How to Source Lesson 3: Know Your Operators

Kelly Dingee Communication, HR, Kelly Dingee, Sourcing, Talent Strategy

So you’ve found a mentor and you’ve worked on being a conversationalist, but now it’s time to talk sourcing online.

I recently posed a question on Sourcecon.qa for a friend on whether or not Sourcing Cert’s were still important. When I transitioned to sourcing from being a recruiting generalist, cert’s lended credibility and enabled me to walk in and say I took this yada yada course, passed the test and know how to do A, B and C. Over the years, there’s been less questioning of where/how I was trained and more focus on the strategies of how I would find someone. The questions of “what’s the process” to locate 80% of the candidates for a Director of Labor Relations position in Washington, D.C.  is far more important.

But to find anyone you need to have a baseline of tactics. And it all circles back to the operators you can use in a Boolean format to extract results from search engines, or databases.

I’m not going to write you a lesson on Boolean, mainly because I’m not a believer in turning a blog into a whitepaper. I am going to tell you where I would take my newbie sourcers—and anyone who needs a gentle reminder—online for resources. I do want to mention that Boolean operators are AND, OR, NOT (-), but Search Operators are intitle:, inurl:, site:. And if you ask me my favorite? It’s always site:—it’s a universal operator (works everywhere!), and it has brought me an incredible amount of viable candidates over the years. But let’s talk resources so you can build your knowledge of search operators.

Batter up—Google Inside Search. Google took the help function and built it out so anyone can learn to search. This page takes you to their Google Search Education. Run through the course, and you’ll have a great baseline for getting started. The advanced search page here can assist you with construction of strings. This page breaks down search operators you can use on Google and this one focuses on punctuation. Want more? Search Google for “google cheatsheets.”  I’m partial to anything Ann Smarty recommends, like this.

Now here’s where it gets fun… and I’ve seen tons of newbie sourcers get all geeked out over Google. And then they try to go use Google operators on another search engine. You can’t necessarily do that. So you’ll need to build your knowledge of Bing, and what’s there (inurl: does not). Might as well go to the source here and compare it to this, written by a Microsoft Sourcer. DuckDuckGo also seems to be ever popular as an alternative to Google… and of course there’s a cheatsheet for that.

Sometimes, time is not on our side… so reading and tinkering …it’s just not going to happen. When that’s the case and you’re looking to jumpstart, remember that these days we are a YouTube nation. Want to know about Boolean Search? Here you go. Want to learn about the Search Operators on a specific site? Try this.

Thinking you want to attend a class on sourcing? Why not put the vendor through YouTube? Are they there? Can you get a feel for the teaching style? SocialTalent is. So is this guy and this guy, too.

I do believe it’s important to marry your own reading and watching with in-person training. Mainly, because we know from mentoring that bouncing ideas off of someone experienced helps you perfect your practice. And what we strive for as sourcers is the ability to locate viable talent as efficiently as possible. So what will you do? Read? Tinker? YouTube? Go to training? Let me know in the comments what works for you and your team.

Kelly Dingee

Kelly is an HR Pro focused on recruiting Temp and Executive Talent in the Hospitality Industry and a 10 year writing veteran on FOT.