Don’t Save the String

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It’s funny that people in our industry would talk about Boolean Strings as if those strings were “heavy”, complex, and lasting. Just think “building a string”, “crafting a string” and “saved Boolean Strings”, “Boolean Strings storage”. Boolean Strings storage is serious business.

But you know what? Saving Google Boolean search strings is just like saving the sentences you say so that you can repeat them later. (Feel free to disagree).

Those of us with teenage children may have to repeat the same “string”, like “it’s time to get up”, “it’s time to get up”, “it’s time to get up”. (Can you relate?) But we don’t “reuse” things we say in real life. Knowing the language, we can phrase what we mean. Now, the “Boolean” language is simpler than any human language, so why spend the time saving and organizing “Strings”? (It’s not all black-and-white of course. Saving some notes on a search, or a long OR string of target companies, or sharing a search string with a colleague, as necessary, are all perfectly reasonable).

There is also an exception regarding the use of “saving Strings”, for novices – saving searches may help to learn the Boolean language. If we have just started to learn a foreign language, we may keep the top 10, or 300, expressions in a phrasebook or a language-learning app. But we can only say so much in a language until we learn it well enough to stop checking with the “cheat sheets”.

Saved strings also don’t reflect the full scope of a search. There are always search parameters and settings that are not reflected in the strings and may significantly affect the results. (Saving a search URL will take us to a closer – though still not “identical” – reproduction of a search.)

Why have I written the e-book “300 Best Boolean Strings” then? It is simple: the book is intended to explain how to search for a variety of social profiles and professional information, and the multiple strings are examples – they are not something to reuse. (The strings in the book are links you can follow, so the URL parameters are also “saved”.)

Expressions in a tourist phrasebook stay relevant for a long time. But Google search strings that produce desirable results change a lot. (Each new edition of the Book has required more than 25% of queries to be rewritten.)

So here is a message to Saving Boolean Strings practitioners: consider dropping the practice, unless you have novices to train. If you do keep the Strings, remember that they are getting outdated as we speak.

 

How to Fight the Lack of Features in Recruiter

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Given the UI design for advanced people search dialog in LinkedIn Recruiter (that I would call user-unfriendly), there couldn’t possibly be a clean resolution for the vague “companies or boolean” field:

Indeed, if there is one word entered, which is a company name (like Apple), will it be looking for employees of that particular company (Apple) or for people from all the companies with this word (“apple”) in the company names? It is unclear from the UI. There is a big difference in the two searches, and we may want to do either. In fact, a basic FREE account conveniently has both capabilities – we can either search for a keyword in the company name or select companies:

Returning to Recruiter – if you select a company from the offered list in the “company or boolean” field, it will NOT search for the keyword, but will just for that company. Thus, it only duplicates the exact same functionality found in another corner of the same vast people search dialog.

However, when I search for a company name, I often want to include that same company, registered as a different entity on LinkedIn (perhaps due to a different location or division). Here is a (random) example of several entries in LinkedIn’s company list that seem likely to be part of the same company:

If I go with the company choices, I would need to select each entry separately. For example, if I select the first entry, “Netrix”, I get only two results for members whose company is “exactly” Netrix.

Here is a hack that brings back this useful feature, company keyword search, to Recruiter. Use a Boolean string that looks like this. It is a choice between your keyword and something that never happens. Now we get many more results than two:

Problem solved!

Here is a sourcing challenge for my readers who also have LIR (Recruiter). Suppose we are searching by one keyword in the “company or boolean” field, and that word is not, by itself, a company name. How will the search be interpreted?

P.S. In response to Katie’s comment and question below, I have found the shortest string that would look for the keyword, not the company. Just add a space after the word, and get many more results! See below. (The troubling thing is, the same bizarre syntax rules apply to the Job Title).

You’ve heard of SourceCon Austin (Guest Post by Dave Galley)

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This is a guest post from my business partner, a brilliant Sourcer, from whom I learn every day, David Galley. David will be speaking at the upcoming SourceCon in Austin. If you are going, please say “hi” to him, and I certainly recommend attending his talk.

-Irina

Now get ready for

Purple Squirrel in a Curl

Wondering, “What the #@$%*! does that mean?” You are not alone.

I ask myself the same question on a daily basis, though usually in response to a jargon-laden job description or poorly written resume. That is when I am not suffering from total information overload. There are so many details to keep track of, so many potential candidates to pursue, so many places to look for them, and so many different approaches to searching!

Sometimes keeping track of the what and how (never mind the who) seems like a full-time commitment all its own. How can you avoid falling down rabbit holes chasing the latest in browser extensions, databases, and search strings?

The best solution I’ve found is to focus on asking the right questions, which is what my upcoming SourceCon presentation: “‘To AND, OR NOT to AND,’ Is Not The Question” is all about. Will you be at SourceCon? Don’t be shy, swing by and say hello! I’ll be demonstrating the right (and wrong) questions to ask in order to find your target candidates in Grand Ballroom A at 2:25PM CDT on Wednesday, September 27.

While you’re in the neighborhood, here are more fantastic George Boole track presentations for you to enjoy:

You can find the full schedule (including four more content tracks, some amazing keynote speakers, and more) over at the official SourceCon Austin 2017 site. (Psst! Need a ticket? Click here and use code ATX17DG.)

Here’s one for the road. You’ve heard of SourceCon Austin, now get ready for

It says, "I won't tell, that would be cheating."

(Consider the answer to that one your pre-SourceCon homework.)

Where the (Wild) Files Are

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When data is exposed to search engines due to an incorrect site configuration, that data becomes available for Sourcing for anyone who knows how to find it – including you and me.

About ten years ago, Sourcing techniques like “flipping” or “peeling” still worked, providing creative Researchers with the data to find and parse – sometimes, folders full of files with desired professional data. These techniques are not as effective any longer. As of today, we rarely see websites that would show anything like this (an exposed file directory):

We can try to look for those by Googling for something like

intitle:”index of” name “last modified” “size” <add keywords>,

but we won’t find a whole lot, due to the modern site protection, built into many site-creating platforms.

However, the web is full of new data sources, that were not available in the past. With the rising popularity of BIG DATA in the CLOUD, we can Google for a different set of files. For example, if a file is stored in the Amazon Cloud and is public (for example, is referenced from a public document), we can locate that file.

Would you like to see some examples? These are resumes stored in the Amazon Cloud. Another example, these are attendee lists.

There are tons more sources beyond the Amazon cloud storage. Here is another source of files:

inurl:wp-content/uploads. (Why? You should be able to explain). Example Google search –

inurl:wp-content/uploads “member directory” ext:PDF – 

finds some interesting data!

Learn about other platforms full of uploaded data that may find its way into Google index (and much more!) at the

Sourcing Methodologies Lecture and Practice.

 

 

 

 

Get a List of Candidates for Your Requirements

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Our new tool Social List continues to grow in popularity as well as its abilities. I would like to introduce it to more fellow professionals.

Join me for a demo of https://sociallist.io and get a list sourced for your requirements (one per attendee). After the webinar, you will be able to run the tool on your own on a trial basis and check it out. Sign up @ Social List Webinar, or, go straight to the Gotowebinar Link to register. Date/Time: Tue, Aug 29, 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM PDT.

Social List finds lists of Profiles for our subscribers’ requirements. Users can export the search results for filtering, sharing, and storage.

Here are some recent examples of SocialList-sourced exported results; you will be able to get one or more lists like this:

Tax Accountant, Houston Area, CPA – LinkedIn Agent – Search Results

(Note, Social List fully complies with the rules; any questions, let me know.)

Email addresses at Oracle – Zoominfo Agent – Search Results

 

Java and Python, Seattle, works at Amazon – Universal Github Agent  – Search Results

“See you” there!

 

 

 

Melissa Data Goes to Work

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In his post on SourceCon, @RandyBailey wrote about sourcing using Melissadata.com‘s service Email to Address. The service provides the “associated” (physical) addresses based on an email, and vise versa – it also shows names, emails, and, often, phone numbers based on a street address.

I was exploring the site in relation to our “Data cleaning and enrichment” webinar. Let me share another, unexpected aspect of how the service works. In Email to Address, I first tried to enter an address of a nearby apartment building. I got an impressive list of names, emails – mostly, private (like Gmail), – and selected phone numbers. I was curious whether some numbers were mobile – and yes, they were; I verified several using http://freecarrierlookup.com, and a few were mobile.

It then occurred to me to try to enter an address of a business building. One address I remembered was Apple’s, and I searched for it – One Infinite Drive, Cupertino, CA.

(Try it!)

The results, when I ran the query, contained over 400 names, emails, and some phone numbers. Interestingly, a significant percent of these emails was apple.com-based.

The stats on the above email list, when cross-referenced with LinkedIn (using Talent Pipeline in Recruiter), were interesting: only ~10% of the addresses were identified, but those that were, almost all belong to people who work at Apple at that location. Out of a small sample, it’s hard to generalize, but we do get lists of people working in the building in this exercise.

Here are some other examples:

As long as we verify these email addresses from Melissadata, we can be acquiring these contacts in some quantities. Want to try the above for some major corporations’ headquarters? Share what you find!

In the webinar “Data cleaning and enrichment” (that we are going to repeat) we’ll study some free ways to verify and refresh recruiting data with the help of Social Networks, as well as delegating the enrichment task to specialized (affordable) tools. One of them, Clearbit, shines in giving us demographic previews of our data. Register for the webinar to find out!

 

Facebook Sourcing Mastery

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Which Social Network is best for Talent Sourcing? This question does not have a good answer, because:

  1. There’s no need to narrow our search to one set of data (it would be silly, right?)
  2. We can communicate with the prospects using a different site than the one where we found them.

A better question is – What makes a Social Network valuable?

I think a Social Network is valuable for searching if it has:

  1. Plenty of professional profiles and extra info, containing those backgrounds that we search for;
  2. Convenient, “deep”, structured, within-budget, search capabilities, that allow identifying those professionals.

If the Social Network also allows to reach out to prospects, that is a plus too!

Over the last few years, we have all been feeling that Facebook’s role in Sourcing and Recruiting will grow – along with widening dissatisfaction with LinkedIn. It’s time to closely look at Sourcing on Facebook if you haven’t.

How does Facebook do in terms of the above criteria? Let’s take a look.

  1. “Plenty of professional profiles”.

While a large percent of Facebook members don’t post their professional information, there are obviously many more professionals – and professional data – there. Just take a look at the numbers:

Facebook has a huge amount of professional information, more than any other Social Network does.

2.  “Convenient, “deep”, structured, within-budget, search capabilities”.

Searching on Facebook in my and our colleagues’ experiences, takes some getting used to. If you are used to searching for the field values, such as the job title and location, in a resume database, – get ready; this search is different. We need to learn some ART of Facebook searching. For example, we can search Facebook for fields such as a job title, but doing so is not straightforward. Sometimes, similarly-phrased searches produce different results (which is good to know, to get more results for a search). Facebook’s search results are, of course, produced by software code, not by a human, but often seem rather “informal”.

With the ART, we need to learn some SCIENCE – you might need to produce technical-looking searches, such as

While no technical background is necessary to learn to “speak this language”, creating queries like the above would require some learning curve. But the results would be rewarding. Best of all, the search is completely free (compare to the cost of LinkedIn Recruiter!).

By multiple requests, we are repeating the Facebook Sourcing Mastery webinar on Wednesday, August 16th. Particularly, we’ll talk about the ART and SCIENCE of Facebook search in some detail. You can register at the link. Seating is limited.

 

 

Parlez-Vous Francais?

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In Geotargeting 101, we narrowed search results to a region using a “Boolean-string-invisible” setting in Google Advanced Search.

The same advanced search dialog has a language setting, that is also not reflected in the search string. The search engine gets it via a URL parameter. For example, if we set the language to English, the added URL piece will be &lr=lang_en.

 

Suppose we are looking for English-speaking people in a non-English speaking region. If we X-Ray LinkedIn (or another social site) for member profiles, using the language restriction, in the results, we will see pages that we can informally describe as having “lots” of English. Members behind those profiles are likely to speak the language.

Here is an example search in the Netherland-based LinkedIn, narrowed to the English language:

site:nl.linkedin.com

Without any keywords, we’ll see some Netherlands-based profiles that have English content, such as a summary or a description of job responsibilities. If we add keywords, we’ll also start seeing profile URLs ending in /en – those are “secondary,” English-language, profiles. Either way, we are encountering people who use English to describe their professional background and are likely to speak the language – which is what we need!

Try these searches (add keywords to make them interesting) and observe how the language setting works:

 

 

Social List: Searching the Structured Web

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Social List Demo

Join us for a webinar on August 2, 2017.

Register now!

http://booleanstrings.ning.com/events/social-list-http-sociallist-io-sourcing-tool-demo 

You are invited to a demo of our new sourcing tool Social List
(http://sociallist.io).

Social List searches for structured information on the Internet. It combines the conveniences of Google X-Raying of Social Networks with a precise search for fields such as location, job title, and company. Before Social List, this search precision (or “faceted” search) has only been offered in databases (that are often expensive) but not in X-Raying.

Social List offers exporting lists of profiles that it finds, with the structured information included, in an Excel format. Many of our users start their sourcing here, by generating lists of prospects to explore. I must say, I use the tool for my sourcing projects a lot!

Since our first limited release several months ago, we have enhanced Social List by introducing more search options, new search Agents, and display and export structured data such as titles, companies, and locations.

Here are a few quick screenshots; you are invited to see the tool in action at the webinar.

We call our X-Ray tools “Agents”. Here’s a screenshot of the Github Agent search dialog:

Here is what the search results look like – as you can see, we have enhanced them with extra structured information; the example is from our ResearchGate Agent:

Finally, here is what export looks like; the example is from Doximity Agent:

I hope to “see” you at the demo! Any questions, please email me (Irina Shamaeva).

Geotargeting 101

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How can we search for pages local to a particular country?

For starters, there are country code top-level domains. To find pages that belong to a country-level domain, we can simply use X-Ray:

site:za 

But there are many other domains, that don’t point to a location. When figuring out the region for a page on a generic domain, such as .com or .org, Google uses the pages’ IP address (revealing the location). It may use a few other signals, such as location information within the page HTML code and locations of other pages pointing to this one.

Google’s Advanced Search has a setting, allowing to search for pages, which Google identified as belonging to a region:

 

If we set a region in the advanced dialog, we will not see it reflected in the search string. Instead, the setting generates an addition to the search URL that looks like this:

&cr=countryNZ.

Here is an example search narrowed to a region:

chemical engineer

We can exclude country-specific domains and examine what Google brings in as local to a country, based on factors other than the country-specific domain:

chemical engineer -site:nz 

An interesting – and practical – use case for using the “region” advanced setting is X-Raying LinkedIn. Take a look:

Now, here is a question for my readers: can you reliably X-Ray LinkedIn for US-based profiles only, using the advanced region setting? The first person to email me a correct, supported by examples, answer, will get a guest ticket to one of our next sourcing webinars.