Contact Info Help
May 19, 2009 7:41 PM   Subscribe

How do I get someone's contact info without having to pay a service like LinkedIn for their e-mail address?

I am trying to do informational interviews and I am trying to contact a specific person without having to pay LinkedIn a monthly fee, do you know of any services that provide lists of company employees and their contact info? Do you think the library has this info? Or do you suggest I call the company he works at and ask for his contact info?
posted by MTheresa to Work & Money (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
That's not how LinkedIn works, really -- you'll only get his email address from linkedin if you're connected to him. But, you can buy a single "inmail" from them for 10 bucks without paying a monthly fee. The inmail will allow you to contact him directly. However, if you know his name and where he works, you can just call the company and ask for him and you'll be connected. If he's very senior, like CEO level, you might be connected to his assistant instead. You probably won't get his email address this way though but if you need to interview him, you might be direct!
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:55 PM on May 19, 2009


Also, Hoovers has a huge library, but it may browse
the free section and try to find an email, and then figure out what
format the company first.last@company
or first_initial_last@company....hope I explained it clearly.
posted by theKik at 8:11 PM on May 19, 2009

I have done quite a few information interviews and I agree with sevenyearlurk. Don't call the company and ask for contact information. Instead, call and just ask to speak to Mr. Information. I would add "in the xyz department" if you know it. They will often connect you and they might give you the number. If they don't offer, I would ask "in case I have to call back later, what is his direct number?" Also, unless you have a connection (common friend, common alma mater) or question that Mr. Information likes to talk about, the chances of any person being willing to help are not that high. So, spend some time trying to figure out how to find more useful interviewees so the trail doesn't dead end when one person is too busy for you.
posted by metahawk at 8:22 PM on May 19, 2009

Sometimes Google can be quite helpful, too. Try "person's name + company + email". or person's name + contact. seconding finding out what format the company uses for their email: first letter + lastname @

Also, seconding just finding a phone number for the assistant or whomever and working your way up. Sometimes you can get an email address just by asking, too.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:25 PM on May 19, 2009

I'd go the direct route. Call the company and either ask for the person or get them through the automated directory if they have one. Have a voicemail message planned that sounds professional. If they care to notice, they'll probably be able to tell you got them through the general directory rather than directly, but that's OK because it's the truth and can't really be construed as at all sneaky.

Even better would be a real, human referral. "I got your email from so-and-so who told me [some great, relevant thing about you]." But I assume you don't have any mutual acquaintances if you're asking this.

I tend not to respond to people if I find myself thinking "how'd they get my email address?"
posted by lampoil at 8:34 PM on May 19, 2009

I agree to just call directly, although you will likely be connected to an assistant if the person is senior enough. Always treat the assistant nicely and don't be overbearing, and he/she will be much more likely to put you through and/or schedule something. (The assistant/receptionist is the gatekeeper - if you treat that person badly, it will always come back to bite you. Everyone should learn this...)

If you are determined to get someone's email, one way is to try to guess it by how other people in the company have their emails. So, for example, or, etc. Or look for the person's name with the domain name from public mail for the company - there are often things like spreadsheets from conferences or what have you that have emails listed.

I have had both good and bad experiences with people contacting me via LinkedIn Inmail. But I would only use that avenue if you are REALLY desperate.
posted by gemmy at 9:02 PM on May 19, 2009

Like gemmy, I find out about 90% of these by just googling

until I get it.

Often even if you don't find Joe's, you'll run into others, and once you see and, you'll know the formula.
posted by salvia at 9:07 PM on May 19, 2009

Just call the person's company and ask for them, or better, get a referral through someone you know. If you really want to cold-email them most emails fall into a standard pattern, as salvia above describes.
posted by lsemel at 9:35 PM on May 19, 2009

try Slightly sketchy, often accurate.
posted by samthemander at 9:35 PM on May 19, 2009

Searching for

"firstname lastname" email and
"firstname lastname" company-domain-name

will often yield the person's email address if they have any online presence.
posted by zippy at 9:54 PM on May 19, 2009

I bet if you check Facebook, they'll be on there, and you can send them a message for free, as long as you're a member!
posted by citystalk at 12:46 AM on May 20, 2009

Response by poster: I checked Facebook and I googled several variations of his name and terms such as e-mail. I worked for him years ago as a promoter for a casting event. Since that was years ago, it is a shot in the dark, and thus I was afraid to call him directly. I can try the e-mail variations and then if I don't hear back I will just call the company he works for.
posted by MTheresa at 11:36 PM on May 20, 2009

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