A Note to Hiring Managers – Good Recruitment Housekeeping for the Business

Ralph's Dastardly Dream Team

I was in the Pub the other day with an ex-colleague and, as we were talking, the inevitable topic of work came up. They said everything was going well, but that they were struggling to recruit for their team.

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, the recruitment team are not providing me with any candidates”.

With a knowing nod I said, “So, I guess your top 3 fell through in that case, too bad”.

They looked at me with a pause. I could see they were thinking What do you mean, isn’t that recruitment’s job?

Here is a thought:

We meet people every day, we read articles/blogs about our industry and go to events. If you meet someone who you think would be an interesting prospect to work with, then would it not make sense to begin dialogue with them and cultivate a professional relationship?

For example, I usually have three people on a list that I would like to hire at any given moment. These are individuals that I share articles with, I have a very good idea of where in their life cycle they are, and I am very familiar with what experience they have. How did we meet? Well, one was through Twitter, the other at a conference and the last one interviewed with us but they got away.

If I could convince any one of these three contacts to enter into the recruitment process, I could hire them in good conscience knowing that they would excel in our team and exceed our expectations. I wonder how many positions would get filled with greater efficiency, and less aggravation from a line manager point of view, if this way of thinking was part of day to day activities. I mean, let’s be honest, who knows your industry better than you do? Who can sell your team better than you?

Perhaps this simple activity is too hard to adopt in a busy schedule, or the “it’s not my problem, it’s recruitment’s problem” is too easy to adopt. Either way, I would be disappointed if my 3 contacts turned me down, but at least I would have 3 profiles that I can use as an example to consult with my recruitment team.

And if one of them did get hired, I would most likely be very satisfied with the new addition to the team.

Do you take sourcing more seriously than your competitors?

half deflated by mr.enigma

I recently went to a conference full of HR and Recruitment Leaders. I felt like I was totally in my element, talking to peers and influencers of our markets and shaking hands with industry heroes etc. During our discussions we inevitably we came to the topic of direct sourcing and began talking about it.

All I can say is I was very surprised, in fact, I was absolutely dumbfounded when I discovered how little recruitment leaders knew about basic Direct Sourcing; never mind the more complex issues that are associated with it.

I had several discussions with different people who explained to me the role of a researcher was to learn the “how to of recruitment” and then to progress to a recruiter level position and begin stakeholder management. Essentially that was their career track. Or, “yes we do direct sourcing through social media” Q: “Like what?” A: “Oh you know, we are on the Professional networks”.

I was fuming and disappointed all at once, I almost felt like a half deflated balloon. But then I began to think about this a little differently. If direct sourcing is not done well, is that a big problem for you and me?

Well, no, in fact it is totally the opposite. It’s a great thing. Let me explain:

I used to work with a team of sourcers and occasionally we would come across a search that was done to death, you know the one, you have placed three or four candidates and the business needs two more. All of our media was over used and the market had not refreshed yet. I was asked to step in (with fresh eyes) and my colleagues explained to me what they had done so far. A few days later I came up with a list of another forty potential candidates. There were looks of awe and disdain all rolled into one. First reaction was: “how did you find these people?”

Now let me make this clear, I am probably a “medium” when it comes to skill level at technical sourcing. But I know that using different information sources and cross referencing with professional networks like LinkedIn, will usually yield you some results that are not keyword searchable on that platform. A lot of professional profiles are just a name, job title and company (if that). Those profiles are unlikely to come up in most keyword searches. I explained this to my colleagues; I think someone called me a “nerd” and took the list to go transact it.

Here is the theory:

If I know my competitor organisations are not taking candidate sourcing absolutely seriously and are adopting half measures approaching this issue; this is great! It means that they are not going to find the people that we are both looking for. This means I get first pick of a pool of passive candidates that no-one really speaks to, and I am going to find candidates that don’t already have 5 offers at any one time.
So when that question comes out in conversation, “so Ralph, what do you do for a living?” I am torn between a few ways of answering it. Should I say that I am a humble researcher (tongue in cheek), or “I’m your biggest competitor that you did not know of”?

Image credit.

Making The Case To Attend Discover Sourcing 2013

To help you put together the case for attending Discover Sourcing next month, we have answered a few Frequently Asked Questions and summarised all the vital information in this post. You can print this page and show it to your boss, or just send them a link.

Discover Sourcing Banner

Discover Sourcing 2013

When: 17th & 18th September 2013
Where: Prospero House, 241 Borough High Street, London

Who Should Attend?

Attend both days of Discover Sourcing if you work in a sourcing role, are a recruiter and do your own sourcing, or if you want to learn more about how to source.

Managers who oversee sourcing professionals, consultants, thought leaders and recruitment business owners should attend the Discover Sourcing conference day only.

Who is attending?

So far we have a real mix of in-house recruiters and sourcers, executive search consultants and recruitment business owners.

What will I learn?

The Internet Sourcing Workshop on Tuesday 17th September will be run by Katharine Robinson and Karen Blakeman. The workshop is split into four sessions; How to get more relevant results from Google, Alternatives to Google, Unlocking LinkedIn and Sourcing from industry events. Take a look at our post on the Day 1 Workshop for full details.

The conference on Wednesday 18th September will consist of “How to” sessions (from the likes of Martin Lee, Oscar Mager, Shane McCusker, and Laura Stoker), case studies from LV= and Avancos, sessions on the history and future of sourcing, trends in job advertising and, of course, social media. Why not check out the full agenda so far?

What is the background of the event?

UK Sourcers have been running a few tiny free events wherever they can scrounge space and free wifi for over a year. It has been our dream to do something bigger, with unrestricted numbers, for quite a while.

This is the inaugural Discover Sourcing event. Organised by Katharine Robinson and the UK Sourcers community to bring sourcers from around the world together in a location convenient for us Brits.

Magical things seem to happen when people passionate about sourcing get together. The primary mission of this event is to get lots of like minded people together and give them plenty of inspiration and space to allow that magic to happen.

What are the benefits of attending Discover Sourcing?

Here are just some of the things that you could gain by attending the sessions on offer at Discover Sourcing;

  • Detailed instruction in Internet sourcing techniques from leaders in the profession
  • The opportunity to try out new cutting edge sourcing tools
  • Exposure to a wide range of candidate generation strategies and techniques
  • The opportunity to discuss your challenges when sourcing across Europe
  • A chance to understand how to better maximise the effectiveness of your job advertising activities
  • An understanding of the impact social media is having on the way we do business, find jobs and make good use of our networks
  • The chance to explore some of the biggest challenges faced by sourcing professionals, and how these might be solved, as we look into the future
  • How recruitment businesses can employ their sourcing skills to uncover business development opportunities
  • Hear from well known brands like Ernst & Young and LV= about their approaches to sourcing talent
  • Gain an understanding of how sourcing as an activity and sourcers as professionals currently fit into recruitment teams in the UK
  • Realise the impact that your sourcing activity has on your brand
  • Bring your new knowledge back to your colleagues in order to benefit your whole organisation.

There will be multiple sessions running at any one time at Discover Sourcing on 18th September, it is up to you to choose the sessions most appropriate for you and your business needs.

What is the cost of attending?

Tickets: £345+VAT (for the conference day on 18th Sept) or £495+VAT (for a full 2 day pass to the workshop on the 17th Sept and the conference day). Do get in touch about discount rates for multiple tickets.
Accommodation: Hotels from about £95 (this might be applicable if you attend both days of Discover Sourcing)
Other Costs to Consider: Travel, food (we will be providing lunch and refreshments on Day 1 and breakfast, lunch and refreshments on Day 2).

Register for Discover Sourcing here, or contact Katharine Robinson via email or phone on +44 (0)7779 716 147.

Click here to tweet about Discover Sourcing.

Recruiting and Sourcing in Germany – Global and Local Perspectives

Kai DeiningerFor anyone with an international perspective, recruiting in Germany for the first time is an experience that will not be forgotten quickly. Germany is a complex market, large and fast-moving on one hand, alone the revenues in a market with at present more than 1 million unfilled jobs and unemployment at historic lows for several consecutive years now underscore that. However, due to the complex regional structure of the market, the still high relevance of print at least in the regional recruiting markets, the difficult situation with engaging with and motivating candidates to move, both employer as well as location, pose challenges to recruiters that explain why time to hire in Germany is often not measured in weeks, but in months.

Large opportunities

Germany has yet to embrace social media and active sourcing as integral strategic parts of day-to-day recruiting across the board. Large companies with international recruiting needs have been exposed to the benefits of professional networking already, but often times don’t utilise these tools & services locally, ironically. The usage of RPOs for German companies is almost non-existant (with very few exceptions), on the other hand German subsidiaries of large IT firms have been using RPOs in Germany for a few years already. Both facts highlighted explain why there is massive potential for both employers as well as service providers to tap into this gap.

Leader or fast follower

Ironically Germany is seen broadly as a country with leading, sometimes even cutting-edge skills: the most prestigious automotive manufacturers almost all are based in Germany, construction and engineering knowledge is often a dominant skill Germany is known for, and as the world’s second-largest export economy Germany undoubtably has a large international presence, both physically and via connections to customers, partners, and representatives in the countries where German goods and services are sold to. Yet when it comes to recruiting media, technology, openness to new trends and the adoption of cutting-edge skills and expertise German employers often are cautious, hesitant or traditional, waiting for proven success by others, and extremely fast to adopt once someone else has proven that the innovation actually delivers value and success. This poses significant challenges to pioneers that want to charge forward, expand the boundaries, or revolutionize the current status quo. It obviously also explains to a large extent why success in Germany requires extensive preparation and both local adaption and presence.

Critical success factors

Convincing the cautious, sometimes even reserved, German that embracing something new is worthwhile takes time, requires proven success, and can be time-consuming. However, once the willingness to embrace change or pursue new paths is present the execution or migration is efficient, rapid, and seamless. The transfer from the German Facebook StudiVZ clone to the US original within months is as much an example as the rise of Monster to number one in online recruiting following the acquisition and integration of jobpilot, or StepStone’s rise to the number one slot in the near past due to a more successful local focus vs. the largest international player. Success in Germany is defined by being able to understand and satisfy local market needs first, and then the ability to leverage these internationally, which is somewhat unique. Another wonderful example of a German recruiting peculiarity is the fact that German candidates will prefer to apply via the company career page, obviously ideally in local language. Integrating the readily available background information about the potential employer is a value to the candidate, wonderfully highlighted by the extremely successful online jobs platform jobstairs, which has emerged quietly and steadily as one of the top destinations where more than fifty employers of choice in Germany jointly market their vacancies, linking directly back to the jobs on the respective company career sites.

Future perspective

While German recruiters undoubtedly have some catching up to do regarding use of professional networking resources, both locally and globally, and while there are significant untapped opportunities for HR service providers in a broader context, one thing would appear certain: due to the high focus on very skilled resources the German labour market will continue to struggle to satisfy its recruiting needs, both locally as well as from international sources. Likewise there is significant potential for success for employers that are willing and able to rise above the current status quo via innovative recruiting campaigns and strategies, as well as integrating better and more effectively the various elements of what constitutes an attractive employer brand, recruiting excellence, and being a great place to work in general.

Sourcing In The 21st Century

Future City by Sam Howzit

 

“Sourcing is the proactive searching for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions; it is not the reactive function of reviewing resumes and applications sent to the company in response to a job posting or pre-screening candidates. The goal of sourcing is to collect relevant data about qualified candidates, such as names, titles and job responsibilities.” (From the US based organization SHRM, the Society of Human Resource Management)

To better understand where we are; let us take a gander back at where we began.

I can recall reading of recruiting in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Individuals (let’s call them Candidates) would document their skills, experience and education on a piece of paper, usually with a typewriter. These resulting documents were called Resumes or CV’s. These CV’s were handed out, snail mailed and dropped off in the hopes that someone (let’s call them Employers) who needed their combination of skills, experience and education would find them. The fax machine expedited the process, allowing for further distribution, slightly increasing the chances of a match of Candidate and Employer, resulting in a Job.

Engineering Department employees, 1962People called Recruiters, figured out in the 1970’s, that if they could convince Candidates to create these CV’s they could actively market said Candidates to prospective Employers. For a fee of course. Some of the, shall we say, nerdier Recruiters leveraged whatever technology that was available to expedite the finding of the Candidates and the distribution of the CV’s. Fax machines got better, lists were found, cold calling became prevalent. Phone systems were developed with automated directories, Recruiters “hacked” them.

HADOOKEN-ROM

Services were developed, like CD-ROM’s with lists of gathered potential Candidates. I started in recruiting about then. Email was starting to take hold. Once a month the new CD-ROM was delivered and we all clambered for it. Of course the data was six months old
when we got it, but it was DATA. We’d add it to our lists and our organized file cabinets of organized CV’s. It was wonderful. It was cutting edge. And recruiting stabilized a bit. But some of the nerdier of the nerdy Recruiters, got really good at finding Candidates using the available technology. We’ll call them Sourcers.

So, you have the Data that leads to Candidates and the delivery mechanisms, whether it be fax, or email, or snail mail or hand delivered; and that’s about how it has stayed. Continued stabilization.

Throughout the 1990’s and the 2000’s, new sources of Data evolved and new delivery mechanisms evolved, but the basics of the whole thing didn’t really change.

Waiting QueueWell, here we are 2013. I was quite hoping we’d have flying cars by now, or at least rocket packs. But less those wonders, we have connectivity. For the first time in human history, we have access to real-time Data. Gobs and gobs of it! Everyone on this planet can be found and categorized according to some basic qualification.

Now the rub… how to leverage all of that. The job boards are still here. They are a continuation and automation of the delivery mechanisms of ye olden times, but Social Media allows us to message individuals and contact them in new ways. So that’s better right? Sure, it’s a step forward, but isn’t it just another delivery mechanism?

I was speaking to a technical architect the other day whose skills are in high demand. She’s been recruited extensively throughout her career. She joined LinkedIn to network with other technical architects and she joined Facebook to stay in touch with friends and reunite with long lost ones. But she explained that something has been happening the last year or so, something she didn’t expect. Showing me her LinkedIn inbox, there were 236 messages from recruiters. She logs into it monthly now and deletes them. Via Facebook, she gets friend requests from… recruiters, and messages suggesting that there are opportunities to network… with recruiters. It’s driven her away from social media to say the least. Social Media, with all its promise, has become another delivery mechanism.

I’ve been working on Talent Intelligence, an offering from Avancos that uses the abundance of data now available to us to identify a candidate pool. Slicing and dicing this data allows for companies to make strategic decisions on where to recruit and how best to approach candidates. Analyzing this data and its flow allows for the creation of unique, purpose driven Talent Pools. Our clients use this Intelligence to determine business growth, market expansion… the options are nearly endless.

How can we do such a thing? Come visit us at the Discover Sourcing event and find out how…

Images from Sam Howzit, Seattle Municipal Archives, Bohman and chumsdock on Flickr

3 Things Agency & In-house Sourcers Can learn From Each Other

UK Sourcers meetup - July 2013

I’ll be honest, when I first started writing this post I was pretty sure it was a good opportunity to show the clear divide between agency and in-house sourcing professionals and the very distinct opportunities each party had to learn from the other. As I got writing I became less sure. This was compounded when I went to Katharine’s recent UK Sourcers’ Meetup which had a fair split from each party and, guess what… There was no big divide in the room, just similar challenges and the sharing of ideas.

So, what things are exclusive to the domain of each group that can act as a learning opportunity?

Always Be Learning

If you want to learn, and get better at what you do, you need to understand that good ideas can come from anywhere – so always be open to learning. This holds true for both parties but… Sometimes this is easier for the agency sourcer. Why? Well, a roundtable like a UK Sourcers’ Meetup, an event like a Tru unconference and, I’d wager, the average viewer of a SocialTalent or South African Recruiters’ webinar is more often than not an agency recruiter. Typically they have a little more control over their day than an in-house recruiter!

The Brand – A Mixed Blessing?

This is the biggie, but not in the way that you might be thinking. Typically, when someone talks to me about moving from agency sourcing to in-house, they want a different career structure, one client, and often to work with/for “a brand”. Imagine how much easier life will be with that name behind you? Well I tend to disagree.

There can be a honeymoon period for a sourcer, when you first move in-house, around brand but it tends to be formed by your own confidence in it and in the newly found pride you get from a new role. What I actually find tends to happen, a few months down the line, is that in-house sourcers start talking about their frustration with potential candidates around the brand. This doesn’t hold for all and if your brand is loved congratulations but… If you are seeking, as most are in the current market, experienced professionals from direct competitors (as is everyone else for that matter) they will already have a perception of your brand. If that person has been working for 10-20 years in a direct competitor that perception may well be negative and will certainly not be the same EVP that your brand ambassador demands you take to the market!

So, after a while a great in-house sourcer tends to do one thing well. Create a style of approach (either in writing or over the phone) that is personalised, driven by the opportunity not the employer, and hangs the employer on in the background as an additional benefit but not the be all and end all.

It’s not you, it’s me

So this is the point in sourcing to my mind where things get very different, letting down the candidate and to date this is something that seems to weigh heavily in favour of the agency sourcer or recruiter, so what can the in-house sourcer learn? The “break-up” is a very difficult scenario for those working in-house, after a candidate has been ruled out for a role, there’s no place to go. While corporately there should/might be a talent pool, the reality for all the in-house sourcers and recruiters we train is that they say they have little time or capacity to deal with any genuine aftercare or ongoing communication, yet this is often where the agency sourcer comes into their own. For the agency sourcer there might always be that other opportunity, therefore a reason to keep open the conversation for both parties and to stay in touch.

But is there anything here that the in-house sourcer can learn from their agency counterparts? Well firstly, it’s time dependent (and to a certain extent budget dependent which you may not control/have access to).

Three Lessons Learned

One: First tip for in-house sourcers (and agency if necessary); find time to learn online and research your role!

Typically your working structure can be more prescribed than your agency counter-parts but if you can make time at work, or on your journey, get in front of some good webinars and implement what you can.

Two: First tip for agency recruiters. Do not be put off or believe your candidates will be put off by your agency brand or the lack of employer brand.

You need to create your own style and engagement in an approach that is personal to you and the service that they can expect from you as an individual.

How do you do this?

  • Don’t send a generic InMail – “want a job”, “I’m working this job”, “I want to talk to you about a job”. I know this sounds obvious, but I’ve seen some horrors!
  • Do seek to engage – Explain why you have chosen to make contact, give clear avenues to communicate back at a time that will suit them and play to your strengths. This is the start of your conversation with this potential candidate and you should be looking beyond this single opportunity, something your in-house peer cannot always do.
  • I’m aware these tips should work for both parties, and often approaches are too bland, but I think too often the agency sourcer lacks the confidence to support their approaches appropriately.

Three: Finding a way to stay in touch is important if your role is to build a “talent” pipeline, community or whatever other phrase your firm has come up with and this is where you need to be a bit clever.

For it to work and become a potential source of further candidates beyond your original intro it needs to become about more than jobs and about what the candidate pool delivers.

Here’s some things I’ve heard people doing recently that might work for you;

  • Offering webinars with your business leaders/technical geniuses/brand advocates on a topic of interes
    • While we’re on this point, do avoid the obvious here; for instance suddenly thinking about doing something on D&I to offer directly to D&I potential candidates and show what your business is doing in the field may be futile. It’s something everyone is trying to do and much as with random poorly planned initial approaches if there’s too much of something it becomes spam! Instead maybe think of someone who in your organisation demonstrates the success of D&I but get them to speak about what they do day to day or what makes them brilliant for your firm, that wider engagement will be far more interesting for a far bigger pool than making it a single issue event.
  • Can you offer any kind of check in service?
    • Again this is something we see discussed in theory for recruiters/sourcers and in our training but time is an issue. That said you can sometimes do something relevant, potentially make use of a spare hour for an online Q&A to which you invite former candidates; if you want to think about what might work talk to your colleagues in graduate recruiting, particularly if they have a good alumni network and see what works for them. This is something the US tends to be great at but over here we’ve still got some way to go.

Finally

I’d suggest that the biggest thing any sourcer can learn, wherever they work and whoever their employer is, is to listen and then implement what they think will work for them. Sound basic? Maybe, but too often sourcing is focused on being in the back room and being a transactional service, focused on solving yesterday’s problem of a candidate shortage in-house or in an agency.

Get your head up, watch and listen to people who are good at what they do and then work to personalise and implement that in your own world. Agency and in-house sourcers aren’t so different, most started in one world and ended up in another, what stands out about the good ones is their ability to learn and then take those new founds skills and competencies and put them into a personalised framework of their own.

Tips for Sourcing Newbies

Binoculars portrait by gerlos

I get asked about where to start when you are new to the world of Sourcing all the time. I put together a post last year on that very subject, but it is definitely time for an update.

So, here is my totally refreshed guide to sourcing for those of you just starting out.

Just Do It

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, join and try every site and tool!

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!

Follow Other Sourcing Experts

It’s probably a good idea to follow some of the great folks in the sourcing world – they have taught me loads!

Bill Boorman:
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 recommending a tool that’ll do exactly what you need.
Blog: Norton Folgate
Twitter: @BillBoorman

Johnny Campbell:
Johnny is so on the ball it makes my head spin. He goes everywhere and knows about everything! His blog is always up to date with all the latest sourcing info too.
Blog: Social Talent
Twitter: @socialtalent

Glen Cathey:
A sourcing legend from the USA. Glen is particularly skilled in searching LinkedIn – his blog posts are very in depth and thorough. When I grow up, I want to be like Glen.
Blog: Boolean Black Belt
Twitter: @GlenCathey

Martin Lee:
Martin knows all the tricks and all the cool tools. If you get a chance to meet him, take it!
You can meet Martin at our Discover Sourcing event this September.
Linkedin Group: Cool (free) Tools For Recruiting
Twitter: @MrMartinLee

Oscar Mager:
Oscar is really passionate about image search. He always carries a camera too! He is the man to follow if you are committed to finding the absolute best talent possible to fill your role. He’s committed to finding Triple A Talent!
You can meet Oscar at our Discover Sourcing event this September.
Twitter: @OscarMager

Shane McCusker:
Shane is probably best known for his video blog about sourcing, technology and all things recruitment. It’s worth signing up for his email reminders, that way you never miss one of his live Google Hangouts.
You can meet Shane at our Discover Sourcing event this September.
Blog: Shane’s Recruitment Blog
Twitte: @1ntelligence

Irina Shamaeva:
Irina’s knowledge of Boolean search is legendary in the world of Sourcing. She’s on a quest for the ever illusive “Dream Software” that will solve all our people search needs!
Blog: Boolean Strings Blog
LinkedIn Group: Boolean Strings

Jim Stroud:
Jim is a prolific blogger and video maker – he makes fantastic sourcing training resources. You might want to check out his book “Resume Forensics”.
Watch: The Jim Stroud Show
Circle Jim: On Google Plus

Tools and Resources

Our top resources here on the UK Sourcers site include:

The UK Sourcers Search Engine Handbook – Downloadable Document
UK LinkedIn Profile Search – Search Tool
3 Sites You’ve Never Thought About Sourcing From – Blog Post
5 Things Not To Do When You Join Twitter – Blog Post
How To Write Great Job Advertising Copy – Blog Post

Take a look at our full list of Useful Resources . There’s all sorts there, including links to helpful stuff all over the web, not just from UK Sourcers.

I also recommend joining the UK Sourcers LinkedIn Group where the other members and I are happy to answer any sourcing questions you might have.

Sourcing Events

Keep an eye on the information coming out of these events in 2013 and try to attend if you can.

Sourcing Summit Europe – Amsterdam, 12 & 13 September 2013
#SOSU (Sourcing Summit) started in Sydney in 2011. This will be the first time they’ve brought the event to Europe.
Follow on Twitter: @sosuinfo and #sosueu

Discover Sourcing – London, 17 & 18 September 2013
Our very own dedicated Sourcing event for the UK, to be held for the first time in London this September. Whether you are an experienced sourcer, you’d would like to learn more about integrating sourcing into your recruitment activities or you are just starting out, there will be something to discover.
Find out more about: The Event, The Agenda, The Speakers, Tickets
Follow on Twitter: @UKSourcers and #DiscSource

#Tru Events – Global, Throughout 2013 and beyond!
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 will be back in September)
Follow tweets from this event: #TruLondon

SourceCon – Seattle, 2 & 3 October 2013
The original Sourcing conference will be back again in the autumn (sorry… I mean fall), this time in Seattle. 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

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! 🙂

Photo by gerlos on Flickr.

The Sourcing Jigsaw

Studying the puzzle by Liza

I was having a conversation recently with a colleague and one of the things that really stuck out in my mind is that they said that I probably know more about the organisation than they do. Of course, being bashful, I brushed the comment off and just grinned. However, upon reflection there might be some truth in that statement.

I began to think about it and began to make the connections between recruiters and their stakeholder groups. If you think about it, usually recruiters have a set group of Business Units (BUs) that they service. As a result, they become very focused on specific skill sets. So how are sourcers different? Well, as a sourcer your portfolio of work is totally variable, you can expect to jump regularly from project to project all differing in BU’s, regions and specialisms.

Where does the skill factor come into play? Speaking to different BUs, you need to quickly get to grips with how they operate within the business/ greater market, how do they fit, whom are they dependant on and what intricacies are unique to your business unit that might not necessarily be reflective of the greater market? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can intelligently have conversations with the Line Manager/Recruiters about where to look and how to find these candidates. Never assume that recruiters and line managers are bad at candidate generation, but assume they are time “poor” and explore with them the avenues that they have not been able to cover. This involvement is crucial as they know their markets and can offer insight through their experience that otherwise means you might chase dead ends.

The skilled sourcer; aside from the actual candidate finding skills, needs a thorough understanding of levels and organisation structures and how they relate to their own business. This jigsaw can be very difficult to put together, especially if you do not know how everything within your own company fits. How could you possibly try to decipher another firm’s structure without a solid base of intelligence/knowledge?

This clarity will reap great benefits, especially once you are sourcing and identifying candidates. You can then visualise where they sit in other organisations and make educated assumptions. If you can’t answer basic questions about where people sit in a company, it usually means that they are not relevant. I have an example of this; I was doing a search for a specific type of actuary, however in all my searches a specific term kept coming up. I wrote an email to the Line manager and asked him what and where this term would normally be found. He explained to me that although I was on the right track, this term typically was related to a specific type of insurance that was not of particular interest for us. It was in fact a crossroads situation where actuaries chose to specialise more in one skill than the other. The point I am trying to make, is that I learned and identified an irrelevant skillset that would have skewed my results and ultimately wasted time.

On the flip side, this intelligence is not particularly useful to our recruiter as it is not part of the BU they are covering. It will go into my memory banks though, in case we ever need one of those special actuaries to fill in another piece of the bigger picture puzzle.

What is sourcing? #DiscSource

I put this question to some of the speakers of Discover Sourcing a few weeks ago.

In this video Oscar Mager, Shane McCusker and Ralph Meyer give me their thoughts on the subject;

I think of sourcing as the first phase of the recruitment process. It could refer to any activity that gets a candidate into process. A sourcer might be a brilliant researcher that knows how to interrogate information sources like databases, search engines and social networks. They might have an affinity for advertising and marketing, writing fantastic job ad copy and focusing on employer brand. A sourcer could also be a powerful networker – both online and in-person – focusing on relationships and connections within their industry. Some might even be a blend of all those things.

Everyone seems to have a different take on what souring is and what makes a great sourcer, here’s a few thoughts from other Discover Sourcing experts:

“Sourcing is… opening one door to find a hundred more behind it. It’s also about constantly updating our door opening skills and being interested and curious in what is behind every one of them. It’s not just about clever Boolean strings, hacks and technology it’s about people and the art of matching the right jobs to the right people at the right time.”
Martin Lee, socialmediasearch.co.uk

“To me sourcing is about bringing new candidates into process whether in-house or in an agency. Sourcing as opposed to research goes beyond identification, this is about finding someone new who is unknown to you before, engaging with them directly (ideally speaking with that person) and building enough rapport to have that potential new candidate trust you to consider them for roles in the future with clients or your organisation and be happy to maintain a relationship.”
Andy Mountney, Aspen In-house

“Sourcing is like mining for precious stones. Sometimes you can pick them up off the ground and other times you need to move 500 tonnes of earth to find a single one. Sourcing is very similar to this in the sense that intelligent searching and using the right tools determine how easy or difficult a search is going to be. Once you fully understand what you are looking for it becomes a lot easier to know where to look.”
Ralph Meyer, Ernst & Young

What does sourcing mean to you and what skills make you a great sourcer? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

I look forward to continuing this discussion at Discover Sourcing in September.

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Discover Sourcing Day 1 Workshop – Find Out More #DiscSource [updated 09/09]

Day 1 of the Discover Sourcing event on Tuesday 17th September will comprise of an afternoon Internet Sourcing workshop for a limited number of attendees.

This workshop is aimed at active recruiters, sourcers and researchers.

You should attend if you would like to expand your knowledge of Internet search techniques, improve the quality of your search results and get a little competitive with your peers.

Katharine and KarenThe session is being run by Karen Blakeman and Katharine Robinson. Between them they have a wealth of knowledge on Internet search tools and people sourcing techniques that it would be difficult to match.

You will receive detailed handouts for each of the sessions and there will be some great prizes for those that perform best in the challenge elements of the day.

The Sessions will include:

  • How to get more relevant results from Google
  • Alternatives to Google
  • Unlocking LinkedIn
  • Sourcing from industry events

See here for the Discover Sourcing Agenda so far.

You will need to bring a laptop with you if you decide to attend this workshop. In order to get the maximum benefit from the day and take part in the sourcing challenges you will need to be able to get online. The venue will be providing us with excellent wifi access. You will get lunch on arrival at the venue on Tuesday 17th September and refreshments mid-afternoon.

ERA LogoThe person who performs best in our workshop challenges will win a Kindle! This prize is sponsored by The ERA.

If you want to attend the Day 1 workshop you will need to buy a ticket to both days of Discover Sourcing. Do get in touch about discounted rates when you buy multiple tickets.

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