Birds Of A Feather

There was a discussion over on one of the LinkedIn recruiting groups about “where do I find senior/executive level candidates other than CareerBuilder, Monster, Ladders and LinkedIn? ”

There were a lot of replies that listed specific databases or job boards: IvyExec and 6figurejobs, jobvertise, and execunet.com (and of course my favorite outsourcer proponent for $1.50/name resume farmers overseas). But one senior recruiter half-jokingly said, “the telephone”?

The person asking the question jumped in and assured everyone that she knows how to use the phone, but that she is looking for ways to find candidates. She’s been an agency and professional services recruiter for a few years so isn’t completely green, but her lack of basic fundamental sourcing strategies puzzled me. If you are looking for senior/executive management, they aren’t going to be posting their resumes on CareerBuilder or IvyExec. They will be networking their way into new positions. And they will be niched by industry at that point in their careers; a Product Director of a medical software billing company isn’t going to be hanging out in the same professional spaces as the CEO of an aerodynamics manufacturing company.

For those of us that are seasoned sourcers, looking at industry BoD members, conference/ tradeshow speaker lists, local/regional panel participants, and finding publications (which either quote them in articles or that they have submitted to) is fundamental. How can it not be intuitive that “like attracts like”? Is there a fundamental mindset that certain recruiters do/not have? Was this just a case of “just throwing it out there” and not thinking to do some preliminary research (which, I might add, is one of my key red flags in a candidate)?

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I have it easy: I am a technical recruiter in one of the top two tech hubs in the country (Seattle). So, most of the folks I’m looking for will generally have a fairly obvious electronic footprint. But even when I am looking for non-tech candidates (oh, say finance/accounting), I start by finding out who in my own network will know these folks, where the professional organizations live online and in town, and what professional portals or publications I can use. I have a couple of CPA’s, CFO’s, and even bookkeepers in my local network. I ask them for referrals first. I look at their LinkedIn profiles to see what groups they belong to, and who had recommended/endorsed them.

As we continue to expand the role of sourcing in recruiting, we need to ask ourselves how we train new recruiters effectively and how we evangelize our skills/methodology to the rest of the industry. We need to de-emphasize resume/name databases and continue stressing self-reliance and research for strong sourcing. And most of all, we need to make sure that “just throwing it out there for someone else to do the work” is not a valid means of recruiting; it’s just lazy and unacceptable.

Kristen Fife is a senior technical recruiter in the greater Seattle area. She has been in recruiting since 2004, starting as contract Researcher for the Microsoft Strategic Recruiting Group before moving into full lifecycle agency recruiting for Volt Technical Services. Her move into corporate recruiting started with both sourcing and full lifecycle contract roles at Microsoft (including MSFT Research, Legal, and various product groups). In addition to Microsoft, Kristen worked for 3 years for RealNetworks/GameHouse as the Senior Technical Recruiter and Sourcing Specialist; at the University of Washington/Harborview Medical Centers as a Sourcer, as well as smaller companies such as Varolii (now part of Nuance Communications), Covestic, and bSquare. Currently she is an RPO Senior Technical Recruiter, she sits on the Leadership Team for Sourcing7, and is a regular presenter, trainer, panelist, and speaker in the Seattle area for recruiting forums and job seekers. She has been a regular contributor to the Seattle Times, including an employment topic column, regular blog, and the NWJobs Hire Wire newsletter for the local recruiting industry. Her blog for job seekers receives several thousand hits a week. She has been quoted in several publications including ABCNews, AOL, the Seattle Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

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