Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Internet research tip-tagging for words

Here is another somewhat less than superficial look at another internet research tool. When you read the SEO blogs and commentaries there is talk about the metatags going away; that search engines are relying less and less on them. As real as this may be, I don’t see the metatags going away altogether anytime soon. While we wait for that day, just as we did a few days ago with the Plus (+) sign , I want to explore the metatags as a research tool.

At the risk of being to simplistic, first let me say that there are different types of metatags embedded into the code of any webpage. Many of the metatag fields provide information about file attributes, as well as content.

You might have heard of some of these, some of the tags include:

Author Metatag field
Comments Metatag field
Description Metatag field
Keywords Metatag field

Metatags look something like the screen shot below.

The original purpose of metatags was to provide a search engine with information about the contents of a page. Not all web pages have metatags in them as some search engines do not rely on them, nonetheless they can still be very useful tools.

Let’s go to http://www.gigablast.com/ now to see the tags at work. Gigablast is the only search engine indexing metatags beyond just the meta description and meta keywords that some others index. It is also the only search engine that can also display metatags in the results list. It will not only display the results it can display the metatags themselves in the results list.
First let’s run a simple search, enter:

resume java beans

into the search box.
This time instead of looking for the search bar we are will be focusing on the url bar. Now the query should look like this:


In order for us to view the meta-tags lets add a command to the url bar. Add the following command to the url:

The url should now look like this:
The results will look something like this:

Notice that after the description section there is a section that starts with “keywords:” (This is the red section after the description of the contents). This is the text that is found in the Keywords metatag field. Being able to quickly review the keywords metatag will help you see any keywords that the designer of this site thought would be important for search engines to identify the content of his page. In the case of the resumes that we are interested in, this metatag contents will give us additional keywords we can use to find similar pages.
If the “keywords” metatag isn’t enough; try adding +description to the url.

Now we should be able to review not only the keywords metatag but now the description metatag as well. As long as you can find a metatag title you can insert it there and if applicable it will bring back the results.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sourcing Juice from Concentrate

It’s getting ridiculous! I’ve been getting calls and emails asking for sourcer referrals. There are so many firms asking for sourcers, that part is good. The bad part is that most job descriptions look like this one below. I did a search on indeed.com and just typed sourcing specialist. This is the first one that came up.

Minimum work experience required: 1+ years experience professional/recruitment sourcing experience

History of success in sourcing candidates (both active and passive) with emphasis on IT
• Cold Calling, networking and Boolean search techniques
Special skills required:
• Flexibility, Creativity, and Initiative
• Customer focused
• Communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills
• Process Management - ability to follow process and procedures (detailed & organized)
• Problem solving skills and critical thinking
• Technical expertise and Internet skills
• Ability to excel working independently
• Passive candidate recruiting
• Sourcing plan development and implementation
Description of duties & responsibilities:
• Researches, develops and implements new candidate sourcing and search methods and strategies & tracks effectiveness
• Posts open positions on job boards
• Provides measurable, qualified, diverse candidate pool for client openings
• Ensures accuracy of data and timely information provided to management
• Assists management with special project assignments

This is a long wish list for a one year recruiter/sourcer. They are looking for someone who has had a history of success sourcing both active and passive candidates!!! Come on get real, what kind of success can you have over one year! The candidate also needs to have both cold calling skills and internet research expertise and they need to be able to develop and implement a sourcing strategy if that wasn’t enough they need to track and report accurate and timely data to management. Oh lets not forget special projects!!!
It is obvious to me that most companies do not know what sourcing is all about and even worse don’t know what they want nor what it is they are asking. They didn’t mention pay but I doubt they are willing to compensate.

Could you imagine if we were asked to source for this description but let's just change the title to any other line of work? Let’s say a programmer. It should read something akin to this: I need a programmer who can do code from scratch as well as using compilers. They need to be able to define system architecture and implement the project and have full life cycle experience. Expert level experience on java, as well as team leadership and project management experience . A minimum of a high school education and one year of experience required.

Even in the fantasy world I live in, this is far fetched. Backup not found: (A)bort (R)etry (P)anic.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The “AND” Operator with a punch.

There are some things that we use so regularly that we take for granted. That is the case with some of the tools we use for internet research. Have you thought of what the PLUS sign does for instance?
We all have used the “plus” ( + ) sign in our searches right? In many search engines, the plus sign can be used as a substitute to the Boolean operator “AND” that is because just like the “AND” operator it finds pages that contain all search terms, but that is were the similarities end. Here is the first difference; unlike “AND” the “PLUS” sign list pages which have the keyword terms immediately on the right side of this operator only.
The use of the plus sign may produce some other unexpected effects. Using the plus (+) sign directs the search engines to sidestep some of the programming boundaries. For instance it causes characters or “stop words” or “noise words” that normally would be excluded from a search to be forced in as part of the searchable keywords.
I can hear you now!! WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? It means that keywords like a, an, and, are, at, be etc.. can be included as part of your search.
Try running this query in yahoo (or whatever search engine you prefer):
Microsoft bites the apple

Now compare it to:
Microsoft bites +the apple

Isn’t it amazing. The plus sign is not the same as the “AND” operator after all is it?
Another interesting difference between “AND” + is that it produces yet another variation in the algorithms.
Try this simple query in Google:
resume develop vb

Now compare it to:
resume +develop vb

Did you notice the difference? What happened was that Google (as well as most other search engines nowadays) has an automatic stemming algorithm in place that allows for variations of keywords. In the case of the keyword develop it searched for develop, developer and development. Whenever you use the plus sign on a keyword it turns off the automatic stemming feature of the search engine.
Next time you use the “Plus” (+) sign in your queries notice the differences. There are times when may need the stemming features but isn’t it nice to be able to determine when it should be used?

The New Jim Stroud!!

I just spent a few minutes over at jimstroud.com. I like the new look. It made me spend quite a bit more time at his site than usual. Now that I think about it!! I don't know if that is a good thing. Just kidding. I specially spent more time on his comics. This one was funny, it was titled The recruiting life-3

If you haven't been to Jim's site lately, i'd say it be worth a quick look. Keep it up jim.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What is up with John Sumser?

Today I was reading a blog post as forwarded by friends and it put my “Haynes” in a wad. It seems to me that John Sumser either over edited his blog post till it made no sense or he’s talking in incongruent sentences just to confuse or to incite. On his post titled “relationships take time 4” He states some pretty wild things.

Let me give you an example; his second sentence says. “Internet search techniques, it is supposed, have created a new function in our industry.” Besides the bad sentence composition, it appears to be saying that sourcing started with the coming of internet research techniques.

Forgive me if I’m wrong but didn’t we have sourcers since like the seventies. Research was done by recruiters and as a result searching techniques came about which resulted in further specialization. We used to keep index cards and did research thru the phone. I remember doing research in the internet back when we had “gopher”, I didn’t know how to flip or x-ray then. Internet search techniques didn’t just magically appear to create a new function. Considering internet research a new function to the industry is not recognizing that recruiters have always sourced and that research function existed and was performed well by recruiters long before “internet search techniques” came about.

Mr Sumser’s next sentence states: “This sort of confusion happens every time there is a hiring peak.” It seems to me he is either declaring the internet research function a “confusion” or the reasoning for creating the internet research position a confusion. I long thought of Mr. Sumser as a visionary but I am rethinking my position.

His next statement is just as bewildering: "It might even be a good way to predict the end of a bubble". This is where the incongruity becomes obvious. I was under the impression that internet search techniques were an innovation and as the market tightens there will be more need for such innovations not that it was a result of confusion. And if I was to follow his reasoning it would mean that every time we have an innovation in the industry it is a sign that as he puts it is a “good way to predict the end of a bubble”. There you have it guys the new crystal ball for staffing/recruitment is the upcoming innovations as new things come about they indicate the market busting.

The last sentence in his first paragraph goes on to say: “Sourcing is a component of market targeting”. This is news to me, sourcing can be a form of market targeting but a component of it? I better not go any further before I go from annoyed to just ranting or worse yet I might become as incongruent as Mr. Sumser.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Internet Research Tip

Good search results do not happen at random. We drive them through our queries. Whether you are searching CareerBuilder or Google the biggest mistake recruiters make is not thinking about their queries. Most recruiters just look at their new acquired job requisition and just start typing directly into the screen those keywords that they deem to be the important skills.

I went to indeed.com and pulled this position at random. I thought that this job description exemplifies the horrible descriptions we receive to work off of but it can demonstrate how we approach our searches.

If you would indulge me in reading this job description: (The only editing I did was take the company name out.)

Oracle Developer needed to design, develop, and maintain Oracle and web-based applications. In-depth knowledge of Oracle and Oracle tools is a must. 3-4 years of strong programming in PL/SQL, Oracle Forms and Reports required, plus a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent work experience. Experience in UNIX, C++, JSP, Java, and related tools is a major plus. This is a direct hire opportunity with full benefits.

The normal query would look something like this in a database like CareerBuilder:

[ oracle PL/SQL UNIX C++ JSP JAVA]

When you run the query in at first glance it seems to have done well pulling quite a few software developers but as we look closer they are a total mix of results including a few resumes of recruiters.

Here are my suggestions; since PL/SQL (Procedural Language/Structured Query Language) is Oracle Corporation’s proprietary server-based procedural extension to the SQL database language, you don’t have to use the keyword “Oracle”; especially if you use some of the subset of PL/SQL like DDL or DCL or DML . Our query would begin to look something like this;


Also this position calls for web based application development and JSP is mentioned specifically. Since JSP generates html and xml there is no need to use those acronyms, but we can use Java to draw more of the web based work. Some people would use JSP OR Java Server pages so it would we good to use both formats.

[ (PL/SQL OR DDL OR DCL OR DML)(JSP OR “Java-Server pages” ]

If you went outside of the resume databases into a search engine like http://www.google.com/; you’d have to add a little something extra to re-emphasizes the database portion of the job try adding (RDBMS OR ORDBMS). In google the query would look like this:

[ resume (RDBMS OR ORDBMS)(PL/SQL OR DDL OR DCL OR DML)(JSP OR “java server pages”) -job -jobs -submit ]

The point of this exercise is that you need to visualize the results you want and then work the keywords to drive them out through the query. The one thing to remember as researchers/sourcers/recruiters is that we are not called to be engineers or programmers or experts in whatever field you are recruiting for but you do have to develop an expertise at finding the right keywords for your query.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The referral system, how to get the name

Isn’t it interesting that all statistics that we read and everyone that we have talked to about the best source of candidates will invariably attest to the fact that the best source of candidates is referrals? Yet as you speak with recruiters asking them were the bulk of there day is spent, you will hear things like searching thru the databases or processing paperwork but referrals doesn’t seem to rank too high on the list of activities they spend their time on. I don’t know if you’d agree with me but if generating referrals is an important part of our work shouldn’t we be spending more time generating them?

It seems to me that if we do not spend time creating and developing a referral strategy then we just stumble our way into referrals.Referrals don’t just happen; they are made, and as phone sourcers we recognize these to be at the foundation of our work. Even if you are doing everything wrong in your recruitment, you will get the accidental referral but, by creating a methodical organized approach to consistently generating referrals, you will find that sourcing can become a pretty simple thing. So how do we stimulate this powerful sourcing strategy?

The place to begin is by identifying the ideal candidate. In order to receive high quality referrals you must be able to quickly communicate the exact type of person that makes a great referral. As some people in the industry have coined; have your elevator spiel. You must quickly and well be able to communicate who you are looking for. If you can’t communicate to others who it is you are looking for; then, how will they know who to refer to you. It takes more than rattling off keywords (after all, it is not a database you are communicating with).

Part of your message needs to easily explain the value you bring to anyone who is referred; why should they give you the name? It’s important that your referral sources know what makes you exceptional, what you have to offer. Spend some time shaping up a creative approach to motivate and stimulate referrals with value, respect, appreciation, recognition, and gratitude. I know, after that last line I can hear you say, whatever!! How do you do that? Think of your referral program as more than a means to ask for someone your contact would know. Make it a system which with you can educate your contacts on how what your needs are and what it would mean for them to refer someone to you.

Instructing your contacts on the steps of your referral program can make a great distinction between yourself and everyone else. By clearly explaining in simple terms what your requirements are you have set their expectations for a professional networking experience and in the process enhanced the quality of referrals. At the risk of sounding redundant, invest, yes, invest some time considering your approach, and recognize the value that relationships bring. Build components of trust and rapport building into your strategy; don’t try to fake your way, people can tell fake, even thru the phone. Let your personality come thru but guide the interaction with a well thought out strategy to make it a worthwhile exchange. When they provide you with a name it should not be because you coerced anyone, nor should they feel that they betrayed a friend, rather that they enhanced their friend’s opportunities by providing their name to a true professional who will honor their trust and respect their confidence.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

You've Got Mail! A Great way to verify emails

You’ve got mail!Name generation/research/sourcing involves sending over Quality names that can be reached! Here is a way (and a tool I use) that you can add to your sourcing toolbox to verify and check your names. Specifically to check if their email is valid before sending it over to the recruiter, hiring mgr, director or higher!

As Sourcers we are constantly tested to find particular talent hidden away and working hard within their respective organizations. I've found emailing to be one the best initial ways to make that first contact or connection with them.

Click here to continue reading and to find more about the cool website to check email validity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Quick Tips: Rob Taub on Interviewing – The S.O.A.R. Technique

This post, courtesy of Recruiting Blogswap, is written by Rob Taub, of RLS Executive Group. Rob is a 20+year veteran in the career consulting field and is currently the Director of the RLS Executive Group, N.E. for RL Stevens & Associates. He has also been active as a fund-raiser for Technology in Education, an auctioneer with WGBH Public Television, a debate moderator with Community Access Television, an instructor for Junior Achie. Author Website: www.ExecutiveCareerSolution.com

SoarYour stories should tell about actions that you took to bring about positive change. The "SOAR" story technique does just that: A sure-fire method for bridging your qualifications and successes to the needs the targeted company.

One of the most important tenets in product marketing applies here in career planning: Differentiate your product from others in the marketplace.

John Folcarelli, Labor Attorney and Human Resource Manager for Laidlaw Education: "Most people involved in planning their career tend to fly by the seat of their pants rather than exercise control over the process as it unfolds. For instance, in the interview, instead of simply reacting to questions imposed by the interviewer, the job candidate can and should attempt to take on more responsibility for influencing the direction of the interview.” The story technique does just that. It is a method for bridging your qualifications and past successes to the needs the targeted company.

Continue reading "Quick Tips: Rob Taub on Interviewing - The S.O.A.R" »

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fuel Injectors for your Recruiting Engine

Sourcing is being more and more often proclaimed as the solution to all recruitment challenges. Yet while I listen to the concerns of sourcers throughout the industry I keep hearing some common themes, some of those I mentioned in the last few posts as they relate to the relationships between sourcers and recruiters. These concerns have driven me to believe that most sourcing initiatives will not succeed in providing their anticipated results. Why the gloomy view of sourcing? Don’t misunderstand, sourcing is my passion and I believe that it can take our industry to the next level. It isn’t that I’m trying to say that sourcing doesn’t work.

Continue reading "Fuel Injectors for your Recruiting Engine"? " »

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Two new faces...

Help me welcome two new faces to my blog. Over the course of my short blogging life I have learned many things, one of which is that not all good ideas come from one group or one person. In fact I think that most of the best ideas come from the meeting of like-minded individuals.

As I mentioned in earlier posts...

Continue reading "Two new faces..."? " »

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Sourcing" Colored Lipstick, the new rage!!!

I can’t shake the thought that there seems to be an incongruity or maybe even a contradiction within the recruitment industry, or maybe it is just my nearsightedness that is causing me to perceive this in that light. Let me share with you my thoughts and you tell me.

For now let’s just say that sourcing is in fashion, if you put on a "sourcing" color lipstick you’ll be hot, and everyone will want you. It seems like every where you go there are articles or news about all kinds of new sourcing tools, techniques, and such… there is such a big demand for anything closely resembling sourcing.

I have implemented two sourcing teams and have been sourcing for let’s just say a few years. Still I believe that the biggest problem Sourcers face is not the labor shortage, nor the inability to find quality prospects, nor the lack of sourcing skills, nor the right metrics or any such affair. Believe it or not, I believe the biggest challenge Sourcers experience is high internal resistance to sourcers or sourcing support. Doesn’t that seem odd? If sourcing is so important, and so hot, how could there be a resistance? What do I mean resistance?

A Sourcer can be a recruiter’s lifeline, yet they still try to give sourcers their job req’s in a posted note, or they continuously find fault in the candidates they receive from their Sourcer or continuously fail to provide proper feedback etc..

So what is the answer? Are you ready for this? Are you sure you want to know? Change your lipstick!!! Just kidding, I don’t have the answer but here is my take, sourcers have to be more than just researchers (whether phone or internet) the have to also be marketing specialists. They have to work harder at building rapport with the recruiters that they are going to support than at the research they are undertaking. Most sourcers take to sourcing as ducks to water, research quickly becomes second nature, but they struggle to “sell themselves” or their “wares” sort of speak to the recruiter’s.

The service that sourcers provide to recruiters is very valuable and even though we shouldn’t have to market ourselves or what we do, the reality is that it is not enough to source well. That is only half of the equation, if you want to succeed you have to market yourself and your service to your recruiters, build rapport and then we will see sourcing go from flavor of the month to staple meal.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

10 ways to irritate a Sourcer

As I reflected on the discussions I participated on over the course of the week. I contemplated on some of the top things that irritate me as a Sourcer and thought to pen them down. These thoughts were prompted by listening to AmyBeth Hale talking about the way recruiters should not communicate with the Sourcer s. Anyway as I talked to several people throughout the week, I felt the theme resonated with many of us.

Here is my list of the top ten ways to irritate a Sourcer.

10. As AmyBeth so eloquently said it at SourceCon, give the Sourcer the job requisition in a "posted note".

9. Describe the position requirements with the least amount of words possible.

8. Do not give the Sourcer the pay requirements and relocation needs.

7. Give him unrealistic deadlines; after all you need this candidate like yesterday.

6. When he does meet those unrealistic deadlines, find fault in each candidate.

5. Wait three weeks to call the candidates you received from the Sourcer just to show him/her who is boss.

4. Do not respond to phone calls, emails, or request for status update; after all he/she will find out anyway.

3. When the Sourcer follows up with you; always give him/her excuses for not having contacted the candidates.

2. after the three weeks when you call the candidate and he is no longer interested in the position, blame the Sourcer for his/her incompetence in only giving you uninterested candidates.

1. Tell everyone that will hear how the candidates your Sourcer gives you are either bad or uninterested, then turn around and give him or her the next job to work on.

Friday, September 14, 2007

In the words of Jeremy Langhans…

I finally have a few moments to chill and reflect. I was so anticipating the arrival of SourceCon 2007. It came and passed so fast, and in hindsight I must say, I agree with Jeremy Langhans. Jeremy left a comment on my blog earlier stating that all he could say was SourceCon was Amazing, Amazing Amazing, and Amazing. I couldn't have said it better myself Jer.

My expectations were set very high for this event and sincerely, even so, they were greatly exceeded. I felt truly honored to have been entrusted with many friendships. I had been reading Jim Stroud's stuff for a long time and was surprised to find how down to earth and funny he was. He has such a positive and well balance outlook that he was a delight to be around with. Thanks for your friendship Jim. AmyBeth what can I say, she shared my excitement and nervousness and yet she maintained such poise. I was so surprised to see how young yet knowledgeable both Jeremy Langhans and Mike Notaro were. By the way, despite the fact that they having some major braggin' rights they were almost bashful about their accomplishments, they displayed such unassuming and modest nature. Russ Moon was inspirational and encouraging to me.

I was riveted as Shally Steckerl showed his magic. I must say I research into the makings of search engines and look for the commands and query comp0sition tools as if they were hidden treasure and have quite a few in my arsenal yet watching Shally not only did I learn new tools but learned new ways to use some older ones. (When I grow up I want to be like Shally.)

I was spellbound by Krista Bradford, she was truly great to listen to, very insightful and profound. Tracy Friend also captivated my attention and made me a fan of hers. Glen Gutmacher's presentation was lightning fast but mesmerizing (I'd like to borrow his brain for an hour). Dave Copp’s presentation was spellbinding and hypnotic yet funny. (Brilliant!!!)

I wish I could have spent more time probing the great mind of Rob McIntosh to find out more about metrics and such, unfortunately my world was spinning so fast and I was so "star struck" as Suzi Tonini told me that I couldn't sit still long enough to strike a conversation with him.

If I listed everyone that made a lasting impression on me I would turn this into a list of about 150 great people. I did want to name a few others that were new found friends whom I enjoyed meeting: Leah Hughes, Connie LaDoceur, Eric Jacquith, Tim O'Connor, Jessica Walden, Donato Diorio, Rennick Morris, Ray Towle, Dan Harris, Julia Stone, Marvin Smith, Sean-Paul Veilleux, Daphne Mahotiere, Rithesh Nair.

The last comment I would like to say about the event is I am truly grateful to Lesley O'Connor for extending me the invitation to attend. Until I talked to her I was undecided on attending the conference, (truth be told, I was more inclined not to go) had it not been for her kindness I would have missed out on a great deal.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I just met Tim O'Connor

...and honestly, he's a really cool guy!

My head is spinning as I think about all the people I look forward to meeting in Atlanta next week. I'm driving down MacArthur Road, here in Irving, and it's all I can do to keep my eyes on the road as I think about SourceCon 2007. My brain knows this is just my nature but my mind doesn't care, I'm looking forward to meeting several people, Leslie O'Connor, Russ Moon, Jeremy Langham, Shally Steckerl, Rob McIntosh, Rithesh Nair among others. I don't know what impression I'll make but I am just thrilled at the opportunity to meet them. I'll tell you something about my meeting with Tim but let me just say this: I have one thought running in my head!!

It is a repeating thought: "I can't wait to be there!!!" The fact that this thought plays on an endless loop inside my head shows that I spend too much time alone. There is a growing list of some pretty amazing people in sourcing which brings me to my initial reason for writting this post today. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Tim O'Connor Strategic Sourcing Lead for Cap Gemini NA. The most refreshing part of meeting Tim is his gracious humility. We had a frank discussion on sourcing in general but it wasn't about the panel content, for sure. It was about sourcing, sharing our beliefs on the state and the direction of the industry. It was a blast to say the least to meet someone who shares my vision and passion for sourcing. As I drove away from my meeting with Tim I couldn't help but wonder how many other amazing people will I meet in Atlanta next week.

I'm sitting here pecking at my keyboard now, the light is on, the internet is working, and my desire to drop everything and get in the car and drive to Atlanta has lessened and I feel so much better. It's not the act of waiting for SourceCon 2007 that kills me, it's the anticipation of meeting all those wonderful people.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

SourceCon2007 = Tsunami of Energy

Over the last few years sourcing has been taking a more prominent place in the industry as we all come to realize its importance. As each organization’s needs are different we all encounter different problems and develop new solutions. It is through those struggles that we have learnt and grown to see sourcing become a specialized niche in recruitment. As they say; necessity is the mother of invention. I know, I know, we’ve all heard it so much it is now cliché. But what happens when you get a large group of innovative and inventive thinkers together, Synergy, I mean, SourceCon.

The first ever global sourcing conference is still weeks away yet the synergistic tsunami of energy of all those creative minds coming together is becoming palpable. For those of you who see me daily, you know I can’t stop talking about this conference. But, just look at the impressive list of luminaries line up to speak Jimm Stroud, Shally Steckerl, Rob McIntosh, Krista Bradford, AmyBeth Hale, Glen Gutmacher, Tim O’Connor, Dave Mendoza and others. It is as Tim O’Connor said “It’s the who’s who of sourcing. Most of the speakers have been re-shaping the recruitment world already and it is exciting to be part of such an event. I sincerely can’t wait to be there.

I see SourceConas platform that is bringing the most passionate minds in sourcing together to discuss, learn, share and celebrate in all things sourcing. It is designed for sharing those lessons learned along the way on our quest for talent acquisition. Opportunities like these empower us frontline sourcers and recruiters to analyze complex sourcing scenarios and measure them against the experience of others to optimize ourselves into higher performance. What I mean is this; I am going to this conference because I will be able to get a glimpse of the industry’s best, to learn from them, and grow. I look forward to meeting every single sourcer because together we are making history, we are shaping the direction and future of sourcing.

If you haven’t registered yet, time is running out. To register just click here and click on the register now link. If you use Promotional code ml0830 you’ll get a 10 percent discount as having been referred by me. I hope to see every one of you there. If you see me, Be sure to stop by and say hello as I do want to meet you.

Monday, July 30, 2007

tagged by the research goddess

I’ve been tagged by Amybeth Hale (The research goddess) at www.amybethale.com

As Dan Sweet from fracat said "She’d like me to tell eight things about myself that you probably didn’t know. These are also things that you might not have wanted to know, but the “Tag Receiver Code” commits me to comply."

1. Post these rules before you give the facts.
2. List 8 random facts about yourself.
3. At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names (linking to them)
4. Leave them a comment on their blog letting them know they’ve been tagged!

Eight Random Facts About Me:
1. I love drawing and painting portraits. I received the gift from my grandfather who made his living painting and then selling his works in public parks and high traffic places across Mexico. If we ever get to chat you might twist my arm into showing you my sketch book.

2. I have been Sourcing/recruiting for over thirteen years with the last four in sourcing management, but I’ve only been authoring on my blog only since April 2007 (After being encouraged by the recruiting Animal himself, Thanks Michael).

3. I began my sourcing career raiding companies. I would be assigned a target company and would be tasked with making a minimum of two hundred twenty five (yes! 225) calls a day. I was often reminded that the day that I didn’t reach my goal I would not need to return to work the following day as I would be fired.

4. While I attended High School (W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, TX) I ran my own business buying dresses wholesale and sold them canvassing the neighborhood. Yes! I was a door to door salesman at the age of fifteen. I learned a lot about how to read people and how to close the deal.

5. I also have a firm faith in God and a strong commitment to lead a life that cultivates every one of my faculties in such a way as best represent the Kingdom of Heaven in every thing I do.

6. After high school I worked as a longshoreman unloading the bananas as the arrived to Port Hueneme, CA from Central America. It was physically a very demanding job which gave me a hearty appetite.

7. I am 43 years old, I am divorced, I have one son 14 who is my best friend. I was married for 14 years but unfortunately we couldn’t keep it together. I’ve now been divorced over four years going on five now.

8. Besides English I speak Spanish and Portuguese fluently. I can also read Italian and French ( I can’t speak Italian nor French)

The people I am tagging to continue this chain of revealment are:
1.Amy Garner of Wine Talent
2.Alize Cortez of Improved Experience.
3.Trey Bettinger of not jobs
4.Michael Keleman of The Recruiting Animal
5.David Perry Gerrilla Job Hunting
6.Josh Khan of The Sourcing Riff
7.Rithesh Nair of Research Secrets
8.Dave Mendoza of Six Degrees from Dave

Some of these people I have had the pleasure of meeting, others I just exchanged emails or calls with and some I would just plainly like to know, but all are people I admire!

I look forward to their 8 Things...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Inhibited Sourcing Innovation

It has been a while since I have been able to see and think and write. I finally carved out some time and now I was thinking about how to accelerate strategic sourcing excellence. In today's corporate world sourcing needs are reaching a critical state, so the question rises, how do we deliver an intuitive and integrated solution for managing the complete strategic sourcing lifecycle to deliver results?

Yes there are a lot of great tools available but one of the reasons why these tools may fail is that as we tend to get impressed by the many bells and whistles offered that we may be failing to match the tool to the skills our sourcers/recruiters possess. Without realizing it, we may be inhibiting innovation and collaboration, by placing too much trust in naively hoping that the tool will deliver optimal results.

Let me explain. I love tools. I cannot walk into a Lowe’s or Home depot without buying a new tool. I have long ago found that tools for me are like stamps to a collector. I have them and admire them (the right tool for the right job; I always say) but many weekend projects have turned into disasters to be passed on to a professional. I know what the tools are supposed to do but somehow that knowledge transfers into danger in my hands. I am just not mechanically inclined.

We acquire new sourcing tools and techniques and we introduce them indiscriminately to the team and expect all to use them and learn to be effective at them not recognizing peoples limits. Long ago I read (and I can’t remember the source to credit appropriately), that we have two types of recruiters, (and I apply it to researchers/sourcers as well) hunters and farmers. A farmer cultivates the databases and job boards and is knowledgeable on how to exploit the weaknesses of those tools. On the other hand a hunter is one who thrives on the thrill of the hunt and goes after candidates that are not in databases.

When we give hunting tools to a farmer he feels lost and confused and even though he may grow to work the hunting tools appropriately it may take some time. As in real life hunting requires more than having the right rifle and clothes and equipment, you must acquire knowledge of hunting strategies and such…

So what am I saying, not everyone can be a farmer (nor should everyone be) and not everyone can be a hunter either there are certainly needs for each skill set. Let’s evaluate the sourcing skills and attitudes and match them to the tools. As we expand the performance of sourcers in all aspects of their roles we need to identify the organizational capabilities needed to achieve strategic sourcing excellence only then can we refashion sourcing strategies to achieve superior bottom-line results.

Friday, June 29, 2007

You May Be Sabotaging Your Internet Search Strategy

There are so many challenges to finding the perfect candidates on the Internet. First there is the size of the internet; just in case you hadn’t noticed it is huge. Second, there is the fact that all information on the internet is disorganized almost as if it was not meant to be searched. If that wasn’t enough we have hundreds of thousands of search tools, it would take a rocket scientist to learn how to use all of them effectively. It is hard enough as it is but even then we usually will make it harder on ourselves than it ought to be. You received your job order, you scan through it, you log on to your computer and then what? Just because you recognize the keywords, it doesn’t mean you are ready to begin you search or does it?

Often times we just see a job requisition and start typing our keywords into a search engine. We see keywords and assume that is what we are searching for. But if we see Oracle, UNIX, SQL, that can return anywhere from Database administrators to software testers. Just doing keyword searches is not enough. You truly may be sabotaging your chances at finding the very candidate you seek by failing to invest time in the beginning to set your search syntax right. The following are five suggestions to improve your queries.

1. Define what you are looking for not by keywords but by skills. If you focus on using the Keywords on the job description you will find the same resumes everyone is searching for. Try to understand what skills your candidate needs to have and develop those into individual concepts.

2. Identify the important concepts within the search. At this point we’re still avoiding keywords we are trying to narrow the list and we are prioritizing the concepts into a searchable list.

3. Identify search terms to describe those concepts. Remember we are trying to stay away as much as possible from the keywords listed on the description. You are not always going to be able to avoid them but the more you stray away from them the higher the chances you will find a different candidate than everyone else.

4. Consider synonyms and variations of those terms. The most useful place to begin is often with synonyms. The best synonyms provide relatively complete coverage for the concept you are searching.

5. Prepare your search logic. Be creative in writing your query, use as many of advanced search techniques as possible. Include such things as wildcards (*), the minus sign (-) to exclude words, the plus sign (+) to be sure a word is included, and quotation marks (“”) to designate a phrase whenever possible. Also use the Advanced Search features of the search engine you are using to maximize the search.

As you implement your search strategy be sure that what you meant is being properly understood by the search service. Increasing your ability to search for candidates in the internet can be a lifelong learning process. One that we, as sourcers and recruiters, need in order to remain employable.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A blast of synergy...

As bloggers we have some awesome opportunities. We have the opportunity to contribute and to build relationships and community. We voice our thoughts and we make people think, talk, debate, discuss and hopefully learn. And as a result we get to meet some interesting and at times downright special people.

This Friday I had one of those awesome instances; an opportunity to meet with someone extraordinary with whom I shared an explosion of thoughts. I had a very stimulating networking lunch with Alise Cortez PhD, who is a founding partner of Improved Experience. She is also a blogger who just happens to be here in the Dallas area and I couldn’t pass up a chance to meet with a fellow blogger so close.

Today, I’m feeling very reflective about the whole experience and thankful to have met Alise. She introduced me to a different niche of recruitment analytics which ties in amazingly well to sourcing.

If you have been reading my blog, you have heard of my musings on the need for more sourcing infrastructure. My belief is that the framework for the recruitment sourcing lifecycle has three majors clusters: First; identify & select needs, (which includes defining sourcing goals), second; planning (deriving both long & short term strategic plans); and third; implementation and continuous improvement (deriving both tactical & operational plans, determining effectiveness and efficiency, etc.)...

At Improved Experience they have developed a system to evaluate your recruitment processes. They pinpoint the areas that are crucial to unleashing your sourcing potential and turn them into benchmarks. Their system takes the guesswork out and presents you the internal mechanisms while addressing key performance areas for the purposes of process improvement. As Alise said in her blog “sourcing and recruiting intelligence have the same objective: to empower a company with actionable data that drives its lifeblood initiative of finding and keeping great talent”.

We met thru a stroke of cyber luck; we shared a brainstorm with an eye to sourcing and recruitment intelligence and discovered a friend with a shared interest. As I drove away from PEI WEI to my office I felt like the dizzy kid that’s just missed his last swing at the Piñata and, removing the blindfold, finds himself dizzy and facing a completely different direction then he’d expected. So if you have even the slightest bit of a geek inclination, you may want to take a look at improved Experience. And if like myself, you are looking to improve your sourcing strategies you might find they’re priceless.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Follow that link…

The Internet can be a recruiter’s dream come true. By browsing the Internet, much as you would browse the shelves of a library, you can easily access millions of resumes readily available for free. But possibly the biggest obstacle facing recruiters and sourcers on the Internet is how to effectively and efficiently access the vast amount of information available with the simple click of the mouse. With the Internet's potential as a sourcing tool, sourcers/recruiters need to learn and manage strategies for sorting through the abundance of information.

Sourcers regularly fall into the trap of clicking on any link that contains their keywords. It is easy to get sidetracked on fun or interesting links, either that or they get caught trying click on other “related” sites whenever a server connection times out. Sometimes in the mad rush of wanting to get something onto their screen they will click away from slow link connections even if the new page being viewed is not what they need.

Other ways of getting sidetracked include following interesting articles or video, music, or image files. As sourcers we have to keep our focus and remind ourselves constantly the purpose for our search. Ask yourself, “will I be closer to finding the candidate that I need by following this link?” There are many reasonable and logical reasons to follow links. As sourcers we are very much like detectives and have to follow every lead. But every time we stop to read interesting posts or listen to cool songs or view cool graphics it adds to the time we’ll be spending on our search. The search for resumes can be both overwhelming and frustrating enough without having to deal with wondering eyes.

As a Sourcer an important skill to acquire is to determine which and when to follow links. Link’s can offer the “dangling carrot” of the perfect candidate. So when should you follow the link? At the risk of sounding too obvious when it will take you to something useful.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

What tools do we need?

Anyone can get on the internet, choose a few keywords, click on a few of the results and stumble across some interesting resumes. But finding candidates on the internet is not nor should it be a matter of luck. Even though you can’t always find the ace candidate easily, you can certainly find him if you have an intuitive approach. In order for your search to yield the performance you seek you have to find relevant candidates in an efficient and timely manner. Once you learn hoe to effectively search, finding candidate on the net so much faster.

The easiest way to shorten search time and ensure success is to choose the right tool for the job. I read recently that there are over 400,000 search engines. That is such a large number, I truly can’t imagine that many, we don’t have to know them all, but in order to be effective as a sourcer/researcher we have to at least know the different types of Search Services available. I classify them as follows Search Engines, Meta-Search Engines, and Subject Directories. I don’t want to define nor create a listing of them. There are many such lists available in the internet. What I do want to do is emphasize the need to know what is available and how to use it.

You get much different results for a search engine to a directory. We just need to know what we want and let that help us define the search tools. Whether we are searching for association/conferences, company profiles or industry specific information, or plain resumes, knowing what search tools are available will help us find what we need efficiently.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Winds of change?

There is an interesting article titled “The Dirty Dozen Dangerous Online Job Search Assumptions”. It is riddled with comments about the job boards’ inability to ensure that the companies that advertise thru them are real or that the job positions for that matter are real.

The article went on to recommend the use of an identity suppressed or cyber-safe resumes. As I was reflecting on the issues involved I realized that this is a growing problem that may start affecting Internet researchers/sourcers if it hasn’t already. People are becoming more and more jittery about disclosing private information online and we can see a growing number of confidential resumes on the job boards.

To make things worse there are an increasing number of companies that are wising up to sourcing strategies such as "flipping" and "x-raying" etc. and are beginning to protect their employee information on the net and/or are monitoring employees blogs, adding to this the tightening market and it is not very hard to imagine the need for change. In this climate sourcing innovation is inevitable.

The first and critical change I can foresee is our approach to sourcing. I can see a change from the sourcers/researcher mindset to the mindset of master networker. We already see the social network scene expanding and contracting, the better we adapt to the networking tide the better we’ll be.

Networking is not about exchanging business cards but about developing lasting connections with people to take your career to the next level, it is simple and powerful. Networking cannot be just an after business hours activity nor is it an option that we chose not to exercise. It is a strategic harnessing or professional connections which we need to integrate into such a vital part of sourcing that it becomes second nature and forms part of everything we do. The key to our sourcing success lays in our ability to build a strong and lasting network.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Interesting searching thru exalead

I don't how many of you have heard of a search engine called exalead. It has been around since 2004, but I think it has some cool features and it works so well for resume searches that I thought it was worth mentioning for those of you who may not have heard of it.

Some of the particular things I like about exalead is that it does something unusual with the asterisk (*) not only does it let you use it at the end of a word for truncation purposes like manag* finds manager, managing, management etc. but also in allows you to use the asterisk in the middle of a word using pattern matching as in psych.*ist - finds psychologist, psychiatrist, pyschotherapist.

Also it allows for the use of the bolean operator NEAR, which in their instance finds words within 16 terms of one another as a default or use NEAR/n which finds words within n number of terms one another as in the following example - Oracle NEAR/3 developer

It does approximate spelling with the command "spellslike:", and phonetic searches with the command "soundslike:". It does some other interesting things but then I better let you explore.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tackling Sourcers’ Challenges

Candidate sourcing is the single greatest opportunity to impact the total cost, quality, and performance of recruiting. Sourcers have tremendous challenges facing them but somewhere tucked away in these challenges we have the potential for a solid sourcing plan.

Sourcers face many obstacles that recruiters don’t have to deal with. For instance regardless of how strong your sourcing skills are in some circles you’re still considered jr. level or even worse entry level. So what’s the solution? Are sourcers fighting a losing battle? Not necessarily. Try these tactics below to tackle the unique sourcing challenges.

Strategy #1 Information Gathering/ Learning specific business requirements and needs

Don’t make assumptions, take the time to research and understand the specific business needs. Don’t consider yourself exempt just because you may have seen that skill set before. Usually sourcer’s receive their job requisitions and begin to highlight the buzzwords and within minutes they start doing searches. Save yourself time and money, do your research first. You need to know more than just keywords you need to know your prospective candidate’s industry, what they’re looking for and what drives them. Once you know what they want, you can tailor what you have to offer them and make it more enticing.

Strategy #2 Technology and market development analysis/identifying and defining targets, approaches, and tactics

Tailor each approach to specific target candidates. Once you learned the specific needs it would be easy to define the appropriate approach and tactics. You can’t and shouldn’t have a cookie cutter approach to sourcing. When your campaigns are targeted at technical people, speak in technical terms. Capture their interests and look for ways to capitalize on it.

Strategy #3 planning strategy/Solution specification/Deriving short & long term plans.

Adding to your knowledge of your candidate industry and the tactics that would work best you are ready to begin your planning. Preparation and careful planning can effectively improve your chances of delivering on your sourcing goals. To achieve sourcing success we must rely on a combined set of actions. Planning will ensure that you keep your sourcing on track.

Strategy #4 solution strategies implementation

Implementation of a chosen solution has to be effectively managed to deliver the desired effect. Link your activities to your plan; don’t just see them as just things to do. As you start implementing your well-thought out sourcing plans. Whether it is internet sourcing, job posting, job board searches, name generation, email campaigns, or plain raiding a target company you will see that your sourcing will take on new life because now it is not a routine but part of a strategic placement of tactics to reach your goal.

Strategy #5 monitoring sourcing performance/Regular strategic reviews

Usually as sourcer/recruiters we get so involved in our routine that we make assumptions. It is easy to thing that being busy is being effective. Monitoring the performance of each sourcing tactic can help you determine whether we need to adjust to a different source. We may get a high number of responses to an email blast but the skills may be wrong, the ad may need to be tweaked, or my cold call script may need to be changed. The only way to know and truly measure our effectiveness is thru tracking and monitoring each sourcing strategy.

Strategy #6 Trend analysis
Trending your sourcing activities is the best way to truly know the direction your sourcing is headed. It validates your judgments and provide for finding and implementing best practices. We need to distinguish from our impressions and reality, trending results will help us differentiate between the two and drive us to deliver on our goals.

Remember that while sourcing goals may not change, the market has and so have our research methods which continue to evolve, and that means that sourcers need to stay on guard to stay in the game. Managing and monitoring your candidate sourcing activities is essential to maximizing the value we provide.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Making lemonade out of lemons and hibernating mice

by Pete Johnson, Nerd Guru

Wired magazine recently had story about DARPA's string of human enhancement projects that contained the epitome of taking a bad situation and making good out of it. We all have down times in our careers and a key to advancing is to learn from how we got there and how we can dig ourselves out.

Recall that the folks at DARPA are the same good people (not Al Gore or even Tim Berners-Lee) who brought us the Internet. There is some very cutting edge stuff going on with enabling field soldiers to function more efficiently. The article focuses on two specific projects. The first has to do with regulating body temperature and how it is really heat, and not chemical buildup as is commonly thought, that fatigues muscles over time. The key then becomes finding a way to cool those tissues in order to improve endurance.

The second project I found more interesting, though -- not because it is any more or less impressive than the first, but because its genesis sure is. It tells the story of biochemist Mark Roth. Ten years ago, he suffered about the most devastating loss that a parent can experience: the death of a child. Roth eventually rose from his sorrow, unsurprisingly, with an interest in immortality, and that path ultimately led him to working with DARPA. For a soldier, what happens in the first hour ("the golden hour") after suffering an injury can be the difference between whether he or she lives or dies. In theory, if you could place a severely wounded soldier into a state of suspended animation within that first hour and then transport him or her to a more sophisticated facility than what is available in the field, the chances of recovery increase dramatically.

In 2005 DARPA held one of its famous contests that challenge scientists to achieve some set of criteria. This time, it was to keep a mouse alive for 3 hours with 60 percent of its blood lost, which simulates a lethal wound. Roth's studies took him from immortality to being able to stimulate a state of stasis in animals not known to normally hibernate. Using a combination of lowered oxygen levels and a dose of hydrogen sulfide (the latter inspired by a PBS show he saw on a caving accident), Roth was able to induce the mice into a hibernation-like state and then re-animate them after 10 hours.

Roth turned the loss of his daughter into the fuel for a research problem that shows potential to change the medical field forever. It is hard to think of another example where something so personally bad was turned into something so possibly good for all of society. How about you? The next time you find yourself in the pit of despair, how are you going to get yourself out of it? In what way will you better yourself or help others so that all can learn from what happened to you? Follow Mark Roth's example and make lemonade out of lemons and hibernating mice.

This article is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another Yahoo feature combination!

Since earlier I shared with you the “feature” command I wanted to open it up to another cool way to search for people. Remember this is a command used particularly in yahoo. A cool way to combine the feature command is with the word homepage. When combined this way it finds personal pages excluding commercial or business sites without having to use any exclusions. Notice the example below.


feature:homepage "software engineer" cobol

This search string quickly returns about 1,500 results all from individual’s home sites that mention that they are software engineer who mention cobol as part of their skill set. Not bad, huh!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Different approach to resume searches on Yahoo

Recently Jim Stroud did an interesting study on document searches and which were the most common resume file types on the net; so I won’t go into a deep study on how to do document searches but as a brief summary. File extensions are extremely important, especially within the internet. File extensions instruct browsers, and other applications as to how to maneuver, or use a file. Common extensions Picture1include .doc for Microsoft Word documents, .pdf for Adobe Acrobat PDF, and .xls for Microsoft Excel.

You can search specifically for extensions or file types by using the search command “filetype”


resume "software engineer" "Nortel Networks” filetype:doc

But like I said, my intent was not to go deeply into filetype searches. I want to share a neat command I found for yahoo. This yahoo command is “feature:” This command when used with the keyword “acrobat” will find page links to adobe acrobat PDF files. The interesting thing about this combination is that it doesn’t necessarily return PDF files. Try this search string in yahoo.

resume "software engineer" oracle SQL feature:acrobat

This returned quite a few resumes. Usually when you use a filetype search you may need to use exclusions to clean out unwanted results. This search string returned resumes of Software Engineer with Oralce SQL experience, very limited miscellaneous results, … Isn't it cool!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Would you like a free subscription to Fordyce Letter?

In recruitingblogs.com there was an interesting question raised, Slouch is offering a subscription to the Fordyce Letter to the one who answers his post with the best recruiting lesson ever learned… If you haven’t yet you should go add your two cents worth. You never know it might be yours!!

Anyway, as I wrote my answer, it got me to thinking, in my mind the best recruiting lesson was learning the ability to ask questions. I never felt so intimidated yet so thrilled as when I did my first technical interview. This guy was many times the bigger nerd than I was, several pocket liners and all. I’m sure many of you might remember having a butterfly in your stomach or then again not. Anyway, luckily I’ve learned a thing or two since then, enough to know that knowing what to ask the right questions is one of the hardest and best lessons I am still learning.

Asking questions is particularly difficult for recruiters as it relates to technical skills. We get hung up on keywords because they are the searchable portion of the job descriptions. Usually as recruiters we focus on the tools and technology but these are the easy skills to learn but they are don’t offer nearly enough scope to let us address the candidates experience. There are at least three other kinds of technical skills to consider. Let's see if I can break it down, beyond knowing the tools (i.e. oracle, xml etc…) there are the techniques of application, how many techniques for applying the tools does your candidate know? Then there is who well the person applies the knowledge as in problem solving and finally how well the person understands the industry needs and expectations.

It is not just about asking how long have you been programming in Oracle, but what methodologies have you used? how did you apply them? what kind of solutions did you offer? and how was as far as meeting customers needs? So far we only cover the technical aspect of question but there are still so many others to ask that we can write volumes. If you disagree with me as this being the best recruiting lesson to be learned visit the Slouch at recruitingblogs.com and take a swing at it. You might take my subscription from me. We’ll see.

Beating the averages

Most smart recruiters have a hidden weakness and that is that we’re absolute suckers for anything that sounds clever. That is why there is so many of us paying so much money to learn about different internet search techniques like x-rays, flips and others that frankly have been around for many years. Even though they can be an essential part of any sourcing job the truth is that this same tools we are paying so dearly for were introduced for free, yes! gratis! by the search engines.

If recruiters spent more time in the search engine tutorials they would have all the tools to do advanced internet research. If you haven't mastered these techniques you may be missing out soon. The next level of internet search is coming and we can't get there without the right tools.

Let me explain, for us as sourcer or recruiters the internet shouldn't be about finding resumes but about finding people. There are so many tools to help us find just the people we need. But first there is the matter of the size of the internet. There are approximately 500,000 search engines both general search and vertical search engines. How can we use all those tools to you capture all the data?

Which brings us to the next point; the information in the internet is divided into two main parts, the open or surface internet and what is been dubbed the deep or invisible web. The invisible web is considered at least 500 larger than the surface web and most of that data is found through dynamic database resports out of which approximately 95% of the content is availbable free of charge.

Back to my original thought, how can we access the information databases have in the hidden web if we don't master the simple search techniques that draw out the information? Since search engine come in so many different flavors and all use the same tools so differently it is the perfect learning ground to prepare us for the resourcefulness it takes to conquer the invisible web.

Friday, May 18, 2007

How much is too much

Queries are the combination of words and operators that we enter into search box of search engines and directories to show it what our intention from the search is. In order to maximize your search you should use a minimum of six to eight words in your query. They don’t all have to be related to your search; they can be exclusions as well. Try the following example in google:

Example: Resume Lawson financials ERP beans –job –submit –eoe –post

The exclusions I used (just in case it isn’t obvious) are keywords that normally would be found in sites related to job search or job postings. As I tried this a few minutes ago it brought 618 results. With at least 60 percent of them being resumes of Lawson professionals. Using more keywords will allow you to reduce the number of results to a manageable level before bringing in the power tools.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Searching with Synonyms

If you want to use search engines successfully to find candidates you have to know that all search services interpret your queries differently. The better you understand how search engines translate your query into a search the better you will be able to control the results.

Search engines don’t deduce anything from the keywords you enter. For instance; if you enter the keyword heart you will not find results about cardio nor concepts related to love. If you enter TV you will not get television, kids will not return children. Any way you get the picture. All search engines just merely match strings of characters together.

You can capitalize on this by the use of synonyms. For example: advertising OR promotion OR Selling could all return results related to marketing. Another example might be: if you are looking for someone with XML Skills you might try (XSL OR MSXML) and you might be surprised. If you learn to cover a particular idea in different ways thru synonyms you will be closer to the results you want all the while avoiding all the keywords that other recruiters may just be using straight out of the job description

Sourcing is like attending a garage sale.

The more I think about this the more it makes sense to me. Everything you need to know about sourcing you can learn by attending a garage sale!! Call it what you will; maybe it is the thrill of the hunt, the thrill of finding hidden treasure, or maybe even the thrill of beating the system. (You know, getting good stuff for a fraction of its value!) If you ever attended one you’ll appreciate some of these great nuggets of wisdom I learned from them.

When you go to a garage sale you never know what you'll stumble upon, but you've got to maintain patience if you expect to land a deal. When you are sourcing the first lesson you learn is patience. You are going to be going through a lot of fluff resumes and talk to a quite a few wannabees. So get ready to do a large investment of time. If you are not patient, you shouldn’t be sourcing.

You probably won't find a new real treasure on your first trip. Chances are the first candidate you find will not be the “One”. Soucing is like going on a wild goose chase or as the old cliché goes there may be a lot of toads kissed before the prince charming is found.

It might even take you several trips before you make a purchase. You will see some likely candidates but on further inspection you’ll find they are not a real bargain. Be ready to go to your next source.

You can't be discouraged. Searching thru junk hoping to find a bargain is exhilarating for precisely that reason: Just when you think you're out of luck, you discover a treasure. Isn’t this great, just when you’ve just about given up on finding that ace candidate!! Wham!! You can’t wait to dig thru the car seat for those fifty cents!!!!

But the main reason why sourcing reminds me of garage sales is that if you just pick up “bargains” simply because they're bargains you’ll soon find out that sometimes there's a good reason why an item is a bargain: It's junk. Beware of the low hanging fruit!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The alarming signs you mat be addicted to sourcing!!!

I was reading an interesting article titled Am I addicted to food?Which said: “According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, food addiction is simply an obsessive preoccupation with food. It doesn’t mean that a food addict can’t get enough of food – it could be that they are so concerned with food, that they avoid it at all costs.”

I had an interesting thought, what if we applied that definition to recruitment as it applies to sourcing. A sourcing addiction is simply an obsessive preoccupation with sourcing. It doesn’t mean that a sourcing addict can’t get enough of sourcing – it could be that they are so concerned with sourcing, that they avoid it at all cost. I think that explains a few recruiters!!! I’ve noticed a growing trend in recruitment. I read recruiters’ resumes often and find that there are mentions of sourcing all over but the experience summaries don’t describe what I know as sourcing.

According to the sourcing definition on wikipedia "Sourcing for candidates also generally applies to a focus primarily on proactively identifying people that are not actively looking for job opportunities." The sourcing described in most resumes is searching through the resume boards, monster.com careerbuilder, etc… all they do is talk about sourcing but don’t do it; does that qualify as a sourcing addiction?

It's all that!

I found this cool search engine the other day and just thought some of you may not have seen it. It is called allth.at It is a meta-search engine with extra kick. No, I'm not affiliated with them nor do i get anything out of it. I just thought it was cool.

I like its ability to search thru as many search engines as you'd like it seems to do well enough. I tried adding and deleting search engines and it is quite easy. Altavista doesn' seem to interact well with it, but it just still cool.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

10 things you better not say in an interview.

Tonight in talking to some great recruiters over dinner, the conversation drifted to the bad things that happened in interviews and then it hit me. We all have stories to tell about things that candidates said or did in interviews that were unbelievable. Wouldn’t be fun to put together a list of things not to say in an interview based on real life incidents we all have heard.

Would you send me your unbelievable interview faux pas’ to compile them into things you better not say in an interview? I’m hoping the list would grow beyond ten.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools!!!

We all remember when it was easy to find candidates; they just about found us pretty much on their own. There were so many candidates all we had to do was put out some kind of sign and wham!! Candidates seemed to appear out of nowhere. Things are so much different now. Candidates no longer find us and to top it off there is a shortage of qualified personnel.

Yet many people are still using the approaches that worked then but are no longer effective, things like job fairs, newspaper ads etc… In an interesting article titled 9 signs the online job market is broken, Ben Yoskovitz asserts: “Compare a job ad from 100 years ago to a job ad today and they’ll look almost identical. The buzzwords have changed, but the format, style and general dullness have not. …” He goes on to say; “Jobster.com now offers free job postings. They couldn’t figure out how to get people to pay for them, so they offered job postings for free. My take:” he says “They should be free. They’re largely worthless.”

The scarcity of top talent is fast growing into a crisis but what this means to me is that it is important to be more than just competent at sourcing. If it isn’t clear by now we need to become more and more adept at exploiting every available tool, yet many of us are not keeping up. Take for instance; our ability to search the titles of web pages using many of the over 4,000 search engines; there are at least 4 different title search commands but combined with some of the over 40 advanced search commands the combination strategies are tremendous. How many of these advance search commands can you list?

My point is that we need to test our ability to strategically source and accurately match candidates with needs. But how can we ensure we will get the job done when we are doing today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools? A good sourcing strategy is built-in on the premise that we have the mechanisms, skills and means to find the candidates we need. Our sourcing strategy needs to have a process for eliminating bureaucratic procedures and updating and streamlining our search tools. Only then we’ll we position ourselves for sourcing success.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Shy Networking? The way of the future

I think the recruiting animal is on to something here. I was reading his post titled Networking For Shy People. My imagination took me away to figure out what that would be like; I mean, "networking for shy people".

This is what I imagined, I pictured a room full of people, a shy person walks in and you can see him feeling uneasy but still pushing himself to enter. As he walks through the crowed avoiding eye contact, he can feel the anxiety level rising. He thinks about introducing himself to someone and the sweat drops start forming on is eyebrows. He spots a likely candidate to introduce himself, someone who appears welcoming, friendly and open. Each step closer to the target the hands tremble a bit more and the heartbeat gets faster. By the time he reaches his target he is almost at a panic attack. But as luck would have it, he spots a name tag on the prospect and all the fear fades away?

Animal, I don’t think your idea works too well!! As Aerosmith would say, Dream on! I think that the real networking for shy people is all about myspace.

If half of america's employees got their job networking...

I didn’t take note of the article I read it on but what I was reading was that eighty percent of available jobs are never advertised, and that over half of all employees get their jobs through networking, the article was quoting a company called BH Careers International.

I went immediately into a maddening daze of thoughts!!! and thought holy cow, Batman!!! If half of the employees get their jobs through networking why does America spend 80% of its recruiting budget on the three major job boards (being Careerbuilder, monster, hotjobs). Wouldn’t this indicate that we need to focus our effots in networking? This is the best reason as to why sourcing is being successful we are tapping into the piece of the market that is most ignored. It is a great time to be a sourcer, isn't it!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

If Elvis were alive how would you find him?

I thought I would try something fun today (at least fun for me). I want to see the creativity of our internet research community at large. So, here is my Idea!! I wanted to see if you guys can help me put together some search string/queries or any idea on how to find “Elvis Presley” if he were alive today!! I’ve often thought that as internet researchers/sourcers we can find anything. Here is our chance to prove it!!!

Here are a couple of search strings I thought might work
“Elvis Presley” Graceland Burger –“burger king” –impersonator –look-a-like
(intitle:burger OR inurl:burger) “Elvis Presley” (TN OR Tennessee OR Memphis) -impersonator
link:www.burgerking.com Elvis (the other King) “hound dog” -wannabe

You can add your search strings as comments or email them to me.

Monday, May 7, 2007

How to screw up your sourcing 101 – Chapter 4

I was reading last Friday’s article on the itzbigblog titled “War on Talent-What war on talent?” The article had some great thoughts that I thought were worth mentioning. “The war on talent is kind of a strange phenomenon…Part of the reason behind this war on talent is that organizations’ strategies for cost-cutting (offshoring, contract workers, etc.) are exhausting their effectiveness more quickly than anticipated…That means dramatically broadening your efforts in sourcing and recruiting in ways that not every hiring professional can do.”

We do have to broaden our skills but before we do we need to get the basics right. We have to learn to avoid some fundamental mistakes. The simplest mistake that most often keeps us from sourcing success is that we simply talk too much. That must sound strange being that we make our living by talking, but when you are talking you are not listening, not learning about your prospect’s wants and needs.

In today’s complex sourcing environment, effective communication is the secret ingredient to meeting our bottom-line demands. Communication is a multi-faceted dynamic process and effective listening skills are an essential part of that process. According to the book, Beyond "Hello" by Jeannie Davis, the percentages can vary by interaction, but your telephone conversations are generally about 70% tonality, 14 to 20 percent actual words, and 10-16% body language. This means to me that as sourcers we can’t give ourselves the luxury to underestimate the importance of listening in order to understand that 80 to 86% of the conversation that wasn’t an actual word.

Listen to the pace a person speaks with, the accent, the word choices, the pauses, how the tone may climb or descend. Listen for background things that can give you cues to a person’s current environment. If we acquire skills to be good listeners not only will we be able to solicit good information from others but also to find underlying meanings in what your candidates may say, to answer questions better, build rapport with them better and more importantly it will drive you to implement more successful strategies to connect and improce your sourcing success.