Sep 27, 2010
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

As researchers and sourcers, we are tasked with generating leads for our recruiting colleagues or our clients. But, as the slogan goes for my favorite childhood toy, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to what we can do.

We need to look beyond the obvious – in more ways than one.

  1. Look beyond the obvious…in candidate search. Our work requires us to find people for jobs. To do this, we either hop on the phone and call into companies, or we search the Internet for resumes. But it doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) stop there. Looking beyond the obvious in this sense means going beyond just the first degree of search: it means asking the person on the other end of the phone who they know or with whom they compete. It means doing ‘peer regression analysis‘ or digging into a resume and looking at previous companies and then conducting searches for people in similar roles at those companies. It means following the white rabbit down into Wonderland and chasing new paths that can lead you to directory listings, industry associations, and discussion forums chock full of individuals contributing and showing off their knowledge in whatever industry might apply. Looking beyond the obvious information available is what will make you a successful researcher.
  2. Look beyond the obvious…in your own function. Sometimes we can be pigeon-holed into one role: lead generation. But just based on the nature of what we do, there is much more value that we can provide to our organizations outside of just simply doing lead generation. Just a couple of things off the top of my head include competitive/business intelligence, internal referral/networking, employment branding efforts, recruitment marketing, external communication (which includes social media campaigns), technology recommendations, and so forth. All of these activities add value to your role within your organization and move you beyond “just” lead generation.
  3. Look beyond the obvious…in your own career. Each of the previous “Look Beyond” points will ultimately lead you to this discovery – that as a researcher, you do NOT only have one option for career progression! You do not have to “aspire” to “grow up” and become a recruiter some day. There are many options for you along your career path, and there are excellent examples of this:
    • Joshua Kahn: Josh worked for three years with Accenture as a pipeline generation specialist & then as a sourcing team lead. Due to his involvement in a client’s social media outreach for recruiting efforts, he was hired by Best Buy last summer and is now Manager, Emerging Media Technology there.
    • Jenny DeVaughn: Jenny worked for three years as a talent consultant doing lead generation through social media, and today she works as Director, Social Strategy for Bernard Hodes Group, an employment branding consultancy that targets the HR and recruiting community.
    • Daniel Kwon: Daniel used to be a competitive intelligence sourcer at Ascentium, and he moved on to become a Web Analytics & Optimization Consultant there before recently making a move to Razorfish as an ad campaign account manager.
    • Carmen Hudson: Carmen worked in various sourcing roles for over ten years with companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Yahoo! before venturing out on her own to start Tweetajob, a Twitter-based online job distribution service.

So you can see that there are options out there! Social media, advertising, market research, and several other related job functions can all benefit from the knowledge gained as a sourcer. Being a sourcer is an awesome job, but if you want to try something else out, you are not limited to becoming a recruiter any more.

Looking beyond the obvious is something that we want to encourage through SourceCon. In fact, just look at the new logo – at first glance, it looks like a maze (a hat-tip to the original logo). But if you look closer, i.e. look beyond the obvious, you’ll see that the maze is actually made of an “S” and and “C” – for SourceCon.

Continue to read between the lines and never stop going deeper. You’ll find some fascinating stuff by going beyond what everyone else does. See you tomorrow at SourceCon in Washington, D.C.!

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