What IT recruiters know about you -- whether you're looking or not

New tools let recruiters mine the social Web to discover and rate tech talent, even before anyone goes looking for a job.

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Red Hat tested the tool by scoring some known quantities: People who had been previously hired. In each case Gild Source's report accurately scored them as a good fit for the job. While Congdon declined to discuss specific hires, he says the correlation between traditional recruiting methods and Gild Source, as Gild's service is called, has been "notable."

In addition to identifying new prospects, it also correctly identified qualified individuals that Red Hat had previously found using its traditional recruiting tools. Gild Source gave Red Hat a longer list but it also correctly identified candidates they had already considered qualified using traditional recruiting methods. The fact that it included the same people in its list validated the tool, in Congdon's eyes.

Comparing services

Gild, along with competitors RemarkableHire, TalentBin and Entelo, are part of an emerging niche of companies that mine social activity on the Web to help recruiters discover and evaluate skilled technical talent quickly -- without waiting for qualified potential candidates to self-identify by building and updating a profile on online job boards and/or LinkedIn.

Gild has 6 million profiles. TalentBin claims to have "tens of millions," while RemarkableHire says "we are in the single-digit millions of complete/matched/merged profiles." But as with other types of search engines, says Scott Rothrock, president and co-founder of RemarkableHire, what matters is the ability to put the best possible matches on the first few pages of results.

It's best to take those numbers with a grain of salt, says Peter Kazanjy, CEO at TalentBin, because everyone defines a profile differently. Profiles may be incomplete, or information from different sources may not be matched up into a single profile.

Content from some sources, such as GitHub, may be crawled and fully indexed while other data simply establishes that, for example, the user has a Twitter profile without indexing or analyzing the subject's tweets. The profile record might include a link to the Twitter account but not know that the person has been tweeting extensively about Ruby.

RemarkableHire HR mining
This sample search for Ruby skills at RemarkableHire shows the candidate's skill ratings, work history, and professional summary (right), and his social and skill communities (left). The view also shows whether the prospect has been previously viewed or contacted. (This candidate profile does not depict a real person looking for a job.)
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