No School Like Old School, Especially in Sourcing

When I was a young sourcer, I had to walk 15 miles in the snow to find a candidate!

Just kidding, but in al seriousness, times have changed. Nowadays there are sourcing tools to search just about any website in about every place on the web. There are tools to search Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Github and pretty much any site that contains a candidate profile. Any time a new website appears, it’s sourcing capabilities is added to a well known favorite tool, or a new one is created. Some of these tools are free, but others have a hefty price tag. For those of you who can’t afford all of these tools, there is another way. An old school way.

Xraying is an old school search technique that can still provide great results and in some cases will retrieve results that you couldn’t find with a sourcing tool or extension. Best of all its FREE.

The purpose of Xraying or “domain searching” (site:) is to find something within a particular domain name or server or site. LinkedIn owns the domain name or server. You can tell a search engine to only search those pages that are in the server. This works particularly well for finding “employee directories,” bios and high-level executives (searching by title).

To Xray, you will use the domain:, site: or host: Boolean operators to Xray into a given site. In the case of LinkedIn, it would be if you are looking for people. So java particular candidates that specialize in Java. Below is a snapshot of the results.

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As you can see, the six snippets of profiles shown are all people, and all have Java on their LinkedIn profile. Oh and by the way, doing it this way allows you to see the third level of connections on LinkedIn and beyond. Google doesn’t know who you are connected to on LinkedIn, so its rankings aren’t restricted.

The same principle used to Xray in LinkedIn (site:) can be used to Xray into just about any website. Just play with it till you find the right combinations and go to town.

They say music, fashion, TV, and movies are all circular and never really go out of style. Meaning what is old becomes new again. Well, the same holds true for the old school sourcing tricks like XRaying.

Dean Da Costa has more than 16 years of staffing/recruiting experience in Fortune 100 companies. He was recently named the single "most online influential recruiter."