This article was originally published in the Recruitment special section of the June 12, 2000 issue of MassHighTech. Click here to return to Glenn's list of published articles.

How to Use the Web to Find Employees -- Fast
by Glenn Gutmacher,

The biggest impediment to growth of most promising New England high-tech companies isn’t money, it’s finding enough qualified employees to do the work. Today’s reality: just about every desirable candidate is already working somewhere else. Many workers aren’t necessarily searching for a new job, but would consider a good one if it were presented to them: what HR folks call "passive job seekers."

But you don’t have an unlimited budget to ferret them out, and the best-known methods are inherently problematic:

  1. Recruitment advertising is expensive and doesn't always find your target;
  2. Personal networking is too time-intensive;
  3. The resume databases of the big Internet job sites are so widely used that your recruiter is usually the 35th person to contact a candidate found there;
  4. The cost of enlisting headhunters, with rates typically at 25-30% of first-year salary, is prohibitive.

So you need inexpensive ways to find desirable people, and get them to leave their current job to work for you. You can achieve this by:

  1. Doing targeted searches using advanced Internet sourcing techniques for desirable candidates at companies experiencing mergers or layoffs, at competitors, etc., as well as at constant hotbeds of talent in transition (e.g., colleges with undergrads, grad students and faculty; continuing education programs with career changers; relocation companies who need to help workers’ spouses find work).
  2. Building (and continuing to add to) large databases of such desirable potential candidates in your area;
  3. Maintaining regular contact with all of these individuals, since you don’t know exactly when a given person is going to be ready to "jump ship."

Can you do all this without hiring a telemarketing phone bank? In this column, I'll show you some ways to do #1 for FREE; the rest I’ll cover in future articles.

Though there's no lack of Internet search engines, most don't support complex boolean searches. If you want to do narrow-targeted searching to find just resumes or people with specific skillsets, avoid Yahoo, Excite, etc. You need Infoseek, HotBot or my favorite, Altavista.

Let’s say you wanted to find resumes of web designers who know Javascript and live in Massachusetts (who wouldn’t?). Go to, click on the yellow Advanced Search folder tab, and in the Boolean Query box, type:

Then, in the “Sort by:” field, type:

Then click the Search button. Not bad, eh? If you had problems, make sure your spelling is exactly as above (e.g., there are no spaces on either side of the colons or asterisks). It’s like dialing a phone number-one digit off and you won’t get who you intended.)

The short version as to why this works is: in the first part of the Boolean search string above, we search for pages that contain resume or biography(ies) in the web address, title and body of the page; next, the skills web designer or graphic designer (each enclosed in quotation marks so it’s recognized as a phrase) and Javascript in the body; then the person’s area code; and finally, eliminate non-resume pages (e.g., employers’ job listing pages) which typically contain job, EOE or HR. The Sort By criteria insures that resume pages appear at the top of our results set.

You can, of course, substitute other values in the above template based on the candidate skillset and location you seek. It’s not just techies you can find this way. If you’re looking for customer service staff, you can substitute skill terms like ("customer service" OR "customer care" OR "help desk") - synonyms are important, because you’re searching by keywords, and if the candidate calls it one thing and you use different terminology for the same thing, there’s no match!

Other great places to find passive job seekers are virtual communities. These are mega-sites that provide free web page space, email, bulletin boards, chatrooms, etc., to individuals that let them express themselves and help them find others with similar interests. Their rapid growth has resulted in huge communities: some, like Angelfire, Geocities and Tripod, have millions of members EACH. As a result, larger Internet companies bought them and added more functionality, including advanced search.

For example, let’s say you wanted to find resumes of electrical engineers in Massachusetts. Just go to and in the Search box under “Explore Our Neighborhoods”, type:

Then click the Search button. Wonders never cease! Even many smaller (and more targeted) virtual communities can be searched this way. For example, visit for links to personal pages at particular U.S. colleges.

Glenn Gutmacher, President of, developed the Advanced Online Recruiting Techniques seminar in 1997. He can be reached at

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