Power Checks - Part 2

Last week we had a look at using some Boolean strings to reference check a developers java skills. This week i am going to look at how you can validate if a senior manager was a senior manager at a given time and in a given company as stated on his/her CV.

Let's take Mark O'Neill the CTO of Vordel a small Web Services Security start-up in Ireland as an example. So where do we start. Usually it's with the company's name and then it's with the URL of the archive site. Mark works for a company called Vordel and the site is http://www.archive.org/. Once you have these you click on the URL, go to the main search prompt, and type in the home web site of the company you are searching under. In this case Vordel. Give it a go.....Boom!!!... What you have in front of you is a cache of the website showing how the site looked at any given date. Generally it's collated on a monthly basis and it's tidy 'cause it's also done in yearly columns.

So let's have a look. Mark claimed that he was a manager in the company in 2002. To validate this I select the 2002 column and then pull one of the caches - let's say September for arguement sake. Amazingly, it brings us back in time and we can see from the home page his name being mentioned for an article he wrote. This is an added bonus. Usually, you wouldn't find his name on the home page. So let's go the normal route. He claimed to be a manager so let's think about it. Where would we find out about a manager on the web site. For me the best place to start is the "About section", or company information section on the menu bar. In Vordel's case their site wasn't the prettiest back in 2002, so it seems to be under More About Vordel.... Boom again!!... There he is, and we have a bio about him. And also some of the other managers he worked at which we could ask him if he would allow us reference check or even ring them for potential leads.

Give it a go with yourself or one of your own contacts and see if it works!

So now you know two different ways to do checks on candidates. Reference checks will never be the same!


Power checks - Part 1

We're all used to the classic form of reference checking where you ask a candidate you have made an offer to for usually two reference contacts for you to call. Generally, the reference is asked a number of standard questions trying to solicit if the candidate actually did what he said he did and reaffirming that the candidate was trustworthy, reliable, intelligent, etc.

Usually, these go smoothly and typically very little is learned about the candidate as the referee is usually very polite and possibly a personal friend of the candidate!

That's your classic reference check but there is a new way of doing it which is particularly powerful for validating the skills of developers or technical candidates. Not only can it validate domain skills it can also be a proactive way to dig up leads for other roles you may have.

Here's how it works. When conducting a power check the first thing I usually do is place the candidates name is quotation marks for e.g. I hired an engineer in my last company called "morten jorgensen". Morten claimed on his CV that he was a strong java developer. To test this i went into google groups to see if he had posted any technical questions or solved some other persons technical questions in one of the numerous IT forums that are running daily.

So I typed in "morten jorgensen" Boom!!! 5 lines down there he was asking a jde bug question, see here
Straight away I knew that he had done at least some level of coding which helped me validate his skills. But not only, was this pleasing to learn. It revealed loads of other data that could be used to conduct some guerrilla recruiting. It gave me the name of the forum he used. It gave me the email addresses of other like minded individuals and it gave me strings of solutions to the questions which could be used by hiring manager to design questions for interviewers. Next, I decided to dig a little deeper into Morten's technical online blueprint so I typed into Google's normal web search prompt "morten jorgensen" +@sun. It said on his CV that he had worked for Sun Microsystems so by using the @ plus company name I was able to fine tune my search and see a whole bart of questions he had been involved in, see here. Not only was I now a little more confident that Morten knew not just a little coding but a lot from the frequency and complexity of his posts but he seemed to be a well established coder answering other coder's questions as well. This information was very helpful for me and the hiring manager.

Power checks in my opinion are a good way to conduct some reference checks but they are also good ways to check candidate’s skills even before a candidate comes to interview. It may help a hiring manager tailorise a particular interviewing question and may allow you gauge before a candidate sits foot into an interviewing room how strong their technical skills are. Something often difficult to validate in the best of recruitment screening processes!

In the next blog i'll show you how to conduct a power check using archives. Particulalry useful if you are trying to validate if a candidate claims he was a manager in a company.


Will Google buy Monster???

Will Google buy Monster? Yahoo bought HotJobs and are doing quite nicely out of it so why not? With deep pockets, a track record of successful acquisitions (Deja News, Applied Semantic, Blogger, Picasa) and a passion for creativity Google are well positioned to create a Monster of their own with keyword arms, toolbar legs, and API eyes and ears the likes of which TMP and Mary Shelly in their wildest dreams could never have have imagined. Have a read of this very interesting article from Will Wolff and make up your own mind. If the Cyber Sleuth was a betting man he wouldn’t bet against it!

The world of recruitment is changing and changing fast. Google realise this and have done so far a long time now. The number one force driving and stimulating the global recruitment market is the Internet. No more than in the world of technical recruitment is this evident. We all know that there is a plethora of agencies to use to find software engineers, a plenitude of internet job boards in Ireland and abroad to canvass for CVs and a preponderance of domestic and international newspapers, niche technical magazines, trade shows and fairs to cast the recruitment net on, but, there is much much more. With the advance of Teoma, DogPile, AltasVista and Google; XML, robot technology, Pod Casting, Skype, Desktop search technology and a host of new gadgets and gizmos coming to the market the way in which we recruit is about to change forever. This blog is about such issues.

In the next few weeks I will research and comment on a variety of internet recrutment issues in an attempt to stimulate debate and dig up some of the newer and often stranger techniques being used in modern day recruitment. I will highlight some of the search engines that can be used to target passive candidates on the Internet. I will explain how a 19th century mathematician called George Boole will have a massive impact on the future of recruitment. I will give examples of how to find passive candidates in the deep web, how to flip and x-ray servers to pull up CVs, and explain how using advanced search functionality in Google just might, if you're lucky, locate Org Charts from companies that you have targeted for recruiting. Along the way I will be commenting on some of the movers and shakers in the industry. I'll also be checking out some of the new technologies that are affecting the recruitment industry on a global scale, and, i will be suggesting ways to validate what people say they have done on their CV by using archives, Boolean operators and modifiers, and consulting newsgroups.

All comments are welcome. TICS.