From Explicit to Implicit; New Venues of Contact Information

I’m basically a very curious person, so in getting ready for SourceCon, I’ve been getting some questions ready in my head to ask those movers and shakers in sourcing. Here is one I’d like to throw out, it’s something that I need to solve at Broadlook.

Let me give the problem some background:

15 years ago, few people used email. It got popular.

10 years ago, few people used instant messaging. It got popular

5 years ago, few people used SMS or text messaging. It got popular.

Now we have Skype, LinkedIN, Twitter, iPhone GPS, and they are getting popular.

What I am pointing out here is that Contact information is no longer limited to explicit forms of contact information. (i.e. Name, title, phone, email). A few form of contact information is the Implicit. It is important to classify those implicit forms. If they are not classified, they are not recorded. If they are not recorded, they cannot be leveraged. For example, a personal blog is a form of implicit contact information, I can follow the URL to the blog and learn about the person (candidate in a recruiters case) and get the scoop on them.

What are the new forms (actually I prefer “venues” of contact information? Here is what we have so far at Broadlook, if anyone has suggestions for new forms, please ping me.

Contact Venues (not including traditional like phone/email)

1. SMS/TXT

2. Instant message – (different from SMS, as it needs a network, whereas any cellphone can Text another)

3. VOIP – (skype, etc)

4. Blog – wordpress, blogger, twitter (twitter..we consider micro-blogging)

5. Social network – LinkedIN, etc

6.GPS – debatable, but where you are is an aspect of Contact information

7. Domain – The corporate domain, as important today as knowing the company name they work fo

Why am I doing this? The next generation of Broadlook Technologies tools will be capturing all Venues of contact information. If anyone doubts the utility of such an endeavor, take a look at my email signature:

Getting up a 4am tomorrow to beat the Chicago traffic to eventually end up in Cleveland. I’ll be visiting our friends at Main Sequence Technologies, makers of PC Recruiter. It will be a fun road trip and I encourage anyone to call me on my cell 414-899-4204 if you have ideas on the venues of contact information.

In fact, anyone who can convince me of a new venue of Contact Information, which I did not include here, I’ll reward you with a $500 credit towards any Broadlook product  (SourceCon attendees only).

4 thoughts on “From Explicit to Implicit; New Venues of Contact Information”

  1. Donato – I think you have covered most of the bases here with possible ways of identifying contact information so let me pose an alternative channel of rich information that previously has not been tapped into and maybe for good reason. As we all know most people have multiple email, profile contact profiles that in lots of cases people use a pseudonym/handle to hide behind to keep their anonymity. Let’s use the example of Tim Smith the candidate who is the Technical Architect for ABC Corp for the questions below:

    a) Is there real value in being able to capture not only Tim’s work and home contact details, but identify that he is also heavy contributor on a C++ forum under the handle of TechTim123 where the forum members constantly look to him for the solutions to very complex questions? So in turn a recruiter could then use this information with no resume present to start to paint a picture of his level of expertise.
    b) If we then capture TechTim123 and any other associated handles that Tim Smith owns and correlate it back to him, does this help round out a broader picture of Tim Smith and ultimately help determine his potential viability to the prospective client/company?
    c) So then, if we can now do this are we starting to cross the line as we also might be also to find Tim Smith has an additional handle on a pornographic forum called BigTim123……Is it our right to know this information even if it is publicly identifiable and then ultimately, will some individuals make judgment calls on his viability given where he might hang out during his free time? As you can imagine this topic alone can become a very slippery slope.

    I saw a demo of a solution the other day were it took the IP address of the contact then referenced sites like Google Maps, etc where not only did I get the contact information of a potential candidate but I got to see exactly where they lived and in lots of cases a picture of the house on the street where they lived.

    I can see some points of view, that knowing where the candidate lives in relation to where the opportunity within that client/company exits, then a recruiter could make a judgment call on if that person would be at the top of a call down list given how far the commute time was, or would they fall to the bottom of that list?

    Would recruiters or hiring managers also be making judgment calls on their level of interest in someone based on if they lived in a shitty neighborhood or the external look of their house or front yard looked unkempt?

    I think we all have to keep in mind, just because I can find out lots of information about someone online and I might well be within my legal rights to that information, does not necessarily make it ethical, moral or the right thing to do.

    I am not suggesting that we are all going down George Orwell’s path in 1984 but it does beg the question of just because we can do something does not necessarily mean we should.

  2. I would never discourage Donato and others from developing new tools, but I agree with Rob that the privacy issues are scary as this evolves. I posted a comment to another recruiting blog that pined about the potential greater range of prospect data that may one day be available to us, and the opportunities that created. Basically, I said I’m less concerned about what recruiters would do with all that data than what an identity theft thief would do. If the info were more readily available, then many more amateurs would get into that game, exacerbating the problem exponentially!

  3. I think it is always best for an ethical corporation to be first in new areas of technology as it relates to privacy. In many cases development is not deployment. The process of development brings to light new problems, new opportunities as well as technology counter-measures. We have developed several things at Broadlook that have not been deployed, or we have pulled back features in later releases that showed that they could have negative ramifications in being used by the “amateurs”. Good thoughts Glen

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