emailfinderFinding and validating work e-mail addresses is a key step in any sourcing process, but even for the most experienced recruiters, it’s a task that’s often incredibly time-consuming and arduous, not to mention an inexact science at best.  That’s why I’m always on the look out for new tools and shortcuts to this part of the process a little less painful, and why I’ve spent the last several days playing with a new tool called, as its name implies, allows recruiters and sourcers to discover a candidate’s work e-mail simply by inputting their first and last name, as well as the domain name linked to their corporate website (and, consequently, their work e-mail).

While that core concept seems simple enough, there were some definite issues that emerged during my experimenting with this tool:

1. Sometimes, company e-mail address naming conventions require a middle initial; does not offer the ability to input this information nor provide any workaround for this relatively common issue.

2. In many cases, there are no standard naming conventions within a company’s e-mail matrix, or in some cases, there may be multiple ones, particularly at larger companies or those with multiple business units or brands.

3. The results returned by the tool aren’t actually verified.  Instead, they are returning, at best, an educated guess.  And since they charge by the search, if their information is wrong, that’s your problem – there are no guarantees the e-mail returned is really accurate (and no refunds, either).

4. As mentioned before, the revenue model for is by charging on a per search basis.  This costs between .80-$1.48 a search.  If you’re validating a lot of e-mail addresses, as most searches require, that’s going to add up fast.  Additionally, while the tool offers 5 free searches with every user sign up, it also requires a credit card to even take a test drive.  No, thank you.

Wildcard: How To Look Up Work E-Mails for Free

While this is just one example of many similar tools on the market, if you’re paying to do these kind of e-mail look-ups as a sourcer, you’re doing it wrong.  Here’s how to do it yourself for free:

First, check out, which is a free online database which houses thousands of company e-mail naming conventions, with its list constantly expanding – and almost always accurate.  Click here to check it out (and make sure to add a bookmark, too).

Alternatively, there are some other no cost tools out there, most of which were actually designed for building company org charts for competitive intelligence and targeted sourcing.  Many, however, list the e-mail addresses associated with these companies, allowing you to easily discover the corporation’s e-mail matrix.

Here are 4 worth checking out:



The Official Board

None of these tools is perfect, however, so if the company you’re looking for isn’t available via any of the above tools, don’t worry.  You can still find out a candidate’s work e-mail by using a pretty basic search string on any search engine.  Just put these strings into Google or Bing, add the associated company domain name, like EMC in the second example.

(contact OR email) “**@”

(contact OR email) “**”

While these will return a number of results which might require scanning a few pages of results, you’ll eventually find what you’re looking for, as indicated in the search results below:


As you can see in the second result from the bottom, the email naming convention for EMC is [email protected].  In this particular example, it took me until the 4th page of search results to find the information I need; in most cases, you’ll see a company employee’s name and associated work e-mail without having to dig deeper than the first page of results.

When sourcing with these strings, it’s important to keep in mind that companies often maintain different e-mail naming conventions for employees in different markets, such as one matrix for American-based employees and a completely different one for those workers outside of the US.  It’s always a good idea to double check to make sure that you’re using the right one.

validationOnce you’ve discovered what looks like the e-mail naming convention you were looking for using one of the methods above, sourcers and recruiters must take one final step: validation testing.  Here are a couple of sites I’d recommend using to see whether the e-mail address you’ve sourced is actually valid:



Check out the picture on the left to see what one of these tools looks like in action.  In this case, I used my personal e-mail and used the site to validate my address at all levels.

As you can see from the results it returned, it’s using multiple checkpoints to verify that, in fact, my e-mail address is valid.  And if you follow this process, you’ll be able to determine the same for candidate contacts before sending a message that’s just going to bounce back.

While this might seem kind of complicated and that following these steps looks like it takes a long time, the truth is that for almost every e-mail address you’re looking to find and validate, such as the EMC example listed above, you’ll be able to complete this process in under a minute.

That might be a little bit longer than some of the tools out there, such as, but using good old fashioned wildcard Boolean searches instead of one of these paid products is more accurate, and ultimately, free.  Which is a price point that makes it pretty easy to deliver a return on your sourcing investment – even if it might take a few extra seconds every search.  But most of the time, it’s actually faster than even the most advanced premium products designed to do the exact same thing.

Guest Post by Dean DaCosta

By Matt Charney

Matt serves as Chief Content Officer and Global Thought Leadership Head for Allegis Global Solutions and is a partner for RecruitingDaily the industry leading online publication for Recruiting and HR Tech. With a unique background that includes HR, blogging and social media, Matt Charney is a key influencer in recruiting and a self-described “kick-butt marketing and communications professional.”