8 Characteristics of Great Talent Sourcers

I was sitting and sipping my coffee one morning, as you do, my diary was clear with no meetings that day. A smile came across my face, “Yes! I can do some serious sourcing”.

Then this dawned on me; that this could possibly be the difference between a sourcer and recruiter.

So, in my humble opinion, there are a few things that I feel will make for a successful sourcer.

1. Creativity

I would say this is most likely the Number 1 Skill that I have noticed that good sourcers have, especially if you are in involved with things like Social Media, job advertising, content generation etc. As the sourcing role evolves and we get more and more involved with attraction strategies and other more complex methodologies, our marketing hats will need to evolve as well.

2. Business Dexterity

You have to move with the business to wherever the needs are, I hate to sound so mercenary but most of the time sourcers act as triage nurses working on the most urgent vacancies. Typically you will have to adapt within a matter of hours or days to be familiar with different types of business units, geographic locations cultures etc….In my experience most recruiters usually have the same stakeholder or BUs and are usually working on “samey” type roles. We don’t necessarily have that luxury.

3. You need to like reading, a lot!

This is a unavoidable part of the job; with all the streams of information available to us such as research, reading CV’s, Job descriptions it’s all part of a normal day. Even with the best searches will yield results that will need to be reviewed to ensure that they are in context.

4. Always keen to improve on any medium

What you know today will be redundant tomorrow; in our world new sourcing methods and products become available all the time etc. We have to know this stuff to remain ahead of the proverbial. The worst thing is that there is no one size fits all solution for every market.

5. Technical yet personable

I have come across many different sourcers in my career, some are very technical, some are very personable. You will need a certain charisma especially if you are working for a not so well known organisation to get “buy in” from candidates (don’t forget we do need to sell our companies). Remember you set the tone of what they can expect the interview process and what experience that the can expect to go through. I remember having had a screening call done on me once from a large accountancy practice, the girl on the other side must have been reading from a script, it was possibly the most mechanical screening call I had ever had. I never had the opportunity to display any of my other skills. This in turn set the tone that the company was rigid and that they were looking for a box ticker… But the job description did not reflect that – be mindful of this.

6. Transactional

Job in, job out… it never stops, if you are expecting quiet time as a sourcer, I am afraid that this won’t happen. Sorry; Sourcing time is usually in very high demand so as soon as you built one pipeline the next one will start. As long as your organisation is recruiting you will be busy.

7. Not a glory hunter

Yeah, in terms of stakeholders etc…the Recruiters get the glory. The occasional pat on the back filters back down, but in terms of visibility internally it is usually restricted to the coffee queue.

Sometimes the supported business unit does not even know the vacancy had support from sourcers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, otherwise stakeholders start to play politics with the sourcer and recruiter and that is not what the model is designed to do. So a level of anonymity is attached to the job that transcends outside of the Business Unit

8. Super organised

Excel, Databases, effective email usage…Whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you are organised, especially if you are working on 6 jobs with 4 recruiters and 50 applicants. Things get confusing really quick. Prepare for this.

Are You Just Starting Out As A Sourcer In The UK?

Examining CloudsI’ve been approached a few times in 2012 by folks just starting out as Sourcers, Resourcers or Executive Researchers (a rose by any other name?).

I thought I would put together the advice I’ve shared with them (and some extras) here:

By far the best way to learn is to JUST DO IT! Everyone has a different style of sourcing, we’re all sourcing for different kinds of candidates and what works for one person will be useless for another. So just get stuck in!

I learned the most by joining Twitter and it still helps me learn new things most days. It’s a great place ask questions as well as network with people in both the recruitment industry and the niche you are sourcing in. Feel free to follow me if you join. If I don’t follow straight back and welcome you – please bug me!

Feel free to meet me for coffee – always happy to have my brains picked by new sourcers. You might choose to work with me too.

Tools and Resources

Take a look at the Useful Tools page on the UK Sourcers site. There’s everything there from in depth guides and custom search engines to Twitter search tools.

I’d also recommend joining the UK Sourcers LinkedIn Group where I’m happy to answer any sourcing questions if you’re struggling with a tricky assignment.


Keep an eye on the information coming out of these events in 2012 and try to attend if you can.

The Social Recruiting Conference
Crexia hosts the fourth Social Recruiting Conference in London on 28th June. This is a thought-leading Social Media in Recruiting conference, with case studies.
Follow on Twitter: @crexia and #srconf
Twitter chat every Wednesday: #srchat

#Tru Events – 2012
The Recruiting Unconference. You get out of these events what you put in and if you come armed with questions then there will be someone there to answer them. There is always a sourcing track on the bill. #TruLondon has already happened this year (I hear there might be another one in September) and it looks like #TruLeeds is soon to be anounced for July.
Follow tweets from this event: #TruLondon #TruLeeds

The Talent Sourcing Conference – 23rd August 2012
The first conference event in the UK to be dedicated exclusively to the topic of sourcing.
More info here: http://talentsourcing.eventbrite.com/

SourceCon – 20th & 21st September 2012
The original Sourcing conference will be back again in the Autumn, this time in Texas. Not always accessible to us on our side of the pond, but there is always a healthy stream of tweets from attendees and SourceCon often provide a live-stream of the event so that we can watch online.
Lots of great info on the blog, all from top sourcers: http://sourcecon.com
Follow on Twitter: @SourceCon and #SourceCon

The Onrec Conference & Exhibition – 4th October 2012
This year’s event focuses on how to harness the power of online recruitment, and the latest thinking in how to make full use of the UK’s online recruitment opportunities. Of particular interest to budding sourcers will be Laura Stoker from AIRS – the USA’s primary sourcing training provider.
Follow on Twitter: @Onrec

People to follow and learn from

Amybeth Hale (USA):
Amybeth was my introduction to sourcing. She’s been behind the SourceCon events and website for the past couple of years but has recently started a new Sourcing gig with Microsoft.
Blog: researchgoddess.com
Twitter: @researchgoddess

Andy Headworth (UK):
I learn new things from Andy all the time – he also asks me really difficult sourcing questions that I often can’t answer! He runs Sirona Consulting and mainly helps recruitment teams use Social Media more effectively.
Blog: Sirona Says
Twitter: @andyheadworth

Bill Boorman (UK):
Bill is the man behind #Tru and a font of knowledge about all things social recruiting. He’s a pretty good sourcer too! He’s especially good at new ideas.
Blog: Norton Folgate
Twitter: @BillBoorman

Glen Cathey (USA):
A sourcing legend from the USA. Glen is particularly skilled in searching LinkedIn – his blog posts are very in depth and thorough.
Blog: Boolean Black Belt
Twitter: @GlenCathey

Irena Shamaeve (USA):
Irena’s knowledge of Boolean search is legendary in the world of Sourcing.
Blog: Boolean Strings Blog
Boolean Strings Community: on Ning and on LinkedIn

Jim Stroud (USA):
Jim is a prolific blogger and video maker – he makes fantastic sourcing training resources.
Watch: The Jim Stroud Show
Circle Jim: On Google Plus

I hope you find this useful. If you have any other questions or you’d like to meet up, then do contact me or leave a comment on this post.

Happy Sourcing! 🙂

Image by katerha on Flickr