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Mar 22, 2018

Picture this. It’s day two of SourceCon. You’re surrounded by 800 of your closest sourcing companions and your mind has just been blown away by a series of jaw-dropping presentations and offstage networking. Knowledge is being shared faster than you can download a Chrome extension. Twitter hasn’t seen this much excitement since the SuperBowl, and you’ve just seen someone in a purple squirrel suit. Excitement and anticipation are mounting. You know you’re about to witness something magical.

Then, it happens. The much-anticipated keynote speaker Glen Cathey takes the stage. Everyone was ready to soak up all of the sourcing nuggets of knowledge that only he can so eloquently provide time and time again.

I remember sitting in the row behind the speakers eagerly awaiting his presentation. With great excitement, I tap Glen Cathey’s shoulder to tell him that I was going to be writing the recap on his keynote. Looking back, I don’t even know why I told him; because it’s not like he even knows who I am. Now that I think about it, I was caught up in the moment! The “Oh My! (It’s) Glen Cathey Moment!”


If you ever have the opportunity to hear Cathey speak, you are in for a treat. He will inspire you with the story of his journey from a SourceCon attendee to how he has hit the stage (now multiple times). He is someone that is kind, approachable, and willing to share any of his remarkable sourcing tips and tricks. It is my honor and pleasure to share this glimpse of some of my favorite highlights from hearing him speak at SourceCon Vegas.

Let’s get to the recap. Cathey began talking to the crowd about “The Human Element of Sourcing Candidates.” So many takeaways. However, I have narrowed it down to the top three.


Remember to keep in mind that it’s not about you, it’s about the candidate. When reaching out to them:

  • Ask about their current situation
  • Ask about their interests and challenges
  • Explore what their plans and desires are

Everything listed above is ways that Cathey mentioned will help build rapport when contacting candidates. I am a firm believer in building a great rapport with candidates (people) because once trust is established, the relationship will only continue to be strengthened throughout the recruitment process. Cathey also talked about how the needs of candidates can be filled if you get to know what those are during the initial conversation with them. This leads to the second takeaway.



Cathey shared examples of how appealing to the emotions of candidates can bring the human element into sourcing. Appealing to the emotion of candidates works very well when trying to identify what needs can be met for the candidates. When a sourcer can achieve this level of emotion, it demonstrates that they care. See examples below:

  • Use quotes and tell stories
  • Appeal to emotion to force listeners to use their imagination
  • Use phrases like “what happens” or “how do you feel when.”

This resonated with me because I enjoy making emotional connections with candidates. I feel like the tip of emotion was an “aha” moment for me because I find it easy to share stories with candidates. Although I recruit in healthcare, I am not clinical. So, it’s always been a priority of mine to have stories to share which include other clinicians. However, it never occurred to me that I was appealing to their emotions.  For me, it was more about sharing similar experiences in which the candidates could easily relate to. Which leads to the third and final takeaway.


Social Proof

There are similarities between appealing to emotion and social proof (in my opinion). Cathey shared with the crowd that social proof is stating or even implying that others have taken a particular action can increase your chances of success. Here are a few examples that he included:

  • “Most of the people (specific titles/roles) I speak with aren’t actively looking to make a change..”
  • “The folks I’ve been speaking with have said _________.”
  • “We’ve recently hired folks from X, Y, Z and they have said _______.”

I’ve often used social proof without knowing it. Maybe you have too. Have you ever used testimonials when talking to candidates? That is precisely how I have used it! My favorite one to use is the third one listed above. I like to share with candidates when alumni from the school that they have graduated from have recently been hired. I even invite them to have a conversation with the person so that they can hear directly from their classmates’ about their new hire and onboarding experience. Of course, permission is received in advance from the alumni before connecting them with others.

Overall, Cathey was able to live up to all of my expectations. He exceeded them which is typical of Cathey. He can take the most simple aha moments and turn them into a wow experience. At the end of his presentation, it was clear that his words had positively impacted several other attendees in the room.  Personally, I left the session with a feeling of confirmation that I had been doing the right things. And, most of all, had acquired new ideas to implement that will revive my current sourcing and recruiting strategies.

Thank you, Glen Cathey, for a fantastic presentation and also for being so lovely when this stranger tapped on your shoulder just before you went on stage.

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