Key Takeaways From Bryan Chaney’s SourceCon Session: “Weird Science: Turning Talent Attraction Into Sourcing Success”

Article main image
Sep 23, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

A packed house of 600+ sourcers was in attendance yesterday at SourceCon to hear Indeed’s Director of Employer Branding, Bryan Chaney, discuss his thoughts and success stories of using employment branding and recruitment marketing source top job candidates. I had the opportunity to interview Bryan after the session so as to provide attendees and non-attendees the one key takeaway from his presentation. Additionally, my discussion with Bryan afforded me the opportunity to offer additional advice and context to the SourceCon community that was not part of his presentation.

Bryan’s presentation was filled with successful employer branding and marketing successes on social media. The part of the presentation where the audience unquestionably was most engaged was when Bryan discussed a sourcing success story using facebook advertising creatively for a req that had been open 60+ days, had only 2 applicants, and zero interviews. Bryan discussed how he led efforts to change the trajectory of this tough to fill open requisition by targeting prospective candidates on facebook based on their stated current or previous employers, what employers they “liked” on facebook, and other interests/follows/likes they had on facebook. Within 1 week of Bryan initiating the facebook advertising campaign, Indeed (Bryan’s employer) had 4 new applicants, 4 interviews, and 1 successful hire. Rather than continuing further with a summary of this story, I wish to share with the SourceCon community what you did not hear in the presentation about how creative Bryan was in his advertising targeting at Indeed as well as previous employers. Bryan and I hope the below context and additional details of the presentation can help other sourcers use facebook successfully for sourcing success.

Let’s start with additional context provided by Bryan on facebook advertising and sourcing success. Bryan was able to achieve success not only by targeting people based on the stated current or previous employers but what employers they “liked” as well. In other words, if someone liked Careerbuilder or Monster (competitors of indeed) for example, then Bryan would make sure those people would be targeted for advertising from indeed.

An additional backstory on Bryan’s creativity is that one of the best ways to find “new sources of talent” on facebook can be to look for their interests on facebook that have seemingly nothing to do with their professional life, career, or job interests. By that he means, that facebook has advanced data and algorithms that can tell an employer, like Indeed, that people who like you or your competitors on facebook, also “like” Lady Gaga or some TV show, or some author; it could be anything. The point Bryan is making is that facebook affords sourcers the opportunity to target people for jobs based on data and information available about prospective candidates that have seemingly nothing nominally to do with their career interests. The reason this is an effective solution is quite simple; there are many more fans on facebook of Lady Gaga, Game of Thrones, or John Clancy than there are fans of prospective employers. Therefore, this tactic helps widen the pool of prospective talent to people you likely would never otherwise contact based upon their public profiles and/or publicly available information.

Another creative facebook advertising sourcing success story Bryan shared with me that was not part of his presentation was a time at a former employer of his that he was tasked with helping source for tough to fill offshore oil workers in Louisiana. From facebook advertising, he learned that very few actual oil workers had their employer/occupation in their facebook profile. However, Bryan also learned through his facebook advertising account that those few who did have “offshore oil worker” or equivalent job titles on facebook tended to be fans of TV shows like “Dirty Jobs, “Deadliest Catch”, and “Ice Road Truckers”. Therefore, to greatly widen the pool of prospective viewers of advertisements for a job fair for offshore oil jobs, he started advertising to people whose facebook activity showed they were fans of those shows or equivalent. Long story short, this facebook advertising strategy from Bryan led to a successful job fair and hiring event attended by over 300 people.

Bryan’s presentation combined with the above details and stories shared in his interview with me demonstrate that big data and social media afford Sourcers the opportunity to reach a far greater pool if “hidden in plain sight” prospective job candidates we never would have ever thought to contact. In other words, his success stories demonstrated that successful talent attraction and sourcing success comes not just from targeting people based on their publicly available employment history and information, but also from their online activity and behavior and demonstrated interest things, obvious and not so obvious to sourcers, that correlate with likelihood to be interested in our job openings.


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