Dice: The Marriage of Social and Data in Tech Recruiting

Shravan Goli, President For nearly two decades, Shravan Goli, President of Dice.com, found himself targeted by recruiters with new career opportunities. Majority of these recruiters could not persuade him that a particular opportunity was worth exploring—he spent most of his career at Yahoo and Microsoft. But armed with years of knowledge into how the tech-recruiting industry works, Goli can now empower recruiters and hiring managers to more effectively reach out to technology professionals.

“I came to Dice to make the connections between hiring companies and tech professionals more meaningful,” says Goli. After more than a year at the helm of Dice.com, Goli views the combination of social recruiting and data integration as the key to finding and attracting talent in a tight labor market.

In pursuit of that goal, the company has rolled out numerous product enhancements over the last year, including Open Web™, the company’s flagship social recruiting and big data platform, aimed at arming recruiters with the most relevant skills and interests on both active job candidates as well as highly skilled passive candidates. Dice is attempting to give recruiters the broadest reach of actionable candidates across the tech labor market, as well as the deepest insights on tech candidates who are eventually targeted for specific positions.

Shaping Organizational Capabilities

Making his journey from Dictionary.com to joining Dice as the President, Shravan Goli, an internet and media veteran, is responsible for executing the growth strategy for Dice, ClearanceJobs and the Slashdot Media brands. His impressive growth creation through product innovation, increasing engagement and uncovering additional revenue opportunities right through his Yahoo! days as General Manager of Yahoo! Video and as Head of Products for Yahoo! Finance has enabled Goli to calibrate the pace of change in technology and hiring.

“Since I started out as a developer at Microsoft as an early member of the MSN.com team, I have the sensibility and the perspective in knowing what the candidate goes through as much as the employer or the hiring manager as I have been on both sides,” says Goli.

Beyond the Job Board Model

Over the last two decades, Dice has evolved from a job board for tech professionals to a comprehensive recruiting platform that empowers candidates to grow their careers and companies to better compete for talent with relevant insights, and opportunities for people on both sides of the equation to cultivate long-term relationships. “After the Internet, when mobile and social media proliferation came in as a second wave of innovation in recruiting, the opportunity to evolve the relationship between professional and company opened up,” notes Goli. As tech professionals spend more time with niche sites and mobile applications, and conversing in public forums, social recruiting has become a viable approach to finding talent.
However, Goli is quick to note that social recruiting should not be done in a vacuum: “How would you like it if someone came to your party without knowing anything about you?” He wants quality data to inform social recruiting. The data explosion of the past several years has created a need for sophisticated analytics to harness the hidden metrics and behavior that reflect the wants and needs of tech professionals.

A More “Open Web”

Dice’s Open Web was launched in early 2013 and it combs over 130 social sites & data sources to surface contextually relevant information on millions of professionals, including passive and active candidates. It takes the pain out of trying to source individually from each of these sites by aggregating publicly available data across these data sources. Dice tries to make this data explosion more palatable to time-starved recruiters by continually tweaking its algorithm to focus on the sites that matter most in tech, and by prioritizing quality data over quantity of data. For example sites like GitHub, Quora, Meetups etc. to capture a candidate’s current tech projects, contributions to different technology forums, and interactions with peer groups on innovative technologies to assess both skills and interests.

Fishing like a Pro

The present day workforce comes with a set of different expectations, talents and skills that necessitates a different approach to sourcing the right talent. For example, Dice’s Open Web allows recruiters to make quick decisions on whether to reach out to a candidate via phone, email, Twitter, or Facebook. “The communication with the job seeker is not only in the ability to choose an appropriate channel, but it is really about personalizing conversations. Recruiters are now able to think like marketers when they target candidates,” says Goli. “It’s like helping a recruiter to fish where the fish are.”

Dice understands that getting a response from passive candidates is never easy. By knowing about a tech pro’s passions and specific projects through social channels, the recruiter can craft personalized messages that improve response rates. For instance, a candidate may openly talk about his love for salsa dancing on Twitter. With that in mind, a tweet about a company’s commitment to arts may elicit a better response than an email that merely summarizes a current job opening. Goli challenges recruiters to speak in a more authentic and “human” way with candidates.


Part of being “more authentic and human,” for Goli, is the act of cutting through the clutter present across different social networks. Dice set out to help recruiters break through the 140 character limit of Twitter in order to showcase relevant jobs.

Whether you are trying to discover the active candidate or the passive candidate, we are unifying the search experience, the profile experience, the analytics and the dashboards

The #Dice141 is a Twitter Job Card that goes beyond 140 characters, offering an interactive way to engage on Twitter that includes additional info on salary, position, links to videos from hiring managers, and much more. “At Dice we want to break down barriers for employers and tech pros,” states Goli.

The Technology behind Dice

At the heart of Dice’s Open Web platform is Big Data technology and search indexing. The recruiter never sees that part; instead, they’re greeted by an interface that showcases meaningful data in an easy-to-digest format. Simply put, Open Web tames information that would otherwise remain loose and unstructured amidst the wilderness of the Web.Dice views social data and resume data as two parts of the same puzzle.

Clients that utilize Open Web and Dice’s resume database can perform one search across both platforms; in addition, social and resume information can be viewed together in a profile view. With this comprehensive profile, Dice gives a glimpse of the person, not just the skills but his or her hobbies, passion, and behavior.

The Future Beckons

Dice’s attention is focused on uniting best practices from longstanding recruiting methods with emerging approaches to using social media and mobile applications.“We are studying the behavior of recruiters and fine tuning the algorithms to come up with more results,” says Goli. “At Dice, we are simplifying the workflow. Whether you are trying to discover the active candidate or the passive candidate, we are unifying the search experience, the profile experience, the analytics and the dashboards. For the recruiters, they do not need to learn a completely new tool for active recruitment versus passive recruitment.”

On the business transformation front, Goli adds: “With CEOs/senior HR leaders, we are able to share insights and help recruiters understand where technology is going. Since a lot of information flows through our platform, we are able to give insights on technology trends, suggest to them the place and time of hire, salary ranges, skill sets available, the technology relevance across geographies, lead time needed for recruitment and much more.

We are able to have a conversation with our customers at a more strategic level.”According to more than 700 hiring managers and recruiters who participated in Dice’s most recent semi-annual hiring survey, projected hiring will be moving full-steam ahead in the second half of 2014. Recruiters will have to step up their game to effectively fill those hiring needs. If Goli’s experience over the last two decades is any indicator, it will take an authentic voice, combined with data on passions and interests, to get the best in tech to make a move.


Urbandale, IA

Shravan Goli, President

Provider of a comprehensive view of tech talent