Sourcing Within Social Media sites: A Guide for Recruiters

Updated: November 10, 2010


To source candidates via their Twitter bios, use the built-in search engine. You may also search tweets for keywords. Use Google or any other major search engine that has near real-time indexing. Specifying which "site" to search through Google will narrow that search to that specific site. For example, using the Google query format to search a Twitter bio for the keyword merchandiser, go to and type the following in the search bar: "bio * accountant"
You can also replace the keyword of accountant with a boolean phrase, such as: "bio * accounting|accountant"
The same method can be used for any social media or otherwise site. For the same search within LinkedIn, for example, type to following into the Google search bar: "accountant"


Click the ‘Search‘ link underneath the facebook logo.

There are two search features that are relevant to employers. Coworkers and Profile search. Coworkers are a great way to source people from your competitors. Many facebook users are being more thorough when adding content about their work experience. Just type in a company and you'll instantly be connected to many of their current employees.

Profile Search allows you to search actual job titles that people have entered. (Use the ‘Position' field towards the bottom). Unfortunately you can't search the entire facebook database. Rather, you are limited to your friends or those inside your regional network. (Remember you can only belong to one regional network at a time). Once you identify particular candidates, you can send them a message introducing yourself, the company and the job.


Google is a preferred search engine and is incredibly consistent in the results it returns. Determining what you're looking for is critical, such as; are you looking for skill sets, job titles, specific names, or resumes in general? Based on these questions, let's assume you are looking for the resume of a Transportation Supervisor with XATA experience. Put the following in a Google search:

(resume OR cv OR vitae) "transportation supervisor" XATA

The reason for including resume, CV and vitae is depending upon the candidate, they may have their bio data titled as any one of the above.
To look for bio data key words within the url (the web address) of documents Google has indexed, change the search to this:

(inurl:resume OR inurl:cv OR inurl:vitae) "transportation supervisor" XATA

You can always add on more keywords (like location, more skill set info, etc.) to trim your results even further.


LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to search by name, title, keywords, company, location and more. Using the advanced search tools, you can find people in your extended network who are potential candidates for your search, or who know someone who is.

LinkedIn also allows you to "follow" companies, including competitors, and receive notifications of employee changes; terminations, new hires, promotions. Following companies is a highly recommended sourcing strategy.

One of the most effective ways to reach potential candidates through LinkedIn is by joining groups that are relevant to the type of individuals you are trying to reach. By joining a group, you automatically have access to all other members within that group and may send them messages directly (provided they do not have that type of access disabled, which most do not).

As mentioned above, you can also use Google to search the LinkedIn public network, as many people have made their LinkedIn profiles public. To do so, use search strings that specify the area of the LinkedIn profile you would like to search, such as: intitle:linkedin "sales supervisor" intitle:linkedin, sales, cpg, "Los Angeles area" intitle:directory, "account manager", "Minneapolis area"

You will be able to see the names and bios of everyone in your network within three degrees of connectivity. The first degree are those in your personal network. The second degree is everyone connected to them, and the third degree is everyone connected to them. Additionally, you can see the names and bios of everyone connected mutually to groups.

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