You Can’t Be an Effective Sourcer if You Don’t Do THIS First

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Sep 11, 2014
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

You can be the best Boolean string-builder, Google X-Rayer, or use all of the latest social-aggregating, open-web, supercharged sourcing tools out there, but if you don’t first have a thorough, deep-dive intake meeting with your hiring manager to find out EXACTLY what your hiring team wants (and NEEDS… which are often two different things), then you’re digging in the wrong place! (Cue the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme song.) Seriously, though… How can you be your hiring team’s eyes and ears out on the web if you don’t know PRECISELY what you’re looking for? 

Throughout my career, I’ve seen recruiters (agency and in-house) pick up a new req, slap up the job posting as-is on a bunch of job boards and then source willy-nilly (yes, that’s an official recruiting term), looking for anyone and everyone who even vaguely resembles the job description. The worst offenders will spam-blast anyone who has the keyword-du-jour *anywhere* on their profile and then start machine-gunning dozens of ill-fitting resumes at their hiring manager faster than they can possibly consume them. (I’m sure none of THAT applies to anyone reading this blog post, of course.) 😉

The better approach? Glen Cathey said it best when he quoted good ole Abe Lincoln in a sourcing webinar a while back, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.” I cannot agree more strongly with this approach. It’s always better to do your prep work and research ahead of time and THEN go after your prospects in a specific, targeted way. What hiring manager wouldn’t rather receive five spot-on resumes instead of 50 that are all over the place?

When a new req lands in my lap, there are several things that I do before jumping in and taking action. I’ll save some of those items for a future blog post, but one of the most important is a deep-dive intake meeting with my hiring manager. By the end of that meeting, there should be zero confusion about what you’re looking for. If there is, you need to go back and fill in those gaps. A 30-45 minute time investment on the front end will inevitably save hours of wasted time and effort on the back end.

I’m happy to share with you my own checklist that I’ve been using for years. Well, this one’s a checklist-slash-blog post. Save it, print it, favorite it.

Download: Intake Form

There’s more to your pre-sourcing research (hiring manager’s management style, the culture / morale of the hiring team, etc.) but this should give you a good start. The main point is to do as much information gathering as possible – both direct and discreet – on the front end. Make sure you really understand the hiring manager, the hiring team and what makes them tick to help you draw up a profile of the type of person who will be successful in the role. Make sure you’re all on the same page 100% and only then should you head off to do your sourcing.

If I’m ever out there sourcing and unsure whether a resume is a good fit or not – hey, it happens! – then I know it’s time to do a little more refining and scoping. You should get to the point where you should know a great fit when you see it. Saves time, increases quality of submittals, facilitates candidate engagement, improves candidate experience and makes your hiring managers much, much happier with you.  J

Anything I forgot to mention? Any secret sauce you have to share that helps you fully understand your hiring team’s needs? Share it with the rest of us and we all will spend less time hitting up the wrong candidates and fill our positions that much faster!

image credit: bigstock

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