Tales From An Editor’s First SourceCon

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Sep 25, 2012

I should probably state for the record that it was technically my second SourceCon. The first one I went to didn’t really count because it was five SourceCon’s ago and it was in San Diego, tacked on to the beginning of the ERE Expo. It was also my first event ever working for ERE so it was a tad overwhelming.

Being that we usually travel light to events, I didn’t go to any of the others until this last one; my first as editor of SourceCon.

And even though this SourceCon was the largest yet, I’m hoping even more show up in Atlanta because what happened in-person in Dallas was unique compared to the many other conferences I’ve attended.

One of the tough things to know from a distance is what a conference is like when you’re there in the flesh. I had seen a few livestreams of SourceCon and been on every debrief of it but I still didn’t know what to completely expect.

I’d also be lying if I didn’t tell you I wasn’t a little nervous.

But a few hours into the conference and it kind of fell into place. We kicked it off with a great keynote from Tom Becker and rattled off session after session of a mix of content for both in-the-trenches sorts of sourcers as well as those who determine the strategic direction of their sourcing function. In addition, we had a bunch of interesting, hands-on labs throughout the day.

There was also a lot of networking. A reception followed by SourceCon After Dark, a community organized sourcing hackfest, capped off a long day.

I won’t pretend it wasn’t a struggle to not snooze that alarm a third time on the second day but we had too many good sessions to return for. Tasha Bergson-Michaelson kicked off our second day and was one of the more participatory, engaging keynoters throughout both days that I’ve worked with.

Beyond sourcing, I learned much more:

  • The sourcing function is as strong as ever: It’s hard to get a pulse of an entire industry but I can tell you that everyone I talked to was in a state of (positive) flux with their sourcing team. Even as talent acquisition as a whole remains in an uneasy growth mode, the investment in good, solid sourcing isn’t going away.
  • LinkedIn is still a behemoth: Call LinkedIn what you want (not a social network, a resume database, whatever), the most attended concurrent session was Glen Cathey’s session on getting beyond the basics with LinkedIn. This late addition being slotted into a concurrent was a mistake on my part.
  • Think about your target: Why did they create an online account? How would they want to be contacted? What sort of opportunities would they be interested in? Data-mining is still an important aspect of the job, for sure but thinking about the big picture as you do these searches is getting more and more important.
  • Leave no stone unturned: Not only in search (whether you are looking online, via telephone) but also in technique. We heard a lot of speakers talk about not being satisfied with the easiest path. Be novel in your approach and your search, as well as constantly evolving, and you’ll be better for it.

If you went, what was your biggest takeaway? If you have a full post, send it my way ( and we’ll try to publish as many as we can.

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