How to choose the best contact finders and people aggregators being well aware of their weaknesses?

Galina Panchenko
Jul 20, 2017 · 7 min read

Using the latest technologies of data collection and indexing, the aggregators use the huge power of BigData to help recruiters to find and connect with top-skilled talents. Can you afford to rely on yesterday’s technologies and processes, when today’s best candidates are discovered so quickly through contact aggregators?

The sourcers have been so close to them, especially when there is Connectifier on the market, whose name has already become contagious. So we decided to understand, why the other aggregators provide different quality of information for different money, which sometimes is not commensurate with financial investments.

According to various statistics, there are about 300 source Chrome extensions (sourcing tools) at our disposal. Among this set of technologies at the market of sourcing and recruiting it is impossible to choose one, that will unite all the functions. In addition to social links, aggregators often provide a sketch of the candidate’s CV with the ability to keep it, which can include a summary of their skills, experience, location, current employer, education and contact information. These online profiles are often a more reliable and relevant source of information than traditional resume databases.

Some aggregators claim that they are based on different technologies. According to this, we can classify them as social aggregators, scraping aggregators, combined aggregators, contact finders and people aggregators.

Disease №1 — Сompromise of contact data: Social networks or Emails?

If the aggregator repeats the functions and contacts of LinkedIn, then the sourcers agree, that nothing else is needed. Then why we complicate our work and spend extra time, if we can just go to the original resource? When the aggregators started their development, the LinkedIn was certainly the main source, but now they pull up other social networks, and, surprisingly for the sourcer, the contact found through the aggregator may not even have the LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, there are the profiles on niche social networks and, otherwise, it would not even be found. At the same time, if the candidate is on the LinkedIn, it is not yet a fact, that you will manage to get his direct email.

Let’s check a few known aggregators and run through their search engines the identical candidates for the purity of the experiment. For example, out of 16 names verified, we get some ranking by the number of contact details found (including all social networks, emails and mobile phones).

SignalHire — 85

RocketReach — 73

Contact Out — 17

Lusha — 16

Skrapp — 14

Hunter — 12

Looks promising? But the disease of all the aggregators is the quality of this information. If we have a chance (and we do!) to click on every available contact in each profile and check all the validity, then we will find out a picture that differs. As we see, RocketReach, Skrapp and Hunter give much less valid data.

SignalHire — 85

RocketReach — 36

Contact Out — 16

Lusha — 14

Skrapp — 6

Hunter — 2

What if we go further and check only the most frequently used way of communication with candidates — email, now our list has already considerably thinned, isn’t it?

RocketReach — 54

SignalHire — 18

Contact Out — 16

Skrapp — 14

Hunter — 12

Lusha — 8

As you can see, that, at first glance, may seem like great opportunities for contacting candidates and a large sample of data, turns out to a constant game of compromise in fact. When we are given out 5–10 different details for communication, and only the one type of it works, the sourcer starts to hang cards and toss it between social networks and emails.

Disease №2 — Сatch-all or Invalid?

The catch of the aggregators’ search is that you can be even given several emails of each candidate, but these emails can be divided into 3 groups — valid, invalid and accept-all (catch-all). Catch-all email addresses were created to ensure that no email to the domain would be rejected and lost. This group is not widely known, but its presence in your search is decisive. For example, you’ve received a contact email and sent a letter to the candidate and had not received a notification from the domain system. You are happy, calm and confident that you wrote on a valid email address. You are waiting for an answer from the candidate, but you do not get it.

The problem is that the accept-all domains do not send you any notifications and take all the mail to their domain, but, in fact, the user does not receive your email. Such a danger inherits us in the issue of almost all the aggregators. For example, the biggest amount of catch-all emails is issued by RocketReach and Skrapp.

Emails Found (All)

Emails Found (Valid and excluding Catch-all)







Contact Out












When checking out contacts, almost in every case, at least one candidate’s email was found. But the question of the effectiveness of the information we have found led us to a dead end — the correspondence of the number of the detected emails to valid ones was practically equal only in Contact Out and SignalHire.

For example, when testing aggregators, we have found that Lusha, Hunter, Skrapp and ContactOut give one contact detail per candidate on average. At the same conditions, RocketReach helped to find 2 valid contacts on average for each candidate.

The ratio of the total number of contacts in all the aggregators to valid contacts leaves much to be desired. The most unsatisfactory results were shown by Hunter, while it is the most widely used extension.

Disease №3 — Do we pay for air?

The main question is whether to use aggregators, or they are just the same tools with different names, that, in fact, sell the air for the recruiters under the guise of contact details.

The people aggregators charge a fee from 20–30 dollars to several hundred dollars per user per month. Some charge you every month, and others require an annual subscription. Almost all the aggregators provide an opportunity to view from 150 to 200 free email credits. But the sourcer and the recruiter have to spend from 150 to 400 dollars a month for greater using the services, depending on the number of available contacts in the database.

Keep in mind that obtaining the accurate contact data is a tough criterion. For example, in 2015 it was thought that emails would die out, but until today they are the main source of direct communication. It is difficult to deny the fact that issuing a valid email for a candidate is still more important than issuing of social networks.

Of course, for the sourcer it will not be difficult to find all the social networks and even a personal email using free technologies. The question is how much time we are ready to spend on manual sourcing to save money or, nevertheless, to optimize our work. If the cross referencing with the candidate is important for the sourcer, then the choice to use paid aggregator packages is obvious.

It is also worth noting here that even if we pay, for example, 50 dollars per 1000 contacts, but get only 2 valid ones out of 12 found, then the cost of one contact can be significant.

The quality of the contact details found is a criterion that is not even discussed. Today, the main criterion of choosing an aggregator is the possibility of Chrome extension. It should be able to source when you browsing. But nice add-ons can be a bonus when choosing the aggregator. Depending on the needs of sourcing, it is worth paying attention to the location of profiles (The US or international) and the possibilities of search filters and Boolean logic. The indexing allows you to search and find qualified candidates based on keywords embedded in any of their social profiles and locations. The keywords may include skills, programming languages, names and even the names of schools.

Each sourcer agrees that finding an ideal service that will match all the search criteria and give 100% of valid contacts is almost impossible. And here what the every sourcer thinks about — whether it is worth paying less if he gets information that is very difficult to convert into an adequate result. The conclusion is if you have already decided to pay aggregators, try to adequately assess the quantity and quality of the contact details found, and the issue of price will remain secondary.