Sourcing Is More Than Boolean

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Jan 24, 2020

What Does Sourcing Mean?

These days, sourcing seems to vary from company to company.  While it is one of the functions in recruiting, sourcing is also one of the most important when it comes to building a candidate pipeline.  Depending upon the company or organization you work for, the defined responsibilities of a Sourcer can be any of these:

  • Research
  • Research, prospect identification
  • Research, prospect identification, outreach
  • Research, prospect identification, outreach, screen
  • Research, prospect identification, outreach, screen, submit, scheduling, disposition, etc.

It seems that Sourcers are more engaged with candidates than ever before and for good reason: they are the initial contact for outreach.

Searching and locating skilled prospects are the things that Sourcers do best. It’s all about the hunt!  Here is a list of common sourcing methods and there are many articles on SourceCon’s website that address each:

  • LinkedIn Recruiter or Lite or LinkedIn Basic
  • Deep Web Searches / Google Dorks
  • General Basic Boolean Searches
  • Facebook, GitHub, Twitter, Stack Overflow, etc.
  • SeekOut, ZAPinfo, Hiretual, HiringSolved, etc.


You’ve Found Them, But Now What?

The real fun begins with the candidate outreach.  Whether you’re working with a well-established, name branded company or a startup that’s trying to make a name for itself or even an established but unknown brand, your outreach message will matter most at this stage of sourcing.  The successful conversion of prospect to candidate depends on a well-crafted message.

This phase of sourcing is truly the make or break of what we do and how we do it.  There are many factors at this stage and many articles have already been written on this very topic.  I can tell you the things NOT to do (which many people actually do):

× Bulk emailing or bulk InMailing without reviewing each profile (at least once)
× Sending too much information in the first outreach
Making assumptions about the prospect
Stalking your prospect by sending the same message over and over again

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I’m sure you get the point.  The outreach message needs to be compelling, unique, real, thoughtful, meaningful, and something that sparks an interest in the mind of the prospect.  For example, a message which may include:

✓ Something unique about the prospect, acknowledging their degree, accomplishments, specific skills, etc. (basically letting them know you actually read their profile)
✓ Something funny to catch their interest
✓ Something unique and special about your company, whether it’s truly changing the world, a lifesaving medical device, or perhaps something which saves the planet – it may be interesting enough to prompt a response.
✓ The opportunity to work on a new technology or learn a new language or system
The path to becoming a team lead or manager

Again, while not an exhaustive list, some of these successfully applied ideas can provide compelling results.

One thing I’ve learned through my own experience and by listening to SourceCon attendees is that it likely takes 3-6 touches (emails/calls) before you solicit a response.  Establishing first contact is essential when successfully converting prospects into candidates.


First Contact Made – Let’s chat!

Now that your prospect has responded with interest to chat – it’s time to share your knowledge of the position right?  Well, yes, but there’s much more…

At this point, you are not just prescreening the prospect for the job, you’re also converting the prospect into an interested candidate.  This is a skill that every Sourcer must continue to develop and share among their peers.  I personally like to spend about 30 minutes with the prospect.

As a former contract Sourcer, I’ve worked at many different sized companies: large branded companies (Tesla, Pandora, Apple, Microsoft, Turner/TBS), little known mid-sized companies (RightNow Technologies, IGT, Informatica), and a startup.  Each company had its own set of challenges to attract talent:

  • Finding talent willing to relocate to Reno (IGT) or Bozeman, Montana (RightNow Technologies)
  • Finding talent willing to working in downtown San Francisco, the Peninsula, or the East Bay
  • Sourcing for companies that were out of touch with market rates/comp
  • Convincing Software Engineers to take a gamble on a high flying startup in Atlanta

Pros and cons are important when it comes to selling the company.  Think about the company you’re hiring for.  What convinced you to work there? That would be a good place to start when you discuss the pros with the prospect.  Talk about the job opportunity, the potential to learn new skills, career growth, etc.  Also take the time to understand why the prospect is looking.  Discover their motivating factors and connect the dots.  It’s your job to convert the prospect into the candidate.

In general your initial conversation should look something like this:

  • Review/prep for the call – look for anything in the profile/resume you can connect with (school, company, hobby, location, etc.)
  • Thank the prospect for taking time to chat – connect with them, understand what brings them to you, what are they looking to do in their next job, what’s important to them (remember, it is all about them!)
  • Discuss the opportunity/job – emphasize the correlation between their wants/needs and the job opportunity
  • Convert the prospect to a candidate – lead and guide them to your points (don’t force them!)
  • Layout the interview process – It can be very beneficial when the candidate knows what to expect
  • Interview prep – send the candidate an email with your insights on how they can prepare for the interview


In Conclusion

If you prepare, research the company you represent, and can clearly articulate the pros of the opportunity, then the odds are favorable that you can convert the prospect into a candidate!  The more interested the candidate is in your position, the better their experience will be, and the more likely they will reach the offer stage.

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