How to Find People in a Location

This weeks webinar is all about Location based Candidate Sourcing. Very often my sourcing demonstrations find candidates in big cities with big populations but what happens when you want candidates in a remote area with perhaps only a few thousand people in the population. This is a common problem and made even more difficult when the thousands of candidates from the big population centres come up first in searches of even worse the popular social sites wrongly claim that the remote candidate your looking for is based in a big city.

I recently ran a webinar on Google Plus for Recruiters and talked about the problems of finding Google profiles in a particular area. Glen Cathey had previously written on this topic and I developed a search tool to help with location based sourcing on Google Plus. This works quite well in finding profiles clearly identified with an area but the problem remains that very many profiles aren’t identified with an area and so are not found.

The essence of Location based sourcing is the same as skill based sourcing. That is, it is up the sourcer to think laterally about the problem and find the clues to complete the search.

I started my thought process by considering the profiles of people I know are in a remote location to see what it is that ties them to this place. Interestingly this approach is more likely to highlight the mis-information that appears on peoples profiles and is perhaps a lesson in what not to look for. LinkedIn, for example, list the location of a profile right under their name. With regard to remote locations this is probably more harm than good. LinkedIns areas are very wide and many are related to a main city rather than the much wider area actually covered. For example every LinkedIn profile with a Northern Ireland post code LinkedIn claims they are based in the city of Belfast.

I wondered how large some of these LinkedIn regions actually are and so with further research I found that South Africa, all 1,200,000 Km2 of it, is covered by less than 50 Linkedin areas. This certainly raises concerns about how much trust can be placed in LinkedIns information.

LinkedIn does allow post code radius searching and in countries with accurate geographically based post code systems this works well provided the person has told LinkedIn the post code where they live. (Many haven’t) After that the search becomes more interesting and relies on more subtle clues.

The benefit of searching a remote location is that there is a limit to the places you can look. A small amount of research can generally find most alternative employers, education establishments and local community information. All this is fantastic with regard to finding profiles associated with any of these entities. This is true of Linkedin and many other social platforms and web sites.

The beauty of social recruiting techniques is that today it can be a very subtle reference that can connect a person to a place. Perhaps Twitter can best demonstrate this as so many twitter accounts have a physical location a simple follow, re-tweet or comment on a particular account ties someone to this self forming geographical community. Simply by looking at the followers of a local twitter account is enough to find leads. The people you first find may not have the skill fit you’re looking for but given a small geographical area then almost certainly know someone who does.

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My next webiar is on the 2nd of August and I’m delighted that I’ll be joined by Jim Stroud. Jim is massively knowledgeable, intelligence and charismatic recruiter. A real voice of authority within the industry. He is a regular blogger and produces some fantastic videos on Recruitment and aspects of the industry.

Shane McCusker
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