How I Am Implementing New Skills Learned at the SourceCon Conference

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Jan 31, 2013

Editor’s note: We are just one week away from SourceCon and I thought this re-run from 2011 was still applicable. If you’re coming, here’s a great way to catalyze and implement the information you take away from SourceCon. Enjoy. 

If you had told me five years ago that I would be in a role where I get to geek out by using mathematically based principals to do my job, stalk people online, and then convene with others who love to do the same, I wouldn’t have believed you.

But here I am, loving every day of what I get to do.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend SourceCon (thanks to the downloadable document on How to Get Your Boss to Let You Come to SourceCon) where I was able to meet some of the legends in our industry.

I took about twelve pages of notes in Word throughout SourceCon, hoping to learn tons of knowledge to bring back and implement. One of the wisest things that was said was during Michael Notaro’s presentation on Automation. He said that the most important thing you could do after leaving SourceCon is to pick 3-5 things you learned from SourceCon and immediately implement them into your organization.

I think the tendency when we come back from conferences is to be pumped up about what we learned and want to implement it all, but in reality, it is impossible. We can’t implement everything we learn, so it is important to hone in on a few key takeaways, disseminate the information, and put it into practice as soon as possible.

In following this sage advice, a few main themes that resonated with me were: How to Implement Sourcing into Your Organization and Gathering/Organizing/Analyzing Information.

How to Implement Sourcing Into Your Organization

Jillian Snavley’s presentation highlighted some great points about how to bolster your sourcing function within your company. The best point that she made is that sourcing needs to be a partnership, not just a support role. Regardless of whether you are sourcing in a corporate setting or in an agency, you need to partner with your recruiters to strategize the best way to get your candidates. Sourcing is changing from the reactive approach of searching for candidates when needs arise to a more proactive model of pipelining and specializing so that when roles come open, there will be people ready to go. Sourcers will eventually be people to whom leaders within organizations will come first when deciding to hire, not last.

In order to build a more proactive approach, it is important to truly define recruiting needs and use metrics to discover that information. Sourcing has a few main components to it: pipeline building, prospect sourcing/talent community development (see Marvin Smith as a great example), labor market research, and sourcing consultation. The challenge we face is transforming from what we have been doing which has been working to what will work even better in the future in order to make us even more successful.

Specifically at Rylem, I was the first sourcer to be hired this May, so I’ve been tasked with building our department out. In my previous role I was very reactive in my sourcing approach, so changing my sourcing habits has been a challenge, but taking on that challenge is proving to be tremendously fruitful. I have had to train my mind to repeat the attitude of a long-term sourcing approach and direct my efforts to those activities which include pipelining candidates, conducting more competitive research, and analyzing more information instead of simply focusing on immediate needs.

Gathering/Organizing/Analyzing Information

How often do you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that you are bombarded with every day? Well, unfortunately, it’s not going to let up anytime soon. The task at hand is to compile all of the incoming information in addition to the existing data we have (CRM, ATS, excel sheets, emails, blogs, Twitter streams, LinkedIn status updates, need I go on?), analyze it, and effectively manage it. The question still remains – what is the best way to consistently manage information?

I wish I had the answer! But what I do know is that it is different for everyone; it all depends on what resources are available to you and what works best for you. Some people love managing Excel spreadsheets while others have CRMs that they can use. Tito Magobet talked about multiple solutions in this space: creating detailed (but simple to create) spreadsheets, using Access (it’s already on most of our machines anyways), and supply and demand matrices. Through managing and analyzing your data in a strategic way, you will be able to stay ahead of the competition through predicting what types of jobs will be hard to fill, seeing where employees are coming from/going to, and then strategizing how to best keep your pipeline warm and determine what pipelines you should have.

After you analyze the information you have available, the next step is to SHARE THE INFO! This was another super important piece of advice I took from SourceCon. Especially in the agency world, recruiters have the tendency to keep their candidates to themselves as they want to manage the relationship and make the most commission on their candidate. The problem with this is that by doing this, we miss out on great candidates because of the unwillingness to share information. It’s so important that everyone be on the same page in your organization, be collaborative, and partner with your sourcing and recruiting counterparts so that time is effectively managed and potential hires aren’t buried in your coworkers’ spreadsheets of great candidates on their desktop.

Since SourceCon, I have been focused on how to best improve my company and the department I’m trying to build. I’ve been working to develop a way to better manage our talent communities, deciding what will be the best way for us to do this. This has been a challenge as we are currently evaluating the tools we are using (ATS, analytics tools, etc.) and I don’t want to create extra work.  A few specific things I took from the conference that I thought would help Rylem are analyzing the types of candidates we have in our database, the types of jobs we have filled, and how to better utilize our time to ensure we get more great candidates and more wins.

SourceCon was amazing. I’m so happy my company let me go — I had the chance to meet some talented and smart people and glean some great information to share with my office here. And on a side note, what I’ve really appreciated about the sourcing community, especially in Seattle, is people’s willingness to share information and really pay it forward to help each other learn more about sourcing. I can’t wait to attend the next SourceCon – although I don’t know when the next time my job will pay for me to go. Guess I better implement this stuff so I can fund my next trip!

Editor’s Note: Teresa has graciously provided a PPT with her notes and takeaways from SourceCon 2011 — you can download it here. Thanks, Teresa!

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