Let’s face it. Some people just don’t want attention. It’s hard to believe that. Especially in this over-hyped, over-socialized, and over-advertised world we live in.  But there are candidates on Linkedin, Twitter, websites, and job boards who don’t feel the need to cram tons of information about their experience in one place.

Other engineers do not put certain words on their resume because to their peers, the inference is common knowledge.

In fact, some candidates go out of their way to be shy, coy, or minimalistic about their experience. But some of these candidates could be very good. They might just not want to advertise to the world’s recruiters about who they are and what they do. So how do we find them? How do you find a C++ or C engineer without saying “C++”? How do you find a ruby developer without saying “Ruby” or “rails”? How do you find an accountant with Fixed Assets experience without saying “Fixed assets”?

Even though there are many potential candidates that use the words you might think in their profile, there are a pool of other candidates that are just as good who don’t have the one “buzzword” that you added in your string. So what is the solution? Search for other technologies, topics, companies, and things that this person may have on their resume without using the one word that you are focused on. Here are 3 examples:

1. DevOps Engineers – These engineers focus on several aspects of a company’s infrastructure. They are part Linux admins, part SCM (software configuration management), part systems/network monitoring, and part software support. Of course the overly-hyped buzzword is DevOps, or Service Engineer. But you can create a search string that focuses on the core pieces of their job function without searching for the “buzzword”. Sure, you might try the buzzword search first, but also try other things. So instead of searching:

devops AND linux

Try searching within Linkedin (local search):

linux (cacti OR nagios) (cfengine OR puppet) -devops

You will get engineers who do the job you’re recruiting for and they will be just as good as or better than the guy who didn’t happen to put the word “DevOps” on his resume. The trick is to describe other monitoring tools and SCM tools that these engineers use. I gave you a couple of easy ones but there are WAY more.

2. Fixed Assets Accountant – This is an easy job to search for. In reality, these accountants focus on a myriad of tasks that can include keeping track of the fixed assets in company, and depreciating the value of those assets as time goes on. This can be anything including office furniture, computers, etc.

After doing an easy search for:

"fixed assets" AND accountant

Try this within Linkedin (local search):

(physical OR asset OR assets OR merchandise) Depreciation (accounting OR accountant) -"fixed assets" -"fixed asset"

The alternative keywords were focused around the Fixed Asset piece and what happens to assets over time.

3. C or C++ software engineer for kernel or systems programming – This one might seem a little tough, but if you know what the engineer is working on, then you can come up with an alternative search that doesn’t include C or C++. You see, to an engineer who works on systems-level software or kernel software for an operating system, it goes without saying that you are probably using C/C++…and maybe assembly language. So how do you capture the OTHER candidates who don’t have C/C++ on their resume? You can talk about what it is that they are working on in combination with something concrete like a degree or company:

In Linkedin:

("software engineer" OR programmer OR developer) (bscs OR mscs OR "computer science") ("systems programming" OR "systems software" OR "system software" OR kernel) -c++ -c

Conclusion: There are many more ways to do something like this. Another way to search for a particular skill is to find a company that has that skill throughout their job descriptions, and then search for job titles of people from that company minus the skill you were looking for. Believe me, it works.

I’m open to hearing from the public about other searches that they think might work with this method of sourcing.

- Mark Tortorici

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