Search String 101 – Source Candidates Via Google For Profit and Fun…

Kelly Dingee Sourcing

I love it when I talk to people about what I do.  The words research and sourcing don’t blow them away, but as soon as I start to mention words like Boolean, operator, syntax, or algorithm, well their eyes completely glaze over and I’m certain all they are hearing is “la la la la.”

Geeky?  Probably – I used to have the same reaction to my engineering recruits and managers!  DoXray_chest you need to be a math major to be able to create a robust search string?  Certainly not.  It’s great to understand the theory, but I am the mom that says “take that to your father” when the fraction homework appears!  So math wunderkind I am not!

Let’s use Google – it’s one of my preferred search engines and is incredibly consistent in the results it returns.  If you’re a novice, think about your keywords.  What are you looking for?  Main skillsets?  Do you want to look for job titles?  Are you looking for names, or would you really like resumes?

Based on these questions, let’s assume I’m looking for the resume of an electrical engineer with fpga experience.  Here’s what I want to put in my Google search:

(resume OR cv OR vitae) “electrical engineer” fpga

We can debate the merits of resume or cv or vitae, but depending on your candidate, they may have their bio data titled as any one of the above.  On average, the string above is going to pull you at least 15,000 results.   But it’s a pretty general search, so let’s tweak it to make it more powerful.  Let’s keep our keywords resume or cv or vitae, but use some “syntax” (no eye rolling please!) like below:

(inurl:resume OR inurl:cv OR inurl:vitae) “electrical engineer” fpga

This time we looked for our bio data key words within the url (you know – the web address) of documents Google has indexed.  This has done just what we needed it to and trimmed our results to 438.  Okay – that’s still a lot – but you can always add on more keywords (like location, more skillset info, etc.) to trim your results even further.

If you’re not quite an expert on building strings, get thee to an AIRS class!  But in the meantime, visit Google Advanced Search.  I love this search form – you can build your search, learn the shortcuts and operators that Google uses, and save the results – it’s just a gem!

And if you want more tips like that – and some that are a tad more detailed – sign up for my monthly newsletter – the AIRS Sourcing Report – at: