When Searching in English Outperforms Searching in Boolean

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Hello and welcome back to my blog posts. Hope many of you had a nice summer vacation! I took a break in posting blogs and giving webinars in the last few weeks for long weekends in the mountains and also working on a big Sourcing Project that I will write about soon.

This post is the “Back to School” sort, explaining how to source simply yet efficiently.

For those who shy away from using advanced search syntax AND for those who may be “overusing” it:

Let’s explore “Plain English” search and the cases when it produces better results than advanced Boolean search.

If you have a job description or a long email from someone defining what they want to find – you cannot paste the long description into Google and get the right profiles. (Google is not there yet!) However, if you can describe the information you are looking for in a short sentence, chances are, you will find just what you need using keyword-only search, without X-Raying or any such techniques.

Case 1. Finding definitions and facts

At this time, Google has become smart enough to interpret and answer many short questions. If you have one, you can try searching like this (the question mark is optional):

Sometimes, you can just reduce the question to naming the category you want to learn about – the results may impress you:

Case 2. Finding the sites to explore

You can often find professional sites such as sites for associations and conferences just as quickly; then, collect their member and attendee directories if they provide those to outsiders – which is sometimes the case. Here are example searches:

Case 3. Name three objects (such as company names) to find more “like” them. As an example, name three competing companies to find more:

Case 4. Find email lists by naming email domains and perhaps adding a few keywords. Examples:

These are just a few of the many ways to find information for sourcing using simple searches.

Join me for the upcoming webinar, where I will present many more techniques and will provide one month of support for everyone who signs up to practice Sourcing in Plain English, “with NO Boolean”.