400 boolean experts from more than 50 countries participated

A real challenge for us at is that, unlike our other products, this one sits behind a paid wall. Although this makes cents for us, it makes it harder to get sufficient info from the user logs to get actionable data that we can use to improve the product.

We can take best practices from our other products and our own intuition, but nothing works as well as A/B tests and tens of thousands of sessions.

And then, Irina Shamaeva, had a great idea. Why not partner with the Boolean Strings Network in a global sourcing challenge? And so, we let over 400 of the world’s best sourcers beat the heck out of the product for a week. From FTSE 100 company’s to small recruitment consultancies, boolean experts tried their hand at clever challenges crafted by Irina.

One of the things we learned is that some folks actually engage with our product through “view source” instead of the GUI we built. This is not an intuitive thing to learn and really forces us to think about new ways we should allow recruitment professionals to interrogate the data in our system. We also saw how individuals incorporate other websites and services into how they interact with our product. In both instances we’ve been given a real insight into the type of product people are looking for and concrete data on how to help push it there.

The types of challenges were ideal for us to gain product knowledge and also useful for getting new people to really engage with the product. A sales challenge we have is that individuals will search their own name and maybe see if we have a profile for Elvis and not do any real searches (i.e. service delivery manager in finance in London).

Selfishly, the usability data from this has been incredibly powerful. Having hundreds of boolean experts from many countries beat up on the product, is a great way to see what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, and has us adding dozens of new features to our product roadmap. It also gave some insight in how to build this as a Social CRM product.

Big thanks to our panel of judges:

And a special thank you to Irina Shamaeva who pulled this together and also showed some real sourcer chops in how she would have tackled the challenges had she been a competitor. She’s the real deal.
Find her, friend her and follow her: Twitter, LinkedIn, BrainGainRecruiting, BooleanStrings

Thanks to all the competitors and a huge congrats to Suzy Tonini who demonstrated that instead of just relying upon what tools a search engine provides, if you’re clever you can build your own and bend it to your will. A great write up by Suzy and her winning approach can be found in the comments here.

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