What Makes Wikipedia A Great Sourcing Tool?

Wikipedia Birthday party in Cologne, Germany

Wikipedia went live on 15th January 2001, so has just turned 10 years old – Happy Birthday!

In honour of this, I thought I would put together a list of why it’s part of my sourcing and recruitment tool kit.

As part of your quest to find the best possible talent, Wikipedia allows you to;

Get an overview of an industry

Working in a new sector all of a sudden, need to get up to speed quickly? Wikipedia is perfect for this.

Learn the jargon

An article can quickly introduce you to a lot of buzz words surrounding a topic and often help you get an idea of what they mean. Perfect when you’re looking for keywords to aid your search or you need to ask intelligent questions of recruiters and hiring managers.

Get an overview of a job function

Never searched for a Business Development Manager before? Pop on over to Wikipedia and learn what it’s all about before you start your search.

Find lists

What would be useful, a list of NHS Trusts or a list of Social Networks? Wikipedia has got it all. It might not be perfectly accurate or up to date, but a list on Wikipedia is often a good enough start for a thorough search or investigation.

Discover links

Wikipedia recommends that contributors site the sources of the information contained in its articles. These are often great sites for further investigation.

Understand the technology

Recruiting for an expert in Fancy Widget design? No idea what a Fancy Widget does? Nip over to Wikipedia and learn the difference between a vertical axis wind turbine and a horizontal axis wind turbine – it might be import to the skills you’re looking for.

See who’s editing the pages?

I have never actually done this but it stands to reason that someone editing a page on a topic might have some kind of expertise or experience in that field… have you ever tried to source a candidate from Wikipedia?

I would recommend that Wikipedia be used as an introduction to a topic. It would be remiss of me not to remind you that it’s best to be careful and not blindly take articles at face value.

For more information on the history of Wikipedia, Verne G. Kopytoff writes about 10 Years of Edit-It-Yourself on the New York Times Internet blog and Todd Wasserman asks whether the free encyclopaedia will last for another decade on Mashable.

About TheSourceress

Katharine Robinson has written 98 post(s) for this blog.

Katharine (aka TheSourceress) began sourcing in April 2008 with a small Executive Search business specialising in Renewable Energy and, in March 2010, won the title of Grandmaster Sourcer at SourceCon in San Diego. Katharine has also worked in-house with Capgemini Consulting and is now working as a Freelance Consultant and Trainer.

Katharine (aka TheSourceress) began sourcing in April 2008 with a small Executive Search business specialising in Renewable Energy and, in March 2010, won the title of Grandmaster Sourcer at SourceCon in San Diego. Katharine has also worked in-house with Capgemini Consulting and is now working as a Freelance Consultant and Trainer.