Searching for Contact Info

email-linkedinHere’s a brief note on searching for contact information on LinkedIn. Positing visible contact info on the profiles is discouraged; but, as we know, many members do, particularly those who are Recruiters, Sales, and “Open Networkers”.

At the same time, LinkedIn quietly takes some measures for us to see less of that contact info.

As an example, a search for “” in the UK population returns about 250 results, while an X-Ray for “” returns “About 3,570 results” and shows about 700. Sure enough, there may be false positives in the X-Ray, but it’s easy to locate some profiles found in X-Ray that are not included in the above LinkedIn internal search. If you are still in doubt, here is a more narrow search; compare internal search vs. X-Ray for the London, UK Area.

Here is another interesting example, showing the same tendency. Search for “com” in the last name, narrow to a the Greater Chicago Area; compare Internal search (under 200 results; 3 more if you search in the first name field) vs. X-Ray (About 460 results).

The moral of the story is that X-Raying for gmail-based email addresses and, possibly, anything else that points to an email address included in the profiles, would bring much better results than internal search.

As a side note, there’s quite a bit of other interpretation going on in the LinkedIn internal search, which didn’t use to happen. Somehow the internal search often recognizes keywords that sound like last names and would interpret the search as if you put the keyword in the last name field. That means that profiles mentioning someone by name would not be found. More on that later…

SourcePedia: Reference and Teaser

Here’s a preview of some of the reference materials I will be sharing at the upcoming Webinar – “SourcePedia”, repeated live on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014. Seating is limited; sign up early to get your spot.

(1) All the LinkedIn names for the Geo-locations, world-wide. You would need these for X-Ray searches, such as this OR -pub.dir “location * Glasgow, United Kingdom”

Reference (that you can use): the list of ALL the US-based locations:



(2) A “Vocabulary” of 40K+ LinkedIn Skills. (worth attending for this one alone!)

Teaser: the Word Cloud for ALL the Skills:


(made with Wordle)

Plus, see covered:

  • Global Search Engines: Syntax
  • Google Boolean Syntax Charts and examples
  • Comparison Search Engines Charts
  • Postal and Telephone Code References
  • Real Time Search Engines
  • Social Sites Directory
  • Registered, Certified, and Licensed Professionals – Resources
  • Diversity Resources
  • Productivity Browser Add-Ons  List
  • Scraping, Parsing, Filtering, and Sorting Tools List
  • Social Cross-Referencing Tools List
  • …and more.

The idea is to provide a customizable set of references for everyone who searches for professionals on the web. The crowd that had attended the first delivery of the webinar expressed high satisfaction with the content. I hope to “see” many of you at upcoming webinar repeat next week.


SourcePedia (Sourcing Reference): Webinar Tuesday July 1st


Announcing a new Sourcing Webinar:

SourcePedia (Sourcing Reference): Tuesday July 1st

Which search engines index the Internet globally? Where could I find the list of current Boolean operators for sourcing in a one-page document? What are the differences between the Google and the Bing search syntax? Where can I look up the corporate email formats for a given company? Which email collection and verification tools are out there? Where do I find a good list of diversity-related associations? What are the sites that list certified and licensed professionals? How do I look up a company’s competitors? What are the names of all the locations that LinkedIn uses in each country (e.g. Australia or Canada)? What is the up-to-date tool to look up the hidden names?…

This 90-minute webinar is packed with up-to-date references, resources, and tip sheets, that anyone would find to be handy in the practice of searching for target professionals online. It will answer all the questions above and many more.

The materials are all yours to keep and to enjoy in daily sourcing practice. Besides, one month of support is provided to help you to master the reference materials further.

Who should attend: if you search for professionals online as part of your job, this webinar is for you!

Seating is limited; register early.

Date: Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Time: 9 AM PDT / 12 PM EDT / 5 PM London
Duration: 90 minutes

Included: The slides for the webinar, a complete recording of the webinar, and one month of support

Register at

Mini-Sourcing Contest :)

It’s been a while since I ran the last sourcing contest. Here is a new one. Try your sourcing and research skills!

The first person to email me the correct answer will be eligible to take the Sourcing Certification Exam in July or August 2014 (their choice; the fee waved) and, as usual, will be featured on the Boolean Network.

Read on.

A good friend of mine is a tour guide in Moscow, Russia. She loves to take photos. Yesterday she sent me a photo of a cool-looking car, brought along by American travelers, whom she was helping to get around during their visit.


I was curious about the visitors.

It turns out that one of the people riding in that car is a woman with an interesting professional background. In the past she used to be a flight test pilot in USAF and spent hundreds of hours in the air. She has other accomplishments too – including several college-level degrees.

The Contest Question: In what year did she get her PhD and what was the title of her PhD thesis?

Deadline: July 2, 2014 (closed if not solved by then).

Tip: you do not need to locate my friend and ask her for any information to find the answer. Google will do the job.

When I receive the correct answer, I will update the post.

Best of luck!



Hey All – nice work! I have received the correct answer – which is found by first Googling the car license plate – from several people. You can find more information about the car in this video and an interesting report on the same site about the tour. The rest is also done by Googling. :)

The first person to send me the correct answer was Vidhya Lingappan of Roland & Associates, a company in India that has many excellent researchers, some of whom I have met “virtually”.

Roland himself has achieved the Advanced People Sourcing Certification and is listed among experts on our site.

Congratulations! Vidhya solved it together with a coworker, Siva, so it was a “team” effort.

More to come!

X-Raying Twitter Is Easy


X-Raying Twitter for member bios has just become really easy. We don’t have to struggle excluding the non-bios via something like

…-inurl:lists -inurl:members -inurl:hashtag -inurl:status -inurl:statuses…

That is because Twitter has recently added a new separate view with “Tweets and replies”. A URL for the “Tweets and replies” ends in /with_replies, while preserving all of the bio information.

Therefore, we now have two ways to X-Ray for bios only: inurl:with_replies [add keywords]

(easy!) – or, if you like to get to the original profile URLs for some reason, you can search for “Tweets and replies” -inurl:with_replies [add keywords]

When X-Raying Twitter bios, you can use Google search syntax to find people with certain ranges numbers of followers or following, or find those who joined within a certain Month/Year range:

Of course, we have little control over the keywords appearing in the bios vs. in the tweets that were present on the bio page when it was indexed. That is true about the location names as well. We could search for “San Francisco” or “Atlanta GA” and hope that we find these words as locations and not in tweets, but we would need to check.

Why can X-Raying be useful? My former favorite Twitter bio search Tweepz, created by the same people who are behind the Exalead search, stopped tweeting last November and the site shows some signs of decline. On the other hand, Google’s advanced syntax and proximity search expressed via the asterisk * may help to do some creative searches.

I wish Twitter would put some labels by the bio and by the location for easier X-Raying. I hope it will! Now, while it’s not easy to “isolate” the bio, it is possible to X-Ray for tweets of a given person – or any person. The elements status and statuses in the URLs let us do that:

It is possible to X-Ray for Lists as well. Here is an example:

If you are an expert in advanced Boolean searches on Google, you’d be surprised, but in this context you can search for lists that include a given twitter handle by using that special character in the search string, @, that never helps to find email addresses on Google. Take a look:

Finally, Twitter can also be X-Rayed for popular hashtags:

This concludes a brief investigation of the now-easy twitter X-Raying.

Of course, Twitter itself has Advanced Search and Twitter List search – those and the real time search Topsy (acquired by Apple last year) provide nice search capabilities. But some of the above searches they can’t do.

Sourcing Developers in Source Code

Searching for Software Engineers seems to be on many Sourcers’ minds. Finding “someone” qualified can be easy. They may be on LinkedIn, or Github, or Stackoverflow, or Google-Plus, or with resumes online,  and often on all of these sites at the same time. But if that coding guru is easily found, you are competing with “everybody else” for her attention. You might be even competing with recruiters from your own company (yikes) (as a friend who recently joined a software giant with a big brand name tells me).

The task then becomes, find Software Engineers that are hard to find!

( once specifically created a list of highly qualified Developers found on Github who didn’t have LinkedIn profiles and reached out to them;  they were very responsive, even offering references if they were not open to opportunities.)

There are endless ways to be creative, looking for people that would not be found on LinkedIn and other “mainstream” channels. One way you may want to try is to source Software Engineers within the Source Code in the programming languages they use. Let’s explore how to use Google’s filetype: operator for that.

Google’s official file types list includes:

  • Basic source code (.bas)
  • C/C++ source code (.c, .cc, .cpp, .cxx, .h, .hpp)
  • C# source code (.cs)
  • Java source code (.java)
  • Perl source code (.pl)
  • Python source code (.py)

But in fact, Google will recognize many more file types for software source code files. As long as a file contains code in a programming language, that is text, that someone typed in, Google should be able to “understand” it. Here’s a list with more source code file extentions, and even more can be found here.

If the author decides to leave a contact email in the code, that contact can be found. Of course, these searches, targeting programming languages and email addresses, will have to be very wide. But we know how to cross-reference lists of emails (Rapportive, Google-Plus, Outlook Social Connector, LinkedIn Contacts are just some ways to do that) and quickly narrow the lists down to the right locations and to other target parameters.

In addition to using the fitelype: operator, we may want to specifically X-Ray some sites with open source software code, such as Bitbucket, Google code, and Sourceforge, to name a few.

Combining all of the above, here are some sample searches to play with (perhaps, add some specific keywords that you expect to find as well):

These searches may find top coders that may be hard to find on the most common channels. Sometimes, they will discover developers that can be found, say, on LinkedIn, but with a different email address that the developer is likelier to check, which can also open doors to initial communication. Maybe you can even tell them that you have looked at some source code; I suppose that would make you stand out from the crowd in the eyes of a developer. Of course, an additional (intrinsic) advantage is that you would have the contact email address, which is not the case with LinkedIn searches.

As a quick example, this search within JavaScript source code files instantly finds about 50 email addresses, including those pointing to this profile and this profile on LinkedIn, that others are unlikely to find due to the lack of keywords (at the time of this post).

My webinar on the topic of finding “techies” has been popular; check it out if you might be interested in a 90-minutes recording with many more tips and a month of support.



Search on Facebook that’s NOT Graph


The Facebook Graph Search is now available to all English-speaking users of Facebook. The rest of the users can experience the Graph Search by changing the language to English in the settings.

There are, however, some advantages to using the “pre-Graph” search on Facebook. You will guess correctly that if you use Facebook in English, by changing the language to any other language you will get that type of search in the search bar. But in fact, you don’t have to be changing the preferences to access the pre-Graph search. This link, for example:

will work no matter what language you use and will search for the given keywords (that you can change, of course) across all the object types: people, places, groups, etc. To search within groups, add &type=groups to the URL or select “Groups” from the choices on the left.

Here’s another example: search for python language among pages:

I recently wrote about the Boolean OR search on Facebook. Well, these searches are Boolean AND searches for the keywords: python AND languagesecurity AND certification.

Compared to the Graph search, when used to search for groups, pages, etc. by name, the pre-Graph search has some advantages.

1. It doesn’t “jump to conclusions”. (What I am referring to is the annoying behavior of the Graph search when it lands on the wrong result page, before you’ve been able to tell what you are searching for.)

2. Interesting! This search has a capacity that is somewhat like Google’s auto-stemming (and even synonym searching in some cases). You can stop at a partial (key)word, and Facebook will be bringing in variations of the word. As an example, a search for security certif will find pages with certified and certifications.

As another example, a search for pages with international, recruit - will find recruiters, recruitment, etc.:

 (The graph search, too, sometimes interprets partial words, but in a different manner; I’ll leave that for another post.)

As we are exploring pre-Graph searching, let me point out that the Facebook Graph search has the “see more results” link for those who want to search by keywords:

Compare the screenshot above for the pre-Graph search with the screen shot below for “more results for python language; the display differs but the results seem to be the same:


3. Finally, the pre-Graph search continues to work in a logged-out state. (The Graph search and its “see more results” stop working if you log out.) That’s something to appreciate if you are sourcing and don’t want to depend on your friend’s “likes”:

To conclude, the pre-graph search is NOT as dead as Facebook says and can be put to some good use. Bookmark it.

P.S. To learn lots more about Facebook Graph and non-Graph search, Twitter search syntax and X-Raying, Social Lookup Tools (and more) applied to Sourcing, and get one month of support in your sourcing practice, check out Facebook and Twitter for Sourcing – Fri May 21 at 9 AM (repeat of the May 9 webinar).

Facebook and Twitter for Sourcing – Webinar WED May 21 at 9 AM (Repeat)


Looking for more ways to source without LinkedIn? This hands-on sourcing webinar will go over dozens of tips and tools for sourcing on the two social networking giants, Facebook and Twitter.

(This webinar is complementary to the prerecorded webinars “Sourcing without LinkedIn” and “Sourcing with Google-Plus” in the Training Library.)

Who should attend: Sourcers, Recruiters, Talent Acquisition Specialists, all those who search for professionals online; everyone who wants to learn new sourcing tips and get up-to-date on top sourcing methods.

What is Covered

Specifically, I’ll cover: little-known ways to perform Boolean search on Facebook; Facebook Graph search “hacking”; recruiting tools and add-ons to Facebook; factors affecting professional data visibility on Facebook; new ways to X-Ray Twitter and to search within Twitter lists, available due to the just-happened profile redesign; advanced Boolean search syntax on Twitter; tools to search the Big Data in the “Twitter Fire hose” in real time; Social Look-up tools and browser extensions; and social cross-referencing between Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the Social Web. I’ll also compare various sourcing techniques on Facebook and Twitter in terms of their ROI.

Space is limited; sign up now!

Date: Wednesday, 2014 — note – this is a repeat of the May 9 webinar, scheduled gain due to many requests!
Time: 9 AM PDT/ noon EDT
Length: 90 minutes
Included: slides, video-recording, one month of support.
Price: $99

Schedule conflict or the “wrong” time zone? No worries; the slides, the video-recording, and one month support are provided to all who sign up.


Sourcing for Active and Passive Candidates on Stackoverflow Careers

Stackoverflow is part of StackExchange, a “Q and A” platform. At this time it has 2.5 MLN users.

The site Stack Overflow Careers 2.0 offers the users to share their professional information if they are open to new possibilities. Search for these profiles is paid for employers and recruiters. However, you can X-Ray the site (for free).

Here’s what a profile on the “career” site looks like. Once you have found a profile, there shouldn’t be any problem finding additional professional information (if you need it), based on the shared links to social sites, the profile image, the name, and the location.

(Note that these bio/profile pages are separate. and different in structure, from the profiles of Stackoverflow users.)

A straightforward string to X-Ray the bio’s is -inurl:jobs (add some keywords), for example: -inurl:jobs Objective-C PHP MySQL

We can see (interpret) these pages in the same way as resumes on job boards: recent are for active candidates, past are for “passive”.

To find the most recent profiles you can search for -inurl:jobs profile “updated * yesterday” -inurl:jobs profile updated ..6 days ago

Naturally, when you view the profile showing “3 days ago” in the preview it may be, say, 6 days since it was updated. This gap in dates gives us some idea on how often Google visits the pages.

View the dates when the profiles was last updated by using something like -inurl:jobs profile updated on * * *

Now, who can find the profile that has not been updated the longest? :)

If you are interested in many more practical ways and examples of sites to search for Software Engineers, feel free to check out the materials for the latest webinar, exactly on that topic.


Find People on Google-Plus by Emails

Finding social profiles by email addresses have some good applications in Sourcing. Examples are cross-referencing profiles and looking up extra professional information, as well as making several guesses about an unknown email address and finding out which guess is correct. Rapportive does those look-ups; it is one of my favorite tools.

Here are some cool features that Google-Plus offers us in this regard, additional to those already described in an earlier post about Rapportive and Google-Plus.

The techniques I am going to describe work with email lists.

If you have a list of email addresses and paste the list into a new email in your Gmail account, you can locate those who have Google-Plus profiles by moving the mouse over their addresses.  From here you can add the person to circles or click on the link and go to the profile:

This information is an instant look-up in the Google-Plus membership database, so it’s up-to-date, guaranteed.

If you have Rapportive installed, you will see the information it keeps in its database of profiles as well – on the right, as usual, on mousing over an address. (In some cases Rapportive may miss the Google-plus profile, so the information may be complementary.)

This is useful! However, you will not know anything about a specific email address from your list (whether it points to a profile or not) until you move the mouse over it.

There’s a quick way to find out which email addresses in a list do point to  Google-Plus profiles without doing these individual look-ups. (Using the mouse may still be necessary, but only to scroll the list.) If you are cross-referencing a list of guesses to find the correct email address for one specific person, you will instantly see the answer, similarly to using LinkedIn for that, but faster if the profile exists on Google-Plus.

Here is how. Start “sharing” something with your list of email addresses, by pasting the list into the “share with” box on Google-Plus. (I don’t mean that you should actually share anything, just start using the sharing dialog.) The emails that point to profiles will show little icons from the profiles, or generic person icons for those who didn’t upload a profile picture. The ones with an envelope icon shown are those that do not point to profiles:

From here, too, you can add people to Google-Plus circles or view their profiles.

Lastly, for an even better viewing experience of the cross-referenced email addresses you can also try to select the “browse people” icon…

… and paste the list to see the profiles, as the screenshot below illustrates. However, at least in my experience, this gets too slow for lists with over a couple dozen or so email addresses; scrolling stops working. Still, for shorter lists this can be quite satisfactory.

P.S. Check out this post as well on – Find People On Social Networks By Email; it has some more interesting tips on the subject.