Every once in a while, whether you’re the sole sourcer or in a team, you’re going to get stuck. Brain freeze. Road block. You begin to wonder if you still know how to do Boolean and if you need to smack the side of your monitor to get Google to work the way you want it to.
Which means, it’s time to take a step back and try something new. Here are 7 tips to get through to the other side of your sourcing block:
1. Take A Break: Get up and walk away from the computer. As long as it takes. Do another task, go for a walk, then come back and regroup.
2. Look At Your Search Strings, Round 1: What are you looking for? Length. How long are they? Are they in compliance with search limits at your favorite search engine? Your ATS?
3. Look At Your Search Strings, Round 2: Do you have redundant terms in an “AND” phrase? Check–make it an “OR.”
4. Look At Your Search Strings, Round 3: Start testing simpler strings. What if you need a keyword like FedRAMP (which is pretty darn specific)? Think carefully about what you want to include next. Is it Certifications? Specific Skills? A degree? A clearance? What’s the priority?
5. Check up on your favorite Search Engine: There’s a reason they blog and have help sections. Find out if, like Google, they dropped the “~” or if they prefer you use “|” for “OR” or if “AND” has to be “AND” and not implied. Do they recognize the “*” or the “NEAR” command? One of my favorite SourceCon speakers ever, Shannon Myers, would call up the help desks of these companies to make sure she knew exactly how to leverage the search functionality correctly.
6. Get your search string on point: Go back to basics. Build it in a tool like SocialTalent.co’s Boolean Generator. I’m pretty solid on how to build a search string but I like this tool, a lot, for my team. It builds search strings perfectly for our ATS which relies on old school Boolean formatting. And… something else I like is the great big box it shows the final search string in; it’s reminiscent of some search engines from 15 years ago.
7. And lastly, check in with another sourcer. Go outside the work box and find a peer who can look at your search with fresh eyes. They often can see things that you don’t.
Are you unstuck yet? Have other techniques you like to use? Hit us in the comments with your best and brightest.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.