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Jun 16, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

So finally you have decided that you want to make a career in sourcing. Congratulations, you have selected one of the most exciting and rewarding careers. Not surprisingly, numerous challenges need to be overcome to be successful in this fast-paced field. So here’s a lay of what to expect and how to succeed.

Sourcing is exciting essentially because the sourcing community is relentlessly evolving. The wide array of resources available to source in today’s market is primarily a result of numerous companies invested in building sourcing tools. Relevant software developed by such firms have immensely helped in addressing the bottlenecks in recruiting. Starting from ATS, CRM to a plethora of free Chrome extensions, companies are now very engaged in understanding the challenges facing a recruiter/sourcer and are designing solutions to tackle those problems individually.

It is also an interesting time to be a sourcer simply because there is so much expertise available, for free, to help one get oriented and also succeed if they are willing to seek guidance. Here, I would specifically refer to sourcing champions, aka gurus, who are incredibly supportive, open to discuss ideas and very motivating. Through personal interactions, I realized that many of them have succeeded in this field by directly applying the concepts they learned and perfecting them through trial and error, and therefore their guidance is an indispensable resource that should and must be utilized by all.

Sourcing has its set of challenges which primarily stem from its ever-changing landscape. There is more information out there than one can sufficiently assimilate and apply. A typical work day could involve a daunting list of requisitions to be filled while trying to meet the ever approaching deadlines to submit resumes to concerned managers. Not surprisingly, most of us are left with no time to hone our sourcing skills further and participate in activities for self-development which is critical for long-term success in this field. It is therefore imperative to have a “non-negotiable” time in your calendar set aside for self-development. Any length of time set aside for your personal and professional development is always a great investment.

Like any endeavor in life, success in sourcing begins with a well planned and focused approach. In the following section, I am sharing some tips that I feel would be quite useful in starting your sourcing career in the right direction.

  • Domain/Space – It’s always a good idea to begin your career in an area that you have been interested in or have prior experience. Not only your expertise in the area would help shorten the learning curve, but also any new insights that you can bring to the team would be highly appreciated by your team. I began my career in IT recruitment, since I had a degree in CS and therefore could understand the job requirements/candidate potential better which helped me in my sourcing/recruiting endeavors. Ok, now you have figured out the large space. So what is next?
  • Learn your space – It is important to know the big players in your space and be aware of who is hiring and who is firing. One way to stay abreast with all the relevant information is to talk to your candidates not only about their current role in the company but also about their team structure, projects, etc. You can then follow the company online and keep a tab on the which direction the company is heading with regards to technology and if that is affecting the structure of their workforce.
  • Technology – It is imperative to learn the technology in sufficient detail before moving full steam on sourcing the talent. For example, if you are recruiting for DevOps in the IT domain, in addition to being reasonably acquainted with what DevOps entails, you should be aware of what the company is precisely looking for in a DevOps candidate. It is also crucial to know similar titles used in the industry for DevOps, as well as major corporations successful in implementing DevOps and different tools or technology used in DevOps, etc.
  • Sourcing tools/technologies – There are multiple avenues to get acquainted with sourcing technologies/tools which include training programs provided for a fee (e.g., invest) or attending training programs provided for the community by the many experts/gurus that I mentioned earlier in this article. You could also enroll in certification programs such as AIRS, Social Talent, or check out the new SourceCon Academy. There is always the option of seeking information where ever available, such as from colleagues, online and printed information material, i.e. “self-learning,” while you look for more organized avenues to stay up to date in this field. Learning is a never ending process. Once you have a good command of your new sourcing skills, you should always get involved in more focused and intensive training regimens in these areas to deepen your expertise, while broadening your knowledge base by learning additional tools.

For beginners, here are some options to help kick start the learning process in sourcing:

I personally learnt a lot by becoming member and perusing the posts every day.

  • Webinars – I feel that this particular avenue is grossly underutilized by many in the community. Experts who give these webinars have either been closely associated or have done extensive research and are willing to share their knowledge with you for free. So definitely sign up for these webinars when time permits, or better still, make time to attend these sessions as they will help you gain an edge over the competition. Moreover, by signing up for webinars, you can access a recorded version for a later time, and so there is no reason to miss such opportunities even if you have a busy day. Check out the free webinars from SourceCon and ERE.
  • Conferences – I was very indifferent towards the benefits of attending sourcing conferences until I attended SourceCon in 2016. It is an excellent opportunity to listen to and network with peers who are at the top of their game. Also, new sourcing technologies and tools could be on display. Therefore, with the right attitude, you can not only elevate your knowledge in the field but also broaden your network. Many companies set aside a portion of the yearly budget for promoting the personal and professional development of their employees. It is worthwhile to check this with your employer and plan on spending a part of this budget on attending conferences.
  • Network with Recruiters/Sourcers on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook – Connect, connect, connect.
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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