3 Quick Talent Sourcing Tools You Can Apply Immediately

When was the last time job portals worked for you?

Or allow me to rephrase my question – when was the last time job portals actually gave you a candidate that you could consider for your role and, at the same time, carry a valid permit to work in Singapore (i.e. Singapore citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents)

If you can’t remember easily, you are not alone.

The number of suitable online job applicants has dropped tremendously over the past 3 years. With a low unemployment rate it is of little wonder why there are lesser job seekers.

Even if the number of applicants remained the same, they would easily be overwhelmed by the ones from outside of Singapore.

When I first started my recruitment business, we were getting about 30 – 50 job applicants for every job posting. Out of which, you have at least 50 percent of them decent enough for consideration. There was also a lot less foreign applications back then.

Right now you could count yourself lucky if you get 3 – 5 good job applicants for each of your job postings.

Where did the job applicants go to?

They didn’t disappear from the surface of the earth. Over the past few quarters, Singapore has been in a very fortunate situation of low unemployment rate and this have been going on over the past 13 quarters at least. The way things are going you can expect it to continue.

Finding that needle in the haystack
Finding that needle in the haystack

The stars are aligned nicely for us to be in this situation. Instability within surrounding regions, good infrastructure, strong dollar and most importantly, the tightening of foreign talent at work pass and S pass level.

That provides more job vacancies than we can procreate fast enough to catch up. Even if we can procreate quick enough, you still need to give the babies a good 20 years of education before they can competently take up the jobs.

With good employment opportunities all around, job hopping almost became a norm. I know of people having 10 jobs within 4 years. The best part is every hop appears to be a level up in terms of remuneration and job title.

Even so you could only hop so much before fatigue kicks in. There are also a larger group of employees that values loyalty above self-interest. You won’t get to see them much in the job market.

Sourcing for your next talent

Enter the world of sourcing – talent sourcing to be specific. According to Wikipedia, sourcing is聽a talent management discipline which is focused on the identification, assessment and engagement of skilled worker candidates through proactive recruiting聽techniques.

Sourcing for your next talent

Professionals specializing in sourcing are known primarily as Sourcers; but also Internet Recruiters, Recruiting Researchers or Talent Scouts.

In Singapore, they are more commonly known as (recruiting) researchers. This role might also be absorbed by the recruiter although that would be the worse decision. Sourcing takes up too much time and effort, and many a times with nothing to show for.

It would make sense to have someone dedicated to this role full-time. Especially if human talents mean a great deal to your business (and it should really).

But if you are not ready to commit a headcount or more to simply doing sourcing, there are tools you can start off with to get a taste of what it is about and how effective it might be.

Tool #1: Import.io (link)

One area many sourcers will look at would be from a list of speakers. Usually these are people who are invited to speak at event that they are an expert in and hence would be equally capable to deliver the same set of work.

There are many events going around nowadays. Too many if you ask me but that makes it even better for a sourcer.

You could go to each of the event’s page and copy/paste and manually create an excel. This would be okay if you are doing it on a small scale but if you wish to look at multiple events and hundreds of speakers, you will waste a lot of time doing the admin work.

There is a quick and easy way to scrap the website to provide you with a list of names that you can simply export to a csv.

To begin, you need to identify the website that shows the list of speakers for the event. I am using the recent Sourcing Asia Summit speakers webpage

Sourcing Asia Summit Speakers
Yup, that’s me!

On another tab or browser, load up import.io. You simply paste in the url of the speakers webpage and hit “Try it Out”.

Scraping the data automatically
Scraping the data automatically

Voila! You have the list of speakers layout nicely in a table which you could just export to a csv and work it from here.

Extracted list of speakers

Tool #2: Truecaller (link)

Have you ever gotten your hands on a number but no other information to put a name to that number? No? Then please skip this section.

For recruiters, a set of phone number isn’t just 8 digits. It could be the next upcoming placement and every number counts.

But it isn’t useful if you only have the number and nothing else. You can’t do much and that call would be really cold.

There is a tool that reverse searches a number and gives you the rest of the information you need to make that prospecting call a much better experience for the recipient.

Just head over to Truecaller website. Enter in the number you have on hand and hit Search.

Reverse searching a phone number
Reverse searching a phone number

Truecaller lets you search beyond your phonebook, identify unknown incoming calls, block calls you don鈥檛 want to receive, and make relevant contact suggestions based on time and place.

I entered my mobile number in this attempt and you can see the name provided by the search result.

Result showing my name and even my facebook profile picture.
Result showing my name and even my facebook profile picture.

With this you could make your prospecting calls warmer because instead of calling and looking for Sir, you can look for Adrian.

Tool #3:Recruit’em (link)

According to a LinkedIN blog post in early 2014, there are at least 1 million LinkedIN users in Singapore. I did a search of Singapore twitter users on Followerwonk and it came back with 330,170 users.

The number of Singapore twitter users according to Followerwonk
The number of Singapore twitter users according to Followerwonk

And we haven’t even touch on Facebook.

You can go to each of the different social media channels to search but that is going to be time consuming. And you need to deal with the limitation imposed by the different platforms.

Since Google crawls these sites as well, it would make sense to just google for them. But you need a good understand of Boolean search strings to make that effective.

If you are new to this, Boolean search allows users to combine keywords with operators such as AND, NOT and OR to further produce more relevant results. For example, a Boolean search could be “hotel” AND “New York”. This would limit the search results to only those documents containing the two keywords.

It seem easy in this example but could get really complicated when you wish to be really specific in your search.


Instead of going through a training on Boolean, you can easily use聽Recruit’em to generate your Boolean search string.

X-Ray search LinkedIN & More
X-Ray search LinkedIN & More

I did a search to localize the country to Singapore and Finance Manager in job title. It came back with a defined search string.

Recruitem Search String
Recruitem Search String

What it did was to create the Boolean search string that actually looks like this:

“Finance Manager”-intitle:”profiles” -inurl:”dir/ ” site:sg.linkedin.com/in/ OR site:sg.linkedin.com/pub/

I’m not going into details on what this mean (perhaps in another blog post) but it will lead you to a google search result page that contains profile listing of LinkedIN users with Finance Manager in their job title and have their LinkedIN account in Singapore.

Google Search Results for Finance Manager in Singapore
Google Search Results for Finance Manager in Singapore

You can also use the same website to search for people on Twitter, Google+, Github and Xing.


These are just the tip of an iceberg. There are a lot more other tools and even techniques you can use to source for talents quicker and more efficient.

If you are new to this, start off with these 3 user-friendly tools to begin with. It will set the foundation for you to become a Master Sourcer and learn even more advance stuffs from SourceCon and AIRS Recruiter Training.

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