ZoomInfo is offering 2 months of free subscription in exchange for access to your Microsoft Outlook contacts. Under the “Fresh Contacts” promotion, you will gain access to ZoomInfo’s database of over 45 million professionals working at 5 million companies regardless of the number of contacts you bring in. The contributions that you make to ZoomInfo will be totally anonymous according to the representations made on its website. Simply put, the contacts that you refer to ZoomInfo will not be aware of where the leak came from. Further, ZoomInfo is interested in business contacts only, so they will omit personal email addresses, most notably those coming from free email accounts such as yahoo, gmail and hotmail.
At this point, some of you may be wondering “all this sounds good, but what is ZoomInfo?” ZoomInfo is a database of business contacts containing in-depth profiles of professionals and companies worldwide. While initially used by recruiters and salespeople to find leads, it is now also used by some job seekers as a research tool.
If you are a job seeker, what are the benefits of having an up-to-date profile on ZoomInfo? ZoomInfo acts as a passive job search agent. It’s like your resume online in the same way as LinkedIn. Some opportunities might not be advertised or might not be known to you. How then can you take advantage of them? One of the simplest ways to do that is to have an online profile to allow a point of contact for people who may be interested in your credentials.
For active job seekers, ZoomInfo can give you the edge you need. If you are an active job seeker, you already know that the secret to an effective job search is to focus your effort and work toward a clearly defined goal. You can either network in the dark or use a tool that will guide you in your effort. For instance, if you are interested in ABC Inc. but don’t know anybody working there, what do you do? Who would you rather send your resume to? The HR manager that receives hundreds of applications a week or the head of the department you’re interested in?
Beyond job leads, if you actually land an interview, wouldn’t it be nice to have some background on your interviewers? For those of you determined to land a job in this tough economy, ZoomInfo can give you a strategic advantage.
Okay, all this sounds very nice, but I still have some reservations about ZoomInfo and Fresh Contacts. Even if we are told that any contributions are anonymous, is it safe to participate? Notwithstanding representations made by ZoomInfo, there are still risks involved in disclosing contacts without seeking permission first, especially using your work Outlook account. This may go against company policies. Although it is worth noting that ZoomInfo offers all contacts the option to opt out of their database via phone, email or the Web, there is still a distinction between putting someone’s name in with the option to opt out and asking for permission first.
To conclude, ZoomInfo is useful because it will make your profile available to recruiters and headhunters. But if that is what you want, you don’t need to enter into the Fresh Contacts promotion. You can simply go on ZoomInfo and register. You would be interested in Fresh Contacts only if you would like to use their database, but there are other tools on the Web that offer equivalent services, most notably LinkedIn, Jigsaw and Google (please feel free to add to the list).
by John Sylo