The Big Deal about Bing for Sourcing and Recruiting

I’ve been a Google search fan for many years – since 1998, and I’ve used it exclusively for all of my search needs, both personal and professional.

Until recently.

That’s because I’ve discovered that Bing has a number of advantages over Google when it comes to sourcing candidates, including:

  • Cleaner, shorter, simpler and effective LinkedIn X-Ray searching
  • Effective Twitter X-Ray searching
  • Never doubting your humanity and refusing to run your more advanced queries
  • Configurable proximity (although I just learned Google has a similar capability)
  • Converting searches into RSS feeds

X-Ray Searching LinkedIn

I’ve been hacking away at public (and “private“) LinkedIn profiles for quite some time, and exclusively using Google to do so until a few months ago.

Once I started playing around with Bing to search LinkedIn, I quickly found out that Bing isn’t prone to refusing to run your searches like Google does when they politely inform you that they’re sorry, “but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.” In fact, Bing has never thought my LinkedIn X-Ray searches were malicious automated queries. Thanks Bing!

Additionally, Bing lets you specifically target LinkedIn profiles by simply adding “powered” to your search strings, instead of all of the things you need to include in a Google X-Ray search of LinkedIn to isolate profiles from other types of undesirable results, such as (inurl:pub | inurl:in) -intitle:directory -inurl:dir -inurl:jobs, and so on.

Bing also makes it very easy to find the full names of most “private” profiles and 3rd degree connections (for those using LinkedIn with a free account). In many cases, all you need to do is copy and paste the “headline” from the LinkedIn profile in question into Bing as a phrase in quotes to get the public profile you’re looking for.

For example:

Taking that headline and searching for it as a phrase in quotation marks on Bing, you will reveal the person’s public profile and full name. Notice that I didn’t have to add site:linkedin.com. If you encounter a profile with a very common/generic headline phrase, such as “Systems Engineer at IBM,” you may not get so lucky.

In cases such as those, all you need to do is use a unique combination of phrases/terms from the profile – any combination that is likely to isolate the specific LinkedIn profile you’re targeting. I find that using the headline, an exact current and/or previous title phrase, and an educational institution works well when the headline alone is very non-specific.

Bing Supports Proximity Search

I’ve written extensively on the topic of the power of proximity search – check out this post on extended Boolean and skip to Level 4 Talent Mining in this post – so I won’t go into deep detail here.

However, I will point out a few cool things you can do with Bing’s NEAR:x command.

When X-Ray searching LinkedIn, you can target current titles and companies when using Bing.

For example: site:linkedin.com powered current near:3 “engineer at Google” “san francisco bay area”

If you click on any of the cached results, you can see how Bing happily returned results of people who have the phrase “engineer at Google” in their current title field:

Bing’s support of configurable proximity search can also be very useful when searching for resumes on the Internet. Let’s say you wanted to find people who have had a specific responsibility, such as configuring juniper routers.

You could run a search like this: (inurl:resume OR intitle:resume) configuring near:5 juniper juniper near:5 routers

And see results like this:

Of course, there are many different ways to run that search – I only wanted to demonstrate the power of being able to control how close search terms are to each other, especially when targeting responsibilities, typically stated in verb/noun combinations. This allows you to perform semantic search at the sentence level.

X-Ray Searching Twitter

With Bing’s NEAR:x functionality, it is remarkably simple to X-Ray Twitter and target people in specific locations who mention specific titles and/or skill terms in their bios.

For example, let’s say you wanted to find Twitter profiles of user experience professionals who live in the New York area. You could run a search like this on Bing:

site:twitter.com bio near:15 UX location near:3 new york

You can see how Bing’s proximity search helps you target terms in Twitter bios and location text:

Viewing a cached result displays Bing’s NEAR:x flawless execution:

Of course, when searching Twitter, it is especially important to realize that people can be very creative in how they may describe themselves (titles, skills, etc.), their experience, and their location – they can enter whatever they want.

Unlike LinkedIn which generates location phrases based on the zip code a user has entered, in Twitter you can can enter anything you want. I’ve seen people who list “Narnia” as their location. :-)

Don’t care about searching Twitter? You should – Twitter has about twice as many users as LinkedIn. :-)

Convert Bing Searches into RSS Feeds

Most sourcers and recruiters are familiar with Google’s email alerts, but I don’t think many are familiar with Bing’s ability to convert searches into RSS feeds.

Using the Bing X-Ray search for engineers at Google from above, here is what you will find in the address bar:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=site%3Alinkedin.com+powered+current+near%3A3+%22engineer+at+Google%22+%22san+francisco+bay+area%22&go=&form=QBRE

To which you can add &format=rss at the end, resulting in this:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=site%3Alinkedin.com+powered+current+near%3A3+%22engineer+at+Google%22+%22san+francisco+bay+area%22&go=&form=QBRE&format=rss

When you add &format=rss and hit “Enter,” you’ll see this:

Notice anything interesting about the results?

Of course, if you use Firefox, you could simply click here to accomplish the same thing:

If you use Internet Explorer, after adding &format=rss and hitting “Enter,” you can add the feed to your Favorites or subscribe to the resulting feed:

Do you think you might have a use for RSS feeds generated from LinkedIn X-Ray searches?

:-)

Final Thoughts

I still use Google – old habits die hard, and it’s a good search engine. Even if you are an avid fan and user of Google, Bing cannot be ignored by sourcers and recruiters. It would be folly to not exploit Bing’s many advantages that can be leveraged specifically for talent discovery and identification.

One of my next posts will be a proximity search shootout between Bing and Google, now that I’ve become aware that Google also supports configurable proximity (thanks Kelly!). I will also be exposing some of the limitations of Bing search, including search string length and not properly processing OR statements in certain search scenarios.

Stay tuned!

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About Glen Cathey

Glen Cathey is a sourcing and recruiting thought leader with over 16 years of experience working in large staffing agency and global RPO environments (>1,000 recruiters and nearly 100,000 hires annually). Starting out his career as a top producing recruiter, he quickly advanced into senior management roles and now currently serves as the SVP of Strategic Talent Acquisition and Innovation for Kforce, working out of their renowned National Recruiting Center with over 300 recruiters. Often requested to speak on sourcing and recruiting best practices, trends and strategies, Glen has traveled internationally to present at many talent acquisition conferences (5X LinkedIn Talent Connect - U.S. '10, '11, '12, Toronto '12, London '12, 2X Australasian Talent Conference - Sydney & Melbourne '11, '12, 6X SourceCon, 2X TruLondon, 2X HCI) and is regularly requested to present to companies (e.g., PwC, Deloitte, Intel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup, etc.). This blog is his personal passion and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone other than himself.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/sourcerkelly Kelly Dingee

    This is great Glen….and the RSS feed tip is excellent! Lately I’ve been having stunningly good results with Bing too, especially when it comes to LinkedIn. Quite often I’m getting straight profiles in my results and no need to declutter with keywords like “powered”.

    Thanks for the mention too :)

    Best,
    Kelly

  • Sara Ramirez Morales

    Great post! Although I did have a question…

    Does bing support the use of paranthesis to group term together

    eg: (data warehouse OR business intelligence)

    I’ve been playing around with bing since reading this and I can’t seem to get it to provide seacrh results when parenthesis are included.

    Any thoughts/help on this would be fantastic!

    Cheers,

    Sara

  • Kameron Swinton

    Glen –

    Have you tried the AROUND command that you referenced? I’ve found that the results are nowhere near as accurate as Bing’s configurable proximity. It does seem to be slightly better than using the asterisk but still Bing comes out the winner.

    -kameron

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  • Purandhar

    Great post. Thanks for the valuable info.

    Purandhar.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/hollyleuvelink Holly Leuvelink, ACIR, CDR, CSSR

    Hi Glen,
    I’m a big fan of Boolean Black Belt & find myself searching your site for sourcing tips and updates weekly! I ran into a NEW issue earlier this week while x-raying LinkedIn and was wondering if you or others had noticed this or found a solution yet. I plugged the following string into Bing
    site:linkedin.com (c++ | c) (device | “device drivers”) (“3d graphics” | “3d modeling” | “3d cad”) (“greater boston area” | “springfield, massachusetts area”) “profile powered by”
    I got 76 results. Not bad I thought until I began going through them. Several of the profiles were not from right geographic area (Canada, San Fran, etc.) but on the side of the profile was “find a different…” and there were profiles of other people with the same name. One was in fact from “greater boston area” but his skills were not a match to my search string. I have been tinkering with this for days trying to find a way around this. Any thoughts or suggestions???

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  • http://kimwilliam.co.cc/ Kim William

    [...] twitter. You can only find a very few percentage profiles over there. I was reading Glen Cathey’s The Big Deal about Bing for Sourcing and Recruiting the other day where he has given a smarter way to search Twitter profile. Hence, I decided to do [...]

  • http://www.lightshipresearch.org Sara Kmiecik

    Wow, great post! Thanks for all of this information – I have begun using Bing on a more regular basis.

  • Jung Kim

    Holly,

    I’ve been having the same problem too. When you review the cache page for each result you will see the following language “others named” OR “more professionals named” SEE BELOW for 2 search query examples:

    site:linkedin.com “current *** statistical analyst” “greater chicago area” -“others named” powered (12 results)

    site:linkedin.com “current *** statistical analyst” “greater chicago area” -“more professionals named” powered (14 results)

  • Murali

    Hey Jung,

    Bing doesn’t support Asterisk. Try using near proximity search then u may get some relevant results.

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  • Kristian Woods

    Can someone please explain the near:15 and near:3 in this example? 
    site:twitter.com bio near:15 UX location near:3 new york

    Thanks!

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