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Candidate Sourcing like Sherlock Holmes

How do you find something that can’t be seen? It’s a classic question we face when candidate sourcing. As the great detective himself once said, “My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.”

Like Scotland Yard sending Sherlock after elusive suspects, we are sent by our hiring managers to source candidates with elusive skill sets.

A recent example was a member of my team that was sent to find someone with Manugistics systems implementation experience. Think of the job description as a report of the crime scene and the candidate we are looking for as our suspect.

Finding the Candidate

Here is the process I follow to identify prospects that have a skill set that they do not mention on a resume or LinkedIn profile. In this case, my client is looking for skill using a specific technology. I start with researching the company that provides the technology. In this case, Manugistics is owned by JDA Software. A brief review of JDA’s website led me to a few new keywords as well as a list of companies that use this software for their supply chain management. Now I’m looking for industry specific experience in combination with this software. From the list of clients, I found a large competitor of our client, Unilever.

What I do next is search for supply chain management professionals from Unilever. Because I now know they use this software, I can infer that the people that work in supply chain management at Unilever use the software too, even if they don’t specifically list it on their resume or LinkedIn profile.

Armed with that information, I searched on LinkedIn and found the following profile

Contacting the Candidate

Scanning Unilever’s homepage I’m able to find that the end of their email format is Now I can use a Boolean search to uncover the email format Unilever uses for their internal emails. So I ran the following search string in Google, “ *” From the search results I was able to deduce the email format is first name dot last name I tried to verify the email using but I was foiled as they do not permit email verification (Even though some organizations block email verification, I feel it is a useful step in any investigation). I used what I thought was his email address and I am now setting up some time for us to discuss his career.

When it comes to candidate sourcing, the most valuable asset we own is our mind. With a little deductive reasoning, some training, and good old-fashioned detective work I was able to identify and contact a prospect that my competition was unable to.

If you can get this right, your clients might believe you are more of a magic sorcerer than a sourcer. Maybe they would be right.

“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. “ – Sherlock Holmes





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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.