4 Steps On How To Find The Perfect Candidate

Becoming a search master is all down to knowing what type of candidate you’re looking for. Before you set out to look for a job to fill you immediately know what position you’re looking to fill as well as what skills the person must have. First and foremost, it’s important to strategically source your candidates. To source the perfect candidate, sometimes it helps to know the tricks of the trade, therefore it’s important to define your search. Using advanced search operators to home in on your ideal candidate is the best way to do this. Time is of the essence in the day of a life as a recruiter, so having the ability to use specific search engines to find the information you need online is invaluable.

In this blog, we’re going to look at a series of advanced search techniques to help you find the best possible candidates that match your criteria.

What are Advanced Search Operators?

Advanced search operators are different to your Boolean searches. They were invented by the search engines themselves to exploit the data you find. There is an endless list of search operators, so we’re going to name the most popular ones for you to conduct your searches on.

Popular search operators include:

  • site:
  • intitle:
  • inurl:
  • filetype:

When using these search operators, there are a few rules you must follow. Just like there are rules for your Boolean searches and your modifiers, you have to pay particular attention to these rules on modifiers for search engines. The operator for site, intitle or filetype must ALWAYS be written in lowercase. That means no caps whatsoever, capish?

The colon (when used) is imperative and must be added to your search. From there, you complete the instruction by including your keyword/keywords.

Mix and match to create the right combinations

Mixing and matching these operators together is a great way of making your search more specific. Using a more specific search allows you to delve into the depths of candidate heaven and allows you to identify the perfect fit. Additionally, try and test your combinations so that you can identify the patterns accordingly.

When you’re searching for CVs/resumes on the web, the first step you need to take is ‘think’. Think of the keywords that your candidates might use when to referencing their CV, and from there you can start looking at the results. Look at positive results, eliminating the incorrect ones. Do this right down until you get the CV that you’re happy with, but to make it even easier for yourself, break it down into four simple steps.

Step 1

Use your telepathic skills to channel into the mind of a candidate. But seriously, start thinking about it from a candidates perspective. What keywords would candidates use to refer to their working experience? They would probably use words such as:

  • CV
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Resume
  • Résumé

This is your first step in building a simple but effective string of words.

Step 2

Now although this isn’t necessary, it might be useful to think about the format the candidate has saved his or her file as. Have they saved it as .doc or .pdf? Even if they’ve saved it as a newer Microsoft version .docx, never fear, because Google, Yahoo and Bing are smart enough to understand and will still accept .doc.

So you will have built a search like this:

(cv OR “curriculum vitae” OR resume OR “résumé”) 

And make sure the file format is written like this:

(filetype:doc OR filetype:pdf)

By doing this you’ve made your search more unique and focused, with your search now displaying a large pool of CVs. However, this can still result in CV templates and samples being added to your search, which is something you don’t want to happen. The next step is removing these from your search.

Step 3

To further specify your search it’s now time to remove the false-positives by identifying the keywords you don’t want to include in your search. These keywords might include CV templates, CV samples, tutorial or builder. To remove these from your search you will have to include a minus(-) into your search. Your search should come out looking something like this:

(cv OR “curriculum vitae” OR resume OR “résumé”) 

(filetype:doc OR filetype:pdf)

-template -sample -example -tutorial -builder

Now that you’ve got rid of the incorrect patterns and removed what you didn’t want, you’re starting to see the results that you were waiting ever so patiently for!

Step 4

And lastly, we now need to add the skills and location of the candidate. So if you were looking for a HR Manager, with recruiting experience in New York, your whole search would look something a little like this:

(cv OR “curriculum vitae” OR resume OR “résumé”) 

(filetype:doc OR filetype:pdf)

-template -sample -example -tutorial -builder

(“hr manager” OR “hr * manager” OR “human resources manager” OR “human resources business partner”)

(recruiting OR recruitment OR staffing OR talent)

“new york”

By using this search you can now find quality candidates. Again, filter your search and focus on exactly what you’re looking for. Use this for the job that you are trying to fill but remember, Google has a 32 word limit for strings so make sure you don’t exceed that amount. You’re layering each search, so again, remember to add or remove what you do and don’t want.

It’s now time for you to go out on your own and put what you’ve learned into practice. Boost your chances of finding your ideal candidate by creating a flawless sourcing strategy! This is an exercise about finding the right patterns and building your very own searches. If you get it wrong then not to worry, you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes and tweak what you’ve based on the knowledge you now possess. Good luck!

Did you find these search techniques useful? If you want to source the best candidates before anyone else, then make sure to check out our Sourcing Training today!

Find out why over 400 staffing
firms choose SocialTalent Evolve


Find out how you can increase your revenue and profitability
with Evolve from SocialTalent