How To Find Talent Your Competition has Overlooked

How many experts are you overlooking on LinkedIn?

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Jun 4, 2024

Are you looking for expert-level passive candidates? Of course you are! I mean, who isn’t? You are probably using AI-powered tools, powerful chrome extensions, or the alchemy of boolean searching. However, I would wager you are overlooking an old-school technique that has delivered results for me since the 90’s – bookstore sourcing. What is that? Glad you asked.

Amazon sells a lot of books, on all types of topics, and the authors of those books just might be the best hire for you. Why? They have enough knowledge on a topic to write a book and if that book is a best-seller then, you have social proof of their knowledge; which is even better. Let me share an example of what I mean.

I go to and restrict my search to Books. I search on the term “python engineering.”


I pick this book by Eric Mathes because its a best seller which means it’s been validated by people who know something about python engineering; certainly more than me as I know nothing about it.

As I review the book description, I notice this, “Python Crash Course is the world’s bestselling programming book, with over 1,500,000 copies sold to date!” (Underlined in red below.) So I’m thinking that this is like a “For Dummies” book series for tech books and if so, there may be other authors connected to this series to search out. Hmm… more on that later. Anyway, I scroll down to the bottom of the page in search of the “About the Author” section.


I find the author section which has a bio and a photo and… links to other books in the series. Yay! More python expert authors to pursue in the future. But for now, let’s stick with Eric Matthes. I don’t see an email for this person. Hmm… can I track one down? Hmm… Let’s try an image search. I save the picture of the author and upload it to Google image search.


I get a couple of hits. One is to Substack and the other is to Learnpub. Using the scientific method of eeniee-meenie-minee-moe, I click on the Learnpub link.

I see that Eric Matthes is selling a Python Cheat Sheet. Cool. But what else can I find on this page?


Found it! Halfway down the page is an “Email the Author(s)” link. Boom!

Clicking that link takes me to a form which is… okay, but not really what I want.


But oh, look what I discover when I scroll down the page a bit more – an “About the Author” section. And in the section is a link to @ehmatthes which is presumably an X (formerly Twitter) link.

Yup! Its an X account with a couple of links to explore. The Substack link is interesting but the Github link has caught my eye the most.


Time for a victory dance because I have found what I was looking for. Yay!

I wonder how many Sourcers have overlooked this expert? Hmm… I do a search on python engineering on LinkedIn and I get 2,700,000 results. Where in those results is Eric Mathes? No telling. When I search for him directly, I find him. However, he does not have a LinkedIn banner, belongs to only 2 LinkedIn groups, his Experience section is sparse to say the least, and the About section is 2 sentences. In other words, this LinkedIn profile is not optimized to be found by people searching LinkedIn and yet, he is a SUPER-qualified Python expert. How many authors are just as credible but have not put time into their LinkedIn profile? I have a better question. How many can you find that your competitors have overlooked?

Amazon is a great place to start with this technique but by no means is the only place you should be looking. Are you familiar with print-on-demand books? These are books that are self-published. As such, they don’t have the popularity of books produced by mainstream publishers. Yet, is that a bad thing? I don’t think so because it means that there will be even less recruiting competition for you. (Insert sly grin here.) Let me share an example from BookBaby.

I clicked on the Bookshop link on BookBaby and searched on “Python engineering.” I got 4 books in the results. I click on the first link and find a book by Anthony Mauro.

I looked up the author on LinkedIn and I see another profile that has not been optimized for search. So, if I was looking for a python engineering expert, its highly unlikely this profile would be at the top of my search results (unless I was already connected to him).


If you like this strategy, I recommend searching Amazon (of course), but also seeking out print-on-demand bookstores. And for extra credit, visit your local library.

May the source be with you!

Jim Stroud
Your SourceCon Editor