Mother Christmas is Missing – A UK Sourcers Chrsitmas Challenge

I thought a Christmas sourcing challenge would be fun. The first person to correctly answer my call for help below will win a special Christmas Hamper, courtesy of Sourcing Hat Ltd.

Dear Sourcers,
Please Help. I’ve lost my Mum.
She’s not been seen at home since she last went out to work.
Christmas just won’t be the same without her.
If you can track down where she was on Wednesday 12th December then I’m sure I can take it from there.
Please send an email to with my Mum’s name, where she was on Wednesday 12th December and a photo of her in a Santa hat (just so I’m sure you’ve really found her).
Thanks for your help and Happy Sourcing!

Sourcing Lessons From Hogwarts

I am a big Harry Potter fan and I am a sourcer – you might have noticed that I am part way through a monster Harry Potter marthon this week! I’ve tenuously linked the two together in order to impart a few talent sourcing tips – enjoy!


Alistair “Mad eye” Moody had a point – it doesn’t hurt to always be vigilant. I’m not talking about keeping an eye out for Death Eaters or dark magic, but for sourcing opportunities. I like to play a game when I am on the train where I try to work out what people do for a living. I feel it keeps me sharp – one day I’ll find someone I want to hire, and then I’ll probably panic and make a mess of it. There are sourcing opportunities everywhere – when checking in on Foursquare, when shopping on Amazon and while watching TV. If you can’t work out how – CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!


“Accio!” When Harry wants to find something, like his broomstick, he uses this handy charm to summon it. This isn’t the only charm he knows though; there are hundreds that will help him in his day to day life, his future career and any dragon avoidance he may have to engage in. Similarly, it’s important for a sourcer to know about lots of tools – it’s no good just using Google and LinkedIn all the time and never trying anything else. As handy as it might be to make a troll’s club float, sometimes it would be much more useful to know how to unlock a door or mend your glasses. So try out Bing and Ning and Xing as well.


If you mix ingredients together in the wrong way it can be dangerous. Why do you think Snape is such a grump? He’s trying to stop the dunnerheads in his class blowing his dungeon sky high! Nothing as dangerous will happen if you get your Boolean in a twist, but if you mix ingredients together in the RIGHT way – something Magical can happen. Sometimes you need to mix your search terms in a different way – or think of some new keyword ingredients. Sometimes you need to add another tool into your sourcing mix. Have you tried mixing followerwonk (to search twitter profiles) with knowem (to see if that twitter handle is used as a username elsewhere) and then following the trail of breadcrumbs? You might need to throw in a little pipl (people search) to cross reference some more, or you might not.


Some magical creatures, like hippogriffs, can be really dangerous if you don’t know how to treat them, but really useful (for transporting fugitives) if you do. In the same way, some websites can seem scary/complicated/useless when you first visit them. If you take the time to learn what they’re all about, visit the ‘help’ pages, poke around on their blog and don’t forget to bow, you just might figure out how to harness them in the fight against Voldemort (or at the very least, in the war for talent).


Working out where talented people might be hiding can sometimes seem a bit like gazing into a crystal ball while drinking tea and falling asleep in a warm tower… well, it does if you work in a tall office and get free tea bags that regularly split during the brewing process. Guess work is ok when you are sourcing – you are not expected to be all-knowing. Look under a few rocks. But remember, if something isn’t working – modify your approach rather than continuing too far down a rabbit hole.

Have you learnt any sourcing lessons lately?

A Google A Day Keeps The Cobwebs Away

Worried that your search skills might get a little rusty? Google can help.

Last week Google launched a trivia game called “A Google A Day”. Unlike other trivia games, this one encourages you to search the web for the answer.


The questions (more like riddles or clues) are supposed to get more difficult throughout the week – let’s hope so!

You might worry that in searching you will simply discover other people revealing the answer in their social updates. There’s no need to fear – if you search from the A Google a day site, you will be using the Deja Google interface that strips out all updates from after the challenge was published.

You can find a more detailed write up about A Google A Day here. 

So go on – test your search skills!


The Oldest Recruitment Event in the UK?

Every year since I was a little child I have attended the Marlborough Mop fair on the Saturdays before and after 11th October.

Marlborough Mop Fair 2007

What does this have to do with recruitment?” I hear you ask. Well, the origin of the event dates back over 800 years. ‘Mop Fairs’ were events designed to allow local landowners to find staff to tend their land and manage their homes. The name ‘Mop’ comes from the tradition of workers carrying items, like mops, to demonstrate their trades. A housekeeper might carry her mop or a shepherd might have a tuft of wool pinned to his jacket. Once hired, the workers would discard their tufts of wool etc. and wear a ribbon provided by their new employer instead.

The second event, the Big Mop Fair, allows those that were unsuccessful at the first event or those for whom their new employment has not worked out to try again at securing employment.

By the 19th Century the event in Marlborough, Wiltshire’s only ‘Mop’ town, had became dominated by the entertainment and food vending industries, it’s reputation spoiled by the amounts of alcohol available from the many taverns lining Marlborough’s wide High Street.

The recruitment aspect of the event is now no more, and since the Showman’s Guild took over the running of the event in the 1950s, the Marlborough Mop has become an event for all the family, with fairground rides and attractions.

For more about this historic event, see this BBC article from 2009 by Daniel Garrett.

Image by Wiltshire Blue on Flickr.

This entry is cross-posted on