What if there was a tool on the Internet that could tell you what professionals in your industry or potential job seekers are saying about your company? What if this tool also assisted you in locating some of those difficult to find passive candidates by monitoring Usenet newsgroups? Would you want to use it? You probably think that it sounds great, but that it must be expensive. Well, I recently discovered the tool myself, and to my surprise it was actually free. Read on to find out all the details. This useful new tool is called Tracerlock. It was designed by Peacefire.org, an organization that promotes free speech on the Internet. The way that the tool works is it allows you to put key words or terms into the system, and whenever this information appears on a site that Alta Vista has indexed you will be sent an email. The email will notify you that the key words or terms that you have put into the system have been found. The second function that this tool offers is that it can monitor Usenet newsgroups for you automatically. It works in the same fashion as the function that monitors Alta Vista. These two functions can be invaluable tools to any recruiter who is interested in locating passive candidates or is interested in retaining their current employees. The first, and probably the most valuable use for this tool is the ability to monitor Usenet newsgroups. Let’s say you are looking for Java developers. This tool will allow you to put in terms that are related to Java, such as javabeans or JSP. Anytime there is a discussion that includes your key terms, you will be notified by e-mail that this discussion has taken place. This will allow you to closely evaluate this targeted discussion and determine if there are any potential candidates involved in this particular discussion that have the skills you are looking for. I would particularly look for those who answer the questions in these discussions as opposed to the people who ask them. The people who answer questions in a newsgroup tend to be the more knowledgeable and would probably make better candidates. The best feature of this tool is that you don’t have to search these newsgroups daily because they will come to you! The second use of this tool can be geared toward retention. If you are concerned that your company may have a bad reputation in the industry, all you need to do is simply put in your company name and wait to see if there are any discussions going on that include your company name. Monitoring these conversations can help you understand how your company is perceived by the outside world. This tool is not intended to check up on what your current employees are saying about your company, but rather what the overall perception is about your company. This can help you determine if your reputation in your industry is affecting both the retention of your current employees as well as the recruitment of new employees. The beauty of this tool is it is free and very easy to use. Once you set up your user profile all you need to do is input the key words or terms, sit back and wait to see what comes your way. This system allows you to be proactive without having to spend hours searching the Internet or newsgroups to find a specific discussion or information.