Keep it Somple - elPadawan (Flickr)

3 Searches That Keep It Simple

By | Hat Tricks, Instagram, LinkedIn, Search Engines, Social Media, Twitter | No Comments

I work with a lot of recruiters that find Boolean logic and search engine operators difficult to get their heads around. You can still get a lot out of your search tools though, even if you’re totally bamboozled by Boolean.

I’ve been thinking about the searches I run most often and find the most useful – it turns out none of them are complicated, mile-long Boolean behemoths, they’re all pretty simple.

The Lion

Whether or not you would find this useful probably depends on how you use LinkedIn and who you connect to on this network.

I have a Linkedin saved search set up to alert me when interesting recruiters become LIONs. I have several reasons for wanting to connect to these people;

  • LIONs and recruiters tend to have larger networks, helping me to grow mine.
  • Recruiters are the kind of people I want to do business with.
  • I’m not going to get in hot water with LinkedIn for inviting too many people I don’t know if I invite LIONs.

You might want to set up an alert for LinkedIn LIONs that match keywords related to your industry. LIONs that mention FMCG on their profiles, for example.

LinkedIn saved search - LIONs

This will probably lead you to other recruiters, or salespeople, who work in the same field. Don’t be afraid to connect with them, and do customise your invite. You might want to hide your LinkedIn connections list first though.

The #Hashtag Stalker

#sosuasia took place last week in SingaporeThis one is all about events. Social Media and industry events are a match made in heaven.

On the day of a big industry event, I will run a search for its #hashtag on Twitter.

Don’t forget – you can use other social networks to help you find industry movers and shakers to connect with.

  • Search for an event tag on Instagram (pictured) to see who’s sharing pictures
  • Check out the venue on Swarm to see who is checking in.

This won’t find you all the attendees, of course. What it will find you is a lot of the nodes in the network. The people sharing on social media are usually the people who really get networking. They like to connect, share, help out, and they know tons of people. These are the people to make friends with.

The Cross Reference

This is about using the names you already have to find more names. Simply head over to Google and run a search like this

Goole search - name cross reference
You might have originally found that person on LinkedIn or a job board, been referred to them, they might have been a suggestion from the hiring manager. However you found that name, you should try to find out where they crop up on the web. You might see them

  • Profiled on their company website, there could be other similar people with a profile too.
  • Quoted on an industry news site – there might be more people mentioned in other articles.
  • Using a niche industry forum or a social network you’re not familiar with yet.
  • Many other possibilities…

This might not lead to more names every single time, but it’s worth running every name you find through a simple Google search like this and seeing where it leads.

If you find that LinkedIn is cropping up all over your search results, you might consider adapting this search, using a little Boolean/X-Ray combo like this

Goole search - LinkedIn cross reference
What simple searches are you using to get great results?

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searching

Do you really need capital letters to make Boolean search work?

By | LinkedIn, Search Engines | No Comments

When were you last nagged about using capital letters? Probably when you were in Primary school.

That won’t be the case if you have recently been in a training session with me! I am always nagging recruiters to write OR in capital letters in their searches.

The truth is, you don’t always need to write AND, OR and NOT in all capital letters. In fact, you don’t even have to type the words most of the time. It gets a bit complicated when I try to explain all the rules and exceptions to the rules.

The concepts of AND, OR and NOT are used to query every database whether it’s Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, a job board CV database, or your ATS. How you actually type your query may need to be different though.

My tips for getting your search to work anywhere:

AND

What you should do: Don’t bother typing it, just leave a space between your keywords.
Note: A few job boards require you to type it in, but it doesn’t take long to click a help button on the search page and find out. Reed.co.uk will even type the ANDs in for you if you forget them.

OR

What you should do: Type OR in capital letters.
Note: Some job boards will accept both lower and upper case  ORs. Tools like Google and LinkedIn need you to type OR in capital letters, although they are getting a little better at guessing what we mean and helping us out if we make a mistake. Capital ORs will always work though.
The exception: When I say always… the Twitter search tool Followerwonk requires you to use the pipe symbol (|) in place of OR. Google will also understand that too. e.g. uk|england|london

NOT

What you should do: Use the minus sign (-). Type it right up against the term you don’t want to see in your search results. e.g. -jobs or -site:linkedin.com
Note: LinkedIn tells us that NOT (typed in capital letters) works more reliably than the minus sign. I have not seen this to be the case, both seem to work intermittently for me.

My best advice is to know what you are expecting to see in your search results. That way, if your results don’t look right, you can attempt to diagnose your search string. This is good advice even if you are confident with the language used by a search tool, as they do sometimes change the way they work without telling us.

A male technician taking an X-ray of a female patient in 1940

What is X-Ray Search anyway?

By | Hat Tricks, Search Engines | No Comments

I get asked about X-Ray search all the time. The question cropped up again at the UK Sourcers meetup in Leeds this February.

It’s one of those terms that gets thrown around, along with search strings and boolean, to mean “whatever it is you do with Google to get those impressive search results that I can’t get”.

Well, all these terms do actually mean something.

A search string is just whatever you’ve typed into Google (or whatever database you are searching). Even if it’s just two words, that’s your search string.

Boolean is a type of mathematical logic. All databases use Boolean logic to return results for the search strings you enter. Boolean pretty much covers using the concepts AND, OR and NOT in your search strings.

An X-Ray search, sometimes called a site search, is a technique you can use on search engines like Google and Bing. X-Raying is a way to finding web pages from just one specific website.

If I type the search string site:sourcinghat.co.uk into Google, it will show me all the pages from this website that Google has indexed and has stored in its database.

X-Raying is actually very simple but don’t be fooled – it’s a ridiculously useful search technique that I use all the time.

My Top 5 uses for X-Ray search

Search company sites
If you have a list of target companies, why not run a quick X-Ray search on their websites? Look for job titles, contact details or news.

Search industry sites
Industry news sites can be a great source of names. Don’t forget associations and events too. Some of these searches can be useful when teamed up with Google Alerts.

Search sites with lots of user profiles
X-Ray searching LinkedIn is key skill for all recruiters and sourcers but you can X-Ray search any site with lots of user profiles like About.me, Branded.me, Github, Meetup, Stackoverflow, Viadeo, Xing.

Search for personal webpages
Did you know that you can also do a site search on a top level domain? Lots of people use .me domain names for their personal websites. Try searching something like site:me “download my cv” with some of your own keywords and see what you can find.

Taking sites out of your search results
I use this a lot when cross referencing a person I have found on LinkedIn. Sometimes LinkedIn is all over the search results I get on Google. To take them out and see what else is out there, we can use the minus sign with the site operator like this:

Goole search - LinkedIn cross reference

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