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Jun 21, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

In the digital age, we recruiting professionals have become a little spoiled by all of the tools available to us. We now have fancy extensions and apps that, when applied correctly, greatly aid our ability to find people, contact information and have more general knowledge about people than ever before. There is a catch, all of our fancy tools don’t always work, or they don’t go far enough to find personal information (vs. work contact information, which I never recommend using). It’s in those moments that it becomes increasingly crucial to bring sourcing back to basics, even kicking it old school.

When we start to work on a new search and accumulated a decently sized pool of profiles that are a potential fit, the next step in the process is to begin contacting each person, using a personal touch. Today we have the option to do this in many ways, from LinkedIn and Facebook messages to tweets and Quora shout outs, but one thing has remained true in recruitment, a direct email is always better, and an email is always trumped by a personal phone call. Here are some tips for acquiring personal email addresses and phone numbers, the old school way.

How to be an Email Detective

Rapportive + Gmail= GOTCHA

I use Rapportive, a free Linkedin/Gmail add-on tool, to help me “discover” emails. I also use Google+, although, with the new interface, Google+ isn’t as reliable as it used to be. In Rapportive, if I guess the email address correctly, their LinkedIn profile appears along the right side of my screen. Genius, right? In the tool-free scenario, profile pictures and links are also available through “just Gmail,” but the whole profile does not show up.

When I’m figuring out personal email address, I always assume Gmail first. To determine the prefix, I try firstlast, first.last, firstinitiallast, lastfirstinitial. I hover over, and their name will pop up in blue, which is when I click and go to Google+. If it’s the same picture as their LinkedIn profile, I know I have a winner. If it’s a picture of a sailboat unless they mention sailing in their profile, I move on to get more proof.

I try the same basic prefixes in Yahoo, Hotmail, and, and if nothing turns up, I move on.


Stage 2- Deep Cover

I look at their LinkedIn profile under two things: contact information and LinkedIn page. If their Twitter handle is under contact information, I try that with the same domains. For example, if John Smith is johnnys512 on Twitter, they may be johnnys512 on Gmail as well. Also, if John Smith’s Linkedin page is, the same rules apply.

If our friend John Smith happens to have a blog or website, such as, guess what? He might be John, Johnny or J!

I may also look them up on Facebook because guess what? When you look up John Smith and find his page is, you have another combination to try.

Word of Warning: Make Sure You Have the Right Person

  • Exceptions to the rules: This is the moment when recruiting/sourcing moves from science to art. For candidates who were blessed with names like “John Smith,” there may be more than one individual by that name with the same employer, so their email may have any number or variations added. These are the moments that networking through their organization becomes essential and the phone call even more crucial. The worst is that email that says, “wrong person.”

Now when your handy extensions like Hiretual, Lusha, and ContactOut go down, you’re not dead in the water. Push on, dig in deeper, and find contacts, the old school way.

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