Sourcing and Research
All the major search engines offer us an array of advanced features we can use under certain circumstances to zero in on the type of data we are seeking. One lesser known and surely under utilized technique that Google offers us is the ability to do a number range search. They call it numrange. Unfortunately this only works in Google and not Live or Yahoo at this time.
Most of the time, from a recruiter’s perspective, we would use this technique to search for a range of zip codes in order to locate resources in a particular geographic area. Many recruiters when they are seeking resources in a given city will use that city name as a keyword. Maybe something like:
(intitle:resume OR inurl:resume) java “st. louis” (missouri OR MO)
And yes, the above (very simplistic and incomplete) string will find resumes of Java people in the St. Louis, MO area. But…using this one leaves a lot of resumes on the table for the competition.
The reason you are not maximizing your results is because by using the city name as a keyword (or in the case of St. Louis, a keyword phrase), you are passing up dozens and dozens of qualified resumes of people that live in a given labor market, but just don’t live within the city limits of the metropolitan area.
So, a better way to expand your results is to utilize the number range technique. It is actually very simple. The number range structure:
low number..high number
Meaning you have you low number first, then two dots (periods) and no spaces, then your high number last. To use the St. Louis example again. Since I am from here I can tell you that all of the zip codes in my metro area begin with either 630 or 631. And I also know a zip code is usually a five digit number. So, my number range is 63000..63199. I just round down on the low number and round up and the high number. The better search string looks like this:
(intitle:resume OR inurl:resume) java (missouri OR MO) 63000..63199
So now I am telling the search engine to find me pages that have the keyword resume in the web address OR page title AND have the keyword Java on the page AND have either Missouri or the abbreviation MO AND have any five digit number in between and including the two numbers in the number range. Since I am using the combination of the state keyword and the zip code range for the St. Louis, MO metropolitan area, I am going to get many more resumes than by just using the city keyword as in the first example.
You can use the same technique for any city. You just have to know the range of zip codes for that city.
This same techniques can be useful in any number of non-recruiting uses as well. Searching for automobiles with a certain fuel consumption…you can type:
(cars OR automobiles) 30..50 (mpg OR “miles per gallon”)
Searching for inexpensive computers…type in: (computers OR desktop) $350..$650
Give it a try.
Mark E. Berger; CPC, CIR, has been in recruiting and staffing since 1979. He is currently the owner of Swat Recruiting, a firm supporting the technology needs of the recruiting and staffing industry. He is also a partner in Ramsey Fox, Inc., an IT services firm, and its predecessor, M.E. Berger & Associates, since 1986. He has been heavily involved in Internet recruiting and has become an expert on recruiting and sourcing products and services available to the recruiting industry and also has a high level of expertise in recruiter databases (ATS’s), including how these products add to the bottom line.
Mark started utilizing the Internet for candidate sourcing back in the early 1990s by first running classified ads on the text versions or AOL and Compuserve. Then he was an early user of some of the very first online resume databases including Career Mosaic, Headhunter.net, and Online Career Center. In the latter part of the 90s he learned advanced techniques to source passive candidates from the Internet using the search engines, primarily utilizing Alta Vista and Northern Lights in the beginning and is now an advanced user of today's popular search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
More recently, Mark has been teaching the recruiting community best practices as they relate to the social and business networks including LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, and MySpace and how recruiters can utilize those networks for recruiting, marketing, and branding.
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