Sourcing Strategies #3: Using meta-search engines

Sourcing Strategies #3: Using meta-search engines

So far we have looked at imaginative searching of active job seeker profiles and being a good Linkedin Recruiter. Now we will look at another strategy to get more inbound leads for your open jobs through internet marketing using meta-search engines.

There are quite a few such job search engines (specific to jobs only) that are pretty popular on the internet. Infact I was surprised that the most popular job meta-search engine ( has higher traffic ranking than (Indeed is ranked 110 and Monster 135 per Alexa for US traffic / popularity). Here are a list of such job search engines that I have come across:

  • (classified site)
  • (classified site)
  • Sites for freshers like Jobsphere and Startuply

Now lets examine how to use these resources on your way to being a smart recruiter. Note that some of these are more suited for full-time jobs than contract jobs especially those that require very fast turnaround. It may take 24 hrs for the jobs to be live on the site and since its inbound and advertising based, it could take sometime for you to generate good quality candidates (2-4 days or more). But definitely works for job positions that have 1 week or more turnaround time.

Here are some of the steps to utilize this resource:

  1. Create an account or profile: Suggest creating an account in about 3 of these sites to start with (Indeed and SimplyHired are most popular and some of the others are stronger in specific domains/industry)
  2. Build a job feed: These job search engines are more structure driven than the typical search engine like Google. so they expect data in certain format on your website or you will need to build a specific XML feed for each engine. The guidelines for XML formats are available for each engine (for example – ). We need to verify these jobs are picked up the search engine. This will ensure that your jobs are shown in search results.
  3. Advertising: This part works similar to Google advertising. You can specifiy a budget (say $50/job) and also the cost per click (say $ 0.50 per click). This will generate a few inbound leads to your open jobs. The art of managing this advertising dollars will require a separate post to understand how to maximize the value through right choice of advertisement, keywords, CPC etc. We will cover that separately.
Sourcing Strategies #3: Using meta-search engines

Sourcing Strategies #2: Being a Linked-in Recruiter

Its almost a month since my previous post. As part of ramping up our team, we have been training them about how to use the job boards effectively, its an art that takes some time to master. I keep saying if you can locate the right candidate faster than others – relying on job boards is perfectly fine. But as you move from quick contract placements to Full time (or FTE) positions, it becomes harder and harder to find good candidates on job boards.

That’s where the next strategy of a good “Linked-in Recruiter” comes about. True Linked-in is pretty well known and many people use it; In fact there are 65 million users (mostly professionals). However a majority of them, say 80% may not be actively looking for a job, so to be effective at using it and tapping into it is an art as well. Here are some of the tips to get better at using this resource.

  • Prepare your profile – Create a good profile with nice picture, add a detailed description of your job role, skills, education information as well as some fun stuff like your favorite pastime or movie etc. Then make sure you describe your company and who you are recruiting for really well (should be a sales pitch for the company as well as positions you are recruiting for)
  • Build your network – Besides inviting your friends, colleagues, family into your network, feel free to invite these sales/marketing professionals who have large number of connections. These folks normally “accept” most requests on their way to reaching astronomical number of (many have 5000 or more) connections.  After that start joining associations related to your work – Examples could be Local “Networking Groups” in each geographic area that you belong to / recruiting in – say Seattle area professionals or south bayarea networking events etc. In addition join groups related to specific disciplines you are recruiting in for example – SharePoint users and developers, Ruby on rails etc. Also add yourself to plenty of recruiting groups that are out there. Just search for “Groups” using keywords and majority of them are easy to join and easily get accepted. Then start inviting some of the members to your network to build your network. Its pretty easy through these mechanisms to add 500 or more people in a matter of days.
  • Share updates / tweets – This helps to be on top of most user feeds. It is important to post to your network the current job opportunities you have and some interesting stories/happenings from your daily life such as technology trends, funny stories about candidate conversations (minus the name ofcourse), difficulty you are facing in certain types positions etc. This helps to broadcast your updates to your network. In addition you should be active in some of the groups you join – perfectly OK to ask dumb questions or add comments to ongoing threads. Another tactic is to add a bunch of Linkedin Apps that capture some information like TripIt. All of these tactics will make you more visible.
  • Identify Candidates – Use fewer search terms than job boards since its very unlikely candidates would put detailed skills and capabilities. Use “imaginative” search criteria I described in my earlier post such as using competing companies, university names, ethnicity/language, location etc. to target/limit your results. Then select the right candidates to contact by reading people profiles to identify good match – this is similar to looking at the resume in a job board except that you will focus more on their current/past job details, most importantly the companies they have worked for, how long have they worked etc. Look through their “settings” to see if they seeing job opportunities.
  • First “cold” contact – Once you select a candidate to contact, a significant majority can be directly contacted by choosing them as a “Friend”. Now the trick is to write a good compelling message to them – It will help if the message is unique and targeted – for example, relating how the job opportunity is a logical extension to their careers or the job gives them higher degree of responsibility etc. Write a compelling message that highlight the company, career level, job type and how it matches their interest. Ask them to “add you to the network if they are interested and to pls ignore the message if it does not interest them”. So that way Linkedin does not penalize you for adding a whole bunch of  unsolicited requests.

Finally be patient and diligent in your follow-ups. Do not take “Lack of response” personally and continue to chip away – remember you are targeting the 10-20% of job seekers within the vast user base. Also two things that determine your response rate are (a) careful selection of right candidates to contact which is even more important than the job boards and (b) compelling message that you include in your introduction.

P.S: Linked-in is way way ahead of others, to be fair there is also similar sites like Zoominfo, hi5, Spoke, Plaxo, PartnerUp and others.

Sourcing Strategies #3: Using meta-search engines

Sourcing strategies #1: Search with Imagination

Candidate sourcing is starting point of the Recruiting Process. In a series of blogs I will try to capture some of the nuances that I have learnt.

In the first part, lets look at maximizing the results from job boards like Monster, Dice, Hotjobs etc. They are a great resource for finding active job seekers. But the common complaint from every client is that they have either seen the candidate profile already or they do not have the ideal skills/competence etc. Why so?

The reason is that every recruiter looks there and looks at the top few pages of results. No doubt that one should look for low hanging fruit and quickly pounce on new candidates. But good recruiting also means looking beyond the most obvious and easy to find candidates. That’s where your IMAGINATION comes in to play to hunt down the right kinds of profiles in the vast repository of millions of profiles. Here are some ways to do imaginative searches to look for such candidate profiles:

  • Competence search – This is the most basic searches where you are trying to match competency/expertise requirements of the job. For example, if you are looking for C# and .Net developers with Networking experience, you will use those keywords in your search. Here again looking for alternative representation / expressions of the technologies, tools etc. will certainly help (for example look for “protocol development” or “TCP/IP” while looking for Networking since they are similar)
  • Company / Competitor search – Look for companies that are similar to the company you are looking to hire for – they could be competing companies or complementary to the business. So add a bunch of company names in addition to some technical competency for example (“Intel” or “Honeywell” or “Yahoo” or “HP”) and (“.Networking” or “Protocol development” or “VOIP” or “TCP/IP”). That way you will likely located people who worked in these companies before or worked on projects for these companies
  • Top universities / school search – always produce good candidates; identify top schools and try to put them in your search term as “OR” options so you will likely find good candidates – For example looking for Indian universities can be (“IIT” or “Indian Institute of Technology” or “NIT” or “Anna University” or “SJCE”) and (“.NET” and “Networking”). Some examples of top university lists –
    There are plenty of such lists
  • Ethnicity and locale search – Certain pockets of people / ethnic groups or universities have made a name for themselves and become specialized. For example I have seen many Russians are extremely good at Maths. So for positions that require good analytical skills, they are a good ethnic group to look at. So your search terms can include special groups in addition to some competencies like (“Russian” or “Russia” or “Poland”) and (“.NET” and “Networking”) so you are looking for specific pockets / ethnic groups that are normally successful.

One word of advice is that when you are adding specialized keywords like university or ethnicity, then expand your search to include candidates who have updated resumes in past 6 months or 1 year as well. That way you could dig deep into great candidates who might be dormant for a while.

Next up, lets look at Social Networking.

Improving candidate hit rates

Improving candidate hit rates

At Pragna, we took upon the challenge of improving the candidate hit rates for Full-time (FTE) hiring. Improving the hit rates obviously provides significant advantage to Organizations – They can spend more time with project work and employee training than interviewing loads and loads of candidates for each position.
Here is a snapshot of the process that enabled us to achieve 100% or better improvement with candidate hit rates:
1. Sourcing:
  • Working with hiring managers, we prepared a very detailed profile of the position
  • We employed targeted headhunting through social sites to identify pool of passive candidates
  • We used a team that worked round-the-clock (from Seattle & Bangalore) to cover all timezones and international candidates
2. Technical Screening – Written
  • We prepared a technical screening questionnaire tailored to each position and the job level
  • The written answers are throughly evaluated by competent technical people (not recruiters but sr. engineers)
  • We shortlisted candidates based on written test and examination of resume (spend 20 mins on reviewing/understanding resume vs. 2 mins
3. Technical Screening – In-depth Pragna Interview
  • This interview is done by senior engineers of the same job level
  • We did live meeting interview to visually see the coding abilities
4. Prepare a Candidate Scorecard
  • We prepared a detailed analysis report that Pragna sent to hiring managers with details from our interview
  • We identified strengths & weaknesses along with detailed descriptions of the problem we worked with the candidate
  • Then we submitted the candidate with all the above documentation (saved managers precious time to weed out 90% of the candidates)
5. Optimization
  • We reviewed feedback on candidates after each client interview
  • Based on each candidate (successful or not), we optimized and updated our process to improve it
This resulted in significant gains to the organization in terms of both saving their precious time as well as getting better candidates and hires for the organization.
Contract or Full Time Which is the Best Method for Hiring

Contract or Full Time Which is the Best Method for Hiring

Many folks have asked me – How does one determine if a resume is suited for Full-time (FTE) vs. Contract positions? The fundamental difference is in the intent for the Contract position is a specific short-term skill need whereas FTE is a hire for company for a specific skill with long term horizon where the employee could perform different roles/jobs in the company over time.  There is no fool proof method, but below are certain characteristics that hold good most of the times, if not always:

Full-time or FTE hiring:

  • Average tenure in previous jobs (atleast 3 yrs or more in US; so candidates have longer term horizon)
  • More emphasis on academic qualifications
  • Look for professional growth (has the candidate grown in skill/level of performance over time)
  • Focus on overall candidate strengths especially in core fundamentals / concepts and Analytical skills vs. only specified skills (this is an important aspect since specific skills can be learnt over time and may become less important once a specific project is completed)
  • Check if candidate has experience in a similar type of company (size, functional area etc.)
  • Emphasis on soft skills like team management, program management etc.

Contract hiring

  • Focus on good matching of required skills and experience wrt to job requirements
  • Look for breadth of project experience and types of projects and compare against current project they are going to work on; match the two as much as possible
  • # of years of experience as a contract or consultant
  • Ability to adapt quickly (e.g., flexible with process; deliverables etc. vs. having own strong views on them)
  • Look for special attributes identified by hiring manager (for example, Analytical skills maybe important for a particular manager but generally less important for contract positions)