Finding Phone Numbers

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I am asked quite frequently how to find a phone number through Boolean searches. Finding that perfect candidate is not enough! We MUST be able to get in contact with them. Unfortunately, the days of having a home phone number listed in the Yellow Pages are behind us. Many people are using their cell phones as their only contact number. Of course, we can find where the person works and make the cold call into their place of employment, but many recruiters are uncomfortable with that notion. The best we can hope for is they will answer at their desk and give us their personal number.

Before we get started, remember, we can only find what is out there. Unless the candidate has listed their phone number at some time on the internet, we will not be able to locate it! But, there is a chance. I would like to share with you my process of finding a phone number. It does not always work, but it is always worth  looking!

First, I start my search with a simple Google search. From a LinkedIn profile, we know the person’s approximate location and name. Do a simple area code search for the location. I am going to use my own information for this example.  I am currently located in Huntsville, AL.

NOTE: You may also want to include the area codes of previous locations. I have lived in New Jersey and Texas. It is possible that I got a cell phone at one of those locations and never bothered to change my number when I moved.

I enter into Google:

huntsville alabama area codes

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From this, I learn that the area codes in Huntsville, AL are 256 and 938.

My next Boolean will simply be the name of the person and an OR string of the area codes.

“erin page” 256|938

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The very first result is a good result (sort of) for me. This was my last number on AT&T before I switched to Verizon. The address is on target as well.

Further down the list we see zoominfo.com. This can sometimes give you a bit of information. They have my work info.

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I find something interesting on Page 4 of the results.

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This is where I created a location on FourSquare for my mechanic. The phone number is his office number. However, we do know each other personally, and he just might get a message to me. You never know!

Also on Page 4, my work colleague has a listing with the office number.

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That is a pretty simple search! I have a two other tactics I often use as well. ZoomInfo wants you to pay for their information. However, as we saw above, they will sometimes give you a few digits and X out the remaining digits. With just a few digits, you can search for the remainder.

I use 2 sites for X-ray searches on phone numbers: verifyphone.com and 411.info. Remember, only what is on the internet can be found, so this may be somewhat of a crap shoot. However, I have had SOME luck.

I know this does not work for my personal info, but my Boolean would look something like this:

site:verifyphone.com | site:411.info “erin page” 256

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As you can see, there are not any results for my number. But, I do want to open up one of the pages just so you can see what is on them.

This is from verifyphone.com:

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As you can see, many numbers do NOT have a name associated with them. However, some DO. And you just might be lucky enough that that someone is who you are attempting to recruit.

Here is what the a link to 411.info looks like:

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Finding a phone number can take some creativity. I was once able to find someone because his wife ran an in-home daycare. She listed their home phone. I first found them through ZoomInfo with several digits missing. I entered his name and the digits that were available. And BAM! Phone number. =-) You will be so excited to call the candidate at this point! I sure was!

Let me know what strategies YOU use to find phone numbers and how my techniques work for you!

Happy Hunting!

 

 

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Boolean for Sourcing Emails

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One very popular item Sourcing Specialists are asked to find are email addresses. I often start my sourcing process with an email search to network within the industry of the position I am staffing. What Boolean String is going to return email addresses?

The most obvious technique would be to include the term “email” within the string. However, this brings very limited results.

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We could try to hit on the email address specifically. Remember, Google does not recognize the @ sign. It also is supposed to support the * only with spaces on either side of the asterisk. However, it appears that some versions of the @ sign are being supported. I did hear that it was being integrated due its use by Twitter.

*@gmail.com | *@*.com | @*.*

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You are going to get some hits on this. However, you are likely to pull a lot of false positives as well.

We can target some specific, popular email addresses in our boolean. This will only be limited by how many root emails you can come up with.

gmail.com | me.com | hotmail.com | yahoo.com site:linkedin.com nashville tennessee mechanical engineer

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This is actually a pretty good strategy if you know the root for a company email. Email Format is a good source for this project. It will also provide you the format of the entire email, ie firstname.lastname@companyroot.com/edu/net. Let’s try out an email for Citibank. Their root is citi.com. Pair it with a site search.

citi.com site:linkedin.com

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This technique is actually giving us pretty good results.

Next, let’s think more about the syntax people would include when writing their email address on a web page. This is actually one of my favorite ways to find contact information. What type of phrase might people use when giving out their email address?? What I have found to be popular: Contact me at, Connect with me, etc. In fact, it is my standard to use “contact me at” in a search when looking for contact information. This is not specific to emails.

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In this example, we did not pull any emails! And it looks like “connect with me” may be somewhat of a dead end.

I want to take this one step further. Some strategies may be better than others depending on what you are trying to accomplish.  Are you looking for a specific person’s email address? Are you looking to network with a company or in a specific location/industry?

If you are building an email list, I suggest using an email grabber. There are many versions FOR FREE. I use Outwit Hub. All you have to do is plug in your boolean and let the software do the work. You can grab the emails and then export them to an Excel spreadsheet for further use.

Here, I have opened Outwit Hub and entered the Google search screen.

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Next, I input my boolean string. I’ll use one from above and press search.

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To see what emails are on the page, I select emails from the upper left hand corner.

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From here, I make sure I am going to collect the information. I then begin to scroll through the pages of results and collect data.

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Once I am happy with the number of results, or I have exhausted the search, I simply press export. Select Excel and save the spreadsheet to the appropriate location.

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Whew…that was quite a bit to cover! As always, regardless of the strategy you use, make sure you pay attention to the results you pull. Tweak your search string to better serve the purpose you are currently sourcing.

Happy Hunting!

 

 

 

Order of Operations on Google

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When I found out that Google does not recognize parentheses, I was perplexed! I immediately had a flood of questions about syntax. I posed a question on LinkedIn concerning the topic. How does Google see the search: a b | x y?

Unfortunately, according to my poll results,  it appears that many of the participants  do not completely understand Google’s syntax either!

So how DOES Google view a b | x y? Is the string split in half by the OR symbol?

Google does not determine whether to OR or AND first. It simply reads the string.

a

b | x

y

So our desired results with this stringwould be:

aby

axy

That being the case, how could you produce results that present (a b) OR (x y)?

Attempt to get a results of
ab
xy
and NOT
abxy
aby
axy

A couple of suggestions were made in reference to the poll in the Boolean Strings group on LinkedIn:

“a * * * * * * b” | “x * * * * * y”

Theory: Quotations group the variables, asterisks allow for plenty of space between variables. However, this does bring up an issue of order of the variables. a and x will come before their counterparts in the search. If the b or y come first, it may not pick up.

x/y | a/b

Theory: Placing the / in place of a space will link the variables. It was pointed out that this gets the same results as “x y” | ” a b”. This is very limited.

Essentially, parentheses help us group our strings. Google ignores them, but the string still works since what is left after the parentheses are taken away is a string in a format that Google recognizes.

Let’s look at a string that has parentheses:

(site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub) (xml | html | uml) (programmer | developer)

We are grouping by site, skill, title. This still works when the parentheses are removed.

site:linkedin.com/in | site:linkedin.com/pub xml | html | uml programmer | developer

The OR operator checks what is to the left and right of the operator. If there is a space, an AND is recognized and that is where the chain is broken. The results above are in the same order and appear to be the same with one exception. The string with the parentheses actually returned less results. I have yet to determine the underlying issue here.

Writing strings without the parentheses can be somewhat confusing at first, but I absolutely prefer it at this point. Thus far, I have not seen how including parentheses in your string hinders it in any way.  The most important aspect is that you keep your grouping correct, with or without the parentheses!

Happy Hunting!

Keyword Stemming

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Keyword stemming refers to the process of taking the root of a word and using all the different endings that exist for that word.  It is a very popular topic in SEO. That has some relevance for sourcing experts, since SEO is what drives results to the top of our search results.

 

For example, we want someone to MANAGE our business, we might search for: manage, manages, managed, managing, etc.  Instead of creating a search string that has manage | manages | managed | managing, there should be a simpler way, right??

Some job boards support a root word search. You can enter manag* to return manage, manages, managed, managing, etc. The only one that comes to mind that I have used is Dice.

I mostly use Google for my Xray and Boolean searches. Google does NOT support the root word format used above. The asterisk is ignored unless there are spaces on either side of it, and it represents a missing word or words.

Luckily, the major search engines have a built-in stemming function. If you enter manage into your search, results will be returned that include manages, managed, managing, etc. However, according to Google Guide, the stem words contribute less to the score of the result. I.e. manages, managed, managing will be lower on the list than manage.

 

 

You have to specify if you do NOT want to use keyword stemming by placing quotation marks around the word. “Manage” will only return results for manage.

 

In order to amp up the synonyms and stem words found, you can use the tilde in Google. ~manage

 

 

 

Hopefully this helps you makes sense out of your Google results! Happy Hunting!

Attempting OutWit Hub…NEED HELP

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I downloaded OutWit Hub, reopened the web browser, and now have no idea how to use the program!
According to Martin Lee , “It is a grey circle with the letter W in it. Appears next to the url address toolbar. Not easy to find !”
Am I missing something?!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE!

I finally CORRECTLY downloaded the tool and look forward to testing it out tomorrow. Review to come!!