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Recruiters Use the Internet to Track Down the Best Job Candidates

March 18, 2001|RONALD D. WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Recruiters can troll through the endless array of resumes by doing straightforward Internet searches. But increasingly something more is required.

A consensus is building that it can be much more fruitful to search for so-called passive candidates even though they are much more difficult to locate. Passive candidates are proven performers who aren't actually looking for jobs, but would be willing to consider the right offer.

Finding and courting them require equal measures of cunning, imagination and the right kind of training. Thousands of recruiters already have learned the tricks of the trade from established players such as New Hampshire-based Advanced Internet Recruitment Strategies (AIRS) and from relative newcomers such as Texas-based Recruiters Dream Network.

These companies teach you to use Internet search engines and free software downloads to find passive candidates. Some of their techniques:

* Lurking: Join an online tech club, message board or newsgroup made up of members who have the skills you want. Read the message strings to see which member supplies the most information or is the person other members go to most for advice.

* X-Ray: This is the name of an AIRS search technique that can be used to browse through a company's public Web site. Example: You may find the employee directory, employee e-mail list and telephone list of "XYZ Corp." when you go to AltaVista's advanced search engine section and type host:xyz.com AND staff OR people OR team OR employees OR directory. Typically, this search lists only the company's upper-echelon employees.

* URL Peelback: A way to backtrack from one employee page to more general pages that can provide access to other employee pages. It works like this: The address of "Aaron Smith's" page at XYZ Corp. is www.xyz.com/staff/asmith. Delete or peel back "asmith" and you're on XYZ Corp.'s staff page, listing all employee with Web pages, providing you with more potential candidates.

* PowerSearch: There are Net searches and then there are refined Net searches. This AIRS technique uses another advanced AltaVista string. Using an advanced string like (url:resume OR title:resume) AND java And corba will give you a much more manageable list likely to include resumes of people familiar with CORBA object-oriented programming and the computer programming language called Java.

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