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« Relevance has Multiple Perspectives ... One for Each Customer | Main | Revenge of the Job Boards »

June 20, 2006



Have you spoken with Jeff Tokarz at I'm not sure if Just-Posted is out of beta yet but their whole approach to vertical search is predicated on generating highly relevant search results, not bulk. Funnily enough, when Jeff showed me his engine a while back he used ‘auto sales’ as the example to illustrate the point. I don't know of anyone who can talk more intelligently on this subject than Jeff can.


Bob Wilson

Great tip Amitai!

Haven't spoken with Jeff, but it's refreshing to hear that someone else is ringing the 'relevance' bell.

Bob :-)

Damon Billian


Welcome back!

As far as the search results, I did want to advise that "auto sales" might be too broad if you are doing a keyword search. I try to instruct customers to use a modifier
( title: ) in the keyword field to restrict the search to title only. Please see the examples below...

With modifier:

Without modifier:

If you simply put the words in, the search engine (like other search engines) will search for every instance of that word in the title & description.

As I realize your frustration is valid (most users wouldn't know about modifiers), I will most certainly point it out to our team here because most job seekers are going to search by job title.

Damon Billian
SimplyHired Community Marketing Manager

Bob Wilson

Thanks Damon. I appreciate the perspective.

I'll post more about this in the future, but using the title-search option increases the errors of omission while reducing the errors of inclusion. Is this a good trade-off?

And as you point out, the percentage of users taking advantage of filters and boolean operators is quite small.

All the best!

Bob :-)

Damon Billian

Hi Bob,

"I'll post more about this in the future, but using the title-search option increases the errors of omission while reducing the errors of inclusion. Is this a good trade-off?"

Hard to say. I think we will have to do a little more research to see which is generally best for the overall internet population. I personally try to get a job title or occupation from folks that require assistance to help them target their search better.

We will be working hard on educating our users on the site over the coming months. I think there is a lot of tricks to doing a search that folks may not be aware of...

Damon Billian
SimplyHired Community Marketing Manager


Gotta give props to Damon for coming onto this website to defend himself in a professional way...

Bob Wilson

I agree Pburke. Damon is a class act.

SimplyHired has received positive feedback from me too, including the following chart from my blog, so hopefully Damon doesn't feel like he's entering enemy territory when he posts comments here.

Jeremy Langhans

you ever just use google (or any other search engine) to find a job?

i dont think the most talented amongst us think going to monster (or even some "meta" site that gets info from the monsters) is the best way to find a job (or even ad a job) ...

* job boards are dead. r.i.p.
* searching all (meta) piles of dead (boring, unrelevant, expired, etc) ad's = insane

ps. although, i do admit, have recently used indeed and liked it, for what it is.


Colin Kingsbury

Bob- great post to come back on the radar with. Makes me feel good about giving you that award earlier this year ;)

My opinion is that syntax is something only a programmer could love. If you write code, the idea of saying "title:sales" is utterly obvious. If you're a normal human, these things look more like magical incantations.

Some systems used by non-programmers depend heavily on syntax--Bloomberg and SABRE both come to mind as examples of systems that make a UNIX command line look user-friendly--but they are used entirely by experts willing (or required) to go through education. While Google offers syntax, and it can help you get better results, it hardly ever requires it to get something decent.

Vertical search engines should be able to deliver much better results without requiring syntax simply because the context is pre-defined. When a user types "auto sales" into SimplyHired or Indeed, you know they are not looking for car dealers. Knowing that we are operating within a limited information domain creates all kinds of opportunities to make intelligent assumptions that deliver better results 95% of the time.

Bob Wilson

Thanks Colin! Outstanding comments ... better than my original post.

Hope you don't mind if I leverage some of your thoughts in a follow-up post.

Bob :-)

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