Context Scout is a Chrome extension that enhances the LinkedIn profiles of technical job candidates by searching the web for extra information about them. It can find personal blogs and links to social profiles such as Twitter and Facebook. It also validates a candidate’s skills by connecting them to technical profiles like GitHub and StackOverflow, as well as finding undeclared skills. On top of this, it can determine someone’s general interests based on their tweets or blog posts. It’s a personal assistant that helps you figure out if a candidate is right for a role.

Now that the sales pitch is out of the way, let me tell you about how me and my co-founder Andy got here and the effect IAESTE has had on our lives. That’s me on the left in Switzerland on an IAESTE placement in 2010, and likewise on the right is Andy in Brazil in 2012 (the disgruntled looking Scotsman, not the tall guy or the giant statue). Both summers were hugely influential, great fun and the precursor to more international work placements for both of us in places like Malawi, Seattle and South Carolina. Definitely a case of Work. Experience. Discover.

Following my placement, I moved to London and spent the next 4 years involved with the London LC while I did my PhD, a year of which I spent as its president.

A photo of Context Scout founder Marc Sloan at a careers fair representing IAESTE London

Running the London LC gave me the preparation I needed to build Context Scout. Leading a team of volunteers is not all that different from leading my company, except now I pay wages with cash instead of pizza and beer. Many of the tips and tricks I use in marketing and selling Context Scout I got while selling IAESTE to companies, universities and students in London. And balancing the LC budget and managing its activities was very much like practicing how to run a very small business.

It also introduced me to the problems encountered during technical hiring. I’ve helped countless science and engineering students make their IAESTE applications stand out. I’ve also gained insight into IAESTE’s selection procedures and the difficulty in assessing candidate fit, both technical and personal. This unique experience, married with my PhD work on contextual web search, led to me creating Context Scout.

Context Scout is an essential tool for the upcoming candidate assessment period. The tool helps make CV’s on LinkedIn stand out by finding supporting information that the candidate didn’t think to include. It validates the information that is already there and can help highlight the good profiles when many of them look the same. And with IAESTE it’s never just about technical skills, so Context Scout can also help you figure out a person’s interests including travel and culture.

Context Scout is already being used by professional recruiters and hiring managers all over the world and we’re growing every day. IAESTE has already given me and Andy so much and this is our chance to give a little back. Our definition of success will be the day that we can take on our own IAESTE summer intern! So give the tool a try by visiting Context Scout, or installing it directly from the Chrome Market. I’d also love to hear what you think, so get in touch :)