GM Leader Shares Semantic Search Secrets to Up Your Talent Sourcing Game

February 28th, 2017 Comments off
GM Exec Shares Semantic Search Secrets to Up Your Talent Sourcing Game

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.

Simplify your resume search and find candidates faster with CareerBuilder Search.

Boolean Search Secrets to Make You More Effective

January 11th, 2017 Comments off
Boolean Search Secrets to Make You More Effective

If you’ve been in the HR space as long as I have, you know the hardest part of recruiting used to be knowing how to find the people you wanted to hire. Recruiters often played the role of detectives who used ruses and telephone networking techniques to lead them to the candidates they wanted to interact with. The technology is different today but the basics of HR are still the same.

How Recruiters’ Jobs Have Evolved

Until the mid-1990’s, Boolean logic — the foundation of Boolean search — was the exclusive province of librarians, lawyers and software developers. As the World Wide Web emerged, Boolean search came of age as one of the primary tools of recruiters around the world. Boolean search involves using specific logic and special ‘operators’ to dig deeper into search engines like Google.

Today recruiters have access to an abundance of information about prospective employees using the leading search engines. Finding what they’re looking for involves being able to be specific enough.

Tips and Tricks You Can Start Using Now

Boolean operators can be used to narrow, expand or refine the results of a search query:

• OR means that the search results should include either of two terms. i.e.,
MBA OR Masters of Business Administration
The search results will include either of the two terms but not necessarily both. You can make long strings of OR to make sure that a large range of terms are included.
• AND means that the search results should include both terms. i.e.,
Java AND C++
All search results will include both terms.
• NOT means that the following term should be excluded from search results. i.e.,
Java NOT C++
The search results will include the first term and will exclude results that contain the second term.

In addition to these core operators, Boolean includes powerful modifiers

• Quotation Marks “__“ mean that the search engine should treat the words inside of the quotation makes as a single search term. The search query “baseball player” returns documents with those two words together. Without the quotes, the search results contain documents with those words anywhere, not necessarily next to each other
• Parentheses (_____) are especially useful with long strings of OR queries. i.e.,
(Java OR C++ OR Ruby OR JavaScript)
• Asterisk * (or Wildcard) allows the search to contain the stem of a word. The search develop* would return results with any of the following words: develops, developer, developers, development, developments, developing

Connecting With Candidates Using Search

When this all began, more than 20 years ago, using search to solve problems was a novelty. Back then, the notion of Boolean search referred to the use of terms like OR, AND or NOT to increase the effectiveness of a query. In the intervening years, all search engines have added advanced search capabilities that include a variety of terms and symbols to expand the effectiveness of the user.

Each database that you use to discover candidates will have some advanced search capabilities. They might include:

• Date ranges so that you can search only documents that emerged in the last month, last year or in a specific time frame.
• Document types so that you can specify PDF, doc, docx, xls or ppt for example. Search results will only contain these types of files.
• Specific domains: This modifier forces the search to only look at a specific domain. This is useful to search competitor websites.

Developing strong skills in search techniques makes the difference in the quality of recruiting results. The more a recruiter can unearth results from easily available sources, the more valuable he or she is to the organization. Boolean search techniques matter because they provide a competitive differentiation.

Are you doing what it takes to stand out from the competition?

Want to become a pro in the fundamentals of Boolean search? Check out our guide to learn how sourcing masters use Boolean to tap into talent across the web. 

Candidate Sourcing Secrets From GM’s Global Sourcing Manager

September 21st, 2016 Comments off
Sourcing Secrets From General Motors' Global Sourcing Manager

Ever wonder if there’s a more time- and cost-efficient way to source and screen candidates? To answer these important questions, we spoke to one of the best in the business: Will Maurer, global sourcing manager at General Motors. He offered up some real-life examples and insights on how to expand your sourcing skill set, work more effectively with hiring managers, get the most out of your database — and take your sourcing strategy to the next level.

How can sourcers/recruiters work with hiring managers to more effectively deliver better candidates? 

There are many skills that are required and many techniques that can be leveraged in order to increase your effectiveness when working with a hiring manager. It all starts with cultivating a strong partnership. I emphasize the word “partnership” because I think it’s imperative that you are seen as a trusted advisor and not simply an order-taker.

In order to be viewed as a partner, you need to gain credibility. One of the things that can help immensely is ensuring you are prepared for the initial intake session. Simply bringing the job description and checking off some boxes won’t get it done. One of the ways that we achieve this is by acquiring labor market data as it relates to the role and then studying it so we are able to speak to it. It helps establish you as a subject matter expert, shows that you’re prepared, and stimulates higher-level strategic conversations.

As W. Edwards Deming said, ‘without data you’re just another person with an opinion.’ Data can be very impactful. It brings validity to your insights, which is crucial when setting expectations or establishing an overall strategy.

I think you also need to bring what are commonly referred to as “calibration resumes.” These are resumes that you have identified as possible prospects based on the job description. Walking through these resumes opens a discussion regarding the role, the team, and the requirements and will help you hone in what the hiring manager is looking for. Again, the focus is to gain credibility because the most important thing you can do to work effectively with hiring managers is to ask them to be part of the process. Our goal is to turn everyone in our organization into recruiters, especially our hiring managers.

Will Maurer, Global Sourcing Manager, General Motors

Will Maurer, Global Sourcing Manager, General Motors

When you think about it, hiring managers are probably best positioned to fill their own roles. They will typically have a robust network of people that operate in their field if they have been doing it a while. They also have the ability to tell their story and share how working for their current organization has impacted their career. This is very powerful when talking to a potential candidate. Don’t assume that hiring managers automatically know how important they are in the process. Educate them. You can help them tap into their network and establish their own unique value proposition. Once they understand how impactful they can be in the process and how important their contributions are in today’s market, they can be a phenomenal resource.

Once you have established that partnership, it’s also important to note that you can’t stop there. Communication, accessibility and follow-through are key in keeping that relationship strong.

As a sourcer, how can you get the most out of your database and the tools you have at your fingertips?

It’s important to understand not just the tools at your disposal on a surface level, but also the nuances of each tool. This includes features that have been developed to improve your overall efficiency and effectiveness. We have created a scorecard to evaluate our various sourcing tools. Naturally we look at the number of results or candidate profiles that a tool can generate, but we also look at its efficacy within a particular set of skills and any features that streamline or simplify our processes.

The idea behind this is that we identify the tools that can have the greatest impact within each functional vertical. This is vital.

I think that tool selection and evaluation is an important concept that is often overlooked. It’s easy to get lost in the myriad of products available and find yourself in a situation where you are ‘dabbling’ with many potential solutions instead of maximizing your performance with the key tools at your disposal. I would never discourage trying different avenues and continuing to innovate but I think that you need to establish what tools are going to be at the foundation of your sourcing strategy.

Once those tools are identified, it really comes down to being committed to learning the tool and the vendor having the ability to provide continuous education. We put a lot of emphasis on our suppliers being accessible and providing training not just at the time of implementation, but throughout our relationship with that vendor. Having a competent and readily accessible support staff is very important.

For someone looking to become a more advanced “modern-day sourcer,” what would you recommend to help expand their skill set?

What prompted the “Modern Day Sourcer” were some observations I had made when attending various conferences that were tied to talent acquisition. It occurred to me that in some instances there was a gap between how companies defined a sourcing professional and what I believe is truly needed to be successful in this space.

There is no doubt that someone in a sourcing role needs to be a search expert, but I think there’s more than that. The labor market, candidate expectations, and how candidates select employers have evolved since I began in talent acquisition several years ago. Additional skills are required.

First of all, it’s important that you are a student of your craft. If at any point you think you have this business completely figured out, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.

There are so many resources out there to help keep you informed about our industry. There are websites, blogs, workshops, conferences, certifications, training curriculums, and more. Personally, I make it a goal to obtain a new certification each year. Make an effort to educate yourself and learn something new every day. I would start with your current organization. Educate yourself on how your business fits into the market, how the various business units interact, and how talent acquisition fits in the company as a whole. This goes a long way when trying to gain credibility and present yourself as an advisor.

Also, don’t forget about the skills outside of putting together Boolean searches or interviewing prospects. Presentation skills, overall communication skills, the ability to build and document a comprehensive strategy, and adopting a marketer’s mindset are some of the things that are important as you embark on your journey towards being a talent ambassador, educator and strategic partner.

When working on these other skills, you need to have the ability to humble yourself, put yourself out there and get feedback from your colleagues. Ask them to observe you. Then ask for feedback and look for common themes. Once you have identified potential areas of improvement, you can formulate a strategy to work on those areas and implement it accordingly. You can also look for special programs to help build these skills. If you’re struggling for an answer, go to your manager and ask for his or her insight. I am always thrilled when a team member comes to me looking for ways to better themselves and we can usually figure something out together.

Want to simplify your resume search and find candidates faster? See how CareerBuilder Search Pro can help.

Become a Sourcing Pro: Boolean Search Fundamentals

June 10th, 2016 Comments off
Become a Sourcing Pro: Boolean Search Fundamentals

Sifting through thousands of resumes in a database to find that one perfect candidate can be demanding — but it doesn’t need to be complicated. To quickly and effectively source candidates for your specific open jobs, you need to learn the language of your resume database: Boolean.

You need to know how to perform a Boolean search, a simple way to search by keywords and broaden or narrow your results as you need. You can boost the quality of your search results, get a leg up on the competition and hire candidates faster with this guide to Boolean search fundamentals.

This guide will introduce Boolean search fundamentals, such as:

  • Why it’s important to know Boolean
  • Expanding your search for candidates
  • Narrowing resume results
  • Excluding candidates that may not be relevant


Download the guide today and you’ll be on your way to becoming a sourcing pro in no time!

Easy Ways to Save Money and Still Land Top Talent

April 15th, 2016 Comments off
Contextual search

Every company has cost-saving initiatives — some look to purchase materials that are less expensive while others seek to improve productivity and streamline processes. There are undoubtedly organizations that need to take more drastic steps, such as reducing salaries to meet cost-cutting goals.

In this last instance of adjusting salaries, labor market data can help your company make strategic recruitment decisions to source talent that may accept a lower starting salary — thus hopefully avoiding the need to cut compensation at a later date.

Emsi Analytics provides workforce data compiled from over 90 different sources in the U.S., including current compensation for each career. Examining the available data can help your company identify geographic markets that may offer top talent at a lower annual salary.

Let’s take a look at one example – sourcing for HR generalists on national and local levels – and derive some best practices.

Start wide and look for remote workers

National Salaries - HR Generalists


Using data and a map from Emsi Analytics, we are able to visualize the median hourly earnings of HR generalists on a national sale, and segmented into counties. You can see how heavily-populated areas correlate to higher salaries in the surrounding areas.

While not every position at your company can be staffed effectively by a remote employee, starting your search with a zoomed-out view demonstrates the savings on salary that may be associated with sourcing a remote worker.

Get granular when searching locally

Chicago Salaries - HR Generalists

A valuable labor market data tool should have the ability to pull detail that is specific to your exact local market. Emsi Analytics can provide salary details down to the county-level, so for this example, let’s examine counties in the Chicago area.

Containing Chicago — a large, densely-populated city — Cook County has the highest hourly pay for HR generalists in the area. If your company is located in the southwest area of Cook County and you are looking to save on salaries, consider advertising and sourcing in Will County where the median hourly earnings are $3.20 less than in Cook County. For a full-time role, this would equal over $6,600 in annual savings to the company.


Learn more about Emsi Analytics and the impact actual labor market data can have on your recruitment efforts.

Average is Over: Sourcing and Hiring Amazing Talent Starts Now

October 16th, 2015 Comments off
Average is Over: Sourcing and Hiring Amazing Talent Starts Now

In 1997, Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Company coined the term “war for talent.” In retrospect, the old war for talent seems quaint. Candidates only used an average of two sources to find a job. Recruiters used three systems that drove the hiring lifecycle: the telephone, the fax machine and the nascent platform known as email.

Modern candidate behavior has evolved. People use about 18 different sources to find a job, which include everything from talent networks to neighborhood social networking sites. Today’s recruiters have to manage a crushing pile of paper and digital data. They do this while navigating resume databases, social media hubs, and career sites that all flow into the holy trinity of the ATS, CRM and HRIS platforms.

Technology is not done changing the way we source and hire candidates. Talent advisors need to think strategically, from the moment they are handed an open requisition to the second they close the deal.

Here are some ideas to use cutting-edge recruitment technology to get the most bang for your buck — from sourcing to hiring.

Work collaboratively to understand recruitment technology needs.

Very few recruiting teams get to refresh their technology platforms on a regular basis, so it is important to understand the future talent needs of your company. Consider how you will work in 2025. Reflect on organizational behaviors and communication patterns. Before you buy anything, consider how recruitment and sourcing technology can best serve the needs of multiple constituencies — from supervisors to shareholders.

Have some pride. You deserve the best of the best.

Your CEO expects you to create the best candidate experience possible while providing resumes and CVs to your hiring managers in a fast and efficient way. On top of that, you are expected to build a community and keep in touch with passive talent while providing your leadership team with easy-to-consume analytics. You need versatile, flexible technology solutions that are priced competitively. A typical application process has a 95 percent drop off rate, which is why offering an inclusive candidate experience is key.

Communicate your culture and atmosphere.

Your company has a story to tell, and it is being told — whether or not you are the primary narrator. Gone are the days of a divided brand where consumer sentiment and candidate sentiment are two different things. Leading-edge recruitment technology can help even the most overburdened talent professional work with her internal partners and craft a communications strategy.

One more thing. Average is over!

Technology stagnation kills innovation. Third-rate tech that offers some of what you need at the expense of other important factors should no longer be tolerated. The savviest talent advisors demand extra effort from their technology partners to help source, recruit and hire amazing people in the marketplace. You should ask: Who is my project manager? Who are the key people who will support me in achieving my goals? Will they be able to coach me to improve my current processes? Will I have technical support and will I be able to talk to a live person when I have questions?

If you are not getting the help you need, it is time to speak up. Ask for new ideas, new leadership or fresh partners to help your talent acquisition team accomplish its amazing goals. Ensure you have a project manager. Know the key people who will support you in achieving your goals. Ensure you will have tech support after implementation.

Average is over in the recruitment technology space. Start sourcing and hiring amazing talent by using the proper recruitment technology and partners who can help you win the war for talent in 2015 and beyond.

Throughout the month of October, our resident talent advisors are focused on all things HR technology. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions and learn about the latest trends in HR tech.