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Feb 15, 2019

Growing up, I used to love to watch game shows, such as Family Feud, The Price is Right and The Joker’s Wild. I especially liked to watch The Wheel of Fortune with my great grandmother when I used to visit her.

Searching for an individual’s phone number or email reminds me of spinning the wheel on a game show. What is going to be the best method for finding contact information? On game shows, contestants answer a question to solve a puzzle, and in return, win money or prizes. However, in recruiting, finding the phone number or email to an individual is like winning the game.

How do you know which tools will give you the best return on investment? My “A-ha moment” came to me at the end of 2017 when I thought to myself, “why not track all of the methods used to find candidate phone numbers and emails?”

(Note: I work for an agency that recruits niche engineering and biopharma candidates. The statistics are unique for the industries our firm recruits for, and while many tools did not work out for me, they could very well work for someone who may recruit for the financial or software industries.)

The Results

During 2018, I researched 4,280 candidate files to find emails and phone numbers. I then analyzed what emails and phone numbers were used and accurate. I left out 1435 emails and 1610 phone numbers that weren’t utilized but will reanalyze them in 2019.


Five hundred forty-four emails were utilized by the recruiters and account managers in my office; out of 544 emails found, 486 of them were accurate. I was happy to note that 89% of the emails I found were accurate.

I like to use a mix of methods/tools to find emails, including Hiretual, DiscoverOrg, Capture, and extensions (paid and free), such as PeopleFinder, Lusha, and ContactOut. Of course, one must not forget Boolean and sites such as True People Search, Cubib, Pipl and Open Source Intelligence Techniques (OSINT).

One of the main tools I used was Hiretual, a Chrome extension that shows you more information on candidates that you find on LinkedIn. I was able to find 204 emails for candidates using Hiretual and love that it had an 88% accuracy rate. The second most used email tool was Boolean, which had a 92% accuracy rate, followed by True People Search, which had a 91% accuracy rate.

I was disappointed to find that a tool that I paid for (Capture) allowed me to find 12 emails and only had a 42% inaccuracy rate.

Phone Numbers

Phone numbers are instrumental, especially when sourcing passive candidates, and it allows for a more direct approach. I would personally prefer someone to reach out to me by phone than email. Having an individual’s phone number can increase those chances of a successful connection. I researched 692 candidates for possible phone numbers and achieved a 77% accuracy rate and a 23% inaccuracy rate.

True People Search was my “most used,” with 185 phone numbers found. It yielded an 86% accuracy rate. Hiretual was used to detect 126 phone numbers and generated a 72% accuracy rate. Using Boolean led me to 112 candidates, and it has a 96% accuracy rate. A favorite tool, Lusha, was used to find 74 phone numbers, with a 50% rate.

In Conclusion

Having a mixture of methods in your bed of research tools can increase the chances of finding the email or phone number to your leads. With a little time and effort, you can learn what methods work for the industry you work with.