How to find a contact name inside a company

Here's a good post, by Liz at the Social Networking Blog, about how to find contacts within specific companies.

A couple things I would add:

1) do not *ever* use just one search engine. Different engines deliver different results. Yeah, yeah, go ahead and use google if you must. Use MSN too, people.

2) Ditto with the whole yahoo groups thing.  Forums exist all over. Don't limit yourself to just finding them on one site, search the whole web for forums.

3) Regarding searching blogs, I'd recommend technorati. Nothing against google, just that technorati is the de facto standard in my opinion.

4) "Press release", "press contact", "speaker bios"...all great keywords for searches (plus add something specific to your space)

5) Professional associations can be hit and miss. I often find that people working at smaller companies join more than folks at larger companies. It's about the time investment relative to the return. If your target is a larger company, you may have to look elsewhere.

6) My own little tip (shhh, don't tell anyone) is to go to the company website and use the following search logic (assuming the name of the company is "XYZ"). In their search box (if they don't have one, use the "search this page" function in your search engine): type "joined XYZ". Not every employee bio is going to have the work "bio" on it, but you'd be surprised how many have a line about when so-and-so "joined XYZ".

7) Search Amazon or Borders for book reviews/authors using the company name as a key word.

8) If the company is local, go where their employees hang out. This may sound a little stalkerish but if I wanted to meet a Microsoft employee, I could certainly tell you exactly where they hang out (Marymoor, ProClub, Sapporo Terriyaki at lunch, etc.) and I could also tell you how to spot them (parking tags). Yikes, please don't use this with me ; )

9) Go to the company job site and observe their job naming convention (for example, do they use "product manager" or "product marketing manager"?). Use that as a search term to find articles or postings that mention someone with that title.

10) Don't forget to ask your friends and neighbors who they know. The internet enhances relationships, it doens't take the place of them.

Anyone else have tips to add that haven't already been mentioned in Liz's post or here?


Comments (21)

  1. Amazed says:

    Hey, just for fun, I went to the homepage of a site that shall remain unnamed, and entered "joined XYZ" into the search box.  Over 23,000 hits.  Who would have guessed there were that many bios online.  You’re pretty smart for a recruiter.

  2. hmm says:

    "dont use one search engine(google – the "defacto standard") to search the web…use msn too"

    "use technorati to search blogs- its the defacto standard"

    lol.. :p

  3. HeatherLeigh says:

    Amazed-I’ll try to take that as a compliment. There are many smart people in recruiting. It’s the smart candidate that knows how to find them : )

    hmm-laugh all you want buddy..I calls it like I sees it. I don’t know anyone that would disagree about technorati…it’s on everyone’s short list of blog tools. And I do use several search engines, including google and MSN. I don’t pretend that google isn’t out there, it’s just not all that’s out there. And it’s far from de facto, in my opinion.


    Works about 50% of the time.   If you have a good sized target list, it may fill your pipeline.  Then, if you don’t have enough, go to the internet to find a “few names in”.  Use these to “get in” and then get others – remember – all that “finding folks on the internet” is going to get you (unless you’re one of the super-duper deep-divers, the ones legends are written about) is stuff other people have already “found” or are able to “find” (like you)  as well.

    Chances are those folks have been contacted already; some will have moved elsewhere as a result (so you won’t be able to find them anyway) or are so sick and tired of receiving recruiter calls as a result of their “exposure” they’re very hard to communicate with.      

    What to do?

    PICK UP THE PHONE.  “Find” the ones nobody else does.  If you can pick up that scary piece of plastic sitting to the right of your keyboard and dial a number (you know how to dial, don’t you?  You just…” and ASK for a result, you’ll be one of the few, the proud, the mighty.

    It’s NOT that hard.

    Maureen Sharib
    Telephone Names Sourcer

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Maureen-the post was for candidates trying to find a networking contact inside a company, not recruiters looking for candidates.

    The job hunt can be daunting for many, if not most, people. I can understand if someone doesn’t want to cold-call in for a networking contact without a name.

  6. Oh…that’s what tunnel vision’ll do!


    Maureen Sharib

    Telephone Names Sourcer

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Haha…that happens Maureen. Of course, if you want to tell my readers how to make themselves more findable/marketable to recruiters like yourself, I’m sure they’d be incredibly interested!

  8. Great idea Heather!

    Okay guys…here’s what you do…


    You takin’ notes?

    Get ready…

    The first thing you do is put a message on your VoiceMail at the office – you know the one – the one that picks up 80% of your calls……somethin’ like this…

    "Hi – this is Iwanna Newjob, Software Engineer in the .net development group here at (go ahead, give them a plug) your company name.  You can reach me by email (spell out your name s-l-o-w-l-y) at _________ or you can call my cell at xxx xxx xxxx."  Don’t forget the area code!  

    IF you have buddies that want in on the act, you can also refer the caller to call them, like this:

    "If you can’t reach me (and I hope you do!) call my co-worker, Hewantsa Newjobtoo.  If you can’t reach either of us, call our Manager, Had Enuff, at xxx xxx xxxx."  

    With one call the sourcer…uhhh…I mean…caller, has picked up three names.  You’re all gonna’ get pursued, so never you mind about the sharing the wealth thing.  It just depends where your head is…

    Want more tips?  Watch for them, HERE, all this week.

    Maureen Sharib

    Telephone Names Sourcer

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    Haha…thanks Maureen!

    Guys-she knows what she’s talking about!

  10. It sounds weird but David Carpe might also suggest visiting the company hangouts. In Guerrilla Marketing For Job-Hunters, he advises JH’s to drive by the company parking lot and count the cars.

  11. asteffen says:


    As a follow up, if and when you get in touch with a person inside the company, and they have your resume, or pass it on to the recruiters.  How should you proceed to try and set up a face to face or a phone call follow up?  I know i’ve sent you my resume and you’ve passed it on, but how would one follow up to show more than just your resume, like your personality and ambition?  I’m not trying to weasel my way in, just curious from a porfesional’s perspective.


  12. HeatherLeigh says:

    CH-count the cars?

    asteffen-usually, unless you have received a return call with interest from a recruiter (or they made first contact), I don’t think there is follow-up that can be done. I can totally understand peoples’ desire to have some kind of feedback/follow-up/closure to a resume submission. Unfortunately, folks are mostly just going to get acknowledgement in the best case scenario. This is because companies (especially big companies) receive so many resumes (here, thousands a week) that it would be the recruiters’ full-time jobs just to field follow-up calls.

    I would say that the resume submission process won’t be the best way to stand apart other than the content of the resume (and if the content inspires interest then you get the recruiter call). If you want to get the face time to prove how great you are (and trust me, I know about this….I’m one of those people that are better in person than on paper…I’m not sure how to feel about that), then I’d recommend trying to do that via networking relationships. I realize that’s a more labor intensive, long-term process, but it’s driven by you, the job seeker. Get to know people that can influence recruiters (like other employees of the same company that can refer you). That’s the way to do it.  

    As it is now, recruiters need to influence hires. So recruiters really have to spend their time with the candidates that are the best potential fit for their openings. I think the key is for recruiters to be up front about it…not promise what they can’t deliver. Well, that’s what I try to do. I tell people I can get their resumes into the right hands but after that it is up to the recruiters.

    I hope this helps. I know you aren’t trying to weasel ; ) There’s no easy answer to that question.

  13. How To Make Yourself More Findable/Marketable To Recruiters Part II

    The next thing I’d do if I wanted to be “found” in order to be presented with other opportunities, or just in general to stay abreast of what’s going on is REGISTER AT LINKEDIN.  Right now.

    LinkedIn is one of the several social networks but with a present membership claim of 5.5 million people, it seems to be one of them drawing away from the pack.  As all its information is opt-in on the registrants’ part, many people have chosen to post what really amounts to resume information on it, searchable by keyword.  It makes it soooo easy to find, let’s say, hardware engineers with asic in their backgrounds, or account executives that sell specific types of software, or financial analysts in NYC – you get the picture – it’s pretty amazing.  Granted, if you’re a rare species it could cause a feeding frenzy but what the heck?   The way I see it, your stock can only go up as a result.

    I was surprised, in a recent visit to NJ, to find my step-son, who has a big-time job in NY doing something in IT in the financial services arena, didn’t know about it. I’m taking my cue from that and assuming some of you guys may not know about it too.

    Let’s keep this thing in perspective, though.

    There are currently 1,018,057,389 people online. As of today, the world population clock says there are  6,511,912,167 on the planet so this 1 billion plus number estimated online represents about 16% of the total population.

    Internet World Stats

    World Factbook Internet Users by country

    LinkedIn’s little 5.5 million in that total number that is  reaching past one billion at this very moment pails in comparison but it’s still a powerful number. The U.S., with 5% of the world’s population, is estimated to have an internet usage penetration of 64% – that makes it occupy 23% of the users worldwide.  The rest of the world is catching up – internet usage outside the U.S. is increasing almost twice as fast as in the U.S. at present.  

    LinkedIn gives you international exposure along with an emphasis on exposure here in the United States, where many of us are interested in staying.  Why not be on LinkedIn?

    Maureen Sharib

    Telephone Names Sourcer

  14. Recruitah says:

    Hi Heather,

    Im a recruiter with abt 2 yrs of experience..looking for an opportunity in the Dallas area…does MS recruit in this area ?

  15. HeatherLeigh says:

    I don’t think we have any staffing openings in Dallas, unfortunately.

    If you haven’t already, I’d check out some of the positions posted at ERexchange.

  16. How To Make Yourself More Findable/Marketable To Recruiters   Part III

    This is an easy one – if you can get the hot lights of the press zeroed in on you.

    Go read:

    Notice how several of their folks are listed, along with their titles?  This is the stuff ZoomInfo lives for, easy mathematical algorithmic correlations between names and titles.

    Notice how these folks are listed…

    Patrick Martin, a senior product manager

    Dave Cole, director of product management

    Denise Bellotti at Symantec’s anti-spam unit in San Francisco

    Javier Santoyo, a senior researcher

    Alfred Huger senior director of engineering for security response

    Response Center Team Members:

    One senior researcher, Peter Szor, came from Hungary; Sarah Gordon, who profiles virus writers to try to understand their motivations, works out of her home in Melbourne, Florida; Peter Ferrie, an expert at disassembling viruses to see what makes them tick, came to Santa Monica from Iceland.

    One wonders just how many of these folks are “still there” six months later?  And of those that are, how many times they’ve been contacted with “other opportunities”?

    If you can’t get yourself quoted for some fabulous project you’re (NOT) working on, register at any alumni site you can lay claim to or start posting in the online groups on Yahoo! and Google (yes, Google has groups) in areas of your expertise.  Be sure to put your name AND title in there – many researchers search by title.  Remember, less is usually more in this kind of sourcing search so either keep the title traditional (software engineer) or spell out what type of “software engineer” you are.  “Developer” could get you missed while “Software Engineer / Developer” will get you picked up.   Make it easy for us – put your phone and email in there too – use the “at” instead of the @ to save yourself some spam headache.  Make sure you put your company affiliation in there too because many searches are conducted on specific companies –  and some of the same companies come up on many searches – so if you’re working for a hot number like Microsoft – say so!

    If you’d like the free Telephone Names Sourcing Glossary, send me an email at maureen at  By reverse engineering some of the terminology in there, you’ll gain insight into how our devious minds work!


    Thanks, Heather, for giving me the bandwidth here to do my thang!

    Maureen Sharib

    Telephone Names Sourcer

  17. Dana Sednek says:

    Continuing the "stalking" conversation, another great way to find company contacts is to ask the proverbial ‘hot dog guy’ outside of the company.  So if employees hang out at the Teriyaki place, get to know the extroverted cashier who works the day shift and they will give you the skinny.  I promise, it works!!

    Also, if you find a name and call the person to find out that he/she is no longer there, ASK who replaced that person. 9 out of 10 times you will get the name.

    Dana Sednek

    Career Development Services Training Specialist

  18. PostScript to:

    How to find a contact name inside a company

    How To Make Yourself More Findable/Marketable To Recruiters   Part III

    Looks like Dave Cole , director of Symantec Security Response, is till there and still yappin’, but he has a different title…or maybe it’s the same.

    Dave Cole, director of Symantec Security Response

    Symantec’s professional anti-phishing effort

    Symantec is revamping the Phish Report Network. The project came from WholeSecurity, which Symantec acquired last fall. Its goal is to accumulate and share details of phishing attacks, and a variety of high-profile companies are participating. There are other anti-phishing networks, but officials say that in this case, they’ll provide full-time employees and are willing to work with rivals.

    For more on the project:,1895,1955797,00.asp

    Maureen Sharib

    Telephone Names Sourcer

  19. Steve Kendall says:

    For both the person looking for a recruiting position in the Dallas area, and the person wondering how to make themselves more marketable to recruiters:

    Go to Management Recruiters main web site

    There is a link that lets you find recruiters.  This will provide people you can contact for job opportunities.  

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