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Aug 15, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

I grew up reading The Hardy Boy’s, Boxcar Children, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Batman comics, and watching Scooby Doo. On some level, it probably affected me subconsciously and drove me into the recruiting field. Something about solving mysteries, saving the world, and having wickedly cool gadgets.

One might say that Batman and Bond were only cool because of their gadgets, but I would disagree. That would be like say Dean Da Costa could only source with Chrome extensions.

Sure tools and gadgets (or Chrome extensions) might make our jobs easier from time to time, but if we’re learning the fundamentals of recruiting/sourcing, that’s all they will need to be. Not crutches that we rely on and freak out about when a company may decide to change their ToS.

Before Batman had all those wonderful toys, he had a few other things going for him. He had a strong desire burning inside. He wanted to track down the person responsible for his parents and then rid the city of crime. Do you have desire burning inside you to find the best people for your company or clients? It’s a solid starting point.

But even just the desire isn’t enough. Young Bruce had to learn how to be a detective. It wasn’t all fights and super computers either. It was learning the process of detective work.

In a recent Java course that I was taking, the professor showed how we use the scientific method even in computer science. In fact, that’s a big piece of what helps engineers learn multiple languages. What something is called may change, and the actual piece of code, but the process is the same.

It was enough to give me pause and evaluate my process. Sometimes you can drift away from what made you successful. It’s the whole “can’t see the forest for the trees” problem. If you have ever got pulled away from the detective side of what we do on sourcing, maybe this can help you too.

I was thinking about how I got sucked into doing a ton of projects and tool evaluations, and I realized it was happening, my focus was being taken away from actual sourcing. In my head, it was all about the latest tools and gadgets and workflows and solving process, and well, you get the idea.

I decided to take a step back and start over. Don’t fret, even with starting over I still had my go-to tools, but I decided to take a step back from the evaluations, betas, and projects, and all the “fancy new ways” of doing sourcing.

I went back to basics. I also decided to get back on the continuing education side of things. I enrolled in a Java Programming specialization through Duke University on Coursera. If you aren’t taking classes to keep the other parts of your brain going, I would highly recommend it.

I had got more than burnt out. I had managed to get to a place where that was a bit unhealthy mentally. Tools were my drug of choice and if I could just evaluate one more tool, bad stuff.

During the first couple of weeks in the Java class, the instructor pointed out how we would be using a seven step process for learning code. My ears perked up. A seven step process was sounding really good at the moment. I decided to take the same seven steps and apply that to sourcing, see if they would fit. And they did.

The steps are:

  1. Work by hand
    1. This is where if you don’t have enough domain knowledge (Know what it is that you’re looking for) you’ll want to get that information. What does this person actually do? What are some of the key words that you’re looking for? What are similar key words? What do some of the target profiles have in common? What did people that are in this role or a similar role do before they came here?
  2. Write Down What You Did
    1. Make a note of the keywords and skills from each profile.
    2. Write down past companies that stood out.
  3. Find Patterns
    1. Look for repetitions
    2. What do the profiles have in common?
    3. What do they not have that may be in the job description?
  4. Check By Hand
    1. After you’ve identified the key search items, look at each profile and find them.
  5. Translate to Code (Boolean)
    1. This is where we would translate all this to Boolean.
  6. Run Test Cases
    1. Try your search on various sites
  7. Debug Failed Test Cases
    1. If the people that come in your searches aren’t a match, look for what in your code needs to be changed or tweaked.

Yes, tools can help us with all this, but sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics. Tools can help make us faster by doing some of these processes for us, but understand the logic behind it. Turn your sourcing and recruiting into a science, not a form of art that you can’t define.

Batman without his gadgets can still tell you how to find someone. James Bond without Q can still talk his way into the villain’s casino. Sourcers and recruiters without tools can still find and engage top talent.

I’ll go into more depth on the process above in a future series of articles.


This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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