We automated our executive search process without spending anything on job sourcing sites
We automated our executive search process without spending anything on job sourcing sites

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The Proxycurl Success Story: Hiring a Marketing Manager Through Automated Recruitment and Executive Search

Joseph Lim

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What if we told you that you don't need LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and beyond and their often expensive and often unfruitful solutions to find your next perfect candidate?

You don't -- let me prove it to you and show you why you should believe me.

Just recently, here at Proxycurl we personally did that with just a little over $350 and hired Grace from the States (we are based in Singapore - halfway across the globe, or 15000 km, or 9500 miles away) for a senior-level marketing role, using primarily free tools:

Hiring stage Tool Costs
Candidate search Proxycurl Person Search Endpoint $350
Outreach Sendy Free*
Screening Google Forms Free
Interview Google Meet Free

P.S. We paid a one-time $69 using Sendy, but we stated free because you can use your own email marketing platform, or use whatever free trial available out there.


Before diving deeper, a quick definition:

  • Executive recruitment is the process of selecting individuals to fill senior-level positions in an organization.

Source: Indeed.

Who is Grace? Is she real?

She's definitely 100% as real a person as you and me.

This is her LinkedIn profile.

Right off the bat, she sure has a wealth of experience and knowledge in marketing, with her latest stint involving using data analytics to drive marketing growth.

In the succeeding stages of hiring, she even told us how she built a business using data-driven marketing strategies and then sold it off for a handsome amount some years back.

Strong experiences, plus a strong propensity to actually make things happen equals we hired her.

She's joining us on the 20th of September (two days from the date of writing) and bringing her magic to Proxycurl. We can't wait!

Is there a catch?

You might ask, "What's the catch?"

Fair. I get it; it sounds too good to be true like we aren't disclosing the full story along our executive search process.


The only catch that we might think of is that it involves coding. If you are a software engineer, that's perfect. But if you're not, don't worry, we'll expand on the technicalities below.

Enough talking, let's get into the actionable content.

Stage 1 - Candidate search using Proxycurl Search API

Proxycurl Search API is a product for advanced searches of people and companies with Boolean search. It consists of two endpoints:

For the purpose of our hiring, we used our Person Search Endpoint to search for candidates.

In this endpoint, there are a whopping 46 filters and data attributes that you can implement to filter the exact profile of candidates you're looking for, more below.

For our executive search, since we're looking for a marketing and growth talent preferably familiar and comfortable in a startup environment, we implemented the three search filters based on countries, company size, and current job title:


Singapore (SG)
Malaysia (MY)
Australia (AU)
New Zealand (NZ)
Sweden (SE)
Israel (IL)
United Kingdom (UK)
Germany (DE)
United States (US)
Canada (CA)

Company size

# The desired candidate should be currently employed in a company with a minimum of `10` employees and a maximum of `100` employees


Current job title

#The target candidates should hold a current job title that loosely matches any of the following

Chief Growth Officer
VP Growth
Growth Manager
Head of Growth
VP Marketing
Director of Marketing
Marketing Manager
Content Strategy Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
SEO Manager
Product Marketing Manager
Head of Marketing

Proxycurl Search API supports Boolean search, making it super flexible and versatile. We wrote a full guide on the Boolean search operations in Search API.

But, for us we got our beloved ChatGPT to help. This is the Boolean expression that encapsulates the aforementioned job titles:

(chief || vp || head || director || manager) && (growth || marketing || "content strategy" || "digital marketing" || seo || "product marketing" || cmo)


(chief OR vp OR head OR director OR manager) AND (growth OR marketing OR "content strategy" OR "digital marketing" OR seo OR "product marketing" OR cmo)

We ran the endpoint and it returned a list of the candidates' LinkedIn profile URLs which are also automatically enriched with other data points. We ran the script to compile the results into a CSV file with the following columns:

First name
Company name
LinkedIn Profile URL
Current Company's LinkedIn Profile URL
Current Job Title
Company Employee Size on LinkedIn

Of course, the purpose of this whole project was to reach out to the potential candidates, and we were doing it via cold emails. Thus we used Proxycurl Contact API to get their emails.

We didn't look up the contact numbers but if you want, Proxycurl Contact API supports that too. We needed only emails for the next step in our executive search process.

And we got a grand total of 7209 candidates and their emails.

Sample rows in CSV:

Candidates sample rows in CSV

Plug this CSV file into your preferred email marketing platform (we use Sendy) and you're good to go.

Stage 2 - Outreach to candidates using cold emails

Now to the exciting part - reaching out to the candidates. We are a self-professed professional cold emailing team, case in point:

This was what we sent to the 7209 candidates.

  • I'm Steven, the CEO of Proxycurl and I was wondering if you might be open to a senior marketing role with us, with a better offer than what you are receiving now. We are a bootstrapped startup growing at (insert growth rate)% in the last 12 months, and we're at USD (insert revenue)M ARR as of last month. And I want to double down on marketing as we expand into new markets.
    Are you open to a senior marketing role with Proxycurl?

Some learning points:

  • Noticed we didn't describe the role at all. That was because at this stage it was just the first cold email, the purpose was to get a reply from candidates, to gauge interest levels among the 7209 of them. A long-winded elaboration of the role would backfire and diminish people's interest in wanting to find out more.
  • Instead, we paint a beautiful picture of why the recipients should continue talking to us - in this case, to show them the amazing growth Proxycurl has been achieving.
  • We always end with a simple CTA (call-to-action), i.e."Are you open to a senior marketing role with Proxycurl?". This is to squeeze out a reply from candidates. CTA (in all its forms and formats out there) does work.

With this, most of the time, you'll get a much higher response rate, albeit with short replies from your recipients like, "Sure, I'd like to know more", "Do share more", etc.

But these are more than enough for you to continue piquing their interest and continuing the conversation.

Just remember this:

Less is more in cold emailing. Your sole purpose is to get any response from the recipients.

Stage 3 - Candidate screening using good ol' Google Forms

After getting a reply from tons of interested candidates, you still need to screen them carefully to ensure fit and suitability.

In alignment with the spirit of how we do things, we definitely didn't want to do extended back-and-forth emailing with each candidate who replied. That would take up TOO much time.

We thus used the good ol' Google Forms. In the form, we can ask lengthy questions such as their experiences, how they would solve possible marketing problems, their understanding of Proxycurl APIs, and even their expected salary package.

We also included a lengthy elaboration of the role and its expectations at the front of the form.

These were otherwise too heavy and lengthy to ask and show in an email.

So for each person that replied to the first cold email, we'll send them this Google Forms link laden with details and questions, all packaged in one easy-to-read form.

A peek into the Google Forms we sent each interested candidate:

A lengthy intro of the company, role, and expectations


Multiple screening questions on candidates' experience, capabilities, background


And more.

Stage 4 - Video interview to shortlist candidate

Now, you've got some amazing submissions through Google Forms, and you've shortlisted a handful of potential candidates.

You've got to do a video interview to do a vibe-check and have a chat with the potential hires.

It's needless to say there are a wide variety of tools out there to do video call.

Pick your poison.

And finally, hired!

We spent just a little over $350 ($0 on hefty job sites), automated the process and saved lots of time, took just 25 days, and hired Grace from the other side of the world.

Still doubtful if this hiring method really works?

It did for us.

Of course, this is but another recruitment method out of the many out there. But let us put things into perspective on why it worked for us.

The fact that we can specify exactly the profile of candidates we want, i.e. based on job titles, countries, and even company size with just a few lines of code.

You need to pay a huge premium to do the same on job sites. Free job listing can never allow for such customization.

Granted, even though we scraped as many as 7209 candidates, possibly only a percentage of them are open for job change. After all, this is outbound recruitment.

Comparing this with inbound recruitment i.e. listing on job sites, you might get hundreds of applications from people who're really looking for a job, but there would also be equally as many who are totally not a fit and are spammingly applying to any job listings they see on job sites.

(We found out there's a term for such a group of people - serial applicant).

Cost savings are a huge factor too. This method was definitely worth it for us considering the level of search customization and the scale in which we can carry out this executive search.

Most importantly, we achieved the goal of our executive search - we hired a great talent, who is Grace!

Is that all you can do with the Search API?

For this round of recruitment, we filtered for only three attributes. Search API allows for much more than that, as much as whatever you can imagine:

  • Search candidates by industry e.g. healthcare, tech, education
  • Search candidates by past experiences e.g. ex-Stripe or Paypal
  • Search candidates by city, not just by country
  • Search candidates by stages of startups they're in - via funding amount
  • Search candidates by education background

And more.

Check out this article: The Definitive Guide to Executive Searches: Automatically Find Qualified Candidates for the exact codes for these recruitment use cases.

Get started within 1 minute, it's that simple to use

Purchase 100 credits for only $10 which you can try out the Person Search Endpoint for your own recruitment. $10 for 100 credits can give you 22 candidates. If you like what you see, get the higher-tier plans that will give you more credits per dollar.

Our APIs are known to be incredibly simple to use: simply register an account, purchase credits, get your API key, and start recruiting immediately.

We are more than happy to share about our recruitment processes using Proxycurl APIs, email us at [email protected] if you'd like to find out more. Subscribe for weekly updates on more exciting stories and updates like this or check out our Twitter.

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Joseph Lim

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