How to Keep Sourcing from Wasting Your Time by @marknexus

Mar 30, 2015
© rolffimages -
© rolffimages –

Sourcers and Full Life-Cycle Recruiters get to do some cool things.  Stalking people, screening candidates, constructing searches, researching company technologies, and using cool software add-ons to name a few. But one of the biggest pitfalls that anyone who sources will face is dreaded the TIME VORTEX.

This is the sourcing / research / tinkering aspect of the job that can completely waste your whole day if you’re not careful. Since part of our job duties includes delivering vetted candidates to the hiring manager, this is something to be careful of.

Getting drawn into the dreaded TIME VORTEX is something not limited to just sourcers or certain doctors. This can really be for any person who wears multiple hats within their job.  For those of us that source, this requires having a plan and the discipline to follow it. 

The Plan

This may sound rudimentary but having a daily schedule and sourcing plan is key. You can divide your daily responsibilities into 4 groups:

  • Follow Up – emails and voicemails
  • Actual Sourcing – finding candidates, technical research, trying out new tools
  • Phone Time – Calling candidates from sourcing results, ATS searches or cold calling
  • Email Outreach – Email marketing and passive candidate emails

Now, I realize that you may have to sometimes schedule interviews or meet with candidates onsite, but let’s just focus on the outbound / outreach part of your jobs. Now if we take the above categories and break them down into an hour-by-hour schedule, one way it can look is like this:

9:00 to 10:00 – Follow Up
10:00 to 11:00 – Actual Sourcing
11:00 to 12:30 – Phone Time / Email Outreach
12:30 to 1:00 – Lunch
1:00 to 1:30 – Follow Up
1:30 to 2:30 – Actual Sourcing
2:30 to 3:30 – Phone Time
3:30 to 4:30 – Email Outreach
4:30 to 5:00 – Actual Sourcing
5:00 to 6:00 – Phone Time (part of this during the commute home)

Keep in mind that this is a suggested schedule.  But the idea that I’m trying to convey here is having a set time for sourcing and then a set time for candidate outreach. In real life, this schedule will never look like this because there will be interruptions all the time. But giving yourself hour chunks of time dedicated to sourcing will keep you from pouring too much time into it. Some of you are asking why I have an extra 30 minutes of calls going into lunch or why I suggest that you should call candidates on the way home from work. The reason is that the candidate might be more apt to pick up at these times (during lunch or driving home).

Automate Your Sourcing Life

Once you set goals for yourself and your schedule, then you will find that eliminating rudimentary tasks is key. Many people on SourceCon have blogged about the tools that they use, so I won’t get too heavy into this. But here are a select group of extensions (for Chrome) that will help you save steps (and time).

  • Google Keep / Evernote / Stypi – Don’t recreate the wheel! If you have search strings that work, then save them in these cloud-based text editing tools. You will be able to access the information from any device.  You can also use Google Docs.  If you use Stypi, then set the text editor to Ruby. It’s the best view for looking at search strings.
  • Google Alerts – You are always going to need a certain type of candidate. You have strings that you continuously run. Instead of that, use Google Alerts to send you new results for a search string. You’ll get a notification in your email when they are indexed by the search engine.
  • SearchBar / Bookmarklets – Sure you can copy a piece of text, open a website, paste in the information and hit search, but who wants to do that every time?  Save time by using a Chrome extension called SearchBar (or create your own bookmarklets) and instantly search Linkedin, Google+, Facebook, Google Images, Google Web, or anything else that you can think of. You just have to highlight the word and use a keyboard shortcut you decide on. Bookmarklets are also very cool. If you need help, check out information by Glenn Gutmacher.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts – Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big believer of keyboard shortcuts. Instead of wasting time with mouse clicks and buttons, you can save time navigating through webpages, creating new tabs, editing search strings and finding information, all with the click of a hotkey.
  • Dataminer / Web Scraper / Kimono Labs / FB UID Scraper – There are many pages out there and so many extra clicks that we make.  Use one of these scraping tools to help you extract the information and put it in a handy spreadsheet.  Some of these take some time to learn and some can be used the second you download them. Check out the many explanations on SourceCon to read more!
  • MailChimp / Mail Merges / Yesware – Don’t live through Groundhog day every minute of the day! Use some handy email tools to help you automate emails, create Mail Merges (which are still cool) from your sourcing, and find out who has opened and read your emails. You’ll save yourself a lot of blood, sweat, and tears if you do!

In Conclusion

There are many more ideas to be talked about here. The only I can tell you is to check out SourceCon’s other articles for more info, find me online to ask more questions.

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