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New Site TalentBin Merges Social Media Info Into Sourcing Profiles

by May 16, 2012, 7:45 am ET

TalentBin officially launched from private beta to public yesterday. The service, which bills itself as a talent search engine, announced via press release that it “just turned the entire professional web into the largest talent sourcing database known to mankind with its public launch.”

If you’ll excuse the bravado, what TalentBin is trying to do is actually quite impressive and has leaped forward since I saw the beginnings of its private beta at the HR Technology Conference last October.

What it is trying to do is fairly simple: create a searchable database that merges information about a person from all over the web into a single profile so that recruiters can get all of the information about them in one, digestible place.

Pre-launch Reviews Were Strong

When TalentBin quietly went into private beta, several prominent folks got an opportunity to use the product hands-on. And the reviews from those people were strong.

Megan Hopkins wrote here on SourceCon a few months ago that, “in the four months I’ve been using TalentBin, I’ve located, extended offers to, and hired nearly a half-dozen candidates (all top-notch engineering and design professionals) and my pipeline is robust with killer talent that will, at some point, be looking for a new company to join.” She adds, “In terms of time, it took me a fraction of the time it used to take me, allowing me to be so much more efficient and contribute more to my employer. And, it saved us money — the ultimate ROI.”

Irina Shamaeva wrote on her Boolean String blog last November, “TalentBin is one example of a sourcing product that has a potential to become the Dream Software.” She concluded, “if you have a sourcing budget, I do recommend checking TalentBin out.”

Also in the press release is a customer list that includes companies like Groupon, Intuit, and Yahoo.

Profiles Built Based on Implicit Data From 30+ Sources

In talking with TalentBin co-founder Peter Kazanjy, he said that TalentBin has expanded its reach since its beta launch last year. “We’re now using over 30+ sources from the open web,” said Kazanjy yesterday by phone. “We’re going whole hog on creating an implicit database of potential candidates.”

Kazanjy explained that the implicit database it is building is better than competing search tools by LinkedIn or job boards because it takes in information people are creating elsewhere. He used the example of software engineers who may have a terrible LinkedIn profile and no (or a severely outdated) resume on a job board but have been active on Twitter or Quora or even specialty sites like GitHub or Stack Overflow. They use contextual clues from what the person tweets or works on based on less traditional sources of data and compile it all into a single profile.

Like LinkedIn, the bigger your network, the better your reach will be. That’s why TalentBin focuses very heavily on having your co-workers connect to your TalentBin so you can search resumes from their networks.

Added Chrome Plugin and API Access

One of the things that launched with the move from private beta to public was the addition of a Google Chrome plugin that allows you to have easy access to the consolidated profiles TalentBin offers when you’re cruising social networks. As an example, if you bring up my Twitter profile and click on the TalentBin plugin, you’ll get this:

That has a link to all of my social profiles as well as my contributions on websites like SourceCon and ERE. And even with a basic account, you can find a lot of information about me (and potential ways of getting in touch as well).

Kazanjy also said his company also added API access to the platform for the public release. “One of the things we heard from our [beta] customers is that they would love it if this could be integrated into their ATS,” he said. “This is a first step.”

The product itself still has some rough edges. Most of my tech contacts are admittedly based in the Northwest and while I wouldn’t call it a representative sample, TalentBin didn’t have some of these people in their system. As Kazanjy said, “If you’re looking for someone in Iowa, you’re probably not going to find a lot right now.” Indeed, it seems the further away you are from a technical background (or from Silicon Valley), the less chance there is that a profile will be in the system. He claims they are continuing to expand the number of profiles but they started with technical talent since that’s where the greatest need is at right now.

Pricing is on a sort of seats-based, freemium model. Kazanjy said they are debuting with a $4,800 per seat/per year price point for the full version of the product. He said that’s about half of what LinkedIn Recruiter costs.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • Jordan Clark

    Something tells me this is probably going to lead to some litigation down the road for more then one reason.

    1. (And granted I don’t know the Inn’s and outs of their system, so I could be wrong) but having used background check software/services unless the person gives you consent and provides you all of their information you are likely to find a ton of missmatched information. Having done one on myself for fun, I have found numerous errors in my location, job title, and my age. Seeing as they are drawing that information from “online” sources I have a feeling there will probably be a significantly large amount of errors.

    2. I can also see this facing some serious litigation in the area of missrepresentation or consent. Granted it would appear they are drawing information from websites that the user is involved with but they aren’t requesting permissions (so far as the article says) to have access to that information from the “user” or gaining any terms of agreement/consent. Not to mention I would hate to see what happens if the program provides missinformation that causes someone to miss a job opportunity because thats just a lawsuit waiting to happen, or provides missinformation to an employer that ends up hiring someone based off bogus/bad information (another lawsuit waiting to happen.)

    Other then that seems like a very interesting idea, I would still say my biggest concern would be the quality of the information as people can put anything online in multiple places, but it would definitely be something worth keeping an eye on over the next 5 years to see if it can establish a beach head and make a name for itself.

  • Keith Halperin

    I used it for a few weeks a couple of months ago, and I thought it was interesting. However, unless the contact info was included in the sourced data, TalentBin didn’t include it. For $4,800/yr, I’d want the direct contact info.

    Keith

  • Jordan Clark

    @Keith: Thanks for the input, you definitely raised the point of my concern, I would certainly be interested to see what they have to offer but your experience is exactly what I would be cautious about.

    Grabbing people’s profiles off of various digital media without providing quality contact information doesn’t facilitate or provide any real benefit, and could actually end up wasting a lot of time and money having to find their information. When by comparison I could spend that same time and money searching through LinkedIn and have a direct avenue of communication.

    Not to mention at $4,800/yr thats a bit to ask for without a proven track record of success.

    I’ll definitely be keeping track of this one for the future, looking forward to see how it turns out!

  • Kathryn O’Brien

    I’d be concerned with the accuracy of data when there are so many variables. I am by far the only “Kathryn O’Brien” on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, Google+… I think it is valid to be concerned that information representing me has been sourced incorrectly. Can one opt out of being profiled? Or correct/amend profile information?

  • http://rehaul.com Lance Haun

    Thanks for the comments. Peter can probably comment better than I but a couple thoughts on what you all brought up:

    - Just my opinion (and I don’t play a lawyer) but I imagine the litigation risk is fairly low. This is a search and discovery tool, not a social media background check tool. Assuming a company is reaching out, they don’t get dinged for missing people they could have possibly contacted about a job.
    - TalentBin won’t win unless it gets data correct. The onus is on them, certainly. If their info is off too frequently to use consistently, it is going to be rough.
    - Data sources are public. At least as far as I can tell, this isn’t stuff that one couldn’t find using boolean or other searches. Combining that into a profile does create an issue, especially with outdated or incorrect info.
    - We’re also playing two sides of the devil here when it comes to contact information. We’re concerned about outdated info and privacy yet we also want it served up in the system for recruiters? They’ll have to pick one and live with it.

    Thanks again everyone!

  • Peter Kazanjy

    Hey there folks! Pete Kazanjy, one of the founders here. Wanted to provide some responses to see if might be able to add some clarity.

    Jordan: Thanks for the questions, Jordan!

    Regarding “background” checking, and so on, the idea of using consumer credit information for background checking is indeed a serious space. As such, we have purposefully avoided that, in that we believe that the promise of what we’re doing is less about “checking someone out” and more about discovering candidates that would make sense for you.

    That is, we’re more concerned about answering the question for recruiters of “Show me all the iPhone developers in the Austin area, based on their online activity” and less about “Show me which of them is better and which of them is less so.”

    Consent / Misinformation: We are also very concerned about this, which is why a. this is not a substitute for a resume or a screening and interview process — post-ATS activity, that is — wherein hiring / passing decisions are made, and b. all the information we crawl is freely available on the open web. If Google can see it, we can see it. We just are more focused on structuring the information in a way that makes it searchable for recruiters, in a way Google is not set up to do.

    Keith: We provide all available contact information that we can find for a candidate. That means their email address, twitter handle, and also the ability to contact them on the sites where they’ve been discovered, like Facebook messaging, LinkedIn InMail, Quora in-messaging, Meetup messaging, etc. etc. We don’t have *all* for every profile, but it’s just like a clever sourcer who kicks out to Google after discovering someone on LinkedIn, and tries to find their other means of contact. Except we do it algorithmically.

    Kathryn: The matching system is a lot more robust than just matching first-name, last-name, as you can imagine! That’s where a fair amount of our engineering time is spent, to ensure that the Kathryn O’Brien from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Meetup, and so on that is matched together is actually you, as opposed to that other Kathryn O’Brien. And of course we always provide links back to the sources, so you can verify!

    Thanks everyone for the great comments / questions!

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  • http://www.mycompas.com Jack Smith

    COMPAS Technology is looking forward to partnering with the team at TalentBin.

    http://www.mycompas.com

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