The changing attitudes to Data Privacy.

Attitudes to Privacy and data protection and changing for the better and it is vital that businesses embrace these changes and lead the way in a culture of improving their use of Data.

2018 saw the introduction in Europe of GDPR and since then there have been numerous high profile cases of fines being imposed on companies such as Facebook to punish them for their previously lax attitude to data privacy. This in turn has seen them significantly restrict access to their data, most notably for me, they have blocked the access to Intelligence Search and our 125,000 users who had previously access to a very substantial amount of Facebook data.

In spite of my loss of a significant userbase, I actually think that these changes in attitude are a good thing and would very much like to see more businesses adopt a proactive approach to their use of data. While the introduction of legislation may be viewed as yet another stick to keep data controllers in check, I believe the risks and liability of having data is much greater than any potential fine that this legislation may impose on a business.

The Liability of Data:

I used to think that data is useful so the more you have the better. I was happy for our customers to store data provided that it was properly categorized so that it could always be found when appropriate. My Attitude has changed, and I now see data as a liability and the less you have the better.  

Consider the scenario that a business suspects that it may have had a data breach. This could be as the result of a virus on a computer, an employee leaving the business, loosing a mobile phone or purely accidental with an email address entered in a CC filed rather than a BCC field. On many occasions you may not even know if there has been a data breach or not, if you lose a LinkedIn password how do you know if this has been accessed by anyone and all your connections and messages have been downloaded? Regardless of the cause, this now triggers a requirement on the business to notify all potentially affected people (data subjects) of the breach. Even if there was no data breach or no consequences of the breach, the reputational damage to your business of having to notify all your candidates and clients that this may have happened can be very significant and costly.

There are so many potential problems of owning and managing data that the safest option is not own it. For data that does need to be kept it needs to be actively managed, kept up to date and deleted as soon as it is no longer needed.

For our part, as a provider of information management systems for recruiters (CRM/ATS), we strive to provide our customers with the tools and resources to manage their data. In the first part, tools to audit data and understand what’s needed and what can be deleted. Then for ongoing management, tools to keep data up to date, maintain relationships with candidates and clients and ensure that legalisation can be easily complied with.

For more information about how we can help your recruitment business better manage your data, please get in touch.


Recruitment Bots – What’s it all about

Bots seem to be yet another technology buzz word set to be the next big thing in the recruitment industry. It is often the case that many such buzz words seem to have absolutely no benefit or relevance to the average recruiter (Cloud Computing or Big Data) and so I tend to adopt a sceptical approach and like to see significant real world benefits before making any efforts to join a band wagon.

That said, with regard to Bots, there just might be something useful in this.

It has taken be quite some time to see the light. I can certainly see how bots can be used to change and automate parts of the candidate experience but this in itself does not necessarily offer a benefit to anyone. There is a real danger that a bot could be like hiring the worst imaginable receptionist who can upset massively large numbers of people with minimal effort.

To be genuinely transformation Bot technology has to do something that genuinely improves or better still completely replaces conventional systems.

I recently recorded a 3 min video with Jim Stroud (JimBot) discussing Bots and some of the transformational things they can do.

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Talking Facebook at Evolve

I was delighted to be asked to speak at the Evolve Summit in Brno the Czech Republic. I gave two presentations, Sourcing on Facebook and Candidate Engagement. Below is a recording of my Facebook talk.

Thanks to Michal Toman and all the organizers of Evolve for running a fantastic event.

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Recruiters – Finding Love on Facebook

St Valintines day is later this week and thanks to a suggestion from Andy Headworth of Sirona Consulting, I have upgraded my Facebook Search tool to help love lorn recruiters find the love of their life.

This is a free Chrome Extension that allows you to search Facebook and now you can use it to search for people by their relationship status. As an example, I’ve recorded a short video demonstrating how to find single people, interested in men who like recruiters.

I can think of no practical recruitment application for this new feature but hopefully you will enjoy using it for more social pursuits and perhaps find love. This is a free tool but if you like it, I’d be very grateful  if you can share it and encourage more recruiters to think about sourcing techniques and how to find better candidates.


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New LinkedIn Search tool

I’ve been working to upgrade my Facebook search tool and have added a number of new features. This video describes the new LinkedIn search features and how to use these. Regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve developed a number of techniques to search LinkedIn and so, for convenience, I decided to build a tool into my Facebook Search Chrome extension. Given that I plan to add search for several more platforms in the near future I may well have to change the name of this tool but for the moment at least it is remaining as my Facebook Search Tool.

Like my Facebook search, the results of a LinkedIn search can be easily downloaded into Excel or some other system. I hope that this will provide an easy way to work through lists and reduce long-list to short-lists.

This is a free tool, however, if you find it useful I will be very grateful if you can share it far and wide and encourage others to use it. First and foremost tell friends, colleagues and family after that, please tell the world through Social Media and anything else you may have at your disposal. The more people that use this the more effort I’ll put into developing it further.

Any suggestions for new things you’d like to see this do please let me know.


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Sourcing with Facebook

It is a surprise to me that Sourcing on Facebook is not more common. It seems that most recruiters turn first to job boards or LinkedIn or maybe even their own database before venturing further into the many other internet resources available. Perhaps these traditional routes offer low hanging fruit but we all know that valuable (Passive) candidates can be found elsewhere and that means Facebook should be considered a primary resource. Facebook is important because of its size but, considering the richness of data that its users record about themselves, it is hard to believe that it is not better utilized within the Recruitment Community.

Perhaps it is because a Facebook profile does not look like a resume or perhaps people often don’t say what their job is that mean Facebook is often overlooked. However, for me, these are just excuses and the fact that it is not obvious how to source on Facebook is all the more reason that Sourcers should learn the skills and techniques to do so.

When sourcing anywhere on the Internet, and particularly on Facebook, I first imagine the person I’m looking for and what it is that may lead me to them. Someone may mention a company name in their profile however it is perhaps more likely that their Facebook page will reflect their interaction with the company in lots of different ways. They may appear in photos of corporate events, they may have friends in the company, they may like the company Facebook page or they may be members of Facebook groups related to their job.

Facebook users who have their Language setting set to English(US) have access to Facebook Graph Search. This is a massively powerful search engine of all the data within Facebook. People, companies, groups and even concepts are represented on Facebook by different types of Pages. Every time a user does something on Facebook it creates a relationship between that user and the other thing they have liked or friended or interacted with. All these pages and the relationships between them are searchable and provide a massive freely available resource to recruiters.

As a demonstration, I’ve recorded a video explaining one technique to map the staff in a particular company. Initially I look for the people Facebook knows work there by their employment information but by running further searches for these peoples friends I am able to find many more staff and so build a talent map of the company. I use a free Facebook Search tool that is available here.

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Facebook Search

Earlier this year, I designed a tool to help recruiters search for people on Facebook. It has proven to be an extremely popular tool with thousands of people around the world. It was based on work by Balazs Paroczay who had written a blog explaining some of the ways that Facebook Graph search works and made use of a number of search operators to construct complex and very useful searches. I was reviewing the and, after some investigation, it turns out that what I have done so far is just the tip of the iceberg and there are a vast array of other ways that can also be used to search Facebook.

My original tool made use of around 10 Facebook operators and combined them in ways to create all sorts of complex searches. I went looking for more operators and have managed to find an additional 250 of them. This creates massive scope for more types of searches and new ways to tap the mine of information on Facebook and the billion plus people who use it.

I have now designed a new tool to utilize a small proportion of the new operators I have found. It is available here as a free chrome extension so I encourage all recruiters to try it and see what you can find.
Of the new features, I am particularly excited about the ways it can search for friendships and connections between people and groups. From a recruiters point of view a big problem of sourcing on Facebook is that most people do not say where they work or want they do. However I can now search for anyone on Facebook who is friends with anyone else and best of all I can see the friends tow of more people have in common. This means if I know two or more people who work together then chances are that the friends they have in common also work with them.

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Searching, Sharing, Scrapping and Shane’s Blog

This months free recruiter tool is an update of my Recruiter Bookmarklet previously called Shanes Tools. This is a very handy tool that I personally use all the time. It combines Searching, Sharing, Scrapping and finally a link to this blog.

To install this, simply drag and drop the button below onto the bookmark bar of your browser. You can then select some text in a web page, click the bookmarklet and search Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube or Wikipedia. If you want to share the page you are on to LinkedIn, or Twitter, simply click the bookmarklet and share the page. If you want to scrape all the email addresses from the current page there is an option for that and finally, if you want to visit my blog page click the link for Shanes Blog.

Shanes Tools

Credit where credit is due. My original Bookmarklet tool was very much inspired by the work and webinars of Shane Bowen, Glenn Gutmacher and Jermery Roberts.

Another way to Search LinkedIn

Last month I developed a very clever search tool for LinkedIn and this month I’ve developed another one. Last months tool was inspired by work from Irina Shamaeva and this months tool was inspired by the work of Steve Beckitt and his partner in

Steve has written a blog about how it works and it provided a very clever and accurate way to search LinkedIn.

Recently LinkedIn have been limiting the search ability of free account holders as a way to encourage them to spend some money with LinkedIn. This tool does not replace LinkedIns search but it does offer an alternative that will give good albeit different results. The tool uses Googles Index of LinkedIns public profiles and so can search all these profiles for free without it ordering the results based on your connections. Steve has provided a technique that makes this type of search very accurate and the tool that I have build around this technique makes using it very simple.

The Search tool is available here . Steve and I produced the following video to demonstrate how it works.

Search LinkedIn

When searching LinkedIn there are been two main methods used by recruiters, either searching directly though LinkedIn or using a search engine to x-ray the public profiles on linkedIn. These two methods work in different ways and so give different results. Searching through LinkedIn is great in that you can search the full profiles however the results are based on your network and on a free account LinkedIn is now further limiting the searches and results you can access. An x-ray search on the other hand searches all the public profiles and gets lots of good results however public profiles often have less information than full profiles and contain other information not related to the profile at all.

Thanks to work shared with me from Irina Shamaeva, I’ve now developed a new way to search LinkedIn. This tool combines ideas from x-ray searching and direct searching and generates different results to the other two search methods.

The search tool is available here. Please try it out and let me know what you think. I’m still working on ways to improve this so feedback is very welcome. I’d be grateful if you can share this on social media.

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