Fall 2016 Speaker Preview: Dave Galley

On Becoming an Applicant Fracking System: Look Deeper


Do you recruit for the same basic positions, over and over? Do you search in a very specialized niche, with a limited pool of potential candidates? Maybe both? Whether you’re a search novice or a Boolean badass with a list of all the best search queries typed out in Excel, you can still find yourself in this situation: there’s no one new to contact about your current req. So, what do you do when you’re stuck, when it seems like you’ve already contacted “everyone”? That’s an excellent question, and I’m glad you asked! 

My talk focuses on identifying the best ways to get those hard-to-reach candidates from the bottom of the pile to the top of your search results. People you (and probably your competitors) have been missing during your searches. I’ll also be talking about how to take this approach one step further to identify new sources of information that you might not have considered, but should! The presentation answers two questions I hear from every new client. 

1)    “Could you please avoid using ______ for your research? We’ve already contacted everyone good from there.”

Umm… sure? There are always other sources we can use to find the professionals our clients want. But it’s a frustrating request, because ten times out of ten, I find awesome candidates from ______ (whatever site that is) who my clients haven’t spoken to, and never would have uncovered, which brings us to,

2)    “What are some new places to source candidates? We’ve exhausted all the usual resources, and need some new ideas.”

A closely related question, and it comes up again and again for the same reason as the first question: because candidates are terrible!

They don’t seem to get that as cool they might think it sounds to their fellow audit nerds, recruiters are searching for SOX, maybe Sarbanes-Oxley, but almost never SarbOx! Don’t they know that we need candidates with FPLC experience, and no matter how many proteins they’ve purified via HPLC, we’ll never find them without the more specialized acronym? That poly is a common prefix and -graph isn’t even in the top ten most common words it modifies? How hard is it to fill out every single one of your online profiles? To keep track of every site that recruiters are using to find professionals like you? To continually update and tweak your resume, so it has the most contextually appropriate keywords? To generate reams of publicly available online content that we can use to evaluate them before we ever pick up the phone? What are they doing? Don’t they want us to find them?!?

You’ll pardon, perhaps, a bit of tongue-in-cheek venting, because you’ve thought something similar yourself at least once in the last week. But it’s true that, while it’s a lot of work, that can be what to takes to ensure your resume gets found by everyone you might want to see it. Unfortunately, only the most active candidates, or the most public figures, in a given field will come close to doing everything on that list. So we need to cut those candidates a little slack and learn to fill in a few blanks for them.

When we’re searching our ATS, or our job boards, or social media, or whatever it is we’re using to figure out who to call next, we need to keep in mind that no one sets out to get a job by asking “How can I make life easier for recruiters?” Since they’re not putting themselves in our shoes, we have to step into theirs. We need to take it for granted that even the lengthiest resume will be incomplete, and learn to see what isn’t there.

For example, you may already know that 95% of active military personnel are US citizens, along with an even higher percentage of retired and reserve forces. So, when a job board doesn’t include a search for “US citizen” as an option, you can run a search for former military personnel and be reasonably sure that the results include citizens. Do you know how many veterans explicitly state their citizenship status on a resume or online profile? Significantly fewer than 95%! Or how about this: LinkedIn has about 1.18 million US-based members with a second copy of their profile written in Spanish. Only a little over 13 thousand of these members have the keyword “bilingual” anywhere on their profile. That’s just over 1% of likely Spanish-English bilingual members who can be found using the most obvious keyword.

Those are just two of the many examples I’ll be talking about in my presentation, “Applicant Fracking Systems.” Come on down to recruitDC’s Fall Conference and check it out!


Hi! I’m Dave Galley, and I hate third part speaker bios. You know we write them, we know we write them, why not be up front about it? Along with my awesome business partners at Brain Gain Recruiting, I spend pretty much all my time either helping other people find top talent, or teaching them to get better at it themselves. Through our training brand, the People Sourcing Certification Program, we’re advancing the sourcing profession with standardized training and testing. In my free time, I like break recruiting software and help vendors put it back together. I’m not hard to find online (in fact, that’s your first test!), but if you need a starting point, I tweet intermittently @theDaveGalley.