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Mar 31, 2020

Welcome back everyone!  Your faithful SourceCon Editor, Mark Tortorici here.  All I can say is “WOW”!!!  That was just an awesome experience to be a part of.  Last week we wrapped up the first ever SourceCon Digital.  I wanted to do a recap of the event, talk about the speakers who presented, and add some commentary on what it was like to put on a live stream interactive conference!

I know that not everyone in the SourceCon community was able to attend, but believe me when I say that it was one of the craziest performances that I’ve ever been a part of.  And this includes things I’ve done like putting on rock shows, playing piano for musicals, playing music in costume at a wedding, playing songs for a TV show, or anything else!

The Set Up

Over the past 6 months, we at SourceCon had been working on the SourceCon Seattle conference.  The planning for events like these runs pretty smooth and this was no different (well maybe a little bit different since this was my first one as SourceCon Editor).  Towards the end of January we started hearing some things overseas about a virus.  As we went through February things started to become weird.  And once March started we knew that changes had to be made.

As everyone in the world knows by now, the idea of putting on an in-person conference became an impossibility.  Something had to be done! So planning succession went something like this:

  • We’ll have a conference that will be broadcast from different SourceCon Chapter locations!   But that became too difficult to organize.
  • Ok, we’ll fly all the speakers to professional studios. Sounds great!  But then the virus situation became too dire to ignore and speakers could not make it to the West Coast.  Also, it didn’t help that the West Coast was starting to blow up with cases!
  • Finally we decided to keep everything at home (smart choice) and film their sessions there.  The conference host would film and coordinate from a recording studio.  Problem finally solved!

SourceCon Digital Begins!

The technical specs for setting up one these events is actually pretty involved.  Besides the video hardware, there is the process of selecting the right software.  Vu Thai, our Marketing Director and Technical Wizard was able to choose and configure the necessary software.  All the while working under the quickest of deadlines.  The SourceCon team as a whole was able to shift resources and put in the hours needed to get the live event off the ground.

The studio was awesome and because we were working with the magic of film, we were able to create some cool things spur-of-the-moment like this intro:

Being in a studio gives you the freedom to blend in the speaker sessions and cut directly into the Q&A.  The speaker’s sessions were pre-recorded but the event was live!  The roundtables and speaker Q&A were also live!  Even as late as the day before, there were ideas and plans that were still being thrown around.  Almost like being a part of an episode of Saturday Night Live!

The Speaker Sessions

The speakers get mad props from me.  Not only did they stick with us through each iteration of this conference, but they still delivered awesome content!  The line up was filled with new and familiar faces.  Sourcing pros and rising stars.  Glen Cathey talked about the Key to Sourcing Productivity and how you can optimize the work you do through planning and mono-tasking (editor’s note: I believe true multitasking is a myth…with the exception of walking and chewing gum at the same time).  Here is Glen as the first speaker in the virtual world of SourceCon Digital.  He’s also reppin’ with the cool shirt:

Balazs Paroczay had a great presentation called the Sourcing Clown Show.  He talked about sourcing mistakes that he sees people making all the time…and how to fix them.  There were also some great references from the movie/book IT.  Here he is talking about improving sourcing results with the NOT trick.  First, search for what you want.  Then remove that search and look for the words without the quotes:

Some speakers went all-out for their presentation video.  Guillaume Alexandre really touched a nerve (pun slightly intended) with his presentation on neurodiversity and sourcing.  Clearly, there were many people that identified with it and wanted to discuss!  Guillaume even filmed his intro like a classic James Bond villain!

Normally we have multiple tracks for attendees to choose from, but this time we ran everything back-to-back. Which means everyone got to see leadership sourcing, candidate engagement, and expert sourcing presentations.  Ben Gotkin from Recruiting Toolbox had a daring presentation called “Time To Kill the Purple Squirrel” (no squirrels were harmed during the making of this presentation).  He talked about how we can partner with hiring managers and change the unrealistic requirements into something that can be sourced!

Marvin Smith talked about the magic formula for email outreach: personalized messages for candidates.  He also talked about how this personal approach can be implemented anytime, even with email campaigns.  Marvin spoke about the best times and reasons to reach out to a candidate, and why you only have about 15-20 seconds to grab their attention before they delete your email!

Bret Feig had a super cool presentation on web scraping for sourcers.  He started with the easy point-n-click tools and then moved to more advanced concepts like DIVs and selecting HTML elements.  It was wicked cool:

Tori Fedel led a sourcing leadership track where she talked about structuring, managing and strategically aligning a sourcing team.  Everything was detailed with accompanying solutions: how to deal shared sourcing models, hiring manager interactions, employee leveling, attainable metrics and standing up for your team.

A mysterious speaker from another planet also did a presentation on how diversity sourcing is discriminatory.  Afterwards, the SourceCon Grandmaster Champion was announced!  Not only that but we got to interview the winner, Casey Casella, who told us about the sourcing puzzles that he had to pass in order to become the champion.  Look for a blog post this week from him on this very subject!

Day One wrapped up with the infamous SourceCon Hackathon.  There was a mistake with one of the questions, but we still managed to get a winner out of the game.  That person is none other than Ben Solomon, who I think is a 3-time winner (now he has to help us create these games instead of playing them).

Are you interested in trying out the Hackathon?  It just so happens that my friend Jan Tegze turned them into Sourcing Games.  Try it out for your self here and here.

The SourceCon Team & Welcome Wagon

The Welcome Wagon is an essential part of SourceCon.  For the in-person events, they provide help and guidance to the attendees.  For SourceCon Digital, they had just as an important role.  They had to help answer questions, direct attendees to specific places online, and provide 1st-level tech support!  Needless to say, they were a huge help.  We really appreciate the help they bring and the SourceCon vibe.

Last but definitely not least…the SourceCon team here at ERE Media.  This entire group of people worked 15 hours a day to work out technical issues, scheduling, marketing, logistics, filming, communications, and world class content.  There were many times where I had to just let everything go and roll with what was happening.  Kate kept us all sane as we ran around like lunatics on the playground.  She definitely kept everything together!

The Attendees & Conclusion

The attendees really helped make this thing a reality.  Without their dedication, we would be doing a live stream conference for ourselves.  Which is definitely not that exciting.  So thank you to the SourceCon attendees.

There is so much to talk about here, that I want to do two posts!  The wrap-up from Day 2 will happen in a day or so.  Stay tuned!!!!

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