A critical part of a winning recruitment strategy is being able to proactively source the right candidates at the right time. Do you or your team use semantic search or resume parsing techniques today as part of your talent sourcing efforts, or are you planning to in the near future? What should you know about and expect from semantic search efforts?
Get semantic search secrets from a pro. We asked Will Maurer, global sourcing manager at General Motors, for his insights.
CB: What is your perception of semantic search within recruiting today?
WM: I have observed a major increase in the implementation of semantic search technology within our industry. Of course it was initially greeted with a number of questions and a certain level of skepticism. As I grew to understand the methodology behind semantic search it really started to make sense.
For years, recruiting and sourcing professionals have relied on complex Boolean searches in order to extract information from databases and the open web. It only makes sense that at some point technological advancement would intervene and make this process simpler for the user.
While I think a lot of folks still have questions around the methodology, there is little doubt that semantic search can be a big time saver. This becomes increasingly important in a corporate recruiting function, where people are balancing a number of responsibilities and may not have the time to generate a number of complex search strings.
CB: Where do you see semantic search impacting recruitment in the future?
WM: I see semantic search ultimately being a large time saver as well as a useful tool for those folks who may not be well versed in traditional search syntax.
Search strings, as we traditionally know them, can be cumbersome to someone breaking into the industry and anyone who has limited knowledge of the various facets of the skill set that they are trying to recruit for.
In this way, I see semantic search as a way to alleviate issues and ultimately get talent acquisition professionals to the types of the candidates that they’re looking for faster.
CB: How do you see semantic search and Boolean interacting?
WM: The interaction between semantic search and Boolean is an interesting topic to me, and it’s [a subject] I’ve heard a number of people take different stances on.
For me, personally, there is room for both in a proper sourcing strategy.
The fact that semantic search can identify a large number of the relevant keywords surrounding a concept or notion simplifies the process for a lot of people. Some would argue that you no longer have to do exhaustive research identifying alternate keywords and all of the different ways potential candidates can express similar ideas on their resume. While that can be valuable, I think there is always a place for Boolean in a precise and “deep dive” search.
I appreciate the fact that semantic search can help formulate searches by making certain assumptions for me, but I also believe that it’s not safe to assume. At times variations on keywords or concepts that are brought in by semantic search are not actually what I’m looking for. With that said, I do believe that as semantic search continues to evolve, the ability to manipulate the search and truly hone in will increase and may eliminate the need for traditional Boolean.