3 Sites You Have Never Thought About Sourcing From

Do you see sourcing opportunities everywhere you go? You should.

Here are three sites not usually associated with unearthing talent…

Wikipedia Logo

1. Wikipedia

We already know that Wikipedia is a great site to have in our sourcing tool kit, but what about actually finding candidates there? The thing to remember about wikipedia is that anyone can edit it. It stands to reason that the people editing or creating the articles have some expertise in that area. For example I can see that the page on Sourcing (personelle) was created by Rob Macintoch, one of the founders of SourceCon and all round sourcing legend.

Let’s say that I am trying to track down some games designers to work at a tech startup in London. If I check out the wikipedia article on Game Design then I not only find a lot of handy info that will help me with keyword identification, I also find a list of people. “Where?” I hear you ask.

On the top left of every Wikipedia article there is a “View History” tab. This allows you to see all the changes made to that article. Some people edit anonymously so you can only see details of their IP address on the history page. Other people have set up a User profile on Wikipedia and I can see their usernames against the changes they have made.

I start to look for users with profiles that have made changes to the section about the different roles of a games designer, it’s most likely that these are actually people doing the job. The first one I come across is Tom Edwards. He lists the company he works for on his profile, they just happen to be based in the UK. This is a rather hit and miss approach, so I look to use Google or another search engine to find these people more efficiently. I now know that user profiles have the word “user” in the url of the page so I can start to build a search string.

inurl:user site:wikipedia.org

this will give me wikipedia user profiles. I can add keywords and phrases to find the people I want e.g.

inurl:user site:wikipedia.org “game designer” (uk OR “united kingdom” OR london)

I could also include the names of particular games or game makers in my search string.

2. Amazon

Amazon Logo

Next time your boss catches you browsing Amazon while at work you will have a legitimate reason for being there. You’ll be sourcing talent.

One of the most useful shopping features on Amazon is the product reviews. This is the bit that is useful to us for sourcing too! Think about it, who is going to be reviewing books on game design? You could either look through the reviews of particular publications or use a search engine to find reviews that contain certain words and phrases.

“game design” site:amazon.co.uk/product-reviews

will find me product review on amazon that mention the phrase “game design”. I might need to narrow that down with some more keywords once I assess the quality of the results. We can now look at the profiles of the people that wrote those reviews. Amazon profiles don’t usually contain much information, but it’s usually enough to get you a name, which you can then put back into a search engine to find out more about a person.

You will also notice that profiles on Amazon contain the word “profile” in the URL, allowing you to search for people profiles that mention certain keywords – by doing this you will probably find profiles that have been filled in with more detail. e.g.

inurl:profile site:amazon.co.uk “game designer”

You will also want to consider using sites like goodreads.com in a similar way.

tumblr Logo

3. Tumblr

Tumblr is a blogging platform that makes it really easy to share a wide range of media types very quickly. It lends itself very well to visual content. It is definitely a darling of the social media world but not talked about very much in recruiting circles. At the time of writing, tumblr has over 57 million blogs.

Just like any of the myriad of blogging platforms out there (wordpress, blogger, posterous etc…) it is worth site: searching tumblr to see anyone you are interested in is using tumblr to demonstrate their expertise.

Sticking with our Game Designer example;

“games designer” (uk OR “united kingdom” OR london) site:tumblr.com

Among other things, this brings up a post from a Tiggy Tuppence actually showcasing some work. Tumblr does allow users to connect up Twitter and Facebook accounts but not all choose to do this. The only way to get in touch with this user through tumblr is to use the “Ask a Question” feature. I decide to google her username first though to see if it’s being used elsewhere. I’m lucky, I quickly see that Tiggy Tuppence exists on Twitter and Google+ too. I could also run the username through pipl.com to find other online profiles.

What unexpected places have you unearthed talent from?

What Makes Wikipedia A Great Sourcing Tool?

Wikipedia Birthday party in Cologne, Germany

Wikipedia went live on 15th January 2001, so has just turned 10 years old – Happy Birthday!

In honour of this, I thought I would put together a list of why it’s part of my sourcing and recruitment tool kit.

As part of your quest to find the best possible talent, Wikipedia allows you to;

Get an overview of an industry

Working in a new sector all of a sudden, need to get up to speed quickly? Wikipedia is perfect for this.

Learn the jargon

An article can quickly introduce you to a lot of buzz words surrounding a topic and often help you get an idea of what they mean. Perfect when you’re looking for keywords to aid your search or you need to ask intelligent questions of recruiters and hiring managers.

Get an overview of a job function

Never searched for a Business Development Manager before? Pop on over to Wikipedia and learn what it’s all about before you start your search.

Find lists

What would be useful, a list of NHS Trusts or a list of Social Networks? Wikipedia has got it all. It might not be perfectly accurate or up to date, but a list on Wikipedia is often a good enough start for a thorough search or investigation.

Discover links

Wikipedia recommends that contributors site the sources of the information contained in its articles. These are often great sites for further investigation.

Understand the technology

Recruiting for an expert in Fancy Widget design? No idea what a Fancy Widget does? Nip over to Wikipedia and learn the difference between a vertical axis wind turbine and a horizontal axis wind turbine – it might be import to the skills you’re looking for.

See who’s editing the pages?

I have never actually done this but it stands to reason that someone editing a page on a topic might have some kind of expertise or experience in that field… have you ever tried to source a candidate from Wikipedia?

I would recommend that Wikipedia be used as an introduction to a topic. It would be remiss of me not to remind you that it’s best to be careful and not blindly take articles at face value.

For more information on the history of Wikipedia, Verne G. Kopytoff writes about 10 Years of Edit-It-Yourself on the New York Times Internet blog and Todd Wasserman asks whether the free encyclopaedia will last for another decade on Mashable.