The thing is, X Ray Searching isn’t rocket science, you certainly don’t have to spend years studying it at Hogwarts (poor Harry Potter Reference there! I really need to get out more). I digress, it will happen A LOT, but bear with me it will be worth it.
In this latest recruitment hack, I want to show you how to use search operators on both Google and Bing. I can hear the ‘BING!!’, Antony, the 90’s called and want there search engine back echoing through the internet. Hopefully by the end of this article you will agree with me that when it comes to x ray search, Bing rules the roost.
X Ray Search Basics
X Ray Search from the recruiters perspective is mostly done to query LinkedIn without having to use LinkedIn’s restrictive search functions.
The advanced operators provided by search engines can provide so much more information, you could build an entire market from publicly available information.
These operators are brilliant on their own but when combined together they really can help you unlock the internet, using it as a sourcing playground.
Easy X Ray Search Operators
The site operator is available on both Google and Bing, allowing you to search a specific site for information. This is mostly used by X Ray searchers to query LinkedIn, “regulatory affairs” site:linkedin.com
We put our main term in speech marks, e.g “keyword 1 keyword 2” to ensure the search engine keeps those words together. So let’s refine our search a little using some more operators.
The – operator can be a little tricky to use as it has two meanings. It can be used to join words together to let search engines know of their combined importance, e.g ‘regulatory-affairs’ OR it can be used to remove items from the results, if we wanted to remove topics from our search, our query would be:
“regulatory affairs” site:linkedin.com -topic There are many ways to combine these search operators, to get results with lots of information widely available, Boolean Black belt has an awesome resource on x ray searching. You should definitely check it out.
What I want to show you is how to build on that boolean searching knowledge to find almost anything. Ready? good, lets go!
For these examples, we are going to be using Bing and Google. Whilst we can do them in Google, I find that Bing sometimes provides different results. This can help to build a broader x ray search profile.
In the examples below, we will be finding delegate lists for conferences, companies careers sites and much more.
The information we gather when x ray searching can be used for so much more than just playing with LinkedIn.
Let’s start easy and just look for people with online CV’s.
Sometimes we can search for candidates CV’s directly, based on specific keywords. For this search we used the filetype: operator, this allows us to only see results with a specific filetype.
This search operator is really useful as you will see in later examples. NOTE: in Google we use filetype: but in Bing we use ext:
Filetype is an incredibly powerful operator to x ray search with, it certainly should be added to your searching armoury. Now as recruiters, we are always pushed for time, our competitors nipping at our heels to get the candidate in their first.
So how can we ensure that we are covering our markets effectively and reaching all the candidates we can? This is where filetype becomes your best friend, lets see what we can find.
Lets see if we can find some delegate lists for a specific specialism. In this example we are going to look for numerous filetypes to give us a broad range of results. where we will refine our search is in the keywords we use.
Our initial search term looks like this:
filetype:doc OR filetype:xls OR filetype:pdf “delegate list” regulatory affairs.
These delegate lists provide an awesome starting point to find candidates you may not have found otherwise. In later articles, we go through how to use various tools to map out an entire market with contact details and it all starts with filetype, so definitely remember this one.
Looking for similar companies? Want to spec a candidate to more companies but don’t know where to start?
Why not try the related operator, to use it is simple it’s just related:domain.com. what this does is asks the search engine to bring back only results it considers are similar to the domain you provided. Let’s try it with cisco. Type related:cisco.com and see what happens.
Lets try and find some jobs on companies careers pages in one search. for this we do need Bing as it has a vast selection of operators. By the end of this example you should be able to see all the jobs in a specific market area.
Alongside the related search above, this slightly more advanced search allows us to find specific careers pages currently advertising opportunities. This x ray search is quite powerful, try the following search in bing.
loc:us intitle:careers pharmaceutical “market access” -linkedin -indeed
We are looking for market access jobs in the us and excluding linkedin and Indeed results.
Well that concludes part 1 of this rather lengthy series. Hopefully I have began to demonstrate just how useful x ray searching can be. I would highly recommend playing around with different search terms and operators and let me know how you get on.
Seriously, you can find all sorts of information, but that’s for another post. In later articles we show you how to combine these searches with other tools to fill in missing contact information and other cool tricks. See you soon!