Archive for the ‘Guest Blogs’ Category

How Unintended Gender-Bias In Job Posts Slow Your Hiring Process

Monday, April 24th, 2017

One of the most common reasons why companies lack diversity is the lack of having employees from underrepresented groups. This does not only limit diversity in employing and attracting talents, it also slows the entire hiring process. One way of attracting and finally getting to hire qualified candidates is by boosting your pipeline and removing the gender-based language from your application forms.

The concept of gendered job listings is gaining recognition, it refers to the use of female or male terms within the job description. This has been a huge problem for companies that focus on bringing underrepresented groups or more women in technology. Looking for perfect candidates (unicorns) is not easy and putting certain requirement will make it even harder.

Flood your pipeline

Flooding your pipeline is a better way of reaching a wider pool of applicants including candidates from underrepresented groups.  When you flood your pipeline you’re more likely to attract and have more applicants, which will improve diversity and speed up your hiring process.  However, when you exclude certain genders from applying for a post in your company, you are excluding half of potential employees.

When companies use gender language in the application process, potential employees with the right skills and experience will read your job description, but won’t apply because of the gender language. When the gender language in removed from your application process, your company will be open to all applicants and have the highest chance of getting the best candidate for the job.

Not as hard as it seems

Removing gender language doesn’t have to be time-consuming or as difficult as it may seem. Just use neutral words in your job listing. Gender listings will be understood differently by different candidates out there. Some words like aggressive, assertive, strong or competitive, skew male, while words like community-nurture or concerned skew female. Avoid these biased words and use your best bet, gender-neutral terms. For example, instead of listing, you are looking for ‘a strong programmer who can thrive in competitive working place’, why don’t you list something like ‘an exceptional programmer motivated by goals’?

The simple act of using gender-neutral language offer tremendous diversity for employers. Ignore gender language, take a few extra minutes and review your job description and be sure your doors will be wide open for a unicorn candidate for your job.

How To Recruit On LinkedIn, Fast, Without Breaking The Bank

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Recently I discussed the slowdown in tech hiring, which is already reflected in today’s longer and more difficult hiring cycles as hiring managers are more selective with the quality of candidates. Recruiting and job seeking has become significantly more challenging as offers are given out only to candidates who meet all requirements without fail. Sahat Yalkabov, a software engineer at Yahoo, was rejected multiple times describes this trend in his post “**** You, I Quit — Hiring Is Broken.” I empathize with Sahat and others out there who are struggling to get offers. The environment of hiring and talent acquisition had changed from two years ago when Sahat got the gig on Yahoo. Back then almost every company needed to fill tens, sometimes hundreds of positions.

I empathize with Sahat and others out there who are struggling to get offers. The environment of hiring and talent acquisition had changed from two years ago when Sahat got the gig on Yahoo. Back then almost every company needed to fill tens, sometimes hundreds of positions.

Today, only pockets of the tech industry still enjoy significant growth and hiring volumes, for example, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and deep learning. To satisfy hiring teams, talent acquisition professionals must find better and more creative ways to reach premier talent and generate their interest for the right opportunity. Can LinkedIn be an excellent recruiting channel to connect the right people with the right roles?


GlassDoor – HR and Recruiting Statistics for 2016

LinkedIn is a professional network where people connect, exchange ideas and expertise, manage relationships, and look for jobs. There are, however, two essential problems with recruiting on LinkedIn. It takes way too much time to reach the right candidate, and the response rate from people is very low, a lot lower than it used to.

Jason Webster, the current Head of Strategic Accounts Program at Glassdoor and Ex-Co-Founder of Ongig said: “The majority of my industry contacts tell me that their [InMail] response rate is between 10-20 percent. By contrast, colleagues from big-name companies like Google have said that they fetch a response rate of 70 percent using InMail. That seems to be an anomaly compared to the norm” (OnGiG). Why? Do Google recruiters have secret methodology or technology that gives them an unfair advantage? Is the Google brand so attractive in the minds of premier engineers?

No. With simple hacks, I had a 40 percent conversion for engineers currently working at Google and similar big-name companies to apply for jobs with sometimes unknown startups. So the answer must be in the recruiting, not the brand. I’ve cracked the code.

For the past couple of months, I have been recruiting top talent from Google, Apple, Cisco, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and successfully generating interest and applications for placements in early ventures. I achieved 41.3 percent response rate and 36.1 percent acceptance rate with 994 InMails in a month and a half which is 22 times the number of InMails for Recruiter Lite, while spending only $119.95/month for my subscription. What I am about to unveil is a working strategy with proven results to recruit premier candidates, both technical and non-technical, as an educational guide for talent acquisition professionals and hiring managers who compete for top talent with limited resources and limited time.

This LinkedIn sourcing strategy has been proven to work for front-end and back-end junior, iOS and Android, architects, DevOps, data scientists, full-stack, hardware and software engineers to senior engineers to staff engineers to CTOs, both general and highly specialized. It also works well for sales positions like corporate account executives, director-level product managers, junior and senior user experience and user interface designers. This strategy will work for any role except for those so specialized that only a few people in the world could do.




Personal InMail Analytics from 3/11/2016 to 4/29/2016

For a more accurate example beyond my InMail Analytics, I had a month to fill a tough role with a demanding hiring manager for a startup that only wanted to hire Googlers. To add to the challenge, after each of the first four onsite interviews, the hiring team changed the requirements for the role. Counting inbox responses (where responses are measured by those who willingly gave their contact information via LinkedIn message to further discuss the opportunity) confirms a response rate of 35.45 percent (39/110) from Googlers and Google-caliber engineering talent. Of those who responded, 59 percent applied for the position after the initial phone conversation.

Within a month, I had 23 relevant and quality candidates solely from sourcing on LinkedIn (Note that this is a lower bound overall, considering the stringent demands of the role). The hiring manager appreciated the candidates and this sourcing strategy, saying, “Thank you for providing a constant stream of quality candidates week after week.”

Other hiring managers’ experience was similar, with several asking questions like “How do you find so many fantastic candidates?” or “Where do you get these guys?” – because speed and quality matters.

For those not familiar with LinkedIn Recruiter products, Recruiter Lite accounts come with 30 InMails for $119.95/month. One can add 10 InMails for additional $100/month. LinkedIn Recruiter Corporate accounts come with 150 InMails for $899.95/month and for each 10 additional InMails it is $60/month.

How is it possible to send so many InMails without a LinkedIn Recruiter Corporate account and spending over $10,000 each month for InMails? A lot of LinkedIn “Power” Recruiters just connect to the person first and wait for the connection or wait for the email read confirmation or look for a sign of online activity before sending an InMail … a common best practice among Google and other top recruiters. Why? If the person does not want to connect with us in the first place, then the chances that they will respond favorably to a recruiter’s InMail is next to zero, wasting all those expensive InMails credits. According to the LinkedIn 2015 Global Talent Report about 51 percent of people on LinkedIn is somewhat interested or not interested to hear from a recruiter, whereas 43 percent are very interested.

The report also states that “followers [and by deduction your connections] are 81 percent more likely to respond to your InMails than those who do not follow you.” Pro Tip: Create a short post about the opportunity on your LinkedIn before sending invitations to connect.


It is possible to grow anyone’s LinkedIn from 0 connections to 3,000+ connections under one month without getting restricted by LinkedIn. Be very careful not to come across as a connect spammer. Have a genuine reason to justify the invite to connect with anyone to respect the LinkedIn Community Guidelines. I advise against any automated LinkedIn connection tools. High-volume connection invites should be controlled and limited to at the very most 200-300 invites per day and 3,000-4,000 invitations per month. I have been enjoying about 60 percent acceptance rates. Sending a connection request works as a probing signal to see whether that person is open to communicating or not. Clean up any one-month-old invitations every week in the LinkedIn Connect Hub.

The beginning of all sourcing begins with cleaning up and completing your LinkedIn profile to look and feel like a professional recruiter, or better yet executive search recruiter. Most people connect and respond to executive search recruiters even if they are not executive level yet. Make your profile and profile picture likable. Second, get the Boolean search optimization process down cold. If the Boolean search is a tough nut to crack, use tools that have Boolean search recommendation as a good starting point. Take on a data-driven approach to perfect the Boolean search by testing results and counting the accuracy, experimenting with the Boolean string, re-testing, and optimizing again. Here is an example Boolean string to search for Java Web Application Engineer on Spring/Groovy/Grails that shows 9 out of 10 relevant profiles.

Two pro tips: Bookmark the Boolean search to connect with more people another day. Use current title in the Boolean search to improve the results accuracy significantly. Do not use the default “current or past” parameter because combined with the negative keyword operator “NOT” it does not work as intended. For example, people with founder titles only in the present or only in the past will still show up in the search results. Beware of this small LinkedIn design flaw of not having “current and past” option.


Augmented LinkedIn Boolean Search Results

While optimizing the Boolean search, you want to get 400 to at most 1,200 search results because LinkedIn results are capped at 10×100 results. Add more restrictions like zipcode-based location with radius or industry or current/past company or negative keywords when there are too many results. Relax restrictions or add relevant keywords if there are not that many results. LinkedIn’s search accuracy is capped by its technology, so no matter how complete the Boolean string is, the search results are never going to be 100 percent accurate.

For this strategy to work, hit at least 80-90 percent accuracy in the search results.Six degrees of separation explains the difference between first, second, and third connection on LinkedIn. Note that LinkedIn always shows first connections in the first couple of pages even though first connections are unselected. To experiment and improve the Boolean search, quickly glance over the first page’s results with second connections, then 10th and 20th-page results, and see if the titles are actually what you are looking for. If everything looks good, make a deeper check and review a couple of profiles randomly. Analytics speed up this whole process with domain expertise, years of experience, and peer ranking directly in the search results. Use negative keyword operator NOT (keyword1 OR keyword2) for not relevant titles or keywords that appear often.

To connect with people, use regular LinkedIn search. To reach out to the frist connections go to “View in Recruiter” from the search results. Under relationship filter apply “Any” to clear out the settings and then select “1st Connections.” The first people who connect are likely going to be active seekers, but after a few days, there will be enough first connections to whom we can send a free InMail.

Pro Tip: Save this search in a project to get notifications on people who just connected and we have not contacted yet. Another Pro tip: free InMails can be sent to second connections who have premium accounts. Review everyone’s profile before sending an InMail to make sure there is a good match. Use tools that augment profiles with further analytics for deeper review. To save time, craft an appealing and straightforward InMail template. Make sure it’s an upfront and killer message that encompasses all points that people care about.



Jobvite 2015 Job Seeker Nation: Inside the Mind of the Modern Job Seeker

Here is an example of a data-driven title that people appreciate: $180K + Equity + Mountain View, CA + Principal Software Engineer + Full Benefits + VISA Sponsor

This message encompasses all of the decision-making aspects of a job seeker, whether active or passive in the order of importance, and leaves only work life balance, flexibility, culture, and leadership undetermined. People often make the first decision based on their three to four priorities. Get those cleared up with the first message. Individuals who decline giving thanks for reaching out providing a reason like “I am happy where I am” or “just got a job not ready to make a move” etc. 87 percent of people who accept the InMail are interested in discussing the role because it already satisfies their core requirements, which could be salary, could be location, title, benefits, visa sponsorship. There are going to be a couple of people who ask whether the opportunity can be remote because to them working from home is a core priority. Whether they accept or decline, mostly everyone will want to keep in touch with us, because we are approaching talent as a recruiter who is trying to help them find a better job. Some tools can contribute to estimating people’s compensation and avoid awkward messages whenever the current salary is higher than offered.

Start the body of the message with something personalized. Use templates, but personalized the first line(s) of the message. Here are some good introductions – recognize their skill and experience or tell the person that we have shown their profile to one of our colleagues or one of the team members or the hiring manager who liked it. In this way, we will answer the questions that half of job seekers want to hear: “Are they looking for someone like me?”




CareerBuilder – Rethink the Candidate Experience and Make Better Hires

Crafting message content is the most important determinant of response rate from both premier candidates and passive seekers. It is the difference between 25 percent and 40+ percent positive response rate. Company branding matters. Just like candidate’s first impression matters to the interviewer, so does the company’s first impression in the minds of the candidate matter. What people read and feel from the message about a less-known business matter. Paint a picture of who the candidate would want to be, the best they can be, and how this opportunity will help them achieve it. Find something about our client’s company that we are excited and passionate about. Passion sells and the message should sell, hard. Anything and everything that is exceptional about the company should be briefly mentioned in the message. Is the team made of all Stanford Ph.D. data scientists? Is the CEO a very successful entrepreneur? Is the product meaningful? Does the company’s mission touch our hearts?

Find the reasons why we would want to accept the offer for the presented opportunity ourselves. Keep the message short and sweet, add a little mystery, and leave room for curiosity to do its work. Don’t ask for resumes and don’t give a job application link in the first message. Give people the company name regardless if it’s in stealth or not because it’s something people want to know. If funding is exceptional, mention it. We want to have the best introduction about the company as possible.

If people respond, the next step is to ask for an email to send them more information and schedule the initial phone call. Even though we can find contact information easily, always ask first. Treat people like we would want them to treat us. Among all the spam, the human element and permission-based contact in all our interaction with others are so important. It will set us apart from every bot that just bombards candidates with non-relevant emails, and it sets up the initial call to be a success.

Example message:

My colleagues and I think that you would be a great fit for our role of Principal Software Engineer at XYZ-company, a $15M SEED-funded startup (99% of seed stage startups don’t raise more than $1M) located in Mountain View, CA and founded by very successful serial team of entrepreneurs and gurus in the analytics space. Our CEO was recently featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30: [Link to article without shortening]

$180K + Equity + Mountain View, CA + Principal Software Engineer + Full Benefits + VISA Sponsor

Take care,

Ninh Tran


LinkedIn 2016 Guide to Modern Recruiter v2.0

Finally, remember that the whole process matters. We must have a solid #recruiting strategy and #hiring process. From the moment when we make contact with the initial message to the moment when the candidate gets an offer, through onboarding and beyond, treat the candidate as a person, with honesty and decency. Answer their questions, give constructive feedback, and follow up, and you will create a lasting relationship that goes beyond any one role.

If you enjoyed or found this article useful please like and share. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Hiretual – Your Recruiting Assistant.


Put the Right Person in the Right Seat

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Tips to Identify and Leverage Strengths

I work with companies across the U.S. helping to grow and develop individuals and teams. What I find fascinating in my line of work is that most business owners and executives have a very limited understanding of their own strengths and/or the strengths of others within their organization. And they have even less of an understanding of what those skills mean and how to embrace them. We are inundated by articles, reports and experts telling us that human talent is critical for business success. So why the lack of understanding and focus on our own talents and those of our co-workers, employees or partners? One reason is that we often shy away from taking a hard look at ourselves. It’s time-consuming, challenging and often downright daunting. It’s also hard to be objective in assessing talent – our own or the strengths or deficiencies of others. I often find that my clients get woo’ed by the resume or personality and miss uncovering key information, which is why it’s critical to have an unbiased, solid understanding of our own skills and strengths and what we’re looking for in others. This is important not only for the hiring process but for building retention, solidifying key leadership and driving culture.

The strengths assessment process is an ideal way to identify each individual’s talents and how to best leverage those talents. This allows for a new teamwork structure that optimizes individual talent, creates efficiencies and increases accountability. Think of it as a SWOT analysis on your most valuable resource – your people.

I can think of many hiring casualties where mis-hires cost the company severely in terms of productivity, team dynamics and revenue loss. Here are a few quick tips and illustrations on the effectiveness of identifying and leveraging strengths.

1. Identify pros and cons. It’s important to know what strength(s) is needed for a particular job and why. It’s never a one-size fits all approach. Some jobs require a collaborator while others require a leader who can give direction under pressure. Know what’s needed now, what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t.

Example: I have a client who runs a small business with 40 employees. She embraces a very collaborative-style of leadership and employs a very young, female-heavy staff who needs a lot of direction. During the hiring process for a new office manager, I advised her to look for someone more directive to help her with situations where employees needed guidance. The balance between the owner and the new office manager worked because their styles complimented one another and allowed for both collaboration and leadership.

2. Don’t force it. It’s important to identify and understand the strengths AND gap areas of the existing team. Companies often hire for a specific need or resume item but sometimes an individual will not fit in with an existing organizational structure or team dynamic until change occurs.

Example: I was asked to coach a mid-career hire at a company that was looking to shake things up. This particular individual was a risk-taker and displayed a great amount of innovative. The problem was that the new hire was a big-picture thinker and not a practical, action-oriented individual. He did not fit into the company’s existing culture that was all about efficiency and bottom line. Although they hired him for a great resume and the fact that he brought in the new skill they wanted, the existing corporate culture was still in place and this made it impossible for the company to adapt to his style and leverage the unique skills he brought to the table.

3. Look ahead. It’s important to know where your business or organization is headed. Times change and the profile of your employees or team members will also change. For instance, in a growth mode, it may be important to put a management or sales team in place that is progressive and has the foresight and ability to create opportunities to expand the business.

Example: I worked with a company who wanted to move to a more consultative approach to stay competitive in their industry — and this meant having their sales people relate to the customers as “advisors”. They were ready to invest a lot of money in training to retool their existing sales force. They quickly realized that training/retooling their existing workforce would not work with the employees they currently had in place. In the end, they recognized the need to hire a new team who naturally had the advisor skill set they were seeking.

Understanding the current talent mix and strengths of your organization and hiring for specific strengths AND compatibility are essential keys to enhancing corporate culture and reaching growth and/or profitability objectives. As Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great, “Having the right person in the right seat on the bus matters.”

Mary Kaiser is the founder of Start with Strengths, a Colorado-based professional consulting and coaching firm. Her experience includes over 25 years of growing leaders and teams for businesses across the country. Reach her at or connect at


Five Reasons to Use Text Recruitment in Hiring

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Mobile recruiting is a remarkable opportunity for employers to engage and stay connected.  It affects the application process, enhances interaction, communication, and source talent. Your strategy should embrace a multi-device approach so that the process is optimized for candidates and users.

Phones and text messaging go together and develop a plan that is critical to targeting untapped candidates; differentiating you from others. Reasons you need to implement texting in recruitment policies include:

A personalized approach to hiring

Millenials find texting the preferred method of communication, and that includes business correspondence. Most candidates prefer texting because it lets recruiters and clients respond as soon as they receive a message. A well-crafted text message adds a personal touch to a recruitment strategy. A professional, targeted text conveys a genuine interest that are lacking in most mass emails they receive. The messages should be professional and to the point, and provide a simple way for a follow-up.

Quicker and more effective

Few people read their emails frequently as compared to using text messages. Text messages have a higher open rate and are often read within three minutes of receiving them. This is why several recruiters who have executed texting in their recruitment discovered that using texting speeds up the process significantly.

Use Speed to Your Advantage

Text alerts on phones are ubiquitous; you don’t have to wait for ages for a candidate to text you back.  To benefit from this speed, you’ll have to reciprocate.  Respond to texts immediately, and candidates will probably return the favor.  Texting is an unobtrusive choice to correspond with candidates who would be unable to respond and get them to do so faster.

An opportunity for seamless follow-up

Most people use phones as their primary way to access the Web. This permits recruiters to incorporate texting into a smooth change from initial communication to finished application and progression in the staffing process. Most phone users are already comfortable with the mobile web. If you provide a secure mobile recruiting experience, you have a better opportunity of hiring more applicants.  Your emails should be short and easy to type.  Once your candidate receives a text, he or she can act immediately to respond and go ahead with the recruitment process if the text has a link to the email or website.

Make Your Opener Catchy

Craft a compelling text message to draw attention. Your text will come up with a random phone number, introduce yourself, be human, and announce the job as quickly as possible. Leave your email contact info at the end. Don’t let the text look like spam.

Before you start texting candidates, ensure rules are followed.  If you are sure of what you are doing, texting a candidate is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to get a candidate to apply. Most recruiters have resorted to texting to contact candidates. A bad texting campaign is like an invasion of privacy and gives a bad reputation.   Millennials always have their phone on or near them. Recruiters want to approach them through their phones, with the same notification structures they use for contact with friends. Texting candidates is a powerful tool, only if properly capitalized on.

How To Find Resumes on Google and Bing

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016


find resumes on google

By Travis Scott

A few years ago I wrote a blog post about this topic and decided to do some research and find out if things have changed since then. Although things have mostly remained the same, there are a few new concepts that can improve your results. (Plus, since I’m in digital advertising now, I did some keyword research and found that at least 20 people per month or about 250 people per year search for this on Google, so people remain interested in learning how to do this).

Searching for resumes on Google or Bing may not be applicable for every type of search you’re doing (i.e., non-technical roles like accountants and administrative assistants) but, what I’ve found, is that it’s really good for finding creative people – UX/UI and design folks, graphic artists – and anyone else that would benefit from having an online portfolio.

Usually designers and, oftentimes, software engineers, will create a website for their portfolio and throw up a copy of their resume. It’s also a great way to find consultants and freelancers who typically have a website promoting themselves, which usually includes a resume.

However, it is sometimes difficult to know when the resumes were last updated or, depending how narrow your search criteria is, may not yield a lot of results, but I think it’s always a good idea to do a quick Google and/or Bing search for resumes. You never know, it might turn up someone that your competitors haven’t found and the old resume you found still has contact info, right? Now they’re a “passive” candidate. Depending on the last dates shown, you may have to make an educated guess as to where that person may be in their career now and what type of role they would likely be interested in, given the amount of time that has passed.

To save time, you can save a search string and just copy and paste it into Google or Bing, changing only the required skills/experience that may be different.

The Basics

When it comes to the basics of search, Bing and Google are very similar and most of the symbols and operators used in Google will also work in Bing, however there are a few things that Bing isn’t able to do- one big one being the ability to search for a range of numbers.


SymbolsHow They're Used
*The * is used as a wild card.
Example: cheese* will return results for cheese sticks AND cheese curds AND cheese bagels
" "Use “ “ when you want to include a specific phrase, with the words in a specific order.
Example: “blue shoes” will show blue shoes for sale OR buy blue shoes but will not show for shoes that are blue.

(Google Only)
Using two periods ( .. ) will include numbers within a range.
Example: If you are searching for something within a specific zip code, you could search 98007 .. 98123 and it will include any number between 98007 and 98123.
|The | symbol can be used in place of the operator OR.
Example: photoshop | dreamweaver will return results that include the term photoshop OR dreamweaver.
-Use the – to exclude a word, phrase or website.
Example: -cheeseburgers, –“bacon cheeseburger”. I’m not sure why you would want to exclude either of these items from a search, but these searches would exclude the terms cheeseburger and bacon cheeseburger from your search.


Operators*How They're Used
inurl:Use to find sites in which a term or phrase is included in the site’s URL.
Example: inurl:resume
This will only produce sites with the term “resume” in the URL.
intitle:Use to find sites in which a term or phrase is included in the site’s title.
Example: intitle:resume
This will only produce sites with the term “resume” in the title.
site:Use this operator to search a specific website.
This will only produce results that are on LinkedIn.
ORAn outdated operator for specifying and “OR” function. Can be replaced by using the | symbol.
Example: dogs OR cats
This will produce results that include dogs or cats
filetype:This allows you to search by specific file types that may be on a website, including Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PDF doc, PowerPoint slides or more.
Example: filetype:doc
This will produce results that are Word docs only. Other common file types include pdf, txt, xls and ppt.

(Google Only)
This only works in Google and allows you to search for terms or phrases that are within a certain number of words from each other.
Example: hummingbirds AROUND(3) flowers
This will only produce results in which the term “flowers” is within three words of the term hummingbird. (e.g., “hummingbirds are attracted to flowers” & “hummingbirds like red tubular flowers”

*Do not include a space after the operator. (e.g., inurl:resume NOT inurl: resume)


Google Resume Search in Action

So let’s take a look at an example. To make it more realistic, I did a quick search for a UX Designer job opening here in the Seattle area. I found the following Amazon job that was recently posted (you’re welcome Amazon Recruiter).

After reviewing the job description, here are some of the key skills/experience I took away:

  • HTML, JavaScript, JQuery or equivalent, and CSS
  • Visio, Axure, Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks, InDesign and Dreamweaver
  • HTML5
  • User experience, UX
  • GUI
  • Mobile
  • Designer

There are quite a few terms there and, once we start adding our search operators, the search string could get pretty long. Google used to have a max number of terms you could use in a search string and everything beyond that limit would not be considered. That magic number used to be 32.

Since the only information I could find on this maximum was a decade old, I decided to test this and try to perform a search that included every key skill/term I pulled from the job description.

Here’s what I used to search for the desired skills:

designer (“user experience” | UX) GUI HTML5 mobile (HTML | JavaScript | JQuery | CSS) (Visio | Axure | Illustrator | Photoshop | Fireworks | InDesign | Dreamweaver)

If I were to just use this search string it would turn up over 508,000 results, a number of which are not resumes.

FeeTrader Blog Pic 1

So, let’s try to narrow this down to resumes. To do this, we’ll use the inurl: and intitle: operators. This will restrict our search results to only those that include the term “resume” in the website’s URL or title.

Here’s what that search string looks like:

designer (“user experience” | UX) GUI HTML5 mobile (HTML | JavaScript | JQuery | CSS) (Visio | Axure | Illustrator | Photoshop | Fireworks | InDesign | Dreamweaver) (inurl:resume | intitle:resume)

As you can see in the results below, this got us a little closer to the mark but still resulted in more results than we can get through (111,000) and included some off-target results for job posting sites and sample resumes. Still not what we’re looking for.

FeeTrader Blog Pic 2

Now, an old school technique of trying to eliminate some of the false positives we received in our last search was to exclude certain terms such as –jobs, -job, etc. This would, in theory, get rid of the job posting sites. However, this can be cumbersome and lead to possibly excluding results we want to see (i.e., if someone used the term job or jobs in their resume). A short cut to pare down the results would be just search for sites in which people have included an actual copy of their resume in one of the following file types: Word doc, PDF or txt file.

Here’s what I will add to our search string to narrow our results even further:

(filetype:doc | filetype:pdf | filetype:txt)

When I add this, here are the results I get:

FeeTrader Blog Pic 3


Much better. We’ve gone from over 111,000 to 1,650. But it’s still a bit unwieldy and, we can’t forget that these results are showing people not just in the U.S., but also all over the world. Even though Amazon has no problem relocating the right people for the job, let’s simplify things a bit and just search for people in the Seattle area.

I know what you’re thinking. Are we going to have to include every possible city we can think of in the surrounding area? That could be a real time killer and would likely push our search string over what could still be Google’s maximum search term limit.

Fear not, there’s a workaround for this. Remember, Google has an operator for searching a range of numbers. This is great for searching a range of zip codes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work in Bing and I was unable to find anything that was equivalent to this feature.

The first step is to find all of the zip codes within a specified radius of your location. I used the website for this but there are a number of others you can use.

Since I wasn’t sure what Amazon’s zip code was, I just used the zip code where my office is located – Bellevue, WA – which is 98007. I also narrowed it to a 10-mile radius.

Here are the results:

FeeTrader Blog Pic 4

There were a total of 62 zip codes within a 10-mile radius of Bellevue. That would be a lot of zip codes to add to the search. In order to see the range, from smallest to largest, I simply clicked the “Zip” column to sort these numbers. Now that I have the smallest (98004) and the largest (98195) I can now include the range in my search string.

Here’s what that looks like:


That really narrowed things down, cutting our results from over 1,600 to only 8. That’s not a lot of results and it would have been great to get more, but there’s a high likelihood that those 8 will be very relevant to my search.

Here are the results:

FeeTrader Blog Pic 5

There’s still one thing to test. When it’s all said and done, this search string consists of 37 words. That’s more than the 32 that I was able to find when searching for a max. Since that information was over a decade old, let’s test it.

To do this, I’m going to use the excluding operator “-“, since we haven’t used that in our search yet. Instead of excluding a term like “java” I’ll exclude one of their names. If 32 is still the max, then nothing will happen to the results and the exclusion will be ignored. If it is now larger than 32, then we’ll see a decrease in our results from 8 to 7.

Let’s test this using “–Ewald”. Here’s what happened:

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Look at that! Only 7 results! Granted, we only have determined that we can at least use 37 terms, but we now know that 32 is no longer the max and I would assume it’s quite a bit larger now.

Since it could potentially take me an hour or more to test this further, I’ll just be content knowing that the maximum is now greater than 32. If you end up creating a really long search string, it wouldn’t hurt to do a test similar to what I did today.

In closing, Google and Bing can be a good resource to utilize when searching for resumes and trying to tap into potential candidates your competitors may be overlooking. Even if they were using these search engines, there are number of variations that can change the results and find overlooked resumes. In the example I provided, we only came up 8 resumes, but that can be easily changed by doing things like excluding the area code radius and using the  zip codes of other cities where you know this kind of talent lives-that is, if you’re company as a relocation budget. You can also add or subtract keywords to broaden the search.

Happy hunting!



About the Author: Travis Scott is the Managing Partner and Founder of RainierDigital, a Bellevue, WA-based advertising agency specializing in B2B, B2C and recruitment digital advertising. He has over 6 years of advertising/marketing experience and over 11 years of recruiting experience, most recently at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. He has a BS from Indiana University and a MBA in Marketing from the University of Colorado.


Are Candidate Pipelines More Like a Pipe Dream?

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

If you’ve been in recruiting for any period of time you’ve probably heard about the benefits of building a candidate pipeline.  However, it seems that given all of the virtues associated with a strong pipeline, the benefits never materialize.

The concept is solid in theory – create a list of prospective candidates that you can tap into when new roles open up.  Sounds great, right?  Who wouldn’t want to have a list of prospective candidates at their fingertips?!  The reality is that you already have this list.  You likely just lack the appropriate process and mechanism to nurture the contacts into leads and, ultimately, into hires.


Recruiters: Save Time and Get More From Your Social Networks

Monday, October 19th, 2015

By Travis Scott

The key to using social media effectively in recruiting is to know your target audience and be active in both your posts and responses to other users.

It can be a huge time saver to use programs like HootSuite, Buffer or HubSpot that allow you to post content to all of your social platforms from one place.  However, not all social networks are created equal.  Understanding how each one works is also important maximizing your efforts.


Things Are Heating Up

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

By Travis Scott

As a corporate recruiter, I can say that things had been fairly easy over the past couple of years.  Candidates were coming in droves- you could actually post jobs and get good quality candidates to apply.  Once you had a candidate engaged you didn’t really have to worry about them going anywhere because no one else was hiring.

However, something has happened since the beginning of the year.  Now when I am speaking with prospective candidates I am finding that they are in discussions with multiple companies- some further along in the recruiting process than others.  I feel lucky in that I support very attentive and responsive hiring managers at Comcast who generally get back to me pretty quickly with a decision on which candidates they want to interview that I have passed along.

In the past few weeks I have found that several candidates I was trying to set up interviews with have received (and accepted) offers from other companies.  Or, more often than not, if I find a candidate on a job board that has had their resume posted for more than 30-45 days have already received offers and are no longer looking for a job.

I’m sure you have been experiencing the same thing.  So its time to buckle down and start being “recruiters” again.  We have to stop assuming that candidates are going to be there longer than a month and that we can no longer allow our hiring managers to take their time in getting back to us.

Things are heating up and the fun is about to begin!


About our guest blogger: Travis Scott has been involved in the recruiting industry in some capacity or another since 2004 and is a contract Technical Recruiter at Comcast in Denver.  In his current contract he has been given the task of staffing the engineering team for the newly formed Converged Products group from the ground up.  Follow him on Twitter ( @milehighguy) or connect with him on LinkedIn.