Googling for Recently Updated Profiles?

booleanstrings Boolean

Can we find web pages, including social profiles, that have recently been updated? (We all know that updates may mean warming up for a new employment opportunity).

On Google, you can set a date range for the search results, then sort by date. However, I have long noticed that, even if we set a date range from the beginning of times until now, we will be losing some search results. Apparently, for some pages, Googlebot cannot define the last updated date, and those pages would be missing from the results if sorted by date.

Greg Lindahl, Founder and CTO of (now defunct) search engine Blekko, acquired by IBM Watson in 2015, provides an excellent overview of web page dates’ challenge for search engines on Quora:

“There are two huge problems for date sorting of search results.

The first is that date sort — and I really mean date sort, not relevance sort of a date range like “past hour” or “june 3” — means you only get 1 bit of relevance, where something is included or excluded. This means you may get a lot of spam…

The second is what date should be assigned to a webpage. The first date it was crawled? The date on the page? If a page changes slightly, does it get a new date? If a website puts the current date and time on every page, what do you do?”

If we are X-raying a site for profiles, the “spam” issue is not as significant, since all the results would be profiles. But the second problem Greg states is there – depending on the site. A pages’ last updated date depends on “how well” the site “tells” Googlebot about the date.

Here is a TIP: to find out whether Google has the last updated date for a page, and what it is, X-ray for the page, while setting a wide date range.

It turns out, for the majority of LinkedIn profiles the date is a question mark and, therefore, the date is absent in Google’s index. Compare, for example, these two X-Ray searches:

Some LinkedIn public profiles do have a date, but that’s pretty inconsistent. (Of course, as an additional factor in identifying recent changes is the frequency of Googlebot’s visits to various profiles. I’ll talk about that in another post).

Bottom line, it’s impossible to Google for the most recently updated LinkedIn profiles.

X-Raying other websites? Take a look whether those sites are “better disciplined” in providing the dates. Please share what you discover!

Seven Fun X-Ray Strings for Tech Talent

booleanstrings Boolean

Those of us who search for Technical Talent, know how competitive the industry has been. Let me offer some X-Ray searches to help to discover potential IT candidates – and to help to grow your X-Ray skills. As always, pay attention to the URL structure and common phrases that are unique for the target pages, and you’ll find what you are looking for! I have included Google searches that that you probably have not seen on other blogs; take a few minutes to try and figure out why they produce the results they do.

Here you go:

  1. machine learning – Developer stories, that represent their professional history
  2. London Devops “last seen today OR yesterday” – recently active users (hoping that Googlebot has caught up fast)
  3. “member since” geeks 94105 – members of Meetup gatherings happening at the zip code 94105
  4. “10.. results for repositories written in Python” inurl:repositories – users who have written a lot in Python (though you may argue that this is not an X-Ray string J)
  5. inurl:repositories javascript golang Berlin – profiles of people who have written code in both JavaScript and Go
  6.*/resume developer “mountain view” javascript – built-in Github resumes
  7. resume angularjs Chicago – resumes on Github “pages”

To learn more about sourcing for Techies, consider registering for the webinar How To Find and Attract Technical Talentattendees get a month of sourcing support. We got rave reviews and will be repeating the webinar later this month. (Let us know if you can’t wait and want to get the recording from a few days ago instead).

For 300+ more Boolean Strings check out the second edition of the Boolean Book, fully reworked for the new year. Over 460 470 480 of your colleagues have obtained the e-book by now.


Amazing Hiring

booleanstrings Boolean is a People Aggregator that has recently made a debut in the US. Like the majority of aggregators, it concentrates on finding technical candidates. It is paid, as all other aggregators are. If you are in the market for one, there is a variety of aspects to consider, that depend on both the functionality and aggregated data – and I don’t think there’s one solution for all in the “aggregation” category.

The way AH stands out though is the special option to search for people with no profiles on LinkedIn or shallow profiles, that don’t have “the right” keywords. (I recall seeing a similar option in an early version of SwoopTalent). In my own tests, using this flag in AH combined with search terms, I was finding people with LinkedIn profiles that had not been updated for years, who nevertheless were viable potential candidates for the target skills. So – you might want to give it a try (contact the folks at AH).


Two Excellent Questions for a Sourcer/Recruiter Interview

booleanstrings Boolean

While some tasks in Sourcing can be automated, a Sourcer cannot! These two questions can serve well in an interview when assessing the candidate’s ability to search – and to think while searching.

Question #1. Will Google find every page that is on the web?

The answer is, of course, “no” (if the interviewee says “yes,” that is a huge red flag!), but it is a beginning of collective brainstorming and open-ended questions that can follow.

Correct, Google cannot find most pages on sites where you pay for a membership and log in to get access. It will not find most pages on sites where the membership is free, but you need to log in to get access, either. It will not find most pages that are created “dynamically,” as a response to someone’s query – though it might find some. It will not find most pages that other pages don’t link to. There is a lot more to discuss here.

Why ask this question? It’s a critically important skill for someone who mines the web for information to know what can and cannot be found by search engines vs. specific sites.

Question #2. How would you look for this person’s full profile?


(A related question is – did this person set their profile as “hidden” in the preferences? If the interviewee doesn’t provide the correct answer, that is a minus. A big one.)

If the person says – “we can reverse-search the photo” or “we can Google the phrases on the profile” – that are both fine answers, from someone who did the homework! However, that reflects a bit of an “automatic” quality in sourcing as well. You would want a person on your team that has her eyes open. In this case, you would want the person, ideally, say – “look, it’s right here in the URL!” – and -“I would remove everything beyond the question mark and look again.” You’d want them to be interested in testing it out (assuming this “feature” is new to them.)

This particular question would be relevant only for so long (though this particular “hole” has been around for a few months now), but it shouldn’t be hard to come up with other simple questions that test approaches. Thinking, creative, curious, open-minded would be the candidate’s qualities we are looking for.

If you are looking to update your Boolean search skills, join me for the upcoming webinar later this week –

300 Best Boolean Strings for 2017 (Thu Jan 21st) –

coinciding with the second (updated, expanded) edition of the Boolean Book.

Intelligent Searching and Matching

booleanstrings Boolean

Intelligent searching and matching resumes against job descriptions is not an easy task, not for a recruiter and not for software. At the end of last year, I became interested whether recently released tools in the “match” category can help to speed up searching, by offering “short-listed” candidates for review and contact. I’d like to share some observations on intelligent searching and matching and will go over some tools in a future post.

Let’s take a closer look at what “matching” means for a job description and a candidate’s resume. I think you would agree that finding a matching resume would rarely be productive if it is only done by crafting a Boolean string with long lists of keywords and synonyms separated by ORs, based on the job post. (As just one example: the job and resume “context” matters for matching; in one case, a person with either Linux or Solaris, both being Unix variations, would be okay; in another instance, it has to be Linux.)

A naive assumption of some job hunters – and even systems that assist them (such as Resunate and Jobscan) – is that “resumes must contain the most prominent keywords from a job post” for a candidate to have a chance to be hired for the job. A junior recruiter (or poorly constructed system) can pull out only keyword-matching resumes as “the” ones worth reviewing – but this rarely works to solve the matching challenge. The reality is that keywords on job posts and resumes of those who get the jobs differ quite a bit!

Below, you will find the word clouds for two job ads, along with two resumes of people hired for each of the jobs. Let’s take a look and appreciate the how far apart these word clouds are:

Job 1 (Clinical Nurse)
job-cniiiResume, match #1 (the person works there):
r1-cniiiResume, match #2 (the person works there):


Job 2 (Developer, machine learning):


Resume, match #1 (the person works there):


A filled out LinkedIn profile, match #2 (the person works there):


You see? The keyword sets in both cases are dramatically different between jobs and resumes. Clearly, searching and matching in recruiting is more complicated than automatic keyword searching, even with the addition of synonyms.

Recruiters who use databases with resumes or professional profiles may construct searches based on:

  1. Location, job title (with variations), skills (including synonyms, popular technologies, etc.), years of experience, education requirements, (possibly) certifications or licenses, etc. – This is derived from the job post.
  2. (except for new and unique job openings) “Similarity” to people who have been hired for this type of jobs at this company in the past, or perhaps got an offer but didn’t accept – for example, graduates from given schools, employees from a company’s competitor, or a company using the required technology, etc. There can also be “preferences” input from Hiring Managers that is not present the job post. – This is additional helpful intelligence.

Constructing productive searches that would find results matching the requirements, as you see, is not straightforward – it is an art. Even in systems providing faceted resume search, allowing (for example) to search for job titles and years of experience, in addition to keywords and phrases, and offering advanced Boolean syntax, choosing search terms requires the recruiter to understand the industry terminology, as well as apply company- and job-specific knowledge. Recruiters, while sourcing, need to run a variety of searches to get the best matches and not miss any top candidates.

Can a computer system efficiently do the job of searching and matching? I’ll write a review of matching systems in an upcoming post.



Sourcing in 2016 and What’s Ahead in 2017

booleanstrings Boolean


This year, we have seen a rapid growth of tools to automate search, match profiles against jobs, and refresh professional data in resume databases. Yet, going into the new year, Sourcing as part of Recruiting seems further away from being trivial – or being automated – than ever.

In 2017 and for at least a few years after that, Sourcing will absolutely require skilled Humans to perform it!

Here is, briefly, how the current Sourcing landscape appears to be.


The amount of online data is growing fast – and it’s not a database where we can search. Data is becoming more distributed: people have a professional presence on various sites. People aggregators, that started appearing back in 2011 (see a section on the Tools page) provide access to unified profile data and help a lot, especially in IT recruiting. But we still can’t rely on any one tool for sourcing. (What is the next BIG sourcing tool concept after aggregators?)

Ways to contact and interact with prospects are multiple, cluttered – and need to be sourced, too. We are seeing new contact-finding apps and increased use of texting in recruiting.

Access to professional data is getting more challenging (e.g. the new LinkedIn limitations, costs, and user-unfriendly search syntax). It’s unfortunate that the largest professional database, that has revolutionized recruiting, is now making access to the valuable data so hard. Will the Microsoft ownership provide positive changes next year and bring back the Economic Graph project? Let’s hope for that.

In the meantime, Google X-Ray is our friend! Google has improved its algorithms and no longer requires complex syntax to get the right results. Custom Search Engines and structed data on websites provide interesting search possibilities.

Facebook Sourcing – and interacting in groups (please join the Boolean Group!) – is gaining popularity. It is tricky to find professional data on Facebook, but we see tool improvements – Shane’s Tools is gaining popularity. Facebook has been making itself more search-friendly as well.

Automation and matching technologies seem to be everywhere, but it is a double-edged sword – sometimes, overpromised and underdelivered. (Please expect a blog post on matching soon). I believe that machine learning, in the right hands, can do wonders, especially in fast-screening backgrounds in volume hiring – but profiles and resumes still need human eyes to properly assess them.

It is interesting what Mobile Sourcing holds! Let us all dig deeper into that this coming year.

We are going to keep providing the most comprehensive Sourcing Training in 2017. You can count on our Sourcing Training Library to be up-to-date and our Exams to assess true Sourcing Skills. With our expanded team of Master Sourcers we will increase availability for custom Team Training and Sourcing Projects for our clients. Additionally, expect us to release a new Sourcing Tool in January 2017, currently in private Beta… watch for announcements soon.

Happy New Year to all!


Role Search Price Hike, on LinkedIn Only

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Among many valuable features that LinkedIn is discontinuing “to improve member experience,” what stands out for me is losing the Role/Job Title search facet with the switch to the new desktop UI.

Seriously? Tell me it’s not happening! For anyone looking for professionals on LinkedIn, I imagine that this, always-free, search filter has been critically important.

(If you see a prompt by LinkedIn, after you search by keywords that sound like a job title,

please know that this is, in fact, just keyword search – for “developer” in the above screenshot – and, oh, this is VERY different.)

LinkedIn has:

  • ~1.7 MLN people with the job title “developer” and ~5.7 MLN with the keyword “developer.”
  • ~1.1 MLN people with the job title “nurse” and ~2.5 MLN with the keyword “nurse.”
  • ~800K people with the job title =  (recruiter OR recruiting OR recruitment) and 8 MLN people with the keywords (recruiter OR recruiting OR recruitment)

I.e. overall, it will get about ten times harder to find the right people because of this change alone!

The only products with Job Title search, after the new UI is rolled out to everyone, are going to be LIR (Recruiter) and SN (Sales Navigator). And here are the consequences:

  1. Job seekers – even those with paid accounts – will no longer be able to search for people with title=Recruiter. Job search will be harder also because LinkedIn subscriptions changes will block a significant number of recruiters from using LinkedIn efficiently.
  2. Recruiters who do not upgrade to LinkedIn Recruiter (with the current pricing of $8-10K and up per year, a tenfold hike for all recruiters with premium accounts) will not be able to search for candidates efficiently.

The price hike for Recruiters with premium accounts is going to be too steep for many; they will probably stay with their current subscriptions – and searching is becoming harder for them. (We shouldn’t be surprised if InMails will be getting more spam and poorer response next year because of that.) An option to get a job title search is Sales Navigator, not quite a product for recruiters, but, I suppose it’s a way out without getting broke for many. It “only” costs about $1K/yr.

There are multiple other drawbacks with the UI redesign and changes in account options.

On the other hand, even if you do have the money, don’t think that LinkedIn Recruiter subscription will let you search well – the new search syntax is not Boolean, it’s pretty odd and not easy to use.

With all that gloomy future in searching LinkedIn, I invite you to get ready for 2017 – join me for the last webinar of the year, the top-attended-ever

Lecture “Sourcing without LinkedIn” – Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

For my blog readers, I will offer a money-back guarantee for the presentation.

Sign up soon – seating is limited (and it’s already filling up).

Connectifier Uncovers Hidden LinkedIn Profiles

booleanstrings Boolean



This Chrome Extension is nothing like Connectifier was before its LinkedIn acquisition, but it’s free and available to everyone. You can get it here:

Connectifier Social Links

Please install it and I will show you how to view out-of-network profiles. It’s simple.

Here is an out-of-network profile and a Connectfier (CF) overlay window:

See, the information that CF shows says (no name). Don’t get discouraged! Click on the LinkedIn button, and – here you go:

You will get to see the full name and profile.

(No Googling or URL manipulations required, by the way).


I Search From

booleanstrings Boolean

It’s not a secret that Google search results are different for different people. (That’s why sharing a “Boolean string” is rarely enough to tell others how you have searched). Results depend on our locations, using vs. country-based Google, a language (other than English), and other variables. Searching on a mobile device can show different result pages than the desktop, too.

Telling Google that we are searching from a different country is a reasonable way to find more relevant results, but it doesn’t work smoothly. After all, Google is rightly suspicious of users who appear to be searching from far-away countries within minutes. (Expect to see captchas.)

For those of us sourcing globally, we can get help from a tool for AdWords advertisers to test their ads – Ad Preview Tool. (We have already begun using advertising tools for sourcing!)

I Search From provides convenient User Interface to Google’s AdWords test functionality. Here is what it looks like:


And here is what the results look like:

For those of us with love for examining URLs (nerdy, I know!), will notice this part of the URL: &adtest=on. This is what tells to Google to respond appropriately, without worrying how I got from California to Australia in no time. Another nice feature, you can block Google from using your IP address in the tool (the URL addition looks like this) – something we can’t do otherwise (and the IP address does alter the results).

Bottom line, the AdWords test tool, and I Search From as a UI for it, can be of much help when sourcing in a place different than where you are.

Are you looking to upgrade your Sourcing Toolbox for 2017? Please join me at

Productivity Tools Webinar –  – Thursday, December 15th, 2016

where we’ll go over 50+ tools – slides, video, a tip sheet, and one month of support are included.




Social Media Management 101 for Recruiters

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As Recruiters, we are already online a lot – we work with online job postings and interact with potential candidates on social media. However, in this “connected” day and age, every Recruiter would benefit from taking further steps by incorporating basic social marketing skills and tools into his or her daily practice.

Social Media Management Tools share content across multiple social accounts, such as LinkedIn member account and company pages, Twitter IDs, Facebook member, company pages, and groups, and Google-Plus profile and pages.

Buffer and Hootsuite are two popular tools in this category.


Here is how these tools work. The user sets a “sharing” schedule for each included social account – for example, an account could do four shares daily at set times. Then, on an on-going basis, the user adds the content to share to each managed social account’s queue. Social management tools collect the analytics on the shared content (expect to read about analytics and measurements in my next post).

That’s it! This is how social media management tools operate:

  1. Set social accounts and schedules
  2. Populate each account’s content queue
  3. Let it run and see the stats

These tools are open-ended as to what content they share – the user fills the content queues.

A word on pricing. Most social management tools have a free option that is pretty limited (but is good to test the tool) and a low-cost option (around $10/mo) that would work for most of us. An exception is Sprout Social – its cheapest option has gone up to $59 per month, perhaps more than many us (who are not professional marketers) would spend.

In addition to allowing to “hand”-populate the sharing queues, that the user can pick and choose while browsing the web, social management tools also offer to add content automatically, by subscribing to RSS feeds and using other “social triggers”.

RSS Support. Social media management tools offer RSS feed subscription. All we need is to pick relevant sites (blogs, news), that have RSS feeds, and enter the feed URLs into the tool; as an example, Hootsuite Syndicator offers to add feeds to Hootsuite.

Social Automation.  Buffer works well with the tool IFTTT (If This Than That).

  • “If This” stands for a”social trigger”. It can be a new blog post (an RSS-feed-based trigger) or one of many other “events” on social networks, for example, you or your brand being @mentioned on Twitter.
  • “Than That” stands for a “social action”. It can be a variety of actions – and includes adding posts to the queues in Buffer.

Here is an open-ended recipe for sharing via your social media accounts. Combine these three components:

  1. Content that you want to attract to – job posts, recruiting events – set up and let it run
  2. Relevant brand-related and professional content – news on your company, industry, posts from experts – set up and let it run
  3. Personal remarks (posts “by hand” -such as responding to a comment) – do on a regular basis

The analytics on how well others engage, collected over time, helps to optimize the shared content.

Are you curious what analytics means and how it is collected, or how to find RSS feeds? Watch for future posts and check out the upcoming information-packed

Brand New Webinar – Data-Driven Recruiting