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.

Are you making the best use of links on your LinkedIn profile?

This post is inspired by today’s New Year Sourcing Assignment.

Today we’re looking at improving your LinkedIn profile in 9 different ways to get you more views, more business and a higher response rate when you contact people.

Here is a breakdown of just one point from the 9 point LinkedIn profile checklistin today’s assignment:

Making the most of Links on your LinkedIn profile

The Contact Info on your LinkedIn profile

You can add up to three links to your LinkedIn profile in the Contact Infosection. Here are some ideas of what you might link to:

  • Your company website
  • Your company’s career pages if you work in an in-house team
  • The jobs section of your website if you work in an agency
  • A Facebook page or a LinkedIn group that you want to promote
  • Your own personal webpage

You should also customise the text of the links. Company Website does not tell people anything. Something descriptive like Careers at XYZ Company will make people much more likely to click as they know where they will end up. To customise the text of the link, select Other from the drop down menu rather than Company Website or My Blog.

Change the anchor text of links on your LinkedIn profile

This is also good Search Engine Optimisation for the sites you link to – Google will see a link from LinkedIn (a reputable and popular website) with relevant keywords in the anchor text.

If you have the new style LinkedIn profile then you can also add links to videos, pictures or presentations to enhance your profile. This is a good way to drive traffic to any corporate videos you might have made or presentations you send to prospective clients or candidates.

Join the UK Sourcers LinkedIn group to see the full LinkedIn profile checklist and join in with our New Year Sourcing Assignments throughout January.

5 Things Not To Do When You Join Twitter

Twitter "Keep Calm" Poster - by Manish Mansinh on BehanceTwitter is great if you are starting to explore Social Media or looking to learn more about Sourcing. It has been instrumental as part of my professional development and led to virtually all my business, one way or another. Twitter has helped me discover loads of useful content and meet many very smart people.

I had the luxury of learning how to use Twitter when it was a much quieter, more relaxed place. There were hardly any businesses or celebrities yet – I remember the day that Stephen Fry joined. There was no pressure to be getting “ROI” out of it – it was just a fun way to connect with like minded people.

It seems easy to succumb to these pressures now and end up not getting the most out of this fantastic platform.

So, when you join Twitter, please don’t…

Excessively tweet links to jobs

The Problem: Lisa Jones of Barclay Jones recently wrote about this problem on the UK recruiter blog, I recommend having a read. While Job tweets are of interest to active job seekers, the majority of people are not actively looking for a new job and might need a more subtle approach. Plus – it’s REALLY BORING!

What to do instead: While jobs are a very easy thing to tweet when you are a beginner, you do have a wealth of experience in your industry and in recruitment – why not demonstrate this on Social Media? Take a look at this list of 20 things for recruiters and sourcers to tweet about. You could always set up a separate Twitter account that just tweets links to job, but be clear that this is all it does and let followers know how they can actually talk to you.

Follow loads of people at once

The Problem: Following people is probably the best way to get their attention, so don’t waste it. When you first join Twitter, you won’t have said much and you won’t be entirely sure what you are doing. If someone follows me and they haven’t tweeted yet then I am unlikely to follow them back as I don’t know what I will be signing up for. The same goes for someone that has only Tweeted five times – I don’t know if that person is just dipping their toe in the birdbath or if they will stick with it.

What to do instead: Lay low for a week or two. Get your profile looking good with a well written bio and a profile picture. You should also get some Tweets under your belt and learn how the lingo works. Follow a few colleagues or people that you know use Twitter well (aim for about 20 people) that way you can learn from what they do – what sort of Tweets do you like to get in your stream? Once you have found your feet, take Twitter to the next level and follow some more people. Rince and repeat.

Thoughtlessly connect Twitter with LinkedIn and/or Facebook

The Problem: It’s very easy to think that you are saving time and being very efficient by sending all your tweets to LinkedIn or all your Facebook updates to Twitter, but it creates all kinds of jarring issues that newbies will find confusing and experienced Twitter users will find annoying. The language used on each of the platforms is different and Facebook and LinkedIn will allow you longer format updates than Twitter.

What to do instead: It is a minefield that I recommend avoiding. If you must do it, be sure to dive into the settings on LinkedIn and Facebook and understand what you’re really sharing and when. I have written about the problem of sending your LinkedIn updates to Twitter before.

Drop Tweet Bombs

The Problem: I read lots of posts about “doing social media” in 10 minutes per day and the like. While it is possible, it seems that most people think you should send out an entire day’s worth of tweets all at once. This will totally take over your followers’ Twitter streams. That is considered a bit rude in Twitterville.

What to do instead: I’d recommend using a tool like buffer to spread your Tweets out through the day. Also, if you decide to have your jobs or blog posts sent to Twitter automatically via an app like twitterfeed or dlvr.it – please dive into the settings and make sure that it won’t tweet 10 jobs at once. If you are unsure what you are doing – don’t do it!

Turn every word into a #Hashtag

The Problem: It is very simple – tweets containing lots of hashtags are difficult to read, eyeballs skip right over them. If your tweet looks fugly – I’m not clicking on the link!

The Solution: Hashtags are an important way to get noticed when you start out on Twitter, so don’t be put off using them. Keep hashtags to a minimum, one or two is usually plenty. If you want to use more then maybe try some A B Testing to see which works best – does a tweet with #jobs get more clicks and reactions than a tweet with #careers? You should ALWAYS check how a hashtag is being used already, if at all, before including it.

Do you have any Dos and Don’ts for Twitter newbies? Let us know in the comments 🙂

You might also find useful:
Twitter Tip: Replies and Mentions are not the same
Using Twitter for Recruiting – A Presentation from The FIRM’s Direct Sourcing event in Dec 2011

Capital Letters – The Key To Boolean Success

I’m about to share one of the most common things that people don’t realise about Boolean searching.

Boolean Ven

Boolean logic covers the operators AND, OR and NOT. The name comes from English born mathematician George Boole – his work with algebraic logic is the basis of the modern computer.

When were you last nagged about using capital letters? When you were in Primary school? Not if you’ve recently been in a training session with me.

When using these Boolean operators with a Search Engine, like Google or Bing, it is important to capitalise them.

A Search Engine automatically strips small words like and, or, if, but etc. out of your query. It only searches for what it considers to be a real keyword. By capitalising AND, OR and NOT we make sure the Search Engine takes notice of them as a Boolean operator.

Most job boards do not enforce this rule, so if you don’t usually capitalise your ANDs, ORs and NOTs you have probably still been having success when you search there. I tend to capitalise these operators as a rule – then my string will work everywhere.

The only problem is, I now automatically capitalise OR all the time – not just when I’m searching – Doh!

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.

Events

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

Twitter Tip: Replies and Mentions are not the same

I was inspired to write this post after presenting on “Twitter & Recruiting” at The FIRM’s Social Media event yesterday.

We all know that referencing someone’s twitter username with an @ symbol infront creates a link to their profile in your tweet.

Did you realise that where you place that @username can have a big impact on the visibility of your tweet?

When a tweet begins with @username Twitter interperates this as a Reply. Only those following both you and the person you are refernencing will see the tweet in their timeline.

If you go and check out my twitter profile, you will probably see me talking to a bunch of people you don’t know in tweets you’ve never seen. Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to see me chatting about the weather to a total stranger?

Here’s an example of a reply:

When you mention someone – referencing their @usermane in the body of your tweet, everyone can see it.

This is why you sometimes see people putting a full-stop in front of a reply – so that it is visible to all of their followers.

Here’s an example of a mention:

(Thanks Wendy *blush*)

So, if you’re just shooting the breeze with your friends and colleagues on Twitter, use replies as normal.

If you’re trying to spread content far and wide, make sure you reference @usernames in the body of your tweet, not at the start, so that all your followers see.

Related posts:
5 things not to do when you join Twitter
20 things for recruiters and sourcers to tweet about

Do you love Twitter Tips?

I notice that Twitter tips blog TwiTip returned last week after a long break in posting.

 

Twitip

TwiTip launched in April 2008 by Darren Rowse, the renowned @Problogger. It soon attracted an impressive array of guest bloggers and became the go to place for Twitter tips.

Blog posts mysteriously stopped in December 2010, but TwiTip now seems to be back in action with three new posts last week;

I hope TwiTip is back for good as I love a few Twtter Tips!

Katharine
@TheSourceress