Another Set Of Challenges To Keep Your Search Skills Sharp

One of the things I try to do as an editor is to read and write things I wouldn’t normally read or write. It’s a convenient excuse to check out the latest novel, read a book about basketball or write a short story or letter to the editor about something not related to sourcing and recruiting.

That’s why I think sourcers will dig this resource. While you likely won’t be searching for people, you will be doing (at times) some difficult and interesting searches that will take you beyond maybe more robotic site/inurl boolean searches you do every day and more into thinking about search more holistically (and make you a better searcher).


Every Wednesday, Daniel Russell, a research scientist at Google, posts a new search challenge on his blog SearchReSearch. Rarely do they seem related to practical searches. More often, it seems to be more on the entertaining or intriguing side to make it more interesting.

For example, this week’s challenge is about Thomas Jefferson and wine. Here are his questions for you to find:

  1. (Easy) Who was Jefferson writing to when he wrote this famous line about “I have lived temperately… I double the Doctor’s recommendation…”?  What was the correspondent’s name?
  2. (Medium) Amazingly enough, more than 200 years later, the correspondent’s house still stands.  What color was that person’s house in 2009?
  3. (Hard)  How many times did Jefferson refer to wine in ALL of his writings?

You put your answer in the comments but he moderates them until he gives the answer the next day. Some of the comments from previous posts have been great too. For example, if you look at the previous week’s post, you can see the different ways people searched to find the answer. While some took similar paths, you can see that each found their own way to the answer.

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Beyond standard searches

Of course, I think the searches are interesting, even if they aren’t incredibly relevant to the types of searches sourcers may do on a regular basis.

Like I said above, that sort of out of the box thinking is important when you’re doing non-standard searches (and even standard searches when you hit a road block or need to go the extra mile). Not just that, it makes you think beyond the typical resources you use to find information you need on a daily basis. So while you may use boolean on LinkedIn regularly, trying to find how many times Thomas Jefferson refers to wine in his writings takes you in a completely different direction.

And that’s a good thing.