How to Write Strings to Find Email Lists

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Whenever you need to search for something it helps to imagine what you will see on the actual pages that the search engine will include in the results.

Let’s design Boolean strings to look for lists with email addresses and possibly phone numbers.

We would be looking for Excel or PDF files, or maybe CSV, or Doc, or html; thus, part of the string (on Google or Yahoo) would be filetype:xls OR filetype:PDF… It might be easier to review the results if we use a separate search string for each type.

We imagine that the lists we are going to find will have some or all of the words: name (possibly first, last), email (or e-mail), phone (or telephone, or contact), title, company. (Add or remove words to/from your search string depending on the results.)

If we are looking for lists with emails, we might imagine that some emails would be of a “public” type, so including OR OR etc. may be a good idea.

If we have several target companies in mind and think we might locate a list of attendees, or members, or contarctors with representatives from those companies, we might look for, say, OR etc.

Similarly, if we know the target titles, we may try including them in the string, as an example, write mechanical OR electrical engineer OR consultant, etc.

We might also play with the idea that the pages to be found would have one of the words list, directory, attendees, participants, members, etc. either in the title or in the URL of the page. Trying these guesses separately might be helpful, not to clutter the search strings.

If it makes sensse to only look at recently published lists, that can be arranged on Google with the “options” (on the left).


How to Avoid Using Boolean Operators

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If you are just getting your feet wet with Boolean Strings search, there’s one easy way to get into deeper searching but keep a bit of the syntax (the site: operator) hidden, and move on when you feel more comfortable. I am talking about Google’s

Custom Search on the fly

You will still have to remember to use minus (-) as “NOT”, capitalize OR and don’t have to care about AND.

This link gives you access to using the most powerful Boolean operator: site: (or X-ray in recruiter speak) without actually typing it into the string.

Add a site to be searched to the “Custom Search on the fly” and you can search, for example:

…and many more places.

Boolean syntax is not hard but this might be a gentle first step into learning it.

Ten People Search Engines

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Ten People Search Engines… and Two Custom Engines

Which people search engines do you use?

The first four in the list below are my favorites. One extra criteria for me, in addition to getting good info, is convenient and friendly user interface.
  1. ZoomInfo
  2. Jigsaw
  3. Pipl
  4. Tweepz (for Twitter)
I also X-ray, looking for email addresses, and X-ray LinkedIn. (You will find custom search engines implemented by X-raying those sites under the links.)

Search Strings That Do Not Work

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The main reason why Boolean search strings don’t work is syntax errors – that are, in fact, easy to fix. Google, Yahoo, Bing, LinkedIn are very picky about the ways we express what we are looking for – but it’s not hard to adjust to ways they want us to talk to them. Let’s take a look at some examples of strings  from the Boolean Strings Network:

  • (intitle:resume | inurl:resume | intitle:homepage | inurl:homepage) Accountant AND CPA (Atlanta | GA) (770 | 404) ~-jobs ~-apply ~-submit ~-required ~-wanted ~-write
  • “business development” or sales and “staff augmentation” or “staff supplementation” or “staff agency” or staffing
  • “structural engineer” AND (licens* OR regist* OR certif*)
  • ((home OR any) resume OR resume.htm))
  • * JOB TITLE on any search engine
  • ~cv (“, RN” OR “, BSN”) 75001..76670 -apply -job -jobs -send -submit -example -you -your
Why do these strings don’t work on Google? It’s simple – but often overlooked. Here are the reasons why the above strings don’t work as expected:
  • Google doesn’t understand ~-
  • “or” needs to be capitalized on Google: OR
  • * means a word, not part of a word on Google
  • Google can’t work with nested parenthesis
  • Google ignores special characters, including @
  • Google ignores special characters, including comma; can’t search for “, RN” OR “, BSN”
Have unexpected or “wrong” search results? Come to my webinar “Search Strings That Work” hosted by Bill Radin this week for extensive hands-on work on your strings. I promise you will get to the next level in searching if you attend, and maybe even find a candidate or two along the way.
(Whether you can make it or not, remember to check your syntax when you search – it helps a lot.)

Control Google Search Results via the URL

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Google allows us to keep the preferences for the number of the results per page, but there are no user-friendly ways to keep some other favorite options.

One way to do that is through the URL of the search page. It may look cryptic at first but let’s be brave and try to alter the URL and see how it affects the results.

First of all, if we examine the URL, we will see our Boolean string included in it after q= ; as an example, part of  the URL for a search may be q=intitle:resume+or+inurl:resume+%22san+francisco%22++java+developer+-sample+-job+-jobs+-apply+-need

If you are looking at 100 results per page, part of the URL will be &num=100.

Here are a few other helpful additions to the URL. You can add them to the search URL on the fly, to affect the results, or keep your strings as URLs to re-run them with all the options conveniently included.

  • &newwindow=1 — open the results in a new window
  • &filter=0 — show all the results, include omitted results
  • &tbs=qdr:10y,sbd:1 — “search by date” (here’s why I am also including a big date range of 10 years: &tbs=sbd:1 would mean “search by date” – but it doesn’t work unless you select a date range)
  • &tbs=prv:1 — show page previews

To combine the last two options, write &tbs=prv:1,qdr:10y,sbd:1

There are other useful options but I will save those for another time.

Here’s how to try this technique out. Run your search, then add this to the end of the URL:  &num=100&newwindow=1&filter=0&tbs=prv:1

Or, if you want to also sort by date, add &num=100&newwindow=1&filter=0&tbs=prv:1,qdr:10y,sbd:1 and see what happens.

Sorry, folks, this is a little technical but it saves you a lot of mousing and clicking. Besides, this is the only quick way I know of to sort the results by date.

Did you know you can control search results in social networks as well? Come to my Advanced Social Network Search webinar to find out…

List of 24 Large Corporations Interested in Sourcing

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Resumes and interviews have not changed a whole lot, but sourcing has, and there’s a big need for recruiters to get up to speed. I believe that all companies, especially large corporations, need either to help recruiters to learn web sourcing skills, or hire sourcers, or do both. If you “post and prey” you might still be just fine but not for too long.

I will be presenting the basics of Internet-based candidate search in a webinar on Friday. Here is a partial list of corporations whose employees have signed up. Look how much interest there is in acquiring web sourcing skills. (So far we have 600+ sign-ups from 350+ companies.)

  • 7-11
  • Accenture
  • AT&T
  • BMC
  • CA
  • CDI
  • Cigna
  • CSC
  • Dell
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • GE
  • Google
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • KPMG
  • LinkedIn
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Microsoft
  • PayPal
  • SAP
  • Starbucks
  • Visa
  • Verizon

How to Find Candidates Using the Internet (an Overview)

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Join us for a Webinar on July 16th (Friday). Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

This webinar is for Boolean “beginners”, beginner-to-intermediate level sourcers, “old-school” recruiters wanting to jump on the web sourcing bandwagon, and for those who use the web for sourcing but are questioning whether they are using the best available tools in the best possible ways.

We will go over:
• Sourcing on Google and other search engines,
• Sourcing on LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks,
• Sourcing terminology such as semantic, deep web and real time search.

The purpose is to create a mental “map” of sourcing tools and possibilities. After attending the webinar you might decide to venture out with Google advanced operators if you haven’t yet, to get deeper knowledge on a specific tool – or perhaps delegate your sourcing work to someone else.

Come prepared for a fast-paced webinar. All attendees will receive the slides. We will include a Q&A period at the end.

Part of this webinar’s profits will be applied towards maintaining the Boolean Strings Ning network.

Title: How to Find Candidates Using the Internet (an Overview)
Date: Friday, July 16, 2010
Time: 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM PDT / 1 PM – 1:50 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Search for Talent Within Your Groups

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LinkedIn Groups was a great invention and, I think, remains the best way to source on LinkedIn. A member can belong to up to 50 groups, send messages within the group for free and post jobs for free.

The groups are undergoing a major redesign where the News are now blended with Discussions. You also see a moving row of posts with images and can vote on the posts you like. At the moment of this writing – July 9,2010 – some groups are keeping the old user interface and some have moved to the new user interface.

Another major change is that now you can’t include a group membership in your people search if you are not a paying member. The pay for searches that include groups is quite high.

It’s useful to narrow down on group members! Do you have to upgrade now? Here are some points to review, before you do.

1. You can search members within a group and get up to 500 results even if you are a basic member:
2. You can narrow down your advanced people search to only members of the groups you belong to. In the results, you will see which groups those are. You will be able to send a message to each person in the results list:

3. You can use X-Ray. This is how you can find people belonging to a group on Google:
SAP “Twitter for Sourcing and Recruiting ”
(replace “SAP” for your own keywords).

It’s interesting to see what is the next feature to become paid on LinkedIn. What are your guesses?

Numbers of Results in Search Engines

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This is a very important point for a sourcer or anybody who uses search engines.

Google, Yahoo, and Bing will never show more that 1,000 results per search.

Many of us know that, but with that comes the fact that an announced approximate numbers above 1,000 cannot be trusted.

Any “number of results” displayed by each of these search engines is just a wild guess, and the approximation that can be off by orders of magnitude . The engines are not trying to fool us and don’t claim the numbers have close relevance to the reality either.

Numbers of results, especially if there’s more than 1,000, change as you go through the pages of results, based on the search engine trying to make a better guess (try it).

It’s unfortunate, but we can never rely on the numbers that are over 1,000 for any conclusions. As an example, you cannot tell which of two search strings bring more results, or which of the two search engines found more results based on the numbers (if they are large). The only reliable numbers that we see are less than 1,000, and only with the “omitted results included”.

Note, that I am not even talking here about results that are relevant but have not been found.

Why wouldn’t the search engines display the correct numbers of results? The answer is simple. It is just not possible with the huge amount of info to go through, large – but still limited – storage and reasonable time frame to respond to our queries.

If you search, for example, on Google, you will find some interesting articles dedicated to the matter and also more than a thousand articles making mistakes on the number of results assumption.

Of course, this made our “how many resumes are there on the internet?” contest pretty difficult. 🙂