1. Sourcing tools
Tweetbeaver (scraping Twitter)
Tweetbeaver allows you to scrape Twitter. On Twitter, you can search for certain communities, for example, “java,” and with Tweetbeaver, you have the opportunity to scrape this data. After scraping a list, Tweetbeaver can add additional information about certain profiles; for some, it can even add their LinkedIn URLs. 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 was a nice tool but not practical in our day-to-day work.
Octoparse (scraping Facebook)
With Octoparse, we had mixed experiences. It was more work to review the scraped profiles and check them to find specific candidates for roles we were working on than 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. By extracting their data and enriching them via AmazingHiring and/or Zapinfo, we could find their LinkedIn profiles and send connection requests and/or emails. One frustrating thing, 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 with Trinsly, our favorite tool of 2019. It combines different data sources based on your Boolean search, 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 personally and show that we have done our research before reaching out to them. If you are hiring developers, we highly recommend using 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. Spire allows you to upload a database of candidates with email addresses, send automated email campaigns to this database asking for their resumes, and then match these resumes to your vacancies. They promise to have 99% accuracy in matching 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, have many open positions simultaneously, or have a large internal database that turns out difficult to search.
2. Scraping Tools
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 they offer are self-explanatory, and you will be able to create your scripts after a few hours. The first time it works, it does feel pretty badass 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 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 weekly.
Compared to Data Miner, Phantombuster can 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 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. We have filtered out relevant candidates from large data sets by adding several filters.
3. Email finding and reach-out tools
Most likely nothing new under the sun, but still worth sharing which email-finding tools we used and tested last year.
Our favorite and free email-finding tool is Contact Out. It finds email addresses with reasonable accuracy, but contrary to all other tools, it is free (yes, I am Dutch).
We tried Lusha but were not very satisfied. Often email addresses can’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 monthly credits, so use them wisely, but their pricing is reasonable. Signal Hire also allows uploading hundreds of profiles at once and matching the corresponding email addresses with them.
The reach has been in beta version 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.”
A useful tool if you are recruiting in the US and also if you want to find other details like address and phone numbers. We had mixed results when we tried to work with Swordfish in Europe to find the right email address.
Trinsly is with AmazingHiring, our favorite tool of 2019! Trinsly was created by David Kim, a developer who also worked as an IT recruiter for a while (yes, they exist). Based on his experience and what he lacked, 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 greatly helped us increase our conversion rates and, therefore, succeed.
If you haven’t already, definitely check it out!
We recently started to work and experiment with Loom after watching Mark Lundgren’s webinar with AmazingHiring on how his conversion has increased 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 we only recently watched it hence we don’t have any results yet to confirm his experience but worthwhile to mention Loom here anyway.
I also used Loom 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 use.
This extension highlights the words on a webpage that you look at. Great if you quickly scan 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 gives you a small summary of a type of stack when you hover your mouse over the stack you want more information on.
A tool that works only on Github and gives you a percentage of how much stack somebody has worked with on Github. It immediately gives you a clear understanding of whether the profile you are checking out has the right stack you are looking for. OctoHR can annoyingly pop up over relevant information for someone’s profile, forcing you to disable OctoHR and reload the page. Not everything can be perfect, I guess…
Great in combination with X-ray and scraping. Autopagerize lets you scroll endlessly without clicking on the next or 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 daily, but Dux-Soup has proved very useful in inviting people to join our Meet Ups and subscribe to our newsletter. Recommend if you often need to send the same standard message to a wide range of people.
Before we settled on Workable, we 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 largely driven by timing.
However, during the onboarding of Lever, we found out that Lever works with one single pipeline. After settling your pipeline, you can’t adjust your pipeline to avoid screwing up the reporting. Since we work for multiple clients with different hiring funnels, Lever proved impossible 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 ATSs, 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. We didn’t decide to use Hello Talent because their reporting and UX looked (too) old school for us and didn’t look as professional as the other ATSs 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 in-house team with multiple vacancies that want to run basic statistics and reporting. However, we experienced a couple of clear downsides about Workable. First and foremost is the reporting functionality. It has proven impossible to see what the input (and output) is per recruiter, per role, and 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, which they sell as a premium, hardly works. Workable is not designed for high-volume candidates and (unfortunately, as most ATSs) not for agencies. Regarding 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 particularly 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 than Lever, has all the basic functionalities an ATS should have, and is easy to use.
If you are an SME with multiple vacancies, it makes sense to consider Lever as an option. The UX is outdated, but the email functionality tool is a great asset.
If you have a larger hiring team, more vacancies, and (much) more budget, I recommend Greenhouse. Most of our clients are quickly scaling tech companies, and all of them use Greenhouse and give us limited or full access to their ATS hence we have experience using Greenhouse. Greenhouse proved easy to use, has great reporting, and its UX makes it pleasant to work with.