3 ways to improve your resume database search

January 29, 2019 Mary Lorenz

Having a large database of resumes from which to source may be the ideal, but it can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the larger your resume database, the more likely it is that your ideal candidate is in there, just waiting to be found. On the other hand, the more difficult it is to conduct efficient searches. Here are some tips to help you improve your resume database search and find the right candidates even faster.

1. Give your database the Marie Kondo treatment
Your recruiting database is a lot like your home: The more clutter you’ve accumulated, the less likely you are to find what you really need. Take some time to go through your resume database to update any old or outdated resumes and remove any duplicates. Establish and share a process for screening and categorizing resumes for everyone who uses your database. The more organized your resume database, the easier it will be to search and find relevant candidates.

2. Master the art of Boolean search
Boolean search writing is a skill that helps recruiters and other talent acquisition professionals get meaningful candidate search results from both online resume databases and their own applicant tracking systems. Use the following tips (from CareerBuilder’s guide to Boolean search fundamentals):

Search specific phrases using quotes
Quotation marks are useful when you’re searching for a specific phrase. If, for example, you’re looking for a licensed social worker, using quotes around the phrase will ensure all search results contain the exact phrase you entered. Otherwise, simply typing the phrase licensed social worker (with no quotation marks) will give you all results with the words licensed, social and worker within them, but not necessarily together.

Narrow your results with AND
AND ensures that all search terms appear in the results. For example, if you’re looking for nurses who also have management experience, typing in nurse AND manager will generate only results that include both the words nurse and manager in them.

Expand your search with OR
OR expands your search. This can be especially helpful for job titles that go by different names. For example, if you’re searching for a licensed social worker, you might want to expand your search by typing in “licensed clinical social worker” OR “licensed social worker” (and remember to use those quotation marks)

Specify what you don’t want with NOT
NOT helps you narrow your search to ensure certain words or phrases do not show up in search results. For example, searching architect NOT “software architect’” will give you results that contain the word architect, but leaving out any that use the phrase “software architect.” (Note, however, that Google doesn’t recognize the NOT command)

Break up search strings with parentheses ()
Parentheses help when you need to use more than one Boolean search element, like OR and AND. For example, if you’re looking for a benefits administrator for your HR team, your search might look something like (“HR” OR “human resources”) AND (benefits OR “benefits administrator”)

Keep in mind that Boolean search operators are case sensitive, so for Boolean search operators to work, you must use all caps (e.g. OR instead of or).

3. Take advantage of semantic search technology
Semantic search bridges the gap between how job seekers describe themselves in their application materials and what keywords and terms recruiters use to source candidates – without the need to use Boolean search techniques. When sourcing candidates, semantic search technology automatically applies related keywords – such as job titles and skills – to each term used, broadening your relevant results.

Semantic search is particularly useful when sourcing for a position that might go by multiple job titles. For example, you might type in the term “sales representative,” and semantic search technology will apply related terms automatically, such as sales associate, sales agent, sales and service associate, salesman, sales advisor, lead sales, sales lead, sales rep, sales person and sales associate.

None of this is to say, however, that your Boolean search abilities are ever wasted. When combined with Boolean search terms, semantic search technology helps you cast an even wider net to find all relevant candidates associated with your search terms. To get the most out of your external resume database, look for a partner that allows semantic search and Boolean search techniques to co-exist.

Want to dig deeper? See how you can use your resume database to build a robust talent pipeline.



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