Flipping, a guide of how to Flip Search
Flipping, for those of us who remember, was a game you did with baseball cards. Kind of like war, except who ever turned over a matching baseball card wins the pile. Flip searching is kind of like that in that you are trying to use company websites and using different terms(flipping) in the hopes of finding some candidates who match what you are looking for. If you do, you win. Flip Searching is actually easier than it sounds and it can be performed using most of the major search engines such as www.altavista.com, www.hotbot.com and www.google.com etc.... The thought behind the “flip searching” technique is that those individuals with personal home pages many times will insert hyperlinks on their homepages that pertain to the companies they work for, the associations they are a part of or the skill sets they have. You are trying to pull up those pages by telling the search engine to find you those pages that are linked to (for example) Microsoft and MVP and UX or "Use Experience".
An example of this would be if you were looking for a UX MVP(see above). Flip Searching can be used to find sites that are linked to Microsoft (could be other companies so do your research). What you should find would be people who have resumes with UX skills and are MVPs because they may have linked them to their sites.
To do a “Flip Search” go to a search engine and under the advanced search function type on the following “link:microsoft.com”. The results should be sites that have linked to Microsoft(could be other companies so do your research). You can further refine your search by adding the following after microsoft.com: AND “resume or CV or homepage etc... AND MVP etc.. "so that your complete search string would look like this:
Link:microsoft AND “resume or CV or homepage etc..” AND MVP AND "UX or "user experience""
Adding resume or CV or Homepage or any of the numerous other terms that have been discussed in my blog positing "The Art of Sourcing" will help narrow your results to only pages that you receive only those pages that are resumes.
While you are reviewing the results that your “flip search” brings up make sure to note other companies that qualified candidates have previously work for. You should also keep your eye open for specific skills that these candidates have in common because that can help you identify top candidates.
An important thing to also remember is that each search engine will bring up different results. If for example AltaVista didn’t get you the results you wanted, then try a couple other search engines like Google or Hotbot etc...
Flip Searching is a great tool but it is not the ultimate answer to Internet Sourcing. You must use many different techniques to find candidates. Flip Searching is one of the many ways to find those hard to find candidates hidden on the web.