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August 25, 2017

Automated sourcing – my experience with Hiretual

I recently had the opportunity to try out a new sourcing tool. Usually I’d just go for free tools – not because I’m against investing in something that works but simply because I rarely have the budget to do so. They’re easy to find, take some time to test and tend to disappear just as suddenly as they appear. Which isn’t a big problem since, you know, they’re free 🙂

But since I’ve been hearing a lot about automated sourcing in general and Hiretual in particular I thought it’d be good to see what the fuss is all about. Below you’ll find some of my thoughts after trying out the sourcing AI (which is only one of the products offered by Hiretual of course). I’m not a very technical person, I won’t be getting into the details of how things work but rather sharing a little about how things worked out for me as a user.


Sourcing AI – working with a robot

Hiretual’s sourcing AI is simply a product that offers to run your search for you based on the criteria you set. It’s very much like a sourcing assistant that does your work for while you focus on other aspects of your work, like messaging or interviewing candidates. It runs a seearch on a number of different online sources, analyses the profiles and then presents the best matches back to you.

The tool itself could not be simpler – it’s very intuitive and I would argue that anyone who can’t figure out how to use it probably has no business running online searches anyway. Nevertheless the guys at Hiretual will offer you time to show you exactly what information goes where, how to narrow down your search, what makes sense when using the sourcing AI and what may not be the best idea. Whatever you do, however good you think you are, you should definitely take them up on that offer! They know the tool better than anyone else and are also nice people to talk to 🙂

You start with entering the job title(s) you’re looking for which the assistant will use to come up with a list of related skills. You adjust the list of skills, choose the ones that aren’t optional, then adjust the list of job titles you want to exclude from the search result. Based on what you’re looking for exactly, you can use advanced search criteria or just leave it as is. You start the search and… the assistant immediately starts searching the web for the right profiles, Simple, right?


Third time’s the charm

Using a tool instead of a person to run a search may seem different in some aspects, but I actually found the process to be quite similar. I used Hiretual to find non-technical people in Germany because I figured those profiles will be a little harder to find (and after all what’s the use of testing a tool on something really easy?). The results of the first search weren’t as accurate as I’d hoped and only about 10% of the profiles were relevant. I quickly realised the tool wasn’t to blame, I just had to adjust the search. So I ran another search excluding more titles and companies this time, to make sure I can avoid technical profiles coming up. The second time I got around 20% of accuracy. The third time about 50% of the profiles were relevant – as in I would be happy to message the candidates and talk to them about a role.


Social sourcing

There are things that a human sourcer can do that a sourcing AI can’t do (or maybe it can but it doesn’t?). While it can scan social networks used for professional purposes, it sourcing on Facebook for example is not as straightforward and so it may run into some issues there. A lot of sourcing on Facebook requires making assumptions based on the scarce  information available online that a sourcing AI can’t (but maybe it could?) make. Sometimes when information on a candidate’s profile is scarce,  the only way to determine if they’re right for you is to start a conversation. You can’t expect the sourcing AI to do that for you – you could however expect it from a human sourcers.


Offline sourcing

The even more obvious limitation is one to do with offline sourcing. If you can’t get anywhere with an online search, you can always try finding a phone number or an event that you can use to find someone who could know your candidate. You can’t send your sourcing AI to a meetup or a conference… so in industries where your candidates don’t have any online presence at all you may find the sourcing AI doesn’t get as many results as you could yourself.



  • There are tasks that you can expect a human sourcer to complete that sourcing AI wouldn’t, but when it comes to analysing thousands of online profiles you really can’t compete with a robot – it will always get the job done faster,
  • The cost of “hiring” a sourcing AI is lower than the cost of hiring a human being to do sourcing for you. Training people isn’t always easy. Believe me. As rewarding as it is, it can also be challeging, time consuming and quite frustrating.If your plan was to hire someone with no experience with the expectation that they could start delivering right away – do consider a sourcing AI instead of a human being. The added benefit is it doesn’t have days off, you don’t need an attractive benefit package or a promotion to keep it motivated and it won’t decide what it really wants is to move into employer branding after the first three months. Then again you won’t be going to lunch together chatting about the latest developments in your favourite show,
  • The return on investment always depends on how well you use the tool. As long as you use it well, it can compliment your own skills really well, leaving you to do the fun part – talking to people. If however you don’t consider interacting with other people that much fun, then it’s probably not a great arrangement.


If I was sourcing full time and found I needed help, I’d seriously consider investing in the tool from Hiretual. I’d probably let it run the online searches, while I go to events, grab coffee with the candidates and build a network in whatever space I’m sourcing in.

If you had a chance to work with a sourcing AI, I’m curious if your experience was similar. Or maybe you understand the tool better and would like to clear up something I was wrong about. In any case, feel free to leave a comment below! 🙂

Kasia Borowicz
Kasia Borowicz
Social Recruiting geek turned trainer; Recruitment Open Community manager; blogger. I enjoy coffee, reading and yes, recruitment :)


  1. Hi Kasia! Great input on AI in sourcing. From my experience sadly Hiretual isn’t the best tool to pay for. I am using it since May and I realized that it isn’t as precise as it promise to be. Hiretual promise to be good in both candidate sourcing and provide analyses of their profile and on the other hand it also should be delivering contact details. So, I did test, a lot of it. For example, I went to my profile on Linkedin and: OK – it did give top expertise of mine as Recruiter. And then it went down the drill: “javascript”, “python”, “book keeping” (no mentioning of that at all on my profile), accountant (again, no mentioning) etc. So, it is not so clever as it should be. What is even more sad, it completely ignored large of my sales experience – no expertise in that were outlined. But, most disappointing is that it didn’t show any relevant or current contacts of mine. It have found 3 of old e-mail addresses of mine and also 1 very old work number. Sadly, it is happening with most of contact details it is delivering. Also, go to any of your 1st contacts on Linkedin, open their contact details and see that Hiretual will not extract it from the page but will rely on old details published in some corners of the internet. I have had only 10 responses out of 450 e-mail sent. And it wasn’t just SPAM, each e-mail was personalized and sent as separate to each potential candidate. So, overall, the idea of having robot performing search for you is very fancy, I am just not sure whether Hiretual or any other tool are yet worth to pay for. Perhaps we should wait till makers will teach their robots how to be more relevant and give them chance in some time? But then, what will be the cost of that? In May Hiretual Team Package (the one that give AI Sourcing option) cost was 3.6k$ p.year with 6k contact details (again, with no promise of it being up to date) and 18k profiles analyses. As of today it has gone up nearly 1k and cost 4.5k$ for same options…

    • Kasia Borowicz says:

      Thanks for your comment Hubert. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really tried using Hiretual for analysing my own profile. I’ve done it before with some other tools, for example Crystal Knows, and I was rather underwhelmed. Then again, I got much better results with candidate profiles – I guess no tool is always going to work perfectly and perhaps your profile is just one of the more difficult ones? Fair point about the contact details though. I’m not sure about whether any tool will be allowed to use your 1st contact’s contact details on LinkedIn (I can imagine that could get you in trouble as the user?) but not all of the emails were correct. Some of them were old in which case I just used the social profile to get in touch with the candidate. I think depending on where and how you use the tool, you’ll get different results. It worked fine for me and if there were still parts of the search I needed to complete myself, like finding the right contact channel or details, it didn’t really matter that much to me as it’s the part I enjoy most. But of course whether it suits your needs ultimately depends on you 🙂

    • Wren says:

      Kasia, thank you for the article. Hubert, I really value your detailed analysis and echo some of the same sentiments, not about Hiretual (I haven’t purchased the product), but about technologies in general and the way they are marketed to recruiters as complete solutions. For example: developers should not tout the absolute accuracy of tools that approach problems such as email finding, keyword extraction and page analysis. Much of these rely of techniques like Natural Language Processing, that still have room to improve. Personally it feels dishonest if makers don’t explain the limitations of their tools and instead are aggressive with pricing while stifling the creativity of users through half-baked automation. As a product developer myself, tackling tough problems is fun, but the truth is, there is no 1 solution for a given problem, especially in the staffing industry.

  2. Jake says:

    I would be SUPER CAREFUL with tools like Hiretual. The reason I say this (I have tried their software) is that they don’t allow you a trial run of Pro. They expect you to try out their free version but never actually play around with or experiment with their “AI” feature (I think this is a funny marketing buzzword because it is not artificial intelligence by any means). When I was given the demo it was kinda rushed through and when I asked them to put in a location like Manhattan it didn’t pop up the location, he just typed it in which wasn’t a proper boolean search parameter. Also the people that were showing up had lousy experience and just weren’t as accurate as say recruiter for LinkedIn.

    A big thing to be mindful of when you are sending out hundreds of SPAM emails from your Gmail account (because whether you like it or not you are spamming people when you are soliciting people for a new job)…people will occasionally mark you as SPAM and they will eventually blacklist your domain. They are having you integrate your Gmail so you take full responsibility of you trashing your domain on your own.

    This is how SPAM is caught and dealt with. There is something call “Spam Assassin” that pretty much ALL ESP companies (Email Service Providers) use to filter spammy emails. Once your email is marked as Spam by Spam assassin from several different accounts it will drop your Domain’s reliability score. This score can be dropped by a number of reasons like (sending out more than a hundred emails in one hour, sending out emails to email addresses that don’t exist or bounce back which tells SPAM Assassin that you are either buying garbage leads or trying to guess – in which case it gives your domain a bad mark. Once your score drops too low then no matter who you email (aside from contacts you may regularly email) you will be sent to their SPAM folder automatically. Once you are blacklisted by Spam Assassin, good luck getting any type of deliverability on any of your emails.


    Lastly if you are sending out 8,000 emails a year (like they say you can) or even a couple thousand emails a year and sending emails to many of the email addresses they provide…which I hear are not accurate or maybe have a 20% reliability then don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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