Online Recruiter Adopts a New Web-Based Tool

By Samuel Greengard

Over the last two decades, the Web has revolutionized recruiting and hiring. Pixels have replaced paper, and databases have replaced file cabinets. In addition, social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter have become valuable recruiting tools in the corporate arsenal. According to recent surveys, more than 90 percent of employers now use social media for recruiting and hiring.

But, as often occurs with technology, a competitive advantage fades over time, as more organizations adopt software tools and put them to work effectively. That’s one reason why Bay Area recruiting firm Gravity People—which has worked with companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook—recently turned to a new tool: Dice Open Web.

The Web-based software tool searches across online sites, identifies active and passive IT candidates, and assembles public information about them from more than 50 social media sites, including GitHub, Stack Overflow, Gravatar, Quora, Blogger, MS Inquire, Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. Open Web finds professionals that match predetermined criteria based on bits and pieces of information residing at these sites and elsewhere. It pulls all the pieces together to create a more complete picture from billions of Web pages.

The result is a profile that includes a candidate’s professional experience, contributions, history and capabilities, as well as their passions and interests.

 “We’re able to aggregate information in a way that wasn’t possible in the past,” explains Jeff Winter, CEO of Gravity People. “We’re also able to obtain contact information, usually in the form of an email address. At LinkedIn, we can’t obtain full information about a candidate without paying for a premier account.”

Gravity People previously spent about $91,000 per year to use LinkedIn, but is now spending about $20,000 annually for three Open Web licenses. “What’s more, the information we’re able to obtain is extremely accurate,” Winter notes. “We can conduct searches rapidly and narrow them to geographic areas, industries and very specific criteria.”

For example, a company might seek a candidate with specific skills and strengths, such as e-commerce, health care, search engine optimization and HTML5.

Open Web isn’t a replacement for LinkedIn and online job sites, but Winter says it’s a powerful supplement. “We are able to identify highly qualified people who aren’t necessarily looking to change jobs,” he notes. “We’re also finding better candidates than we did a few years ago.”

Finally, the ability to view hobbies and interests serves as a valuable icebreaker when approaching a job seeker. “It provides a starting point for a discussion,” Winter adds.

Of course, IT professionals should keep in mind that any information posted online—positive and negative—could show up in a job search conducted by a recruiter or internal human resources professional. These days, a worker’s digital footprint is everywhere.