How To Do a Background Check

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Imagine you, as a recruiter, have just completed a lengthy search process and you found the perfect candidate. Alas, they are happy with their current employer. Nevertheless, they have agreed to meet with you at the local Starbucks. To close this candidate, you need every bit of leverage you can muster. So, what do you do? Of course, you do a bit of Google snooping to see if you can find any interests or hobbies that you could “have in common.” (wink) However, after so many keystrokes, you are left wanting.

If this sounds like you, might I suggest another option? Namely, Google’s image search. Its scary easy to dig up a bit of background on someone using Image Search because:

  1. When creating online profiles, people tend to use the same images. Hey, why waste that Glamour Shot on only one profile?
  2. Google is pretty good at finding other pictures that closely resemble the photo you are searching. It is NOT perfect, but pretty good.

Let’s say that you are doing a search for someone like me on LinkedIn and my profile comes up. (FYI, using myself as an example because I do not want to freak any of my friends out.) At the top of my LinkedIn profile is my photo in all its glory. (Truly, a face for radio.) I right click on that image and choose the option “Copy Image URL.”

LinkedIn, Jim Stroud, Sourcing
I add the link into Google search and no results were returned. However, it does give me the option to search by image. I choose it.

Google image searchGoogle gives some useful information. (A) Google shares images it believes are similar to the one I am searching for. (B) Google guesses that I am “Jim Stroud” quite possibly because that is the name most associated with the image. (It is on LinkedIn after all. It is also used with various articles I write, so I guess it makes sense that Google guesses that.)

Jim Stroud, linkedin, sourcingIf you scroll down a bit further, you’ll see a section called “Pages that include matching images.” If you click on any of those results, you will see pages where my picture is posted.

linkedin, jim stroud, sourcingMost of the images that have my LinkedIn photo are on articles I’ve written on this blog. However, when I look at the “Visually Similar Images” section and click on photos other than my LinkedIn photos, I see links to videos I produced and non-recruiting related articles on blogs other than my own. Pretty cool, huh?

Okay, just in case the obvious has not occurred to you. If you can get a photo of your passive candidate, most likely from LinkedIn, then you can see other places that photo appears. You can also see (maybe) other photos posted of them leading to their interest in skiiing, or popular television shows or books they are currently reading or, whatever…

Hmm… Now that I say this, maybe you should not do this as it may unearth data that you should not be privvy to. Like, I don’t know, religion, sexual preferences, political affiliations and things like that. Yes, this is a bad practice and not one I can suggest. That being said, please ignore everything I just posted above. It might get you into trouble, especially if you tell the candidate how you discovered this information in the first place and you do not hire them. Wow! That could lead to some sort of discrimination suit. Hmmm… Yeah, don’t do this. I’ll try to think of other ways to accomplish the same thing.

In the meantime, what do you do to close passive candidates? I would like to hear from you. Leave a comment below? Thanks!

-Jim

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7 comments

  1. HCG

    Tremendous. My thanks for writing that. I will check back to read more and inform my neighbors about this website.

  2. Justin

    Jim, Great article and yes, google search very interesting when used aggressively. only time will tell about FB G Search. .

    For closing passive candidates, some strategies that have worked:
    1. Focusing on the friends and new employers as influencers. (does a contact of his work at the new company?)
    2. Plant Theory, slowly reinforce the truth that they would be better off in all ways at new job.
    3. Be a career counselor first and a recruiter second. Being open and honest that your job (and others like it that are not yours) is the right choice in the near future. the “you should start dating, not necessarily me, but it would be good for you.”

  3. Denise

    Jim: I right clicked on photos on linked in, but there was no “copy to url” Only copy. Am I doing something wrong?

  4. Pingback: How To Do a Background Check | The Recruiters Lounge | Brandi Cooper, Pink Panther