In baseball, the most difficult and exciting offensive feat is hitting a grand slam. Basically, it means a homerun with the bases loaded. When you consider on average an everyday player gets about 400+ at-bats, and there are 30 teams with the number of everyday players on each team is eight. That means out of 240 everyday players and 96,000 at bats a grand slam is hit on less than one percent of the at-bats, you can see how this is a very very hard and significant feat. Well for the sourcing world the grand slam means being able to attend SourceCon. SourceCon is the top conference for sourcers. SourceCon has been around for over nine years and was one of the first conferences dedicated to all things sourcing. It occurs twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, and the location rotates. I was fortunate to go to my first SourceCon this year in Anaheim, California. This is my story.
I arrived in Anaheim on Wednesday the 21st around noon. I got to the hotel around 2pm, just in time for our volunteer meeting to go over conference responsibilities. I had been fortunate enough to be involved in volunteering and helping for this conference. Once the meeting was over, I had a few hours to kill until the happy hour. The happy hour is a SourceCon stable, that allows everyone to meet and greet each other in a social environment.
Then the first full day of SourceCon officially began, and needless to say, my head was rolling. This year’s event had over 700 attendees, a new SourceCon record. I got to meet some of the legends in the sourcing world like; Steve Levey, Jason Vogel, Aaron Lintz, Glenn Gutmacher, Glen Cathey, Marvin Smith, and many others not the least of which is the SourceCon head cheese, Shannon Pritchett. Needless to say, I was star struck.
On both days there were two to three Keynotes and three breakout sessions. Now in the breakout sessions, there were three tracks, Candidate Identification, Candidate Engagement, and Marketing and Branding. So to start of SourceCon, Pritchett gave us the 2016 State of Sourcing. This was a great presentation that utilized a persona to tell us what the state of the average sourcer was. Things like, experience level, req load, salary etc. were pretty interesting to me as a newer sourcer as I was not too far behind the average.
Now I am not going to go session by session but instead give my overall impression. SourceCon was and is amazing. The people are so open and willing to help you, to teach you, to guide you. I have never seen anything like this ever. I learned so much, specifically about the importance of outreach and your initial contact with a candidate. I can sum all this up with one word “personalization.” Meaning, make sure you personalize your emails when initially contacting a candidate. Try to find a way to connect with your candidates. Also, make sure you are not spamming people. #FightSpam
Of course, there were a lot of tools mentioned like; Textio, which is a tool for helping you craft the best email you can. Million Short, which is a search engine that allows you to ignore the top results, showing you results most other sourcers don’t see. Social Talent’s SourceHub and Recruit’em for building your Boolean strings and so many other tools.
On the night of day one, came the SourceCon Hackathon. Basically, a competition to source specific information or candidates for specific requirements. It started out with everyone doing it. The top 16 were then broken down into four teams of four. Then they competed as teams. The top team was then broken down into individuals to compete for the top prize. It was a blast.
Of course, throughout both days there are networking breaks where you get to meet and talk with other attendees and presenters. In addition, there were the Innovation Labs, an opportunity to hear from vendors who have created some of the best tools for the sourcing community. Vendors such as, Entelo, Hiretual, and others showed us what their product does and how it can help us.
Of course, no SourceCon would be complete without the breakout tables. These tables cover a wide set of topics from Sourcing Tools to Facebook Sourcing, Linkedin Sourcing, Custom Search Engines, and much more. These were great places to get some targeted help and knowledge in areas essential to sourcing.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and so did SourceCon. It all wrapped up on day two with the SourceCon wrap up and closing session. It was kind of sad to see it end, but I learned so much and met so many people. Oh and best of all only six months and I get to do it again. If you have never been to a SourceCon you should go, you will not regret it as you will leave a better sourcer and having made some great connections and friends.
I end this with this statement that I think is very important. Despite the facts that all who attended SourceCon are sourcers and recruiters who compete with each other for talent, the phrase “we take care of our own” is a mainstay of this community. The SourceCon community is like a fraternity or sorority, once you in it, you’re in it for life and they always help and take care of their own. I guess the best way to say it, is they are family.