Keywords, the foundation of search.

The foundation of searchDid you Know?
Databases and search engines don’t know what your keywords mean, they don’t understand meaning any more than they understand humor or sarcasm.

Did you Know?
Word associations are more important to search performance than the meaning of the actual word.

Did you Know?
Unintended and inappropriate search results matched to keywords is the biggest time wasters we face as recruiters.

There doesn’t seem to be much information available about the mechanics of keyword search for recruiters. This is because a template style for search string use has been enthusiastically adopted by the industry. Scan thru all the articles and blogs on the internet and you will find many of them presenting different search strings for recruiters to use as templates, or articles about tools taking the query creation out of the hands of recruiters.

After two decades that I have been in recruitment, I am now convinced that more training in the basics doesn’t begin to tilt the scales of misinformation about search techniques. By now you must have seen or read countless articles showing you super queries and giving you tips and tricks to finding candidates. You have tried many and found that they don’t seem to work. Either they are too complicated or you feel like you are doing something wrong. No matter what you try you can’t seem to get the results that those articles claim you should have.

These range from articles on Boolean operators, to blog posts about advanced search commands or new tools to try. They are full of keywords sprinkled with a little strategy mumbo jumbo to make it just confusing enough. All these articles on super queries without the information on the mechanics of search are equal to teaching someone how to use a screwdriver to fix a car!
You can show someone where to place the screwdriver, how much pressure to place on it, and which direction to turn it to. Being shown how to do that doesn’t prepare anyone to fix the next car. No more than showing someone how to use a syringe teaches them to cure a disease.

The need is not in knowing how to use an advanced search command. The real need now is to understand the principles at work that made those specific techniques work. The need is to learn why advanced commands work the way they do or how they modify the query structure. At the very core of that are keywords.

Searching with keywords is a complex subject that it’s getting more complex all the time. Learning to search for candidates takes more than knowing advanced commands. Like anything worthwhile, understanding the mechanics of search and using them skillfully takes effort and thought. It takes time and practice. This is especially so as a lot of the techniques don’t come naturally.

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