Top 10 Free Sourcing Methods to Supercharge Recruiters’ Pipelines

Does your candidate sourcing strategy need a boost?  Here are ten free sourcing tools that recruiters can use to find the candidates they need (first presented by Glenn Gutmacher at one of most popular Engage sessions of all time). For even more sourcing advice, check out our guide to candidate sourcing here.

1. Moving beyond basic keywords to the ones that get you results

  • Use websites like and in order to more fully grasp the particularities of a search you might not be familiar with
  • You can also use thematic search engines, like Yippy, to perform categorized searches
  • On large job aggregators, like Indeed or SimplyHired, you can search by job title
  • If you want to search by company name, you can use websites like Zoominfo (which has a free community edition),, and LinkedIn
  • If you use pinpoint search strings on specifics like job titles, company names, skills, licenses, and locations, you can dramatically increase your number of useful results, but you should make sure to aim for between 250 and 1000 results in order to maximize relevance

2. Natural language search

  • In order to find the candidates you want, you have to be able to understand the way they talk on the Internet when they describe themselves
  • Using phrasing that contains pronouns and action words (“I configured X,” “I delivered presentations to clinical,” etc.) will point you in the direction of relevant resumes and profiles

3. Explicit and implicit search

  • By treating LinkedIn like a resume database, you can find profiles that most recruiters will miss
  • By selectively eliminating key words, you will come across candidates that fit your search but may have neglected to include those key words in their self-descriptions
  • This can also work when searching by company name, because some candidates will use abbreviations of company names instead of the company’s full name

4. Diversity search

  • While not every candidate promotes his or her diversity online, searches for “natural language” phrases relating to ethnicities and languages can be useful for your recruiters
  • You can also search for diverse fraternities or sororities, universities, and professional associations
  • When searching for female candidates, remember that you can use words like “her” and “she,” or even input popular female names into the “first name” field

5. Finding relevant communities and their members by using special search engine commands

  • You can search many technical and other communities to find information about individual talent
  • Some sites are best searched by using website-specific native search, like GitHub and Meetup
  • Sites like Stack Overflow, however, can be more effectively searched by using site specific searches (“site:”)

6. Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+

  • In early 2015, Shane McCusker created an easy-to-use free web tool to search various Facebook fields, allowing you to find people much more effectively than by using Facebook’s native search
  • Twitter’s advanced search can help you to find people who are talking about a particular thing in a particular location
  • Google+ has its own native search, but X-ray on Google is often easier – site-specific search again: “ (“cpa” OR accountant)”

7. Easy custom search

8. Competitive intelligence

  • Your recruiters get intelligence from candidates and businesspeople in the field all the time, but there are also some great free tools that can help you to identify companies that are being acquired, laying off staff, or experiencing financial issues
  • With Owler, you can create custom company lists and receive news about these specific companies through the web or email
  • There are also region-specific sites, like LinkSV (Silicon Valley people moves), and Bizjournals (business-focused trade publications by metro area)
  • Industry-specific sites can help you narrow down your intelligence further, on sites like FiercePharmaDealbreaker (investing), and FierceMarkets
  • Glassdoor can give you the valuable point of view of a company’s employees

9. Must-have browser extensions

  • There are several tools available to you that are free, or have free trials, and can help you find people and contact information
  • Broadlook Capture – spiders multiple people on page and researches information
  • HootSuite Hootlet – post any page to some or all of your social networks

10. Must-have search sites

  • There are also several websites that serve as excellent free sourcing methods for recruiters
  • SourceHub – provides suggested extra keywords and transfers your search easily to specific sites
  • Pipl (the best free site for social networks’ data), Radaris, and Zabasearch – search by name and location
  • Uvrx – a well-designed public Google custom search engine that lets you run your search and has tabs along the top that apply to each social network

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