Archive for the ‘Applicant Tracking’ Category

Microsoft buys Powerset. Great News for Semantic Search.

July 1, 2008

I for one was very happy to read that Powerset got acquired by Microsoft.  Rumored price was “roughly” $100M according to TechCrunch.  For those keeping score, that would be .37% of cash on hand for Microsoft, or 14 hours of revenue.  There are three important messages here:

1.  Better search matters.  MSFT wouldn’t be making this move if they didn’t think that a better search technology would help them compete against Google.

2.  Semantic search is real.  Lots of haters (including some folks at Google) like to say that semantic search won’t scale, or that you can’t build a big enough taxonomy or whatever. At Trovix, we know it works. And at Microsoft, someone with a big checkbook just voted that it works.  Semantic technologies are going to completely change the way people interact with data. Microsoft clearly wants to be at the head of that change.

3.  The time for semantic search is now.  The tech highway is littered with technologies that burned out on their own hype without ever delivering the goods.  Now, there are several companies on the cusp, or in Trovix’s case, already shipping products that provide a better user experience based on semantic technologies.  Semantic search can be demoed on applications available to consumers today. Microsoft bought Powerset because they can see a clear path to this technology being a competitive weapon.  They didn’t spend $100M to hire more researchers for the lab. 

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More on Taleo and Vurv

May 8, 2008

Since everyone says the industry is consolidating, I thought I’d take a quick look at the score board.  Since Trovix started selling it’s first applicant tracking solution in 2005, the following companies have gotten bought or shut down: Vurv, Resumix, Brass Ring, Virtual Edge, Deploy, Unicru, Projectix, Hire.com, WetFeet.  And those are just the ones I could think of. Except for WetFeet, all of them were pretty substantial companies.   

Meanwhile, we’re continuing to grow, add features and add customers.  I think one thing that works to our advantage is that we have a search technology that other companies simply don’t have.  But also, we designed our interface based on the feedback of people that had already used first generation ATS platforms. (See list of those above.)  So we got to see what problems were tripping up users of other systems and and avoid building them. 

Boolean Search Tips

April 29, 2008

Today, the ERE Exchange ran an article giving some tips on how to use Boolean search.  To me, it was just a great reminder of how bad Boolean search really is.

For example, if you want to see somone with a bachelor’s degree in science, you type:
           ((bachelor* AND science) OR bs* OR “b.s.”)
Sadly, that won’t find anyone from MIT or other schools that call the degrees “SB.”  And Stanford awards ABs instead of BAs. As clever as the Boolean string is, it doesn’t really get the job done.

Of course, if you’re a recruiter and want to see a resume of someone who went to a top school, has 5 to 8 years work experience, and has enterprise software experience, Boolean can’t do a thing for you. 

Boolean search for job seekers is an even worse idea. Think about looking for a sales manager job.  You might also search for area manager, sales representative, sales associate, business development and a dozen other titles. And you’ll still get back jobs selling cell phones, cars, software and life insurance. 

The good news is that the feedback we’re getting from job seekers and recruiters is that with our search, they don’t need to worry about Boolean any more.