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Googling Candidates - The Game Just Got Serious with

Face it, you've Googled candidates, or maybe friends before.  You are a voyeur. 

If you are having trouble seeing in the window, you can put down the binoculars and try a telescope via  I'm not sure this one is a good thing, but more will follow.  That's technology, so you may as well know about the tools...

Hat tip to Marci Alboher from Shifting Careers for the find.  Here's how Marci describes it:

"By going into what’s called “the deep Web,” which basically means finding pages on thePrivate_eye Web that are not generally picked up by a standard search engine search, you’ll find the kinds of things — white page listings (including prior addresses), birthdays, profiles on social networking sites and certain public records that an employer, potential business partner or any inquiring mind can easily access.

While all this might sound either useful or creepy, the wrinkle is that if the person being searched has a common name, the search will turn up pages and pages of results for people with that name. I spoke to Matthew Hertz, the site’s founder and chief executive, who said that Pipl is working on ways to narrow a search past the current method, which brings up results based on first name, last name and city. Until then, it certainly is amusing to see how much of your personal data the deep Web turns up, and to get a glimpse of what your doppelgangers have been up to."

So I gave a try.  First up, Marci's point regarding googling candidates or any other individual with a common name is valid.  Trying to find relevant info on a "John Smith" is a problem via Google unless you really know how to use the advanced search tools.  So, there's a business opportunity there.

Unfortunately, I found the tool really didn't help a lot with this.  Once you get past a couple of cool features, the indexed results are driven by Google, and there's still a lot of clutter.

One cool feature is the "quick facts" on the target of your search, displayed towards the top of the page.  That's worth using the tool, but don't expect a lot of help with the John Smiths of the world.

Final Note - it's always creepy to see phone numbers and addresses atop a people search.  Brave new world...


Kelly Dingee

Man oh man am I surprised you're just learning about Pipl! Do I have to say get thee to an AIRS course to the Superman of Bloggers? Seriously dude, we've been talking about Pipl in Searchlab for a while.

Next - shock yourself with wonders of ZoomInfo - or instead of Googling someone - Viewzi them - then you'll not only get all the text posted about them but you can see them in video too.

All the best,

laurie ruettimann

I took AIRS courses in 2002 and the world seems like a different place.

Wally Bock

I suggest running some test searches on Pipl using known subjects. If you do, I submit that you'll either decide that the amount of error is too great to use this tool responsibly or that you'll decide to use it as a starting point for possible follow-up rather than a source of information.


Kelly -

I know, I know... It's easy to bust on the guy who seems like he just found the equivalent of a cell phone in your world. But for someone who doesn't dig 10 hours a day like you do, there are waaaay to many tools to keep up with. Good post for you on FOT - "The Only Three Sourcing Tools You Need"... Tell me which ones can do 60% of the lifting...

So there's too many, and candidly, like Wally refers to, the utility is somewhat lacking...


Pipl is actually much more dangerous to use on people with uncommon names. If you search for a John Smith, you assume the results may not apply to the individual you're researching. On the other hand, if you search for an unusual name, you assume (incorrectly) all the results are relevant. Very dangerous!

I have an uncommon name. Maybe 3 or 4 of me in the entire country. If you look me up on Pipl, you'll come to some very scary and very wrong conclusions about me.

I strongly recommend you not use Pipl to research candidates or employees. There's too much bad information out there.

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