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Nov 8, 2018
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

In a world full of Rattata’s and Pidgey’s, you’re looking for that one purple Pokemon. The Mew. But even if you find Mew, how do you get to where it is and what is the best strategy to ensure a successful capture?

The popular game Pokemon can be compared to the world of recruiting. The purpose of the game is to champion a fictional place, capturing rare and powerful creatures to use against your competitors to win battles. Part of capturing those Pokemon includes researching their locations and the developing the best strategies to capture and train them.

Like the fictional lands of Pokemon, the internet is a vast yet finite place full of rare and powerful candidates, just ripe for the picking. Sourcers and recruiters alike are all searching online databases of resumes, LinkedIn, and other professional networking sites to find their talent, but sometimes that isn’t enough. What you need is a Pokedex to find information, and an ultra-pokeball, a powerful tool used to capture those rare Pokemon.

Crack open your Pokedex and do a little research

Luckily, the world of Pokemon isn’t PvP. If it were, it would be that much more difficult to find those rare Pokemon. Unfortunately, the world of recruiting is PvP.

Multiple companies can pursue the same candidate at the same time, and it is up to the recruiters and sourcers to attract those candidates and capture them. With such a competitive talent market, it pays to differentiate yourself and reach out in unique and creative ways instead of adding another unread InMail to the candidates overflowing inbox.

To find candidates, you can use any source like LinkedIn, Indeed, or other career-focused sites, and you can also focus on professional associations, exclusive membership groups, and certification authorities (think CPA, PHR, etc.). But to find candidates and reach out to them in unique ways? That can be a little tougher.

Finding your Ideal Candidate

Building a Google CSE to search your targeted area is a great first step to designing a repeatable, offensive sourcing strategy. Greg Hawkes has provided us with a few solid CSE’s that we can choose from, and he also provides a full list of other sweet sourcing tools on HRSourcingToolbox.

There are so many different resources to choose from to find candidates and their contact information, but many of the conventional ones require some payment and the candidate to indicate that they are interested before you even receive their contact information.

I was talking with a fellow sourcer one day and decided to do a little cyber-stalking on a tool that I use frequently. Throughout our discussion, I exposed details on this person, and shockingly I was told that I was able to find his contact information much quicker and with greater accuracy than a SourceCon Grandmaster using powerful OSINT tools.

Much to his surprise, I was only using one free website that took all of maybe 10 seconds to pull his information, and to my surprise, it was a website that wasn’t even on his radar.



USPhoneBook has been a tool in my kit for a few years now, and almost always produces accurate results. It can reverse search phone numbers to find out who is calling you, or you can search by name and location to find information about anyone.

Once you search, you will be taken to a results page that you can scroll through to find the correct person’s profile, or if you searched by phone number it should only show you one profile in the search results.

The thing that you will like most about USPhoneBook is how much information you can gather for one person. The search results include telephone numbers, addresses, email addresses, known associates, family members, and more. The listed family members are also hyperlinked to their own “profile” in USPhoneBook.



My second favorite tool and one I frequently use to cross-reference my results from USPhoneBook is FamilyTreeNow. You may recognize this one after it went viral on Facebook a couple of years ago. It went viral simply because of the extraordinary amount of accurate information you could find on people. Previous addresses, phone numbers, family members (with links to their own “profiles” containing their addresses and phone numbers).

The search returns a list of results like USPhoneBook:

You can scroll through the list until you find the correct person and then click into their profile, which will show the information you’re looking for.

Pikachu, I Choose You!

The purpose of tracking and researching Pokemon is usually to capture them to use them against your competitors. In the real world, we are recruiting candidates to fill a variety of positions across our organizations. So, what do you do once you have their contact and background information?

This is where the battle begins, and where you must choose which tools to use to get the capture. There are a variety of ways you could reach out to candidates, but we need to differentiate ourselves from the competition. If your candidate is in a niche field or has highly desired skills, it is likely that other companies are pursuing them as well.

Throw Your Ultra Pokeball

You’ve identified the candidate, and the battle has begun. Here are some ideas that you can use as your Ultra Pokeball to stand out from your competition.

While I wouldn’t recommend physically stalking candidates, you can be creative by sending hand-written personalized letters, cold-calling the phone number(s) you found, or even sending a nice Edible Arrangement with a card including your contact information.

Anything you can think of outside of the box can potentially be a great way to “break the ice” so to speak and get the candidate interested in your intentions. Now that we’ve captured the candidate, the rest is up to the hiring team.

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