The 25 Search Strings and Search Methodology

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For those who wanted to see the top 25 strings: I am afraid that this post will not be what you expect, but I hope it will be useful, so please read on!

Well, it’s not that I have changed my mind about sharing them. I love sharing my sourcing knowledge in posts, lectures, and presentations. When I do sourcing contracts I offer to explain how I get the results as part of my service. I have sourced for many different verticals recently, such as energy managers, chemistry PhD’s, software engineers from Google, telecom consultants, marketing managers, quality control specialists, safety system managers, and truck driver recruiters, to name a few. It is amazing that similar sourcing approaches work. After you’ve spent some time researching and figuring out the terminology, certifications, organizations, online gatherings, geography, and target companies, you can do similar things and find candidates.

However, that common sourcing approach cannot be based on particular search strings – which I have been trying to communicate to my students and readers for quite a while. There’s a belief that there are some magic strings that would provide results for all. If you go back to my article you will see one sentence in red that says it’s not true. It’s also mentioned in a post about sourcing myths. The post about my favorite strings is as close as I can offer if we are not talking about anything specific.

So in a sense I am going to disappoint you; though I am glad I got your attention. The top 5-10-25 strings are as unlikely to exist as the top 5 gadgets for cooking, the top 20 sentences to start a book, or the top 10 ways to build a piece of furniture.

It’s true that I often start with

  • intitle:resume OR inurl:resume” on Google, or
  • public profile powered by” site:linkedin.com on Yahoo/Bing, or
  • filetype:xls name title company (adding keywords) on either Google or Bing,

but then I always change the strings, usually dozens of times. The search results guide me how to modify a string or whether to start at a totally different point. In particular, while “intitle:resume OR inurl:resume” may sound like a good start, for some job openings it doesn’t bring any results, while for other it may bring way too many. Also, as we know, the Boolean search syntax on Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Twitter and other places is different; so, many Google strings can’t be reused on Bing, and so on.

Sourcing is not rocket science. But there’s no magical one-size fits all cheat-sheets or sets of strings. Practicing, refining your strings, following the correct syntax for the site you are using, and reviewing the results will “get you there”, while sets of strings offered by others will not. Those “top” strings offered by others are just samples (if they follow correct syntax, of course – many don’t, unfortunately); you need your own.

If you are new to Boolean search, ask me about the beginner webinar I did recently; I offer the slides and the recording. Hanging out at the advanced search page on Google or Yahoo and going over help pages and examples would also make an excellent introduction to advance searching.

If you have a specific niche or a job description that you are working on and have questions, please feel free to post on our Boolean Strings Group and Network . If you have found interesting aspects of search syntax or interesting sourcing examples, please share with us. We have bi-weekly online chats on the Ning site; you are welcome to join for information exchange. Also, I am thinking of publishing (or showing at a webinar) some sets of strings that I use for a particular search (that would be lots of strings for any search!) with explanations of the logic. If you could do that for any of your searches, that would be great too.

As Christine McKenzie said it,

“While there isnt a top 10-25 list, there are consistent approaches to take that can be tailored.”