Reverse Searching: An Idea That Might Stick

It’s Monday. Again. Maybe this morning you woke up tired of the hunt. And even though thousands of new pages are added to the Web each day, you’re just not inspired to extract the relevant ones this morning. So, don’t. That’s right, don’t. Stop for a while and build something where the candidates you need come and find you. Richard Seltzer refers to this as the “flypaper” technique-a rather apt term. We humans are social beings. We like to find others who share our interests, who speak our language, who think about similar things. The Internet connects us-whether we’re across the hall or across the world. It lets us find others who share our interests, our concerns, our passions. With them we can feed our social needs. The Internet makes it pretty easy to find communities of like minds. Simple searching for keywords– or for concepts that are important to us– leads us to them. But these aren’t communities in the typical sense. There’s not a central gathering place, per se. Rather, it’s a community built by the searcher who finds those who’ve created sites of interest. Who then takes the steps to contact the people associated with those sites. Who, in turn, stay in contact and who share other names. So, think. If you build a page highlighting information that the people you need are interested in, they will come to you. Let’s say you need a programmer with lots of languages and a few years of experience. Think of what she’s interested in, what she might search for. Competent programmers keep up on news related to their profession, sure. But more than that, there are additional interests. Use those, too. Perhaps she’d like to see a directory of all relevant newsgroups, or programming sites. Perhaps she’d like easy access to email addresses of others like her. Or you can also build from what you do know. If the firm you’re hunting for promotes social activism, chances are that their employees share that interest. Find out about what’s going on in that arena. Build a site that talks about programmers’ contributions to activism. Or maybe the company is located in Chicago, land of architectural wonder. Maybe the programmer you’re looking for has a passion for architecture– or blues. So, talk about the wonders of the cityscape and the myriad music venues. Create a guestbook. Invite feedback. Make your email address prominent. The idea is to give your visitors a variety of ways to make themselves known to you. Not all will have the skills you need, but many may. So build away. Forge a path. Create a virtual community where people will flock to you-like flies to flypaper.

Article Continues Below

Jennifer Hicks, a seasoned Internet researcher who writes extensively on the use of the Internet for job hunters and recruiters, is a contributor to AIRS research. The AIRS Search Guide acts as your personal trainer, guiding you through our Advanced Internet Recruitment Strategies (AIRS) in a highly illustrated offline magazine. Each issue is full of new sourcing strategies, search examples, step-by-step procedures, and AIRS latest research for finding high-value passive candidates on the Internet. Contact AIRS at