According to website del.icio.us, "Folders were the old way to organize your bookmarks. They were great if you only had a few bookmarks and a few folders, but as your collection grew, it became harder and harder to decide what goes where. Delicious has a new and better way: tags."

Tags were also popularized by Flickr - the photo sharing website - as a way in which to categorize photos - who's in them, when they were taken, where they were taken, by season, holiday, event type, etc. - for easy retrieval. Since photos don't contain words, you can't search on them to find them. Simple concept for a complex issue; put searchable words to images.

Speaking of complex, a person that we are trying to recruit is certainly very complex thing. Arguably, people may be more complex than photos. Further, a resume, if we're lucky enough to have one, tells us what the person thinks of themselves, not a representation of what we, the recruiter or hiring manager, thinks of them. So why not use tags as a way to organize our complex set of candidate data in a Recruiting CRM system? Example tags might be java guru, high producer, bilingual, competitor employee, holiday card list, global experience, director level, six sigma, and the list goes on. Now I can retrieve candidates in my search by tags and am no longer limited to boolean every time I need to find someone in my database.

Now imagine that you have multiple recruiters on a system. You can leverage other people's tags and the system wide tag cloud to find candidates already in the database. You can quickly see how powerful it becomes and how the network effect comes into play. Enterprise 2.0 meets Recruiting 2.0.

Simple solution to a complex issue.

Views: 33

Comment by Slouch on August 20, 2008 at 8:56am
Hey Michael, this may be a dumb response to your post but if you index every resume, then does it not achieve the same? the issue with tagging is that everyone will tag the same thing differently. If you standardize the tags, is it not the same as indexing all of the text? I use to use a system called DT search which indexed and it was one of the most valuable pieces of software I ever used.
Comment by Michael Johnson on August 20, 2008 at 1:10pm
There are no dumb responses on Recruitingblogs! :-) Indexing is also very key and I'm not suggesting that one replaces the other. In our CRM search engine we still maintain boolean search but also have the custom operator "tag:" to search based on tags. In most instances, the recruiters search string will be a hybrid of boolean and custom operators to get at the data they want to see.

The point with tags is that you WANT individual users to tag things the way they see them. If the tag already exists in the system then great, use it instead of creating a new one. But if I look at a resume and/or engage with a candidate I will have my own thoughts and opinions about that person. Some of that might be basic keyword information that I might find on their resume in a search like bilingual, stanford undergrad, MBA, CPA, C++, etc. However, as a recruiter tagging someone as "C++ guru" versus searching for the keyword C++ in their resume are very different. Once I've determined that they are a guru and tagged them as such I want to be able to quickly get back to those candidates without sifting through the ones that have C++ in their resume but I've already determined their skill level is not up to snuff with what I need. Same holds true for "bilingual" - I've determined that their level of language fluency in a second language deserves the tag "bilingual". As well, the keyword "stanford" may bring back people that worked there, have the last name Stanford, took a course there, etc. But I want to give the tag "stanford undergrad" for graduates so I don't have to sift through the others. Other tags that might never be in a resume would be things like internal referral, rehire eligable, former employee, level 1, level 2, level 3, etc. Tags are the most flexible way for users to organize voluminous, complex information for fast, easy retrieval, reducing time spent reviewing resumes when you get the job order that needed to be filled yesterday (that never happens right? :-)

In an enterprise situation with multiple recruiters you may want to create a set of standardized, system-wide tags. An example of that might be levels, bands, users, clients, etc. Tag clouds are just a nice visual to see what the most popular tags in the system are. In our Recruiting CRM we provide the user with a most frequently used tags list that is unique to the user - just a short cut for them really.

Did that help explain it?
Comment by Slouch on August 21, 2008 at 3:58pm
I think so. thanks for answering

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