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?