A Case of Searching for the Right Results

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Launched in 2013, Plano, Texas-based describes itself as "a specialist employment solutions website designed to make job hunt and talent sourcing faster and smarter." The site is specifically geared toward people looking for jobs in the IT field-both in the U.S. and abroad.

Business Challenge

ITContract wanted to develop a better job-searching experience for its customers: Make navigation of the site faster? and also provide filters to help people narrow down what they're looking for.

Vendor of Choice: Contegra Systems and dtSearch

White Plains, N.Y.-based Contegra Systems is a full-service web development company that works with small-, medium-, and large-tier businesses to develop customized information publishing products. Areas of expertise include strategic website design for the information publishing market, graphic web design, and guided search and navigation.

Bethesda, Md.-based dtSearch can instantly search terabytes of text, including more than 25 full-text and fielded data search types. dtSearch's document filters support popular file and email types. Its products also support databases as well as static and dynamic web data and can highlight hits in all retrieved data. APIs are available for .NET, Java, C++, and SQL, etc.;


The Problem In-Depth

Job search websites have seemingly been around as long as the internet. However, sites such as hundreds of pages of job listings for nearly any job imaginable--can be a little daunting. That's where ITContract comes in. The site posts open IT jobs, specifically for people looking for work in the IT field. It's specialized shopping; both the employer and the would-be employee know exactly what they're getting at the site.

However, as Narsimha Reddy, president and CEO of IMG Systems (the parent company of ITContract) points out, there are many different types of jobs to be found in the IT field--such as software developer, web developer, project manager, database administrator, and network administrator--and these jobs require a variety of skills, including familiarity with such things as Java, .NET, WebLogic, UNIX, Hadoop, and Cognos. Reddy says he wanted to find a way to help people narrow their search down.

Before Reddy and his team even started to craft ITContract, they knew it was possible to develop a better job-hunting site than what their competitors were offering. "Before we started building the site, we evaluated our competitors' jobs portals and figured out they were missing filters, and searching the data was slow," Reddy says.

Reddy knew what he wanted for his site. He says his company was "looking for a ready-made search index with filter options, which we can customize with our own filters." He adds that it was important to have a "nice filters option," which would allow ITContract's users to plug in data and find the right candidate or resume.

The Solution

Reddy and his team evaluated different products to aid them in building ITContract up to their standards-and this quest led them to Contegra.

Contegra has proven to be no slouch in the world of search. In existence since 1987, the company has designed search applications for universities, online publishers, and Fortune 500 companies. It is highly knowledgeable-a fact that wasn't lost on Reddy. "After doing a lot of research and evaluation, we found Contegra is the best option," Reddy says.

What Contegra uses as the backbone for its solution is dtSearch Engine. dtSearch offers a variety of products--such as dtSearch Desktop, which provides instant searching of desktop--accessible files, and dtSearch Publish, which lets people publish an instantly searchable document collection to portable media or mirror an existing website to portable media--all of which are sold off-the-shelf. Some, such as dtSearch Engine, are "more end-user-oriented products," according to Elizabeth Thede, director of sales for dtSearch. "We welcome people taking dtSearch Engine and doing custom projects with it."

The dtSearch Engine is, as the company describes it, "proven ‘industrial-strength' searching and broad data support." Software development kits (SDKs) include native 64-bit and 32-bit APIs for .NET, C++, and Java. dtSearch Engine also brings faceted search-the ability to dynamically filter search results by attributes. That's a feature that would come in handy for a site such as ITContract.

"If you have very structured data, which resume data is, it lends itself to faceted searching," Thede says. As dtSearch's products are sold off-the-shelf, it does not offer custom development work. However, Contegra is "one of our premier developer/providers," Thede adds-and it has developed, according to dtSearch, an "expertise" in adding faceted search.

That expertise manifests itself in Kaleidosearch, which Contegra built on top of the dtSearch Engine.

Developed in 2009, Kaleidosearch's feature set includes the grouping of search results by facet, the ability to expand and collapse facet choices, and a search summary of selected facets.

Simply put, Kaleidosearch offers customers the capabilities of a full-text search engine along with faceted navigation. "Your users interact with your site through search and navigation, so faceted search is not just a matter of good design, it's vital to the success of your business," Rob Wiesenberg, president and founder of Contegra, said in a case study about Kaleidosearch on dtSearch's website. "Faceted search leverages your metadata to ensure successful search results and to eliminate dead-end searches."

Contegra can custom modify Kaleidosearch to suit the needs of a particular client-in this case, ITContract. "That was an important step for ITContract, being able to see it, and they said, ‘Wow, look at this, great, that's the kind of functionality we need, but of course, we need our own look and feel entirely,'" Wiesenberg says.

"What dtSearch has for us is a very robust set of tools and the ability to work with different types of documents, and ... you work with that tool and that engine and build the application around it that meets whatever the customer's needs are," says Wiesenberg.

One of the customizations for ITContract was the need for separate indexing, due to the fact that not just job hopefuls would be using the site, but companies looking for employees would use it too. "We have filters for both the candidate search and job search," Reddy says, "so they can find the right jobs or candidates by using the filters we provided."

 The Outcome

Wiesenberg says the work Contegra did for ITContract was "well-received" by the company. He also says that, overall, having Contegra do all the customization work to dtSearch enabled ITContract "to really focus on their data and their business and not get into the software business."

Indeed, Reddy says he is very pleased with the work Contegra did--and it has definitely made for a pleasant experience for users of ITContract. "Our search results are instantaneous," he says. "Our users are quite happy with the way it produces the search results once they [give] the search criteria."

Overall, Reddy says, "Contegra really helped us move forward by customizing their code, and we really achieved what we want in our product, and we definitely will be working with Contegra in the future."   

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)