For the majority of sourcing tasks, LinkedIn provides the best database to use:
- It is the largest professional database (for comparison, only a tiny percent of Facebook or Twitter users have added their job title and employer to the bio)
- It has self-entered data, the latest from each member
- It offers many decent search filters.
If you are considering an alternative to LinkedIn such as Hiretual, SeekOut, AmazingHiring, or another aggregator, they do have data collected from many sources, but:
- Professional data (including contact info) gets outdated fast. It is not possible to keep the base up-to-date due to the massive volume of it. The older the product, the more data gets wrong
- You may be able to find the same people with a LinkedIn search
- The data may not cover your location or target technology (something to test).
(So do not be unnecessarily jealous of your colleagues with these subscriptions.)
An excellent (but partial) solution would be a tool that does a dynamic (live) search to pull up-to-date data on each search result/profile. I do not know of a sourcing tool doing that; I believe the OSINT tool SocialLinks has this technology. It is only a partial solution because there is still no access to an updated cross-referenced base for a filtered search. So we are back to LinkedIn to search. 🙂
Indeed, sourcing elsewhere puts you at an advantage. Finding online directories or membership profiles feeds the process with valuable information. But only on LinkedIn and in resumes do most people write out their title, company, length of the current job, and location. Github, for example, does not even offer a field for the job title (while the site gets more and more participants who do not write code for a living.)
So getting data from elsewhere and cross-referencing on LinkedIn will add value compared on only searching on LinkedIn.
Of course, in some industries or at entry levels, people rarely join LinkedIn. Then, sourcing is a much more challenging task.
We all wish they would have Customer Support and a better UX, though!