Top Ten Rules for Successful Internet Sourcers !

Top Ten Rules for Successful Internet Sourcers

Every experienced Internet Sourcer uses a general list of guidelines that they work successfully by. Like any profession, Internet Sourcers have a “Rules of the Road” that assists them in finding qualified candidates. These rules are not necessarily in order of significance since I find them all equally important in your Internet journey.

  1. Research Comes First – Every great Sourcer should have an organized library of resources. Whether this comes in the form of organized bookmarks and favorites or a notebook, it is imperative to track your research. Sourcers also understand the necessity of tracking their research and search strings using research forms. My research form includes synonyms to key words, a list of competitors and their url’s, as well as association sites and universities that offer the particular discipline among other things. I have a research folder in my favorites that include sub folders for associations, company profile information, company financial profile information, industry resource folders broken down by discipline as well as news resources and a variety of other links.
  2. Homepages ARE Resumes – I can’t stress how important it is for Recruiters to think out of the box when it comes to Internet research. For instance, if I found the homepage of a candidate who listed their interests as java programming and has links to several java sites do you think I can consider them for my possible java developer opening? Of course! The same goes for most homepages you run into. They don’t always have a full resume listing their experience etc. Sometimes you have to do a little more digging to form a lot more subtle of clues.
  3. Always Use the Advanced Search Function When Available – Since you are an advanced Sourcer, you should always use the advanced services when available on a search engine or other directory or look-up. Have prepared Boolean search strings ready for each type of advanced search in a search engine so you only need to cut and paste your position specifics. You should have a listing of industry specific search strings which include x-raying, peeling, ASA and flip searching every url of each industry competitor and having this in cut and paste form so you are not always reinventing your power search string.
  4. No Access, No Problem – A good Sourcer knows that just because you are not allowed access to a page, does not mean you can’t still get in. If you can’t get in the front door of the site, then back door the server by using the advanced function on a search engine. You can do this relatively easy by x-raying the server. X-ray allows you to ask a search engine for every web page on a server. Many times companies will have pages on their server that are not linked to any of their main pages. Search engines still index those pages so they may be able to pull them up for you. All you need to do is go to the advanced search function on most search engines and type in AND the words you expect to find on your no access page. It never ceases to amaze me how often companies give all of the information on several of their key employees directly on their site.
  5. Always Look at the URL – Too many times we click to a page that has some of what we want but not all and thus we hit our back button and continue on. A good Sourcer always reviews the URL of the page to see if they can peel back each sub folder to find what else is on the site or using the ASA method add to or substitute in the URL to gain access to more things.. Many times behind a resume page is a directory of other similar resumes or an additional page that explains a lot more about the candidate in who’s resume you are reviewing. Don’t miss out on this crucial information! Simply take off the last portion of the url that occurs after the / sign and find these pages that are a wealth of information. In fact, most of my searching involves peeling back from the search engine results to find the true nuggets of what I need!
  6. No Contact Information, No Problem – Many sources on the Internet will list names but not contact information of potential candidates. You see this many times in press releases or when x-raying a company server. A good sourcer knows this is not a problem. If the name is unusual like mine you can find out more about your “potential” candidate by simply going to a meta-search engine and typing in the name within quotes. If you’ve already determined that the candidate is someone you definitely want to talk to then finding the contact information is easy. First, check the worldwide yellow pages by going to and typing in your candidate’s name. If you would like to get email information, my favorite is, which will meta-search many of the main email look-ups for you.
  7. Executive Searching is Easiest on the Internet – The Internet has really turned this field around in the sense that any good Sourcer rejoices when having to source high-level executives because they are the easiest to find on the Internet. Tremendous sources for finding high-level executives are company profile sites list like, or These sites will many times list out the executives at each organization, as well as their title and in many cases their salary! Once you have a name, it’s not a problem to find a bit more about your candidate by meta-searching and then finding the contact information (see above). Yes, we Sourcers love searching for Executives because they are very public figures and thus are all over the Internet!
  8. Don’t Stop at One Search Engine – Do you know which search engine is the largest, meaning it indexes the most of the World Wide Web? Most would probably guess Google and would be very wrong. Search engines are wonderful things, but the problem is that none of them have indexed even half of the Internet. This means if you enter a search into Altavista and get zero results, this may not be the case if you go to Hotbot or Google. Each search engine indexes the web differently, searches the web differently and thus has very different results. A good Sourcer knows that they should be searching a few search engines before exhausting the search. Many of us become pros at one search engine and stop there. A successful Sourcer is a pro at a few search engines and knows how to use them inside and out. In addition there are "meta search engines" (MSEs)that search several search engines at once. They can even search internationally and utilizing your boolean search string creation skills you gain from my "If you build it, They Will Come: the Story of a successful Boolean Search staring!!" blog posting, you will be in a great plae tot ake advantage of all they can do. A great Sorucer will know how to use search engines and MSEs inside out.
  9. A Good Sourcer Knows When to Use What For Best Results – There are plenty of people who know how to Flip Search, X-ray, Peel back, ASA etc.(see earlier blog postings) There are very few people who know when it is best to use which technique. I also see people mix up the techniques so that they are x-raying a company server as well as asking for “resumes” in their search string! It is very important to not only understand each technique but WHY and WHEN you would use it. Truly successful Sourcers not only have a strong knowledge of the various techniques, but they know exactly which technique to try first for the best results. This takes a strong understanding of recruiting in general, as well as the ability to break down a requisition, understand its parts and what is most important to source for.
  10. Go beyond the Basics - If you have read my earlier blog on Words and Phrases to Recruit by!!! , You know what this means and its definition can be extended to include not giving up. Good Sourcers do not know the words give up or quit. They are relentless hunters, who never say die and never retreat or surrender and most importantly never give up on a search. Why? Because with over 200 million pages on the Internet and over 20 million resume/homepages/bios..etc they know the odds are in their favor that they will find the candidates they need. A successful Sourcer knows that regardless of how good they are, it still takes quite a bit of time to successfully source all over the Internet.

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Comment by Sean Gaudun on March 5, 2010 at 3:36pm
Hi Dean,

I take it you've done this before! Some really good tips here. I enjoyed the fact you just didn't discuss this in theory but actually dropped the helpful URL's, styles of search and actual techniques. Recruitingblogs is a great sight with great people; however i have found people are satisified with talking in generalities adn not specifics. I found this article to be a breath of fresh air. Cheers.

Comment by Dean Da Costa on March 5, 2010 at 10:29pm
Thank you. I will posting more soon and actually post tricks and stuff to help. My next post will be key words to use to find diversity candidates. My plan is to not just talk about things but provide help.
Comment by Mona Karaoui on March 7, 2010 at 1:57am
Hi Dean Da Costa,

Thank you for your post for Internet sourcers.

We are also committed to the region for online sourcing in the Middle East and North Africa with our trilingual job site in English, French and Arabic:

We launched our site in 2000 and today have more than 4 million job seekers and 30,000 companies! The Internet is definitely the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way to source!

Thank you,


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