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How to Find Technical Talent Using Google X-Ray and Boolean Strings

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One of the most effective ways to source for technical talent online is using what is called Boolean search. Boolean allows you to combine words and phrases using the words AND, OR, NOT (known as Boolean operators) to limit, broaden, or define your search. It is an effective way of sourcing and searching for very specific skills, traits and qualifications of candidates you want to find on the Internet.

The Internet is the noisy and extremely complex. The sheer number of information makes it hard to locate qualified candidates among the trillions or quadrillions of online profiles, communities and social networks. The internet is effectively the world’s largest haystack and your technical candidates is the needle you are seeking.

A search engine X-ray whether Google or Bing effectively allows you to search web pages for specific keyword combinations and information. By using Boolean, you can target your results without having to comb through thousands of pages of search results. It is an effective way to source for candidates who have specialized skills and keywords listed on social networks, websites and online databases.

Step 1: Select a Search Engine You Wish to X-Ray

Use a search engine such as Google you X-ray the site using the “site:” command.

google-xray-step1

For the purposes of this example, we will be looking for results in a popular online networking and group site called www.meetup.com. This command works with most sites where you can access information that is NOT behind a password protected network such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook and LinkedIn are not always search engine X-ray friendly.

Step 2: Setting Up Your Basic Boolean String

Type the “site:” command followed by the url of the website you are wishing to search. Omit the “www.” or the “http(s)” as shown in the screenshot below.

meetup-xrayStep 3: Add Keywords and/or Location

Next, add your keywords and a location if you wish to be specific in your search. It is best to make your search as broad as possible and over time narrow your search strings.

ror-xray

Step 4: Further Narrow Your Results

To further narrow down your search using “RoR” or “rubyist” or “rails” or “rubyist.” The term Rubyist is a natural language or a spoken way of identifying someone who is familiar with RoR. From here, you can begin researching groups and evaluating profiles to connect you with qualified candidates.

profile-examples-groups-meetup-xray
The key when it comes to Boolean search is finding url patterns that will help establish profiles. This is extremely helpful in X-raying sites and locating the contact data of qualified technical candidates on Gitub, Meetup and Stackoverflow. How are you using Boolean and X-ray to source and search for candidates at your company?

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  1. Love this post, but think actually building these strings is generally not worth the ROI for most recruiters since it takes so much time. I’d recommend PropelIQ to help – it basically automatically builds Boolean strings and saves search results across engines and platforms. And it’s free…huge time saver in my experience. Great advice as always, Jessica.

  2. Social Talent’s ‘Source Hub’ is next level to PropellQ. It covers more platforms and the dashboard is ridiculously user-friendly, and easier to use. Happy sourcing! Here’s the link: https://mentor.socialtalent.co (can add it as an extension on Chrome).