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Nov 14, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

It’s happened before. You’re at your desk just staring at the computer screen, willing it to give you an answer. You’ve Googled “creative sourcing strategies” and come up with nothing new. You’ve Booleaned and Facebooked and Tweeted. And now, you just want to give up.

As recruiters/sourcers, we are skilled in Internet research and using social media and other sourcing tools. But what if we stepped away from the computer, put technology on hold and started collaborating more with each other?

I recently heard a TED talk by Margaret Heffernan, a CEO, entrepreneur, speaker and author. In her talk, “Why It Is Time to Forget the Pecking Order at Work,” Margaret simply states: “Companies don’t have ideas; only people do. And what motivates people are the bonds and loyalty and trust they develop between each other.” I know we all have competitors and you may not want to share your secret sauce. However, collaboration with other recruiters is a source for ideas that is often left untapped.

Last week I was helping a co-worker source for a role. After scouring our ATS, LinkedIn, and Indeed and racking my brain for creative ideas, I gave her a call to brainstorm some additional keywords and job titles I could search. Later I thought of another great resource –other sourcers! I asked a few more people from my organization for ideas and received some incredibly valuable feedback.

Ready to try it for yourself? Here are some creative sourcing ideas to consider when collaborating with your team:


  1. Try New Keywords

It’s great to use all of the wonderful tools that we have at our disposal, but not if you are using the same keywords over and over again. What if another recruiter or sourcer has recruited for a similar role? They may have used a different job title or know about some specific keywords that really delivered. As mentioned earlier, I was helping my co-worker source on a market manager role. I was searching “marketing analyst” and hit a wall. After asking her what keywords she could think of to use, she came up with “market segment manager.” I started putting more searches together that included a mixture of both of our keywords and found more candidates.


  1. Look at Associations/Organizations

This is especially useful if you are recruiting in a particular area. If you know of a recruiter in your target area, he or she may know of local organizations or meetings that may not be found online. For example, I work remotely from the metro DC area but my company has recruiters located across the country. One time when I was working on a position in Wichita, KS. I connected with a recruiter from my organization in that area and asked her for advice on where to look for candidates. She was able to help me identify sources that I would not have thought of, such as  sending the job posting to a pastor of a church. It’s very helpful to network with other recruiters in your organization if you are all spread out.


  1. Utilize Social Media

Recruiters are some of the most connected individuals on the Internet – because we have to be. Reach out to your online network of recruiter friends to see who they might know, what online groups might work, etc. This goes further than simply sharing the job posting on LinkedIn. Send a LinkedIn message to other recruiters you know and ask if they can share your update. See if they have any referrals or know of additional online groups for you to explore. Join a Facebook recruiting group that is specific to your area or organization.  Go to and search for a recruiting or HR group and go to their next meeting. Post the role to those groups and ask for help. These groups exist for a reason and can be extremely helpful.


  1. Update Your Strategies

If you’ve been using the same sourcing strategies over and over again, try asking the recruiters in your network what they are doing differently. Maybe there is a step you can add to your strategy that will make it more effective. I have found that when you go over everything that you have done with someone else, they may be able to shed some light on something you missed. For example, I was on a team call and we were discussing a position that was difficult to fill due to its highly technical nature. After talking through the recruiter’s strategy, I suggested reaching out to schools in the area and trying to post the position to their alumni’s job page. It was a simple suggestion which my colleague was able to add to his strategy.


  1. Brainstorm

Get on the phone with another recruiter and just have a brainstorming session. Talk about what you have done and where you are trying to go. Share your challenges and see if the another person has dealt with them before. Ask what kinds of tools they have found useful, what positions they are struggling with, and see how you can help each other out. It could be that you have a challenging hiring manager and you need help selling a candidate – this happened to me recently. I was on a call with my mentor and she told me about what another recruiter was doing to demonstrate that her candidates met critical criteria. She sent me an effective chart that I now use every time I submit a candidate!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

I strongly recommend making collaboration a part of your total sourcing strategy. Schedule a call with a fellow recruiter and discuss your struggles. Reach out to a recruiting group on social media (shout out to We Recruit DC on Facebook and the SourceCon Community). You will gain insight and inspiration from your peers. I know I have.

[clickToTweet tweet=”“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller #SourceCon” quote=”“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller #SourceCon”]

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