SourceCon Orlando, Day 1: Patterns And People Skills

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Mar 1, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

As promised, SourceCon All Stars has delivered a power-packed session lineup with some of the best sourcing minds in the business. Orlando welcomed attendees with gorgeous (and not too humid!) weather, and night-before networking got things started with fantastic meet-and-greets. This community loves to come together and share best practices, bringing a very “open sourcer” mentality to learning and growing. Bring your best ideas and share them – we all learn from one another and rising tides raise all ships.

Day 1 kicked off today with some clear themes, and they do not include tools and resource use. As Glen Cathey said in his opening keynote presentation, the two ultimate sourcer hacks are actually critical thinking and people skills.


“Nothing pains some people more than having to think,” a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, shared by Cathey. During his presentation, Cathey outlined some methods to help make thinking less painful and more beneficial, by identifying patterns in your searches and then being able to make adjustments to your approaches to sourcing. Basically put, there is an iterative search process that can be applied to developing effective search strings to find the right kind of people:

  • Hypothesize (what search might work)
  • Execute (run your search)
  • Review (are the results relevant, are there patterns, concepts, false positives)
  • Modify (try again)
  • Observe (what changed for the better or worse)

Being able to modify and adjust your approach to search is a theme that also appeared in Johnny Campbell’s presentation on sourcing for diversity. Campbell described looking for patterns within niche communities that are underrepresented within your respective client groups, and using that discovered knowledge to develop and continue to iterate on search strings to uncover ‘hidden’ talent. Paired with that, Campbell also touched on the importance of being able to get past and bias from hiring teams, stating that “there’s nothing worse than wasting hard work in search to have bias be the cause for a halt in forward movement.” Thinking critically about search is what makes a sourcer great, but coupling that with people skills to ensure your sourced candidates get interviewed is what enables you to master your function.

John Vlastelica rounded out morning sessions continuing with the theme of paying attention to patterns and people skills. Vlastelica discussed the benefits of identifying patterns in hiring practices, interview process, and hiring manager personalities to tie everything together for the best possible candidate experience. At the end of the day, being a good – and effective – sourcing partner means being able to frame your conversations around what is most important to your business in order to get to what is most important to you. This includes being able to set appropriate delivery expectations, establish proper team alignments, and get hiring teams involved in the sourcing process by encouraging referrals, developing search processes together, and pre-building scalable interview teams and processes. True to his unique style, Vlastelica said, “What makes our job suck is working with bad hiring managers. Engaging hiring managers around sourcing makes it suck less.”

As SourceCon continues this afternoon and tomorrow we will learn more about specific resources and approaches to improve sourcing skills. This morning’s lineup laid the groundwork for a solid foundation on which to build – identify patterns to optimize your efforts in search, outreach, and qualification, and engage people skills to bring the business and your candidates together.

Please follow the conference chatter on Twitter with the #sourcecon hashtag. What are some of your favorite takeaways so far?

photo credit: @marcelrietveld

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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