The best (and worst) sourcing and recruitment tools in 2019
The best (and worst) sourcing and recruitment tools in 2019
With MatcHR our core activities are (global) sourcing and recruitment and we constantly try new tools to optimize our service for our clients and candidates. This means that last year we have tried dozens of different sourcing and recruitment tools with differing levels of success.
Before you read any further we want you to know that we are absolutely certain that we didn’t cover everything (please add any missing gems in the comments), our experiences are (very) personal and we didn’t receive any form of discounts, cash or five star cruise trips from any of the companies listed below (although we are always open for five start cruise trips…).
We have structured our list as follows: 1. Sourcing tools, 2. Scraping, 3. Email finding and reach out tools, 4. Chrome extensions and 5. ATS.
1. Sourcing tools
Tweetbeaver gives you the opportunity to scrape Twitter. In Twitter you can search for certain communities for example “java” and with Tweetbeaver you have the opportunity to scrape this data. After having scraped a list, Tweetbeaver is able to add additional information about certain profiles and for some profiles it is even able to add their LinkedIn URL’s. However upon checking more than 40 profiles with different search criteria none of them proved to be relevant for the roles we were trying to hire. Tweetbeaver therefore turned out to be a nice tool but not practical in our day to day work.
With Octoparse we had mixed experiences. For finding specific candidates for roles we were working on it was more work to go through the scraped profiles and check them compared to a regular search on LinkedIn or X-ray. For a lead generator tool it turned out to be more useful. Some of our potential clients are in recruiter groups on Facebook and by extracting their data and enriching them via AmazingHiring and/or Zapinfo we were able to find their LinkedIn profiles and send connections requests and/or emails. One thing that is frustrating though is that Octoparse only works on Windows and not on Mac (yes I work on a Mac).
One of the best tools on the market to find developers and together with Trinsly our favorite tool of 2019. It basically combines different data sources based on your Boolean search and finds all relevant (tech) candidates and enriches their profiles with different social media platforms wherever they are active (ex. Github, Stackoverflow, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) We prefer AmazingHiring over LinkedIn to find engineers and use their different data points to approach engineers in a personal way and show that we have actually done our research before reaching out to them. If you are hiring developers we highly recommend to use AmazingHiring. Unfortunately AmazingHiring is mostly focused on tech candidates but hopefully they will extend their services 😊.
After having watched the presentation of Marcel van der Meer at SOSU Estonia over the summer on the use of Spire as an automated email and matching tool we decided to give Spire a try ourselves. Basically Spire gives you the ability to upload a database of candidates with email addresses, send automated email campaigns to this database asking for their resume and then matches these resumes to your vacancies. They promise to have a 99% accuracy in their matching on your job descriptions. We are still in the pilot phase but the first results look promising. This tool is especially interesting if you are working on the agency side, if you have a large number of open positions simultaneously or if you have a very large internal database that turns out difficult to search through.
Data miner has turned out to be a pretty straightforward scraping tool and we have used it on various occasions. If you want to scrape a specific site there are usually preset scraping scripts that you can use but if this is not the case you need to create your own. The tutorials that they offer are pretty self-explanatory and after a few hours you will be able to create your own scripts. The first time it works it does feel pretty bad ass and works well with other sourcers/recruiters to show off :).
Phantombuster and excel ranking tool
Where Data Miner is the Volkswagen under the scraping tools Phantombuster clearly is the Rolls Royce. Unfortunately Roll Royce owners usually don’t drive themselves but that is not the case with Phantombuster and you need to take a bit more time to figure out how Phantombuster works. Phantombuster has scripts for almost every social media platform to scrape and additional integrations are released almost on a weekly basis.
Compared to Data Miner Phantombuster is able to extract (much) more data from LinkedIn profiles including skills, endorsements and previous experience.
However being able to scrape and enrich LinkedIn profiles is one but actually using this in your day to day work is a second… Yves Greijn created an excel ranking tool to filter large data sets for relevant candidates and by adding several filters we have been actually been able to filter out relevant candidates from large data sets.
In this video I show you how we use Phantombuster and how the excel ranking tool works.
If you would like to receive the excel ranking tool please send me and email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you.
3. Email finding and reach out tools
Most likely nothing new under the sun but still worth to share which email finding tools we have used and tested last year.
Our most favorite and free email finding tool is Contact Out. It finds email addresses with a reasonable accuracy but in contrary to all other tools it is free (yes I am Dutch).
We tried Lusha but were not very satisfied. Often email addresses couldn’t be found and they only give you a couple of free credits before you need to start paying.
Of the paid tools Signal Hire has been my personal favorite since it almost always finds the correct email address. You get 5 free credits per month so use them wisely but their pricing is reasonable. Signal Hire also provides the ability to upload hundreds of profiles at once and match the corresponding email addresses with it.
The reach has in beta version ever since I downloaded this email finding tool and despite making a lot of promises never has seen the dawn of light. Save your precious time and don’t bother to download “The Reach”.
Useful tool if you are recruiting in the US and also if you want to find other details like address and phone numbers. Had mixed results when we tried to work with Swordfish in the Europe of finding the right email address.
Trinsly is with AmazingHiring our favorite tool of 2019! Trinsly has been created by David Kim who is a developer but also worked as an IT recruiter for a while (yes they exist). Based on his experience, and what he was lacking he created Trinsly.
Trinlsy is an automated email follow up tool integrated into LinkedIn. It allows you to send automated email follow up messages to candidates or prospects, it keeps track of your conversions and you can send bulk email campaigns as well. It has highly helped us increase our conversion rates and therefore success.
If you haven’t already definitely check it out!
We recently started to work and experiment with Loom, after having watched Mark Lundgren’s webinar with AmazingHiring on how his conversion have gone up using Loom. Loom helps you create videos that you can directly send in your email to your candidates or prospects. We missed out on Mark’s webinar so only recently watched it hence we don’t have any results yet to confirm his experience but worthwhile to mention Loom here anyway.
I used Loom as well to create the video to explain how we use Phantombuster and our excel ranking tool.
4. Useful Chrome extensions
There are sooooooo many Chrome extensions that this is just the top of the iceberg. But in the end Chrome extensions are just like apps. You end up downloading quite a lot but only use a few. Therefore we decided to only name the ones that we actually use.
This extension highlights the words on a webpage that you look at. Great if you are quickly scanning profiles to see if someone has the actual skills mentioned in their profile and where they pop up.
Glossary tech is great especially if you are new to tech recruitment. It basically gives you a small summary of a certain type of stack when you hoover your mouse over the stack that you want more information on.
Tool that works only on Github and gives you a percentage of how much stack somebody has worked with on Github. Immediately gives you a clear understanding whether the profile you are checking out actually has the right stack you are looking for. OctoHR can sometimes annoyingly pop up over relevant information for someone’s profile which forces you to disable OctoHR and reload the page. Not everything can be perfect I guess…
Great in combination with X-ray and scraping. Autopagerize basically let’s you scroll endlessly without having to click on next or on the next number but keeps you on the same page.
Dux Soup lets you send automated messages via LinkedIn, make connections with people outside of your network and can even start drip campaigns with automated follow up messages. We don’t use this for candidates because it adds to the noise and spam that, unfortunately, candidates have to deal with on a day to day basis, but Dux Soup has proved very useful to invite people to join our Meet Ups and to subscribe to our newsletter. Definitively recommend if you often need to send the same standard message to a wide range of people.
Before we settled on Workable we actually signed a contract to work with Lever. Price wise Lever is as affordable (or expensive) as Workable but Lever offers an integrated automated email marketing tool for nurturing that Workable doesn’t offer. This enables you to stay in touch with passive candidates and keep them engaged with your company. Something we find very useful as recruitment success is to a large extent driven by timing.
However, during the onboarding of Lever we found out that Lever works with one single pipeline. After you have settled on your pipeline you can’t adjust you pipeline to avoid screwing up the reporting. Since we work for multiple clients with different hiring funnels Lever proved impossible for us to work with as we would not be able to measure and steer on performance. Therefore we had to stop working with Lever and switch to a different ATS.
As one of the last ATS’s we tested Hello Talent. What we especially liked, in contrary to all other ATS systems we checked, is the fact that Hello Talent has the opportunity to build talent pools that you can share with your clients. This means you can give anyone permission to look at your talent pool, leave comments and address whether a candidate is a fit or not. The reason why we didn’t decide to use Hello Talent is simply because their reporting and UX looked (too) old school for us and didn’t look as professional as the other ATS’s we tested.
After having tested multiple ATS we finally settled on Workable. Workable is relatively affordable, has a pleasant UX and is quickly operational. It is great for an inhouse team with multiple vacancies that want to run basic statistics and reporting. However we experienced a couple of clear downsides with regards to Workable. First and foremost is the reporting functionality. It has proven impossible to see what the input (and output) is per recruiter, per role, per client over time. We eventually had to hire a data scientist to build the reports for us with all additional costs as a consequence. Secondly their search tool, that they sell as a premium, hardly works. Workable is not designed for high volume candidates and (unfortunately as most ATS’s) not for agencies. With regards to the reporting we cannot guarantee that the other systems perform better on this as we did not use them.
There are so many ATS out there and it seems that nobody is particular happy with their ATS. We did a lot of research but only tested a few and based on this we would recommend the following.
If you are a start up or only have several vacancies open then an ATS like Recruitee is a good fit. It is more affordable compared to Lever and has all the basic functionalities an ATS should have and is easy to use.
If you are and SME with multiple vacancies it makes sense to consider Lever as an option. The UX is a bit outdated but the email functionality tool is a great asset.
If you have a larger hiring team and more vacancies and (much) more budget I would recommend Greenhouse. Most of our clients are quickly scaling tech companies and all of them use Greenhouse and gave us limited or full access to their ATS hence we have experience using Greenhouse. Greenhouse proved easy to use, has great reporting and their UX makes it pleasant to work with.
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