Mon, May 24, 2010
The goal of a good sourcing technology is to cut the searching and browsing time and get us on the phone with the right people. Semantic search is exciting news for recruiters and sourcers; it promises to enhance our lives by helping to find the right resumes and information easily and naturally. So, is the time of “Boolean” searches over and should we all move to use “Semantic” search instead?
I hoped to address this important question in a recent webinar I led for Monster, “Navigating Semantic Search”. As I stressed during the webinar, it’s crucial to find some clarity; let’s start by defining these terms and seeing how semantic search fits with our current recruiting and sourcing strategies.
Boolean (or Boolean logic) is AND OR and NOT. This is the way to express the logic of a search. Boolean logic is not difficult for most. As an example, a recruiter in IT would know what it means to look for a candidate who is a Java engineer with C# or C++ but is not a J2EE engineer. Boolean logic is combined with operators, special characters, and options, to form Boolean syntax – and that may be challenging to master.
Semantic is relating to meaning. Semantic search for recruiters, ideally, would let us enter a job description and get lists of matching candidates. Obviously, comparing Boolean – AND, OR and NOT – with Semantic – meaning – is not quite right. (Besides, Google and Social Networks do have some nice ways of addressing the meaning of a search; please review the slides for my presentation or read posts on my blog for some examples.)
With the upcoming semantic tools, recruiters hope for the following:
How would you pick and evaluate a semantic search tool for recruiting? Specific recruiting tools promise more than generic semantic search engines (such as Kosmix and Kngine, to name a couple). Semantic search for recruiters may be built on top of parsed sets of resumes or profiles, recognize the structure of a job description and of a resume, and keep and apply industry-specific knowledge. As an example, it may be capable of finding a candidate who is not a job hopper, comes from a good school, has consulting background, etc.
Monster’s new Power Resume Search is a nice example of a semantic technology capable of assessing a candidate using criteria like these. Your overall productivity solution will likely lie in combining Boolean searches on the web with semantic tools like Monster’s.
About the author: Irina Shamaeva is an Executive Recruiter, Expert Sourcer, and Partner at Brain Gain Recruiting, an executive search firm that specializes in placing senior level software development, IT, and strategy consulting candidates nationwide. She is an expert in semantic search technologies, an authority on advanced Internet sourcing techniques, and is a frequent presenter on Internet sourcing techniques. Last year she won SourceCon’s Grandmaster’s Challenge. She has created several successful recruiting communities and also maintains an active blog.