A Fresh Perspective On Sourcing During COVID

It was all going so swimmingly. After years of dabbling in recruiting as a people manager at my company, I was looking to grow my skills in the field of talent acquisition.

While I was already heavily involved in the recruiting process, I was operating as a bit of a jack of multiple (if not all) trades. I was doing some sourcing and recruiting, a lot of interviewing and hiring, and then managing those I brought on board. While it’s great to have the skills of a generalist, I began to wonder if I was actually making myself less marketable by not specializing.

After a number of conversations with my old friend and colleague, the sorcerer extraordinaire Erin Mathew, I decided to position myself for a full career pivot into recruiting and sourcing.

Its no small thing to invest in an online course with the hopes of enhancing (or perhaps changing) your career. But at Erin’s urging, and after sampling a free preview of Sourcecon Academy course material, and talking it over with my wife, we decided to make the financial investment.

And let me just say, the training is terrific. As a newcomer to advanced sourcing techniques, I found many of the modules to be eye-popping—especially the targeted use of Boolean strings and X-raying social media sites to find candidates. While the instruction on string creation is very in-depth and full of specific examples, the ability to pause and try the methods on your own provides ample opportunity to absorb what you learn and apply the techniques as you go.

But wait..I’ve saved the best part for last: one year of access to the course

Not only can you take copious notes, bookmark relevant pages, and practice creating your own strings with the guidance the lessons provide, but the training is also updated regularly. That means there are new modules added to the material and existing ones are consistently upgraded. Basically, the course doesn’t end when you graduate—it’s ongoing, keeping up with the latest trends and advances in the sourcing and recruiting world. Not to be too corny, but it actually is a gift that keeps on giving.

I started the modules just before the holidays last year and completed the course at the end of February, right before a planned trip to Hawaii. While in Hawaii, my employer reached out to me about my Sourcecon experience and wanted to talk to me about possibly transitioning over to the recruiting team.  

Everything was in place…then COVID happened.

Less than a month after getting back from paradise, the world just stopped. Along with being quarantined (except for sojourns to the grocery store and desperate quests for hand sanitizer and toilet paper) and generally limiting in-person activity as much as possible, we found the world of work turned on its head. Already being a remote employee, I didn’t have to bear the brunt of transitioning to working from home.

But, as anyone reading this already knows, as the coronavirus persisted, the need for recruiters subsided. Many companies either laid off or furloughed their recruiting teams. Job cuts and hiring freezes have a tendency to hit sourcers and recruiters hard, and COVID struck like a sledgehammer.

As you might guess, that backburnered the plan for me to gradually move into recruiting at my job. So, what to do in the meantime? After putting time, effort, and cash into a program where the skills I learned I wouldn’t be able to immediately apply?

Well, first things first. Because I have access until the end of the year, I’ve been making the most of it by going back to the modules, checking for updates, and reviewing portions I’ve watched to keep things fresh and to practice my newly learned skills.

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But I thought it important not to stop there. I’ve been attending online sourcing and recruiting seminars, keeping consistent contact with Erin (who I proudly call a mentor), and I volunteered my services to my current company’s recruiting team at no additional cost.

In doing so, I’ve been able to keep up to date and get practical experience. While I may not be getting additional pay for additional work, I have learned a great deal about recruiting logistics through having full access to our ATS, while also getting my feet wet in sourcing.

This may not have been the plan I would have chosen, but it’s the one available to me now.

Lets face it, we live in incredibly—and suddenly—uncertain times. While working professionals have largely accepted the idea that they will likely not work for the same company from graduation to retirement, no one was prepared for a national disaster like this.

Here’s the thing though, this will end. However painful this period is, there will soon be a need for people who can effectively source, recruit, and onboard talent. Once those roles are in demand again, people with additional skills and training are going to have an edge in the competition for those jobs. If you are someone like me who is looking to transition fully into the field of sourcing and recruiting, making the most of this challenging time is paramount.

When the world starts to return to normal (or perhaps a new normal), I want to be ready.

So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m getting ready.

David Phillips is a remote management professional at Kaplan Test Prep. A recent graduate of SourceCon Academy, he has written articles on talent sourcing and management for SourceCon's Blog. By night, David conducts interviews and writes on film and television for Awards Daily and writes on boxing for NY Fights. His editorial "My Black Grandpa" was shortlisted in The Bitter Southerner's best of 2018 Folklore category. He currently lives in South Bend, Indiana with his wife, two dogs, and two rabbits.

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