Archive for October, 2011


Thursday, October 27th, 2011

George Boole was a 19th century English mathematician who created a logic system for algebra. Boolean logic is now best known in its online form, where it simplifies and groups internet search results. The web version has been around for years and most search engines have incorporated Boolean by default. For example, take the most basic Boolean command AND. According to Google, all words in a search are created equal—more on this in a moment—so the fact that you want all of the search words included in your results is assumed. NOT is a bigger problem for Google—it just ignores it. Instead, you must use the minus sign (-) in front of any word you want omitted: java –coffee. So, of the three basic Boolean, the only one that still works in its original form on Google searches is OR.  Type in java OR net programmer in the Google box and you’ll find people that have experience in either or both programs. [Note that Boolean operators must be entered in all capital letters; Google keeps its word search case-insensitive for precisely that reason.]

We’ve all had the experience of looking for a pair of words, and received results where the words are on opposite ends of the document. To focus the search, use the Boolean term NEAR. Google will only return pages where the two words are within 16 words of each other. AND NOT allows you to search for two words but not a third. This is the only instance where the use of AND is recommended: java AND programmer AND NOT net.

Quotation marks (“) have three related uses. The basic one is for terms that must be searched as phrases: “java programmer” to find those particular people. Google tries to make your life easier by finding synonyms for your search term. To disable the feature, simply place quotation marks around a single word, and Google will search for that word alone. To paraphrase Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, all words in a Google search are equal, but some are more equal than others. Those less-equal words are common articles and conjunctions such as and, the, and in. Those words can still be included in your search by enclosing them—or the phrase in which they appear—in quotation marks. The plus sign (+) was formerly used for this operation; Google will still let you use it, but will add a banner to your search results that tells you to use the quotation marks instead.

If you want to prioritize a particular search phrase, place it in parentheses and Google will search for it first. Just like in algebra, the parentheses denote a separate group, so when you use any other Boolean terms in a search, you must use the parenthesis to make your specific: (“java programmer” NOT net) NEAR California. Finally, if you’re looking for results within a particular website, use the Boolean term site: “java programmer” site: Deloitte.

All of these terms can be used in combinations to give you focused web search results. Happy hunting!  By Thomas Cunniffe

Using Social Media to find Candidates

Monday, October 10th, 2011

In his play and film “Six Degrees of Separation”, author John Guare advances the theory that every person on Earth is connected to every other person by a string of no more than six people. As one of the characters says “It’s a comforting thought; all you have to do is find the right six people.” Considering that 9.1% of the American population is unemployed, chances are quite good that most of the people you know have friends that are highly active in the job market. Social media can truly help hiring managers find the right candidates.

The first part of developing a presence on social media is the basics. Don’t overlook them, or you risk weakening the foundation of your structure! You might be signed up for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but have you investigated the powers of each platform? Facebook and LinkedIn are best for finding potential candidates, so be sure that your profiles have links, video, photos, and plenty of searchable keywords. Many companies advertise their new openings on Twitter, but you can also do that on the other platforms, and you should announce job vacancies through the personal social networks of you and your employees.  If your company is large enough, you might have an employee that works exclusively in social media. And to protect yourself, have your legal department draw up an agreement regarding intellectual property and social media.

If you haven’t created a career website for your company, consider doing so. A link to a career site is much more inviting than a corporate site. A career site should include blogs, job postings, and biographies of the recruiters. The blog should be the first thing a visitor sees. It should offer an overview of life within the company, and it should be inviting, not stuffy. This should lead them to the job openings and finally, to the recruiters. Each recruiter’s page should include detailed contact information—not just e-mail, phone and fax, but all social media accounts and interactive chat. All of the content from your social media pages can be integrated into your career site, so that candidates are not jumping between pages.

Social Media has made “Six Degrees of Separation” much more than the theory of a fictional work; it is now a reality and it is vitally important that every hiring manager uses the resources of social media to find their new employees.  -Thomas Cunniffe