In the last 3 years I have become obsessively interested in social recruiting, and using social media for public relations, talent attraction and certainly passive talent sourcing. I'm sure that any recruiter in Sydney by now has a 'cheat sheet' on their desk with a reliable and changeable search string right? It's an unavoidable subject and I so love hearing from rookies to experienced high level professionals on how they were able to snag that deal from a search string... in fact there have been have so many conferences and training sessions offered on search strings and using the Internet for sourcing - and yet - the majority of recruitment consultants I talk to are not very enthusiastic about it!
Here are a few reasons why you may find it worked for you once or twice, but you don't put much stock in it now:
1. Someone gave you a cheat sheet / quick guide to creating a search string. You used it and for a while it probably worked well. But then, LinkedIn changed something, and then google changed something and now all you get is a bunch of junk returns. (the person in their wisdom probably called it a 'hack')
2. You used a regular Boolean string with a blueprint of 1 or 2 job titles and the candidates you really want simply refused to just SEO their profiles correctly! @&^%
3. You didn't use all the space in the search bar. It got too difficult when you couldn't see the whole string right? How were you supposed to know what you had typed?
4. You don't record and track your efforts. By the way how do you cope with coming up with a totally awesome search string that returned placeable results but then you forgot it? I did that... once.
5. You are a great sales person and you just don't have the time to chase rabbits down holes if it isn't apparent you can place those rabbits (this isn't a bad thing - but it's probably the main reason why you don't get excited by internet sourcing)
This is just my opinion, but the sourcing function is not something you can expect people to multi-task with. It's great that every decent recruiter knows how to put a search string into a semblance of practice, but in order for your business to develop talent pipe-lining effectively to cope with this changing world of talent and work, you must develop someone with recruitment experience who has high attention to detail, and is obsessive about process and organisation. The person you choose should show a pro-active interest in investigative techniques. This is more than likely not the highest biller / best sales person in your team, although it could be - and you will need to change the remuneration structure for this person. I have tried some really successful strategies on this but needed to think very creatively to get there
On a side note - this youtube link will take you to a thought provoking session from a TED talk a few years ago with Sir Ken Robinson. It's awesome and a good investment of your time on the trip home from a dull day at work... not sure about you but as someone with no tertiary qualification YET I am working my way through the part-time open education system and it can be stifling - especially around all things Social Media! Anyway, as always I appreciate your thoughts... Sir Ken Robinson - Creativity