The Power of Search – 5 ways to improve your candidate pool

In competitive hiring markets all around the world, recruiter success is defined by the ability to find high quality candidates.

But despite major investments in cutting-edge CRMs and job boards, many recruitment companies are accessing only a fraction of the talent discoverable through their existing resources – battling other agencies for the same candidates and struggling to gain a competitive advantage.

By unlocking the full power of advanced search, recruiters and agencies can expand talent pools by up to 100%, decreasing time to fill roles and uncovering exclusive talent pools.

The Challenge

The data around the quality of candidate searching in the recruitment industry makes alarming reading.

Across more than 10,000 recruiters internationally, serving a wide range of industries:

    • 48% of searches contain errors
    • 100% of recruiters could further increase their candidate pools
    • 100% could save time and optimise how recruiters work through search

In candidate-led markets experiencing talent shortages, these numbers not only reveal serious inefficiency, but also point out where recruiters might be missing out on opportunities to get a vital foothold over the competition. 

Although they may have access to premium resources such as LinkedIn, job boards and specialist CV databases, recruiters with sub-optimal search techniques uncover the same profiles as competing agencies and lack ways to deliver a differentiated solution to their clients. 

The answer, for many, is to layer on more resources – more job boards, more subscriptions…

But with other agencies also having easy access to the same tools, the problem persists. 

Building An Advantage Through Search

Rather than add more platforms, recruiters can vastly increase their relevant candidate pools by mastering some advanced search techniques which can produce up to a 100% uplift in talent pool size from the same tools they already use.

This competitive edge multiplied by the number of the recruiters in an agency and across all of their candidate platform subscriptions, can mean a game-changing increase in recruiter billings and a huge improvement on ROI from investments in existing resources. 

For no additional cost, time spent refining search processes can have an impact on bottom-line performance that is both immediate and sustainable. 


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5 Ways To Find Hidden Talent

1. Reversing job titles 

Though it seems counter intuitive, reversing common job titles in search queries can capture a whole new range of candidates who have written their job title in this way, either in their LinkedIn profile or their CV.

Adding ‘not’ to filter out the conventional job title narrows down the search to exclude profiles found by standard search techniques. 

Covering this angle in searches can quickly reveal candidates that are not only less likely to be found by other agencies, but are also less frequently contacted and may be more responsive to recruiter outreach. 

e.g. “Manager Quality Assurance” AND NOT “Quality Assurance Manager”

2. Removing asterisks

Despite common belief, asterisks do not work in many search platforms, and using them for ‘stemming’ (to find variations of a word) if asterisk search is not supported means losing out on large numbers of relevant profiles.

Instead, manually listing variations and full expressions can deliver up to 90% more profiles.

e.g. Engineer OR Engineering
3. Including abbreviations

Especially on social platforms (such as LinkedIn), candidates may use informal abbreviations of all or parts of their job titles.

Including these in search unlocks a previously untapped pool of highly relevant profiles that won’t show up in search results where the full word has been used to search.

e.g. Mgr OR Manager, (“Snr Developer” OR “Sr Developer”)

4. Capturing all versions 

Searching “HTML” won’t automatically find every version of HTML that a candidate may have written in their profile, such as HTML5.

The principle isn’t exclusive to technology searches, and is true across any markets where ‘versions’ of skills or qualifications exist.

Assuming that including part of the search term will return all variants leads to scores of missed profiles, where writing all variants out in full captures the complete talent pool.

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5. Splitting / combining words 

Often the spacing between words can be enough to generate up to 4x more profiles, where some CVs do and some don’t include a space.

e.g. Frontend OR “Front End”

What you’ll get from it

The ability to consistently find and engage quality candidates is the foundation of any successful recruitment desk, team or agency.

Mastering search guarantees a steady flow of relevant profiles and exclusive relationships, which significantly helps with beating competitors to each placement and strengthening client partnerships.

Getting ahead in candidate sourcing doesn’t necessarily mean purchasing yet more job board subscriptions.

Instead, learning to do more with existing resources can change the game – enabling recruiters to create more placements faster with the tools they already work with on a daily basis.