Mobile Recruiters Discover Passive Talent From The “Hidden” Internet And Sometimes A Whole Lot More

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By MobileWirelessJobs / MobileContentJobs
November / December 2006

NEW YORK – Bryan Stickfield hasn’t looked for job in almost 6 years. He graduated from college in June 1992 and was employed for 7 years at a major telecom carrier before he decided to return to graduate school in 1999 for two years to pursue an MBA in Corporate Finance.
During that brief period, however, he almost forgot that he posted his resume to an obscure site that was used to find MBA internships and left a record behind of his brief, but half-hearted attempt of looking for a job. Low and behold six years later, Bryan received a call from a Talent Sourcing Specialist at who found traces of his old resume in a search and was shocked to learn that he became a candidate for a senior level position based in nearby St. Louis as a result.
“I was honestly shocked to receive a call from them, “said Stickfield. “I haven’t been in the job market for a long while and the resume they found was so old that I was embarrassed to tell them I hadn’t updated it in a long time. I was also confused because that particular website no longer exists and always thought that my resume was no longer searchable.”
“Ah yes,” confirmed Rob Salerno, President of Cinnamon Entertainment Group LLC and parent company of, “the hidden internet has something recorded on all of us”. specializes in online talent acquisition using the latest techniques in candidate sourcing and HRSEO. Some experts estimate that only 33% of the entire Internet is actually indexed by Google and other tier 1 search engines. The remaining 67% is unclaimed and uncharted territory for most spiders and search bots where many, if not all, hidden documents and links are yet to be found.
“Whether it is a link, message board thread, photo, music clip, document, resume, Instant Message, email or whatever, there’s a good chance your Internet activity has been recorded somewhere somehow,” asserts Salerno. This may include new or recent activity as well as past activity on websites that no longer exist but have been linked and archived on other servers.
“Even people who have never used a computer before can be found through public records, motor vehicle databases, or even commercial bank servers if you have the technical know-how to access them. The truth is most of our personal data is captured electronically somewhere and a good deal of this data is linked and unfortunately poorly secured. The hard part, and perhaps the fun part for Internet Recruiters, is how to tap into these resources without violating someone’s privacy. Of course, I am not advocating any form of hacking but utilizing the hidden Internet is almost a goldmine – an alternate universe exclusively set aside for talent sourcers,” Salerno said.
While many social activists argue that the hidden Internet leaves many privacy and personal security issues unresolved, it has not prevented Mobile Recruiters from sourcing passive, yet qualified talent in a new and innovative way.
“The level of boolean searches we are talking about here is fairly complex. If you can understand the algorithms behind Google, you can search for hidden documents and someone’s Internet history rather effectively. While this activity may yield the low hanging fruit such as contact information, it is often a very time-consuming task that requires some real Internet savvy and a little luck,” Salerno added.
Unfortunately the good news can often be short-lived. “I would say it’s a double-edged sword. While the opportunity exists to unearth some great passive candidates you may also unintentionally find a few not-so-glamorous details about that person and these past actions can adversely affect your opinion,” Salerno noted.
In a way, talent sourcing specialists conduct informal background searches on you so that others (i.e. Employers) might make conclusions based on your past online social behavior. Activities such as posting a profile on a dating site, threads on a sports message board or a resume that contains false and made-up details can and will be found. “I can’t tell you how many times we ( have sourced multiple versions of the same candidate’s resume that contained some form of conflicting dates of employment, bogus references, incorrect company names or even false contact information,” Salerno confirmed. “It’s a sad but true reality that if you lie on your resume (no matter what level you are in your career) or even for a short while there’s a strong chance it has been recorded somewhere on some server.”
Many of these candidates often admit to doctoring their resumes early in their careers to gain entry-level opportunities. But be warned, don’t let your skeletons catch up with you. Online activity, whether present or past, is being saved and linked almost as soon as you do so.
While millions of dollars are poured into pay per click advertising that tracks a passive candidate’s search criteria, the real meaningful data being recorded is online behavior. Indeed, if you are in the business of tracking click trends and paying top dollar for the most frequently used search term you are, in effect, a behavior specialist.
“Well, we (HRSEO companies like have flipped the model around. We’re saying that we can still track the online click behavior of passive candidates. However, instead of leveraging this data to maximize a paid inclusion ad, lets push relevant content to these passive candidates through optimized career pages which can be found in high, natural search results,” Salerno offered.
HR Search Engine Optimization (HRSEO) experts thus create career pages and job postings that are optimized, rich in content without compromising high link density, link reciprocity and link relevancy or any investment in Pay Per Click advertising. “Its sort of the anti-thesis of PPC,” Salerno added.
Meantime, Bryan has just completed his final round of interviews for a mobile accessories company. He’s fairly certain he will receive an offer. “While I’m both flattered and relieved that they found me through a complex search, I’m also far more aware that everything I do online is being recorded somewhere. I’m just grateful that my details were never misrepresented.”
MobileContent Careers is the monthly eNewsletter of MobileWirelessJobs. Each issue contains one or more HR interviews or HR Stories in the mobile content and wireless industries. These article help our candidates learn more about the companies listed and hiring trends trends listed on MobileWirelessJobs beyond what can be found in a job posting. Our research has shown that employers who participate in our HR interview receive a much greater resume response for their time and effort.

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