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Dec 5, 2018
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

I was digging around Reddit the other day looking (okay I was building a CSE to extract profiles), and I came across this nerdy article about video games. There’s been some trolling on how many fighting games (like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Guilty Gear) have variations in complexity or just the opposite. The article cites the effect of lowering the bar of these types of games. Suddenly complex inputs are easier for some users, and characters like Zangief become much more powerful when the hard moves are easier to execute.

Of course, I can see parallels in sourcing. Some people complain that technology makes things much easier for non-boolean nerds or non-programmers. And well I know I’ll get trolled for this, but what is wrong with that?

Sourcing Pile Driver aka Zangief Style

In Street Fighter, when I started beating my brother with Zangief consistently, what did he do? He switched characters, practiced, and learned new techniques to counter the spinning piledriver. It made him a better player.

Sourcing is the same way, except we aren’t lowering the bar, we are raising the skills of everyone, making us better players, and making the game much more fun. More users using and exploring tech leads to new solutions and different ways of thinking about a process, or a resource.

As new tech comes our way, we must explore it, challenge tool makers, give feedback, and in turn make our inputs easier to execute. When someone surprises me with something, I tell them so. I see myself in so many of you; you guys are brilliant. You need to hear someone say it.

I helped my sourcing team build Dataminer scrapers this week, and I got wows and thanks and even a lesson myself about making scrapers on Bing.

You can thank Michael Vroman for this one, search for his #Stalkmaster recipe:

But of course here’s more. With the following tools below, we won’t only be able to up our game, but we’ll change the status quo and move all of us forward. This is not raising the bar; it’s leveling the playing field to help others succeed. Candidate identification is getting easier, which makes engagement just as vital. However, data extraction (if configured right) frees up much of one’s day so that they can stay focused on the other aspects.

Welcome to The Scraper WareHouse

There’s a bit of a backstory here. Recently, I’ve moved from being a focused sourcer into an interim full cycle recruiter/sourcer hybrid role of sorts. I don’t mind this at all since I’ve worked as both a recruiter and sourcer. However what I find to my biggest enemy is time. One cannot merely deep dive into forums for three hours when offers need to be made, and jobs need to be opened. As a result, I’ve been making shorter sprints of sourcing, or what I call “quick and dirty” sourcing.

Data extraction tools had become an imperative piece of the solution. Scraping not only to boosts pipelining efforts while reducing mindless data entry, but it also maximizes my time and helps hone in on our target audience. Here are a few tools to use to pull and organize data. I use many of these every day, and I highly suggest you do too:

By far my favorite thus far (thanks Bret Feig for showing it to me). This is a super scraper mainly because of the abundant customization options and ability to “click in” to profiles on a list and pull a massive amount of data. This kind of automation comes with a steep learning curve, but the payoff is worth it. Scraping, importing, and exporting of data and your “sitemaps” are all free options. and the Recipe Creator

Mentioned above, this is still one of my “go to” tools for data extraction. The learning curve is less intense that web scraper and you get some great options for 20 bucks a month (unlimited public recipes and scraping sites like indeed).

You can find several public recipes through the main tool (Try searching for #SourcingIRL or for Hawkes to see some that I’ve released). Here’s a recent video where I dig deeper into the Recipe Creator function!

Instant Data Scraper

An easy user interface, and lots of automation built in when it works right. The learning curve is lessened but so is the customization and success rate of the scrape. However, on sites like Indeed, Twitter, and Facebook, this thing has surprised me. Some tinkering may be needed to pull the right “table” of info, but this is also a free tool, so one can’t complain too much.

Scrape Similar

This is another Chrome extension that I typically use as a backup scraper when none of my others work. However, I’ve noticed it’s been pulling in some formatting on specific sites (which is always nice). Since it saves me from overthinking and it’s completely free, it’s one to put in your sourcing stack.

Here’s a video on some of the tools mentioned here.

SourcingIRL Scraping Tools are Cool, Tell a Friend!

Other Alternatives and Tech Out There


This is a free mobile-based web scraper, and it’s hard to use, crashes a bit, and I’m still trying to figure it out, but I was able to pull a list of names and job titles into a CSV file from a safari browser on my cell phone. It’s not perfect, but it’s one I’ve been watching, and I hope more developers try to build solutions like this in the future.


Like a web scraper, this one in involves a deeper understanding of scraping tools and techniques and watch for Michael Vroman’s upcoming article about this one. He’s been working with it pretty heavily here at HMH.

Oldies are Goodies

Chrome extensions break and need to be revamped or reworked when sites change their API. However, I always remind people if all else fails, we can always copy and paste data from a website into a tracking document. It may not be pretty, but hey CTRL C then CTRL V can be the perfect old school hack that always seems to get around it.

Paid Tools (Scraping Built In)

In addition to the free and freemium tools mentioned, several paid tools include scraping and extraction as built-in features. Each goes about it a different way, but most can pull data in an organized format, so one doesn’t have to tinker too much with spreadsheets.

And some more worth exploring

Two tools I’ve heard Bret Feig and Jonathan Kidder mentioned recently are Toolkit for Facebook and Toolkit for Twitter. Both allow for large-scale actions in just seconds. Some of the features I use regularly is the posting to multiple Facebook groups at once and following multiple Twitter followers within three-second intervals. One has to be careful though; Twitter made me change my password when I attempted to follow 300 people in a single engineering group, oops! You don’t want to annoy people or get banned, so use these tools in moderation.

Take these and practice, learn, ask questions, and bug me, Dean Da Costa, or Bret Feig if you aren’t getting the right outcomes for your inputs. Soon you’ll be executing the spinning pile driver aka Zangief style.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.