Everybody Loves Prophet

Yesterday we ran our 9th UK Sourcers Meetup. It was our first event in Bristol and everyone there was new to our format – it was really exciting!

Meetup at Rethink Recruitment in Bristol

One plugin keeps coming up, whenever I meet sourcers and start talking about free tools. Some have never heard of it before and others are using it and finding it really useful. Either way, it generates quite a bit of excitement.

I’m talking about Prophet. Prophet is a plugin for the Chrome browser that helps you learn more about the candidates you find on LinkedIn, Twitter and other networks.

Click to install Prophet.

It will then appear in the top right hand corner of profiles you view on the web.

Prophet on @UKSourcers' profile

Some of the information Prophet pulls through is easy to find on your own, but the collapsed display on the right of the page looks like a notification and can help you to take notice of that extra information when you might otherwise forget.

Prophet is particularly good at email addresses – I don’t have to tell you how useful that is! It might find an email address, shared by the owner of a profile, or it will try to guess an email address. If Prophet does guess an email address, it will then attempt to verify it. Prophet will always tell you if a guessed email address has been verified or not. Email searched are limited, but you can get more by logging into Prophet with your Google account.

See how Prophet works in this very short video:

There was also some love for this little LinkedIn cross referencing tool from Sourcing Hacks.

What’s your current favourite free sourcing tool?

Twitter Replies & Mentions – Now An Even More Important Distinction

Twitter Lane by Duncan Hall

I’ve written about the difference between Replies and Mentions on Twitter before, but with this week’s changes to Twitter profiles, it’s even more important that you understand the distinction.

We all know that referencing someone’s twitter username with an @ symbol in front creates a link to their profile in your tweet.

Did you realise that where you place that @username can have a big impact on the visibility of your tweet?

So, what’s the difference between a reply and a mention?

When a tweet begins with @username Twitter interprets this as a reply. Only those following both you and the person you are referencing will see the tweet in their timeline.

Here’s an example of a reply:

A mention, on the other hand, references someone’s @usermane in the body of a tweet and all your followers can see it. This is why you sometimes see people putting a full-stop in front of a reply – so that it is visible to all of their followers.

Here’s an example of a mention:

With Twitter’s new profile layout, anyone viewing your profile will not see your replies without an extra click… who’s going to bother with that?

Twitter Tweets & Replies

If you go to our @UKSourcers Twitter profile and click “Tweets and replies” you will probably see some updates that wouldn’t otherwise have had come up in your main Twitter feed. You’re probably quite relieved that you didn’t have to see us saying “thanks” or “good luck” to people that you don’t follow.

So, if you’re just shooting the breeze with your friends and colleagues on Twitter, use replies as normal.

If you’re trying to spread content far and wide, or give someone kudos, make sure you mention @usernames in the body of your tweet, not at the start, so that all your followers see.

Attitudes to Social Media for Recruiting & Sourcing

Growing Social Media by mkhmarketing

There seems to be two camps in the recruitment community.

  • The blasé – they’re not convinced by Twitter or Facebook as useful for recruitment and they’re certain that they couldn’t possibly search or use LinkedIn any better. Don’t even mention Google+ or Foursquare without getting laughed out of their office.
  • The worriers – they seem very concerned that if their recruiters don’t know about every online search tool and technique going then they’re missing out on something fundamental to their success.

I think both could learn a lot from each other.

The first camp is well grounded, not ready to waste time on something that might not work when they could be doing something that they know will give results. The vast majority of the time, candidates are hanging out just where you would expect them to be. If you have 5 great candidates in your database or ATS, why wouldn’t you contact them first?

The second group is curious, hungry to learn and always think that they could be doing better. When their network is all tapped out and LinkedIn isn’t giving them the results they need, they have more ideas up their sleeve.

On the other hand, the blasé are closed minded and almost definitely missing out on great opportunities. The worriers are too concerned about finding talent via “the next big thing” instead of just finding the best possible person for the job.

Open mindedness without drinking too much of the Kool-Aid – is that the sweet spot?

Image credit.

Have you tried our LinkedIn Profile Search tool?

LinkedIn by Diego Cornejo

By far the most popular page on the UK Sourcers site in 2013 has been our LinkedIn profile Custom Search Engine.

The tool uses the X-ray (or site: search) technique to search for only UK LinkedIn profiles via a Google Custom Search Engine.

I received a message from Dennis Patel of IT Mob Ltd in July 2013 thanking me for the tool, which was a great feeling.

Thought I’d say Hi, and thank you for the great google tool for searching linkedin profiles. Heck…..I’ve just made my first placement using it!

Dennis also asked about adding more location filters to the tool, so I added the ones he suggested. Do let me know if there are any you would like too.

I hope you have found the UK Sourcers blog useful in 2013. We are delighted to be Finalists in the UK Recruiter Recruitment Blog of The Year Awards. If you have any suggestions for 2014 please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂

Image Credit.

LinkedIn has closed the door on a useful group member search hack

Closed on Flickr

I wrote about a LinkedIn URL hack on The Undercover Recruiter blog several months ago.

This little trick was brought to my attention well over a year ago by the very knowledgeable Martin Lee. This allowed anyone with a LinkedIn account, Basic or paid for, to search the members of ANY group.

To search the members of any LinkedIn group with a basic LinkedIn account, you will need to have two windows open in your browser, both looking at LinkedIn. In the first window, run a simple search looking for the keywords you hope to find on profiles. In the second window, find the group whose members you want to search (for those keywords).

Once you have found the group you are interested in and opened it up in your browser, you need to look in your browser’s address bar at the URL of the page and find the groups ID number. The URL is usually in the format:


Copy (Ctrl +C) the group ID number from the URL, the number is usually 4 to 6 digits long.

Now return to the keyword search you did in the first tab. Using the filters on the left hand side of the screen, select one of the groups you ARE a member of to filter by (it doesn’t matter which one). Now look for that group’s ID number in the URL of the sear results page – The number is often right at the far end of the URL – so click in the address bar and hit the End button on your keyboard to go straight there. Replace it with the number of the group you DO want to search.

Hit enter and voila, you have searched members of your chosen group for the keywords you need without needing to join.

This was working three weeks ago, as I demonstrated the work around to a group of Executive Researchers, but LinkedIn had closed the door by Thursday 14th November when I came to show the trick to another group.

To be honest, I am quite surprised that LinkedIn did not fixed this bug sooner. Still, it is a little trick that I will miss having up my sleeve.

For now, it seems our best method for finding members of a groups we cannot join is to do an X-Ray site: search of LinkedIn looking for the group logo displayed on public profiles. This will not find all group members, of course. Not everyone will choose to display all the groups they are a member of on their profile, not all group members will have a public profile and Google is unlikely to have indexed all of those that do.

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Supercharge Your Twitter Use With Lists

Twitter buttons by Garrett Heath

Have you started using Twitter but unsure how to really get the most out of it for recruiting and business development purposes? Twitter Lists can really help you become a part of an engaged community.

Here are 4 types of list that can help you super-charge and focus your time on Twitter.

The Unmissable

There are some people whose tweets you have to see. You best friend, your mum (maybe), your clients, or breaking news about your favourite band (you wouldn’t want to miss gig tickets!). A list containing some or all of these people can help you check only the most essential tweets if you’re in a hurry.

In this category, I have a “VIPs” list for friends and family, a “Clients” list for those I work or have worked with and a “Doctor Who” list.

You might want to keep some of these lists set to private, especially the “Clients” one!

The Attention Grabber

If you want to grow a following on Twitter then you need to get people’s attention. Simply tweeting your guts out isn’t always enough.

You can of course follow lots of people and hope they will follow you back, but a high ratio of following to followers can look a bit desperate.

This is when I use lists.

Create a list and add the sort of people you would like to have as followers to it. I use this approach on the UK Sourcers Twitter account. I add any recruiters I come across on Twitter to a list called “UK Recruitment Types”. If they then check out the account and choose to follow, I make sure to follow back.

By their very nature, this type of list has to be set to public, rather than private, otherwise no one will know they’ve been listed.

The Networker

When you go to an event, the networking aspect can be tough for those of us that aren’t quite as extrovert as others. Run a search on the event name and the event #hashtag in the weeks ahead and build yourself a list of all the twitter users attending. That way you can get to know them and exchange tweets ahead of meeting in person.

There are a lot of events we can’t go to as well – time and money are not limitless. You can however use the same method as above to access those attending events, even when you can’t be there yourself.

It’s up to you if you want to keep your list private or make it public and benefit from “The Attention Grabber” effect too.

The Infiltrator

This type of list is really handy if you recruit people in a niche community.

Create a private list of people that work in your niche, have a particular job title, or who work for a competitor. Then visit that list on a regular basis and reply to its members’ tweets – but only if you have something worthwhile to contribute. Be helpful, insightful or funny and become a part of this community. Engaging out of work hours is particularly good – what do these people watch on TV? If you watch it too, you can join in with their tweets. These people are more than their job titles, in the same way that you are more than a recruiter.

The next time you mention a job that is relevant to this community, they will be far more likely to share it for you.

The Cuckoo

Don’t have time to raise your own chicks create your own lists? Use the lists that others have created.

You could pick interesting people and rifle through the lists they are on and the lists they have created (if any). This is great way to find similar profiles.

You can also use the site: search command with Google to search for interesting Twitter lists. Try a search string like this with your own keywords instead:

site:twitter.com inurl:lists inurl:code|programmers|java|ruby|rails|developers

or perhaps target people based on the lists they are a member of:

site:twitter.com inurl:memberships recruitment OR recruiting OR recruiter OR recruiters OR HR

Let us know, how do you use Twitter Lists for sourcing?

Image credit.

Sourcing Techniques for Business Development

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 15.15.57


How many recruiters think about using sourcing techniques for business development? Well, if you don’t, it is time you did. That was the message from Shane McCusker‘s session at the Discover Sourcing Conference. As Shane said . . .

Using social recruiting tools to source candidates is only the half of it. You can use all sorts of clever social recruiting techniques to find vacancies and get new business.

He kicked off his session on Sourcing Business Development Opportunities by asking delegates how they would search for vacancies – and by that he meant vacancies that were fresh i.e. had not been advertised for months.

He then gave some answers. Shane split his approach into internal and external intelligence.

Internal intelligence

Recruiters are already sitting on a lot of information that can help them identify new vacancies. For example, a candidate comes to you saying they are looking for a new role. What does that tell you? That there will soon be a new vacancy in the company they are leaving.  The challenge for recruiters is how to manage this information so that they get some value (i.e. new business) from it.

External intelligence

Shane showed an example of how to gather information on upcoming vacancies on LinkedIn. To do this you can do an Xray site search on a particular company using the word “past” to identify leavers.

The search would look like this:

site: linkedin.com “past * * at companyname”

That on its own is not enough, however.  By doing this you will get a long list of former employees. As a recruiter, you want to be alerted to when someone has changed their status to “past” on LinkedIn so the next step is to create an RSS feed of alerts (using Google alerts, for example). You will then be alerted as soon a someone changes their status.

James Mayes wrote a live blog on this, which you can read here. Check out the comments because there are some useful tips and insights into identifying vacancies ahead of time.

Shane also shared some tools he uses to scrape data from the web.

He has also showed a custom search engine for LinkedIn which can be accessed on his site at:  http://www.intel-sw.com/search

Shane is more hacker than recruiter, which was reflected in some of the tweets during his session . . .

Geek Rating going through the roof with @1ntelligence

Upping the geek rating!
He uses his software engineering skills to build tools and hacks that find information to help recruiters source candidates and grow their business.

Whilst showing delegates a bulk email button he created for LinkedIn, he said:

You guys really need to know how to hack Linkedin.

He certainly does: he uses a Chrome extension that enables incognito searches on LinkedIn profiles, which means you can reveal more of the profile of third degree connections.

For plenty more of Shane’s tips and tricks, check out his regular webinars, which you will find on his blog: http://www.intel-sw.com/blog/

Visit our content round-up for all the content and resources from Discover Sourcing.

Discover Visual Sourcing – Exploring the Value of Images for Talent Sourcing

Visual Sourcing

In our increasingly visual world photos tell the story. Social networks have been early in recognizing this, together with the human urge to post, share, view, like and comment on photos. Images have become the driving force behind social network growth – helped by (auto) tagging and awesomizing features.

On average 300.000 images make their way to Facebook alone every minute, on New Year’s Day and Eve this nearly doubles. A rough estimate brings that to over 300 billion photos on Facebook alone. Now that’s Big Data.

Big – Cold – Data

To host all these pictures Facebook expanded their data centers, building ‘cold storage’ data centers for less popular or outdated pictures. All these pictures are indexed. And that’s not all. Social networks not only index the pictures, from their computer vision systems backend – machine learning systems that have the power and intelligence to identify what’s in an image, what a building looks like versus a face versus a landscape – they know exactly what’s in these pictures.

And it doesn’t stop here. More camera’s, phones, apps and social networks now have GPS enabled so users can display their photos by location with a mapping feature, utilizing the device’s geolocation abilities to visually showcase where photos were taken. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Foursquare, to name just a few, have this all enabled. Also EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data – small data files embedded in pictures – can show exact GPS location – revealing where photos have been taken and where people in these picture have been hanging out.

A Sourcer’s Goldmine

So if social networks know who and what is in these pictures and where they’ve been taken, sourcers should be able to find out as well. After all, since sourcing is about finding people, every online trace gives us more information about the whereabouts of our potential targets. And believe me, with the amount of pictures people have floating all over the internet, sometimes without even knowing of their existence, there’s enough traces to give sourcing a whole new dimension. Images have become a sourcer’s goldmine.

Avatars or profile pictures usually give fantastic results for visual sourcing. Many people online have the habit of using a single picture for different online profiles, making it fairly easy to find them in the different social networks they use. Reverse image search in Google Image Search of a person’s profile picture will easily point to profiles with identical pictures.

Interestingly, one of the benefits of visual sourcing actually is that it can deliver more relevant results as opposed to just name searching. Especially for more common names, images prove to better identify a unique person.

But there’s more than just profile pictures. Think of pictures on company introduction pages, event pictures, pictures used for online check-ins on Foursquare, photo sharing websites like Flickr and much more.

Face Recognition Technology

And then face recognition technology was introduced. Fascinating technology, already heavily used for finding criminals. People who frequently travel have had their faces being recognized by advanced computer systems while passing international boarders. Just imagine the data that governments collect with that. Face recognition technology is already being used commercially, to adapt product offerings in digital commercials for men or women passing high street stores, checking in using their online profiles or to accept payments.

Facial recognition technology can already identify people with 99 percent accuracy under the best circumstances. Best circumstances for facial recognition technology still mean having an ideal probe image and a database of similarly ideal images for comparison as possible matches, like headshot photos similar to those seen in passport photos or mug shots, however the power of machine learning systems and improvement of facial recognition techniques will quickly decrease dependability of best circumstances. Faces then will be recognized in all circumstances.

Facial-recognition algorithms can already be pared down and streamlined to run on the limited computing power of a smartphone or Google Glass devices.

OK Glass, Source Now!

And yes, that’s where we could be now. Having face recognition technology available in a high-tech device called Google Glass would give us sourcing superpower, making true spies of every single sourcer. If it wasn’t for privacy concerns, this would be a major breakthrough in talent sourcing. Finding information of people based on the visual evidence they have available online through the sources mentioned above, triggered by the OK Glass, Source Now command. Sourcing will never be the same.

Oh, and if we ever pass those privacy concerns and Google Glass becomes part of your standard sourcing equipment, it’s highly recommended to not have your hiring manager touch your Google Glass. Ever. Just for the sake of staying employed. After all, if Google Glass will be capable of doing all the Visual Sourcing, what would be left for you?

More on the topic of Visual Sourcing – including a deep dive in sourcing techniques, tools, best practices and examples – will be discussed at the Discover Sourcing Event taking place on September 17-18 in London.
Oscar Mager - Google Glass

Influence From Within

go-to-personRecently I have been speaking to a range of audiences about how social media technologies and practices can be used inside an organisation.

The use of social media inside an organisation is more commonly being referred to as social business.

In many of the workshops I have lead lately, one of the most common discussion points has been what about the people in our organisation that will never tweet or blog. The question is always asked, how can we enlist them using social inside the company?

Until recently, it has all been about social media – Twitter, Facebook and the like.

Those early adopters such as myself (on Twitter since 2007, using LinkedIn and blogging since 2004) find themselves completely comfortable sharing their every thought and movements, to the bemusement of those that find this a totally foreign practice.

External vs internal influence

The online influence industry, while still in its infancy is dominated by platforms such as Kred (where I am CEO), and Klout.

As well as finding real online influencers, a culture of those who try and game these platforms and become “more influential” has also sprung up. I wrote recently about how to spot a social media faker.

In my role, I see first-hand those who think they are influential try and convince brands of the same. Only when you have actually become an influencer (accidentally in my case) can you really understand how online influence actually works.

While platforms such as Kred can help you find people to connect with and promote your product or service, we may be missing a trick.

People are your greatest asset

Inside every organisation is an army of influencers, subject matter experts and “go to” people all waiting to be found, that can help us with our day-day jobs, and in turn provide better experiences for our customers.

I remember when I worked at the largest telecommunications company in Australia, Telstra in the late 90s, there were over 54,000 staff (now around 36,000). The internal directory did not list the expertise of staff members, so it was always a case of being well networked internally to get your job done and find the right people.

Amazingly, when I was working on an online portal opportunity for small businesses at the telco, I discovered through my networks that there were 6 such initiatives being run at the same time. Needless to say I was quick to convene a meeting (in a small room with no chairs so we all had to stand), where those assembled agreed to work on just one small business portal.

Had I been able to use a tool to find all of the small business people in the organisation, I could have saved weeks of effort.

Becoming a social business

Social business takes over from social media when we use the same techniques and technologies used in a very public way, and bring those inside an organisation.

Where publicly I tweet, internally I might use Yammer, Chatter, or a product from IBM called Connections. These internal social networks are secure in that you cannot see what is being said outside the organisation.

The question is how do we get people to use them when they are not natural users of social media?

Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM gave a presentation recently to the Council on Foreign Relations where described how in the future, IBM might pay a bonus based on how well you share information with your co-workers, and how your customers and partners rate you as well.

At the same event, she also talked about how today’s workers now have a secret weapon, to be used in conjunction with the “big data” that everyone talks about. Today’s workers now have access to each other.

In the video below, she says

“You might have forgotten this: Peter Drucker coined the word “knowledge worker.” It was actually 1959 – 1959, so I was a little toddler at this time.

Now, non-routine work – but what’s changed? Obviously, I said tons of data.

The tools are different today than they were then. Billions of different interfaces. But today’s knowledge workers have access to something around the clock: The have access to each other.

That’s what’s different. And in a social enterprise, I will also assert that your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share. And that is a very different paradigm.”

Ginni has really hit on one of the key benefits of social business – allowing those inside an enterprise to use the same tools and techniques we use when networking socially, to network internally.

Putting the social back into social business

At a recent conference in London, I was speaking on a panel about the next stage of social media.

A question from the audience asked what metrics can be used to look at the adoption of social media inside an organisation. My response, shown below explained how Ogilvy in London used gamification techniques to encourage their staff to get more involved with social.

In summary – make social inside an organisation fun and inclusive and then people are more likely to use it.

Isn’t this just spying on our employees?

Those more concerned about data sharing and privacy may not be entirely comfortable with the notion of sharing at work. I see it differently though.

Imagine there has been a safety issue identified at your company that makes children’s toys.

Instantly, horrified mummy bloggers hit social media condemning your company for selling unsafe toys and demanding that your CEO resigns.

Just as quickly, your internal networks swing into action, and those from R&D through to customer service and even HR chime in with what they are hearing, along with possible solutions from subject matter experts, and then the facts emerge quickly that it is a minor fault that can be easily fixed thanks to the collaboration happening in real-time with people from across the company.

As a result of the great feedback, the product development department work on a solution, and then share exactly what is being done to fix the fault, and everyone is kept informed.

In this scenario, those people managing the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages as well as those on the end of the phone to outraged mothers are able to quickly distribute the facts, and a crisis is averted.

What happens next is those mummy bloggers turn from being outraged, into strong advocates because your company dealt with this issue in real time, were transparent and got the message out quickly.

In the same scenario, applied to the way many companies operate today, the whole company might be waiting for the PR department to release a statement, and those within the company able to provide specialist advice might be overlooked as the situation unfolds.

So in the future, when we talk about influencers, don’t forget those in your own organisation, which if armed with the same tools that help make ordinary people into influencers online, could be your greatest asset inside your organisation.

Andrew will be presenting on “Talent In The Age Of Social Business” and the implications for resourcing at Discover Sourcing.

Why Xing Should Demand Your Attention When Sourcing in Germany

Over the last couple of weeks I have been helping to conduct some market mapping for a client in and around one particular German city.

Out of 20 technology companies that were identified as being of interest to them, we started by gathering some rough numbers from LinkedIn and Xing. We were interested in employees within a 50 mile radius of the city center – this was easy using LinkedIn search parameters and Xing’s filters.

It didn’t take long to notice that LinkedIn did not stack up against Xing when it came to coverage of employees in our target area.

Out of those 20 companies of interest, Xing had more coverage in all but 2 cases. Here’s a graph to make that absolutely clear:
Xing v LinkedIn graph

According to Xing, they have around 13 million members worldwide – over 6 million of whom are based in German-speaking countries.

Is Xing a part of your sourcing strategy?

Feel free to connect with me on Xing if you have a profile.