thrown more and more on the spot with assisting recruiters in solving their search issues, I've nailed down my process. Search should be a process, and no stone should go unturned. I have become methodical in this - and if you ask me to help you I'm going to through my steps and I'm going to make you go through them too. I'm so conditioned to doing this, it literally happens in less than 15 minutes. I think I can thank my day job for that.

So we have to begin at the beginning. We must start by analyzing a req and harvesting out keywords. Keywords are ultimately what make a search successful. Your syntax needs to be correct and your modifiers in place, but without the keywords you're not going anywhere. So I harvest. And then I Google and use define: and related: to add even more acronyms, synonyms, etc. to my key word list. I create a competitor keyword list and a job title keyword list in addition to job specific information and requirments. The keywords are going to flesh out my search string, and the more flexible I am, the more likely I am going to find the candidate I want. I have learned from my prior employers with their own internal specific verbiage to really stretch my keyword lists.

Then I sit down and power out search strings - starting with Biographical Search, turning next to a hunt for Names & Lists and then heading into XRay and FlipSearch. I don't get too far into idiosyncratic search syntax at this point, I keep it general and see what I can find. I almost always am utilizing free resources. Fifteen minutes. I save my strings, alot of times in a Google doc, for quick and easy access anywhere. I can defer to those strings, tweak them, see what's missing and more to build even more search resources. Got a tough search? Let's work on it - email me at kelly.dingee@airs.rightthinginc.com for assistance.

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Kelly is making some excellent points here:

"Search should be a process"
"One set search string or methodology is not going to find all your candidates"
"Your syntax needs to be correct"
"Without the keywords you're not going anywhere"

I couldn't agree more! If Internet sourcers keep searching in a variety of ways (instead looking for that one "right" string); if they check the syntax and put extra effort into the keywords selection, they would be making lots of progress.
I also like Kelly's organized approach to sourcing. If you follow it, you will make sure you will stop in 15 minutes (and will move on to other tasks) and will have covered a good number of sources.

Google offers multiple tools to carry out a keyword research. I use them frequently. Also, what helps in the recruitment search is the directory sites such as GulfJobSites.com that targets the Gulf region and WorldJobSites.org that covers the world.

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