Mastering Your Workflow: Sourcing Edition

An overview of how you may improve your day to day and become a more effective talent acquisition professional.

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Jun 13, 2023
This article is part of a series called Mastering Your Workflow.

Part I: Guiding Principles, Preparing, Sourcing

How do you become exceptional in full-cycle recruiting?

The secret is actually not a secret, and that is to get ridiculously good at the basics! And, to get ridiculously good at the basics, you have to obsess over how you approach your work!

How you approach your workflow is essential, and is the distinguishable difference between those who care about the work they do, you know, tomorrow’s leaders who are striving for greatness? And, those driven by ego and know everything, yet stick to the status quo, play it safe, never really experiment, take risks, or try anything new.

So, let’s cover some of the high-level basics across your high touch points, at least for the first half of the Recruiting life cycle as this is the Sourcing Edition!

Guiding Principles

  • Treat your team like a team, the path to success isn’t a straight line, and how you approach your work is what will set you apart
  • Cultivate a culture where people can do their best work, a culture where teams share knowledge and best practices, and are always implored to question the status quo
  • As with anything you do, ‘CBS’ it, compartmentalize, batch, segment, whatever you want to call it, do it, as if you want to reach greatness, you have to put in the time


“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the ax” – Attributed to Abraham Lincoln


  • Be clear with your intent, always remember why you are there, and throughout your journey – never stray away from your values
  • Dedicate time to your relationships and listen effectively
  • Lean into your relationships, implore open lines of communication, be curious as to how and why things are done the way they are, and ask lots of questions
  • Make a conscious effort to collaborate proactively and cross-functionally
  • Hold each other accountable and offer help, even if it is outside the scope of your role, use your best judgment and autonomy to go above and beyond in building trust with your teams and becoming a true talent partner and advisor
  • Use data to tell the story, research, pull and share market data, trends, and insights with your teams so you can level-set expectations
  • Promote a culture where knowledge is shared graciously, and feedback is received gracefully

We ask a lot of questions in and following our kickoffs, but above all else, make sure you genuinely understand your team’s needs, who it is they’re looking for, how that person would communicate, and precisely where to find them!

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – Attributed to Seneca


  • The only constant is change; research should be at the core of everything you do
  • You get word from your leader that a new requisition is around the corner, the sooner you begin doing your research on the role, the team, and the organization, the more prepared you will be to fill it, and in our world, preparation is everything
  • Seek to understand the role, the team, their function, how they support the business, what it is that they do, and why it matters
  • Think of your company as a watch, every gear plays a vital role in delivering the result, so take the time out to research and understand the role each gear plays by leveraging the surface web, your team members, and leaders
  • Take the time out to cross-reference your current team and incumbents, what they have in common, and just as importantly, what they don’t have in common
  • What are must-haves vs nice-to-haves?
  • What superpowers will the right candidates absolutely need, in order to be successful in the role and at your company?
  • What companies or industries would they work within?
  • What degrees or certifications is your team looking for?
  • How do the right candidates communicate?
  • What keywords would the right candidates use and do you understand them?
  • Where can you find the right candidates on the web? (it’s not always LinkedIn)

As Talent Acquisition Professionals, we must wear many hats, we are corporate liaisons, marketers, salespeople, and advisors, we have to be operationally excellent in order to thrive, and while the list goes on and on, above all else we are learning, the world we live in is constantly changing, so we have to continuously put in the time to research and to learn.

Kickoff/Intake/Strategy Session

  • For the love of recruiting, this is one place you should use a template!
  • Leveraging a template does not mean you have to have a rigid conversation, you can still have a fluid one, but we are all human, and having a template helps ensure you aren’t leaving anything out
  • Speaking of which, here is a free kick-off template

“I don’t know who you are…but I will find you, and I will hire you” – Attributed to Unknown


Internal Sourcing (let’s focus on resume screening)

  • Let’s face it, interviewing for the job and actually doing the job, can be two very different animals, so keep that in mind when reviewing a candidate’s resume!
  • It is on you as an SME (subject matter expert) to be able to distinguish the right folks from the wrong ones, sometimes you have to be able to read between the lines, even if there are too many, and if you’re solely relying on resumes having every single keyword to match against the job posting, you need to block off time for additional research

Resume screening basics:

Start at the top

  • Consider the candidate’s most recent experience
  • Is what they are working on relevant to the role at hand?
  • Look at action verbs like led, completed, created, drove, responsible for, owned, spearheaded, implemented, etc.
  • Are they showcasing tangible impact? E.g., tangible numbers that clearly indicate performance and impact throughout their tenure?

Deep dive into skills and qualifications

  • Compare the candidate’s skills against those desired
  • Are the right keywords showing up frequently? Are they explaining their direct contributions with respect to those keywords, or are they just sprinkling them in at the top?
  • How many years of relevant experience do they have?
  • How have they implemented their skills throughout their career?

Previous Employment

  • Does the candidate’s journey show a pattern of a steady increase in responsibility and impact over time? Or have they spent 17 years doing the same exact thing? Which is not always a bad thing, but have they at least picked up and implemented any new learnings along the way?
  • Do their job moves make sense? This is subject to opinion but worth a review
  • Do they have favorable tenure, or are they job hopping frequently? (Relative to the role and industry among other factors of course, and people’s definitions of what ‘job hopping’ may vary. With the industry-wide layoffs, you have to keep this in mind as well or at least uncover the why behind when you speak with them)
  • Are they showcasing key accomplishments?

To contact, or not to contact?

  • If you get stuck over-analyzing or nitpicking any one area, consider the entirety of their background and expertise
  • If you come across a great candidate, but they are not quite right for the role at hand, can they be repurposed? Leaders are not just thinking of their openings, they are also considering their greater organization, and are making an effort to guide candidates into a role that best suits them, even if it is with a different team, now or in the future
  • Be decisive, and when in doubt, reach out! If you are on the fence with someone who looks like they could be great, but might be missing a few things, then reach out and screen for the missing pieces

Next week, we will cover External Sourcing, Creative Outreach, and Phone Screens. If you have enjoyed this article or have feedback, feel free to connect with me at with the note “#SourceCon”!

This article is part of a series called Mastering Your Workflow.
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