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Most Sourcers nowadays can pull a list of hundreds of prospective candidates through a website or Boolean, some can even pull 1000s of names in one sitting.

However, I often myself when pulling a gold mine, Do I really want all 1000?

Do I want to screen through all that, research that many people, and dig more? I mean there are tools that claim to “enrich” data, but there’s also only one of me and a cold list of 1000 may not be the right balance of screening vs outreach time. Time is the enemy regardless of how good of a scraping job one can build, or how many “enrichment credits” one has left in the bank.

The search algorithms, whether built into a site, via google site search or other search tool typically start mismatching after around 200 or 300  profiles. If you pull a conference list or association list, there may be less information to go on as well. And well with sites like Facebook, even the smart tools have issues accurately searching with all the switcheroos and changeups.

I call it algorithm suckitude, because at one point (usually around the 300 mark for me) that’s when “the match” starts tapering off. To counteract the suckitude effect, we use a method of targeting and retargeting.

Here’s an Example of a Phase 1 Workflow:

  • Indeed keyword search
  • LinkedIn (free) advanced search
  • LinkedIn site search
  • LinkedIn Recruiter Search (algorithm can be very tricky)
  • Forum group member pull (very limited info)
  • Forum site search
  • Related conference lists (speakers and attendees)
  • Virtual conferences/events (scraping/crawling the attendee/speaker lists, group or profile database)

Tech Stack Used:

  • Autopagerize (infinite scroll)
  • Web Scrapers (Dataminer, Instant Data Scraper)
  • Open Multiple URLs (for viewing/reviewing quickly)
  • Enrichment tools like HireEZ, Seekout, or additional research for top tiered prospects (USPhonebook, freepeoplesearch)

I typically shoot for 20 to 30 ideal prospects for outreach (depending on industry and how niche, may be lower) per pipeline group. However I’ve had to adjust to the more competitive market, I’m reaching out to 100s  (sometimes 1000s) nowadays to get the same number of responses.

The advantage of targeting the top tired candidates and/or those more likely to respond is that you get the best from one pipeline, then move to the next one. A top 20 here, top 25 there, top 17 through some deeper dives drive your overall outcomes up. Target, then retarget based on each system and its parameters.

If a profile is bare and somewhat skeletal, that usually tells us the person doesn’t want or care to put stuff out there. We can find more info on them, sure, but would this be worth the time to research, or use an “enrich credit”….for a very cold lead? If there’s no social footprint, that’s probably not worth the spend. Some sites have it all listed already, I’ve found countless emails on github and other sites simply by being logged in.

On the point of a social footprint, there certainly are tools out there that can pull an email for people, but is that the most effective way to reach out? Is an inmail, github message, LI connection request, phone call, slack message, Reddit post….or via a behance page or contact page on a personal website the best way to interact? Emails and phone numbers are cool, but so are Facebook messages, YouTube comments, and tweets. With so many contact points, it still surprises me some CRMs require an email for a candidate upload….sigh, it’s merely one minute form of communication.

I hardly use inmails lately, because the responses I get are minimal and not timely. Engineers get so many of these LinkedIn messages they don’t respond for days or just outright ignore them. I’ve turned to to calling folks multiple times, sending emails, messages and texts (or some of the methods already stated) prior to trying inmails. I honestly don’t even know if inmails these are getting to the users inboxes…..there seem to be lower response rates on LinkedIn across the board, making me think it’s becoming a less effective recruiting tool than ever. I’m hoping LinkedIn can fix itself before it wrecks itself, it’s still a platform that can surprise me, I just kind of have to hack the system to get the outcomes we need.

It comes down to this, how do you communicate? How does your dad? Your grandmother? Your kids? Different, yes, but we find the forum that fits us. No persona study is needed, just think like a human, talk like a human, and the humans will talk back.

I mean I don’t even check my email everyday, I screen my phone calls, but if you hit me up on Facebook I’ll respond almost immediately. If you comment on my YouTube or TikTok videos, I’ll be even more likely to respond. As more apps arise, there are more ways to communicate, search, and bust through the suckitude with badassitude. The future is social, so it will be interesting to see what platforms we’ll be using 5 years from now to talk, chat, stream, live feed, and communicate.

TikTok and Sourcing Sourcers

In a world where everyone is looking for Recruiters and Sourcers now that hiring has jumped back up, my TikTok Channel has been a great help in spreading the word and getting new eyes on what we are doing here at M&T. This is such a great example how a message combined with a different outreach platform can attract talent.  It’s one of the most active platforms out there right now that nobody is taking about (well except maybe me). Not only does it separate me from other content creators on other platforms, it shows my org is different than the others (and embracing the new techtok things).

I’m so glad I tried creating my first TikTok last year, I’m up to 500+ followers and over 1000 likes and it still blows my mind how many like minded people are out there using the Tok wrong (myself included…I’ve learned it for excel tricks and new emerging trends). I was skeptical about it at first until folks like you started pinging me out of the blue about the content (and the jobs we are hiring for).

Final Thought: Really Understanding Your Audience

Like the niche areas of talent we all look for, I learned there was an untapped audience looking for this stuff. So in your searches, keep this in mind, people are just like us. They create videos, blog, comment in groups, help one another through problems and issues.

Now think….if I was DIY Slime Video YouTuber, what conferences would I hang out at, what FB Groups would I be on, where would I stream? Would I be on the Gram too? I think about the person I’m searching for when I take up a req….who they are and what they do! DIY Slime video star or Cybersecurity Cloud Architects…when it comes down to it, we are all people, aren’t we?


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Greg Hawkes
Greg Hawkes is a Principal Sourcing Leader at M&T Bank and Creator and Founder of SourcingIRLHRSourcingToolboxHealthcareSourcingToolbox and has ongoing Speaker and Contributor for a wide array of Recruitment and Sourcing Conferences. He’s recruited and sourced in tech, healthcare, tech, mechanical/electrical/structural engineering, biotechnology, manufacturing and many other industries. Greg has covered topics ranging from Site Searches, Programmable Search Engines, to Advanced Web Scraping, Virtual Conference Infiltrations and URL Sourcing. He has been a HR/Recruitment/Sourcing Speaker on several occasions and contributed countless blogs, vlogs, webinars (and now even YouTube Shorts and TikToks) covering a wide array of sourcing strategies. He is a huge fan of emerging technologies, architecting solutions through use of technology and humanity, and most importantly finding people jobs in one of the most challenging and chaotic times we’ve ever lived in.
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