There are only three ways to get a list of employees of any company. The goal of this article is to guide you to a fool-proof method to build a list of employees working in any company in a spreadsheet without much menial effort.

To get a list of employees of a company, say Buzzfeed, you can either:

  1. Ask the Human Resource (HR) admin very nicely to provide you with that data
  2. Search on LinkedIn
  3. Use Proxycurl's Employee Listing API

No, unless you are the CEO of Buzzfeed, you are most likely not going to get anywhere with the first method. This brings us to the second and third methods.

Get a list of past employees of Buzzfeed (or any company) with LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn method is the best if you do not need to have the employees exported to a spreadsheet. This is because most professionals, particularly in the western world, are on LinkedIn for professional growth. These professionals, including myself, keep our job history constantly up-to-date on LinkedIn. The only other two organizations with better employee data are the IRS (tax department) and the company itself.

Pros

  • It is free!

Cons

  • Not able to export results to a spreadsheet (unless you scrape it, which requires technical expertise).
  • Only able to list up to 1000 employees (past or present).

To get a list of past employees of Buzzfeed with LinkedIn:

Note that I am using Buzzfeed as an example. You can adapt the company to any company that you are seeking.

  1. Log in to LinkedIn (or register an account if you do not have one).
  2. Enter the company name you want to search for in the search bar at the top
  3. Select People by clicking on it.
  4. Click on All filters
  5. Under Past company, select Buzzfeed
  6. Click the `Show Results` button
  7. There, the list of past employees of Buzzfeed will be shown in the result pane.

(If you like to get current employees, you can select Buzzfeed under Current company in the filters panel instead of Past company.)

Buzzfeed has about 4000+ past employees at the time of writing. And it is going to be hard to wade through this list to find a person of interest. What if you want to find a list of all the Tech Journalists that used to work at Buzzfeed?

What if you want an exhaustive list of past employees, like on this page of Employees of Buzzfeed?

Export a list of past employees of Buzzfeed (or any company) to a spreadsheet

If LinkedIn has the best up-to-date employee database other than IRS and Buzzfeed itself. Then the next best employee database would be Proxycurl's LinkDB. Proxycurl's LinkDB is an archive of public people profiles scraped through Nubela's LinkedIn scraping service.

Powered by Proxycurl's LinkDB, Proxycurl has an Employee Listing API endpoint. That's a mouthful. But in human speak, it means Proxycurl provides a way for people to ask for a list of employees of any company.

Proxycurl is made for software engineers. If you are a software engineer, you can get started immediately. Here is the link to the API documentation for you, developers.

For spreadsheet-wielding masters or developers who prefer spreadsheets (like myself), let's get started.

Let's start with the pros and cons of the Proxycurl method in building a list of past employees for Buzzfeed or any other company.

Pros

  • Proxycurl is a developer's tool, so if you are a competent software engineer, you can automate enrichment tasks with Proxycurl API.
  • No limits to the size of data exported
  • You can output results to Google Sheets.

Cons

  • Not free.
  • It is limited to employees of companies based in the US, UK, Singapore, Israel, and Canada.

To build a list of past employees of Buzzfeed with Proxycurl in Google Sheets.

  1. Register an account on Proxycurl.

  2. Log in, get to the dashboard and copy the contents in the field called API Key.

  3. Open a fresh Google Sheets

    • Paste the contents of the API Key into A1 cell of the spreadsheet.
    • Paste https://www.linkedin.com/company/buzzfeed/ into A2 cell of the spreadsheet. (If you want to list employees of any other company, you can paste the LinkedIn Profile URL of that company instead.)
    • Click Tools -> Script Editor
    • Paste the following content into code editor.
    function generateQueryString(data) {
       const params = [];
       for (var d in data)
          params.push(encodeURIComponent(d) + '=' + encodeURIComponent(data[d]));
       return  params.join('&');
    }
    
    function PAST_EMPLOYEES(apiKey, liCoyProfileUrl) {
      console.log("test");
      apiHost = 'https://nubela.co/proxycurl/api/linkedin/company/employees/';
      var options = {};
      options.headers = {"Authorization": "Bearer " + apiKey};
      jsonResponse = UrlFetchApp.fetch(apiHost + "?" + generateQueryString({url: liCoyProfileUrl}), options);
      dic = JSON.parse(jsonResponse);
      employeeLis = [];
      for (employee of dic["employees"]) {
        employeeLis.push(employee["profile_url"]);
      }
      return employeeLis;
    }
    
    • Click the Save icon the the Script Editor page.
    • Go back to the Google Sheets, and under B1, enter the following formula: =PAST_EMPLOYEES(A1,A2)
    • Press Enter and watch it load.
    • The list of employees will be populated in B column.

There are two caveats with this method:

  1. It might cost more than the free trial credits given to you if the list of employees of the target company is too long.
  2. The result returns a list of people by their LinkedIn Profile URLs. These profiles are not enriched with their names and titles (or any other fields).

With caveat 1, you might need to make a top-up of credits. With caveat 2, you will need to enrich the profiles further. (I will leave the how-to of profile enrichment in a spreadsheet for another article).

But there you have it. Proxycurl can quickly provide you with a spreadsheet of employees of any company, past or present. The drawback is that Proxycurl is a developer's tool. If you're a non-developer and require additional enrichment, such as looking up contact information of a LinkedIn Person Profile, you might need to get the help of a developer.