I source for a remote education company. But my responsibility for talented teachers I hire doesn’t stop at the sourcing and on-boarding process. After the teacher completes their basic “new employee” functions, I then shepherd them through teacher training, and upon completion of their training I become their manager.
In our industry, there’s a common struggle between the hiring managers, whose goal is to fill positions, and the people managers who take over the day-to-day responsibilities of supporting and assessing a new employee’s work. Which raises the question, what happens when you are on both sides of the equation?
Well, it means you’re never off the hook. Not only are you expected to find, screen, and hire new talent, but you also have to live with the results!
Wearing the Sourcing Hat
In an industry where the search for base-level qualified applicants is a challenge, sourcing can become a painstaking process. Ten years ago, when I started with my company, our methods for sourcing were incredibly basic:
- Post positions on Monster and Craigslist.
- Reach out to college and university contacts to spread the word.
- Offer referral bonuses to our active faculty.
- Post “Teach for Us!” flyers on cork boards inside of campus buildings.
Obviously, times have changed. All of these methods are now either of diminished value, or completely antiquated. This is why x-raying websites and searching outside of conventional job boards are so essential.
As I have immersed myself in the advanced sourcing world I have just begun to discover a whole host of new strategies to uncover fresh talent that we were previously unable to reach. Here are just a few methods I have tried that have changed the way that I see talent acquisition.
- Sourcing Amazon Reviews – Since our company sells textbooks and other study aids, those reviewing the products are first and foremost, already engaged with our brand. In addition, if someone provides a thorough review, often this can be an indication that they are well versed in that standardized test and could be a promising teacher. From there I follow the bread crumbs from their profiles which will hopefully lead to additional social profiles and contact information. Sometimes profiles would include links to their personal websites or their picture could be used in a google image search
- Utilizing data extraction tools – Tweet Beaver on Twitter can be used to see if we have any qualified tutors engaged with our brand’s account or even with our competitors. When I extract the follower data into a CSV, I once again follow the bread crumbs for any identifying details like an email, website or LinkedIn profile.
- Searching for relevant talent communities on Reddit – I discovered that there are communities for every major standardized test for pre-college and graduate programs. The communities are hubs for students providing support and advice to one another. This was an unexpected and rich source of potential employees and I will dive deeper into this subject in a future blog.
Those are just a couple of examples of sites and methods that go well beyond the conventional methods and places used to find quality candidates. There is far too much competition out there for talent and a thin pipeline can result in desperate choices. Ones that not only result in wasted money, but sub-par performance as well.
Because we are a remote company, it’s unlikely that I will ever bump into one of my hires at the water cooler, or even be in the same area code. That means I have to find people who are self-motivated, well-organized, and able to manage themselves to a degree. While no process will ever be perfect, I need to be in the position of choosing the best candidates from a pool of contenders.
As a person who takes on the challenge of managing the entire employee life cycle, I have to compete with sourcers who are already using these new techniques and are able to spend a full 40-hour workweek specializing in the acquisition of talent. With my split responsibilities, I have to be ruthlessly efficient and stay on the leading edge of fresh sourcing methods.
Wearing the Manager Hat
Once our instructors clear training, I am their first option as a resource. I assist them through their classroom and tutoring assignments and then review their work on a semi-annual basis. My evaluation not only provides them performance feedback, but I also make decisions on whether the work they have done over the last six-month time period merits a pay increase.
Of course, every person in sourcing wants to find the best candidate for any open role. The stress of locating quality people to fill openings and create a good candidate pipeline is usually a specialized concern.
However, when you handle employees from pillar to post, it changes your outlook on the process. Your focus can’t be on simply filling the openings you have; you must also consider whether the individual is a good fit for your management style and the culture of your team.
The reward for my job, if you can keep up, is the ability to build a relationship with your direct reports that few other companies can claim. There’s a loyalty and kinship that’s created between you and someone who has known you through the sourcing process, the hiring process, and continues to grow with you throughout their tenure.