Monitoring companies for staff who leave

on September 18 | in Conference, LinkedIn, Recruitment, Social Recruiting, Sourcing | by | with 8 Comments

Attending the Discover Sourcing event today. Mostly, I’m live-tweeting… but I want to share an search idea that need more than 140c… monitoring companies for leavers.

It takes a simple search string: “past * * at Hays”     (yes, Hays is just an example here!)

This will x-ray the LinkedIn site for all ex-employees. It’ll be full of past employees, mostly historical data of no real use.

However, set that up as a Google Alert, it’ll deliver an ongoing feed of real-time leavers – get that delivered into your RSS reader or email inbox etc as you prefer.

There’s obvious value here to recruiters and salesfolk alike… Let me know if you come up with improvements!


Terrible oversight on my part as I pushed this post live quite quickly during a session.  The brains behind the trick should have been credited – so step up Shane McCusker. Recruiter, hacker, software engineer. He thinks at the speed of warp and talks just slightly faster. If you can keep up, make sure you listen in next time he presents – or go watch some of his previous webinars here. One of the smart guys. Cheers Shane!


  • Great tip James – thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Great tip, although remember this will report on not just those moving from Hays today, but also anyone who has ever worked at Hays in the past, even if it was 10 years ago (and so long as it appears on their LinkedIn profile).

  • IrinaShamaeva

    It’s a pretty clever idea.
    To see what to expect from an alert, you can actually search through profiles indexed in the recent month (or a year) using google search, then sort by date and see when the changes happened, or, more precisely, were noticed by Google (see the screenshot attached).

    Of course, 1) we’ll only learn that Hays was a past company at the point when the profile is updated with a new job, which can actually happen much later (months later). Plus, Google may not be there instantly to log the change, but Google is generally fast.
    2) when people change titles or locations within Hays, they would be found as well. These are false positives but it’s not a big deal.

    Altogether it’s a clever way to watch for this type of changes. This can be applicable to other sections of LI profiles, that may shift as well, such as people joining companies, graduating from colleges, etc. This sort-of revives some of the “retired” functionality of the LinkedIn Signal.

    @Stephen: it seems as though the alert will report the profiles that didn’t have “hays” as a past company and now they do. This typically happens when it’s a recent change.

    • James Mayes

      Thanks Irina – though as per the update, I can only take credit for sketching it out quickly in a post – Shane’s the smarts on this. I am kinda intrigued to see how it can be developed though. I’d be interested in a string which, as an alert, would give me indications of people with a specific job title that had moved. More interesting to watch a skillset or role than a specific company (for me, anyway!)

      • Bob Aalsma

        If you let the RSS feed flow into Yahoo Pipes, you can filter the flow there. THis will then create a new RSS feed from the results which you can pick up with your RSS reader.

      • IrinaShamaeva

        @james_mayes:disqus Sorry, I missed more comments here.

        Are you interested in finding people who have already moved to a new job or people who might be open to a move?

        Here is a search on Google that would bring up profiles for people who have recently added recommendations (and may be thinking of a move) “2..200 recommendations”
        (add your keywords).

        To use this, either limit the search to a recent period and sort by date or set up an alert.

        I will think of some other ways to search and will probably write a blog post.

        As a side note, it’s nice of you to give credit to Shane. Of course, there’s nothing “formal” that can happen in terms of researching the web (vs., say, in Mathematics, where authorship is tracked precisely); we all learn from each other. But when you can clearly say that you heard an idea from someone, whom you name, that feels good to all.

        If you get false positives in a search, this is not necessarily something to fight with.
        If there are only few, or if you can easily dismiss them, that’s all we need.

  • Peter Thompson

    Nice 1 James!

  • Barbs

    Nice! Thanks James and Well Done Shane for giving us the edge all the time!

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