What does it take to build a successful sourcing session? For starters, it requires including the full range of people who take part in the hiring process. Considering that we (as sourcers and recruiters) aren’t the final decision-makers, it’s important to include hiring managers, employer branding people, and other hiring partners to collaborate on building a targeted talent, build relationships, share knowledge, brainstorm, and conceive creative messaging as part of the sourcing session.
Yet the most important reason to bring in multiple stakeholders is to clarify roles and ensure accountability for everyone who engages with talent. I’ll be giving a talk about this at SourceCon Seattle in March, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of how to think about building a successful sourcing session.
Sourcing Sessions Don’t Create Themselves
A great session doesn’t just happen. It has got to be planned. To ensure that your session runs smoothly, before it even begins, make sure to gather recruiters and sourcers to talk session objectives, agenda, how it will run, what roles individuals will play, and ultimately how you will track candidates. Think of this almost as a pre-session session.
Before hosting a session, you should also think about how you can keep it creative and fun. For example, I like to create a list of 10 search strings and matching keywords for targeting ideal candidates. Providing your own strings is also beneficial because it will get other team members to think about how they can likewise bring their own search strings to the session.
It’s also important to make sure to test out which keywords and search-string combinations work before you host a sourcing session. This can save you time, nevermind that the instant results will build excitement. You should also review the results with the team and talk about the candidates that are relevant to the role. Optionally, you can refine search strings by adding filters for criteria like targeted companies and diversity. (That is, after you’ve defined what a “diverse candidate” is!)
Once you’ve done your planning, try scheduling a sourcing session with the hiring team once every two weeks. Reserve a conference room, buy meals, plan for music to crank up the brain power, and get to some kick-ass sourcing!
A key activity during your session is for the group to create an email that is personalized and tailored toward the role. The message should be easily personalized for each candidate and for those who will be sending it. No spammish, cheesy emails!
Take this opportunity to get everyone involved to develop the voice of the team in the message. For my sessions, I usually write the email in advance, send it prior to the session to attendees, and ask them for input and edits to ensure it is personable. This will help you and rest of the hiring team to share thoughts and gain alignment on what it takes to engage the talent you’re seeking.
Right on Track
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It’s also important to use a spreadsheet (created prior to the session) to store strings – who created which strings, what the results were, who reached out to which candidates, how many candidates were contacted, when they were messaged and sourced, and any extra notes. Remember, this is a team effort, so be sure to get everyone involved in the process and have them contribute.
The shared spreadsheet is important especially if you are working outside of LinkedIn Recruiter. You could use the LinkedIn Recruiter project folder, but it’s nonetheless important to have the spreadsheet as a shared channel for tracking candidates. After all, using multiple candidate sources can get messy, so stay focused and don’t create an over-processed workflow.
It worth pointing out that building great sessions is an ongoing process. Your goal is always to improve upon your last session, so after each one, send out a follow-up email that highlights results, details areas for improvement, and solicits suggestions from the team. Keep everyone accountable for their input, and most importantly, thank everyone for their participation. It means a lot!
Finally, you’ll be surprised at the large amount of hiring data that you gather from these sessions. It will transform your team’s hiring practices and the relationships you’ve built will be a part of the hiring success.
Want to learn more? I’d love to see you at my presentation, “Building a Successful Sourcing Session,” at SourceCon Seattle. If you haven’t already grabbed your ticket, use my speaker discount SCS2020SPK10. See you in March!