10 Answers to Your Burning Social, Boolean, and Passive Questions

Recruiting is a fast-paced and rapidly evolving space, and I frequently receive questions about everything from Boolean searches to social sourcing and nurturing passive talent. I decided to take some of those most-asked questions and answer them here. Hopefully these can give you the additional insights you need to build solid connections with candidates.

1. Is Boolean on the way out?
Boolean as a method of data retrieval is alive and well. It is a gateway to finding good results from most databases. However, there are emerging technologies that are basically building complicated search results from very simple queries. Eventually this could spell the very slow death of Boolean.

2. In certain regions, there is a skills shortage in the tech and digital area. What is the best way to approach candidates without looking desperate?
The best method to approach digital professionals is to be digital – it’s not email, it’s not InMail, and sometimes it’s not even phone. If you reach out to someone on an open platform like Twitter you’ll find the engagement rates are fantastic, providing you are on Twitter and use it actively. There are also specific communities that would aid your engagement. For example, if you are looking for developers, sites like GitHub are perfect environments.

3. What advice can you give for people using Dice’s Open Web social recruiting platform?
If you have access to Open Web, you don’t need to run a sophisticated Boolean search string; it is an extremely smart tool. But what you still need to do is type in exactly what you’re looking for. Understand your job specifications, pull out the core skills, competencies, industries and job titles you need and type them into Open Web so it can do all the work for you.

4. What suggestions do you have for how small companies can make big names for themselves in social media?
Provide amazing content that helps other people. It doesn’t matter how big your company is, think about your audience and what they would like to know more about and then deliver it. You’ll build trust, credibility and brand reputation. The key to success is the time investment. It is not a quick win.

5. What are your top 5 tips for recruiters on using Facebook more effectively as a social recruitment tool?

  • Open up your security settings: Show that you’re open; throw your whole life onto the Web for everyone to see. You can’t expect to engage with others if you lock down your privacy settings.
  • Change your mindset: See ‘friends’ as a wider term for people you want to get to know and people who want to get to know you. Tell people you’re on Facebook, encourage them to connect, give them your link and accept the friend request, and then don’t be afraid to be yourself.
  • Learn how the search queries work: With Facebook, you have to experiment and chase the results.
  • Think about what’s on Facebook: Structure your searches according to the content and use inference to work out the details you would usually see through traditional channels. You have to think and work differently.
  • Don’t just rely on Facebook: Some people will freak out at being contacted through Facebook, so see it as a source of data and a way to validate someone’s skills and experience… but be willing to contact them offline if that is a preferred contact method.

6. How realistic is it to expect that social searching can unearth sufficient-quality candidates without the need to also invest in job boards?
Searching on social compliments other sources. You should be agnostic about where you find people. There is no better way; there is only the best use of your time and the best place to find the candidates you need.

7. What should recruiters look out for in a social profile to help them connect with candidates and improve their response rates?
Daniel Pink, in his book To Sell is Human, references a concept in behavioral psychology of finding uncommon commonalities – something you have in common with the candidate that the average person wouldn’t. So when you’re looking at their social profile, look into that detail, what films they like, where they have visited, what do they read – look for something you have in common with them out of the ordinary and make that your conversation-starter.

8. Candidates found through social sourcing are not always active. What is the best way to nurture passive talent so that when they are ready to move, they come to you?
To nurture a relationship with anyone, whether it’s on a social site or not, you need to be a trusted advisor. First of all, position yourself as a subject matter expert, and secondly, you need to be willing to help in any shape or form long before the candidate may need to move. And lastly, just be willing to be there, pushing content regularly; that’s the best way to nurture passive talent.

9. Which social sites provide the best information on tech candidates?
Tech candidates are great because they are more active online. For developers, for example, Github is the best place to look for code, and see how the community validates someone’s code through forking and re-sharing. Stack Overflow is a great way to understand someone’s authority on a subject and see how they interact with others. There are tons of niche sites but those would be my top ones.

10. Where does social sourcing fit within the recruitment mix? Is it a go-to channel or a supplementary?
Sourcing is about bringing qualified, interested and available candidates to the market – it is the fundamental starting point of the recruitment process. Sourcing shouldn’t be just about bringing passive candidates to the market; it should be about searching your own database, and job board databases, as well as social sites. It’s the finding of those candidates and closing them down which makes good sourcing.

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