I built a database of 12,000 recruiters who are hiring right now

Here’s how to get the most out of it — and my 5 most important tips to handle communication with recruiters from big companies like Google

  • Online applications won’t help you land your next job — instead, focus your efforts on building relationships with hiring managers and recruiters from your dream companies.
  • Eugene Hayden, who’s worked at Google, KPMG, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), suggests using five tactics along with his “We’re Hiring!” database of 12,000 recruiters to get them to notice you on your next job search.
  • Take the time to build up a strong network online and personal brand. When recruiters or hiring managers visit your LinkedIn account, it’s critical to show your experience, achievements, and a strong following.
  • Be strategic when looking for jobs, and target teams, not roles. Reach out to hiring managers and recruiters with a pitch about how your experiences can help them grow.
  • Make your resume and LinkedIn profile shine with quantifiable achievements, keywords from job postings, and information from peers you admire and networked with.

The online application portal is always a gamble. During the past 10 years, I applied for over 480 online opportunities and accepted only 2 offers. When using referrals, however, I asked 12 people to refer me and I accepted 3 offers for roles that were not on the market.

I was previously an industry manager at Google, a senior management consultant at KPMG and a researcher at BCG. My experiences have helped me understand that we need a better strategy to unlock a hidden market of top tier job opportunities.

Many students and professionals from my network couldn’t find jobs and internships due to the pandemic. But there are jobs on the market, they’re just hidden. So I decided to use data and build a database that connects these folks with hiring managers.

Online applications are often black holes for resumes, and it’s frustrating when you don’t hear back, even if you were rejected. That’s why I always recommend an alternative to applying through online portals. Look for hidden opportunities instead by using my “We’re Hiring!” database. (Here are the links for the desktop version and the mobile version).

I built the database by first searching for hiring managers on LinkedIn and filtering by titles, companies, and locations. I then extracted public data about these hiring managers and recruiters who are using the “We’re hiring” tag on their public LinkedIn profiles or posts, and I found more than 35,000 records in the United States.

How should you use my database? Your goal is to build relationships with these hiring managers and recruiters from your dream companies and share your story, passion, and achievements with them.

Unlike online applications and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), these hiring managers and recruiters are real people. If you start a normal conversation and learn more about their interests, teams, and how your experience might fit available roles, you’ll have better chances to find hidden job opportunities. Remember, recruiters have hiring goals they need to meet, too, so they’re constantly on the search for candidates.

Using this strategy to connect with recruiters outside of online application portals requires more effort, but it could lead to better results.

When contacting hiring managers directly, be polite and meaningful. Expose your vulnerability professionally. If you ask for help, you will get help. If you never ask, the answer will always be “no”. When we expose our vulnerabilities, we have a decent shot at building up trust and receiving help.

And to minimize the risk of rejection, follow these simple tips and tricks and write impactful connection request messages. Briefly introduce yourself and mention common areas of interest. End your message with a call-to-action.

Refer to the same university:

“Dear Jane, my name is John. I am a recent graduate from the University at Buffalo, and I noticed you are an alumnus as well. It would be great to learn from your experience. Let’s get connected!”

Refer to their content and why you found it relevant:

“Dear Jane, my name is John. I’m a student at Boston University majoring in Public Relations. Your advice in regard to career development and networking was very insightful and it’s been a pleasure to know more about your journey! Let’s get connected!”

Follow-up after an online event:

“Dear Jane, my name is John. It was great meeting you at the Google online event for developers. I was watching your speech about immigration experience. It touched me. I’m also the 1st gen immigrant and student in the US. Let’s get connected!”

Finally, always remember to use these 5 tactics below when reaching out to recruiters. These strategies helped me build long-term relationships with hiring managers and recruiters from Amazon, Google, Apple, Tesla, Microsoft, and other major companies.

1. Be bold and build your personal brand

Recruiters or hiring managers are not waiting for your messages, they are “hunting” for better candidates. When they visit your LinkedIn account, they see your experience, achievements, how many connections or followers you’ve got. Invest your time in developing the network, reach out to people, and share ideas. The stronger your network, the more likely you’ll find decent jobs.

2. Never ask for a job

First, you need to build trust with hiring managers and recruiters. Share your story, make it personal. Second, you must learn what are the pain points in the organization right now and how your experience will fit. Third, pitch your experience explaining how you are going to solve the problem and help them grow.

3. Get excited about new opportunities and act as a strategist

Go to LinkedIn or other career websites to find roles that fit you. Focus on recurring roles (companies hire these professionals 24/7/365), e.g. Software Developer at Google or Product Manager at Amazon etc. Don’t be reactive, avoid a temptation to apply online, be strategic.

4. Don’t target roles, target teams

Roles that you see online will be approached by thousands of applicants, there is no chance to be noticed by a recruiter. Your goal is to get a referral from a hiring manager and skip the online application process.

5. Victory loves preparation

Make your resume and LinkedIn profile shine, focus on quantifiable achievements. Learn about roles, key locations, keywords from job postings, then search them on Google or LinkedIn. Talk to peers (who are currently working in your dream companies) about what they do, their challenges, and who are their managers. Your goal is to be prepared and approach hiring managers showing that you are a perfect fit.

Good luck on building relationships with hiring managers (because we all need a dash of it, even if the notion of luck is nonsense)!

I want to thank all volunteers from Prometheus Labs who helped me to build the database. Kudos! You are the best!

Eugene Hayden previously worked as an industry manager at Google, senior consultant at KPMG, and researcher at Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Eugene is passionate about advanced analytics, business intelligence, strategy, and operations.

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