How I Won the First European #SourceCon Hackathon

Let me start this off with one comment, I am neither a full-time sourcer nor an experienced hackathon contestant, but a rather generalist talent attraction manager. So if you expect any highly sophisticated hacks or data scraping in this article, you are probably going to be disappointed. What I hope to promote is preferably a return to the essentials, to the simplicity and fun of sourcing.

The reason for me to visit Sourcecon was to learn from the best in class and gather more insights for my colleagues and me to advance our sourcing capabilities. Sourcing is one of the many tasks we have besides 360 recruiting, marketing activities, job fairs or contracting. However we are working in a highly competitive and specialized candidate market, the semiconductor industry, which requires proactive approaches to find the best talent. That’s why we decided to focus more on sourcing and even did the Social Talent Black Belt certification in Internet Recruitment Training, which got me ‘slightly’ hooked on the topic.

Therefore the Hackathon on the agenda at SourceCon in Budapest immediately piqued my interest, although I had no idea what to expect. The plan was to just join in and see what happens. But when I came into the room and saw more than 90 contestants including renowned experts like Shane McCusker and Guillaume Alexandre armed with their laptops at round tables, it was clear as daylight to me that I am not a serious opponent. Being a Hackathon greenhorn, I sat down to listen to the challenges without even thinking about already opening useful tabs like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook or SourceHub in advance.

Challenges:

  1. Answer 8 questions on sourcing as fast as you can! (15-minute time limit and only 12 will advance to the next round).
  2. Find three candidates for a job in Hungary on LinkedIn – based on a Hungarian job description! (15-minute time limit and only six will advance to the next round).
  3. Find out who won the weekly poll on ERE on Oct 10, 2006! (15-minute time limit and only three will advance to the finals).
  4. Find the email of a former MD at Állami Szívkórház who now works as a Cardiologist! (first come, first serve / one winner).

 

Round 1: Answer eight questions on sourcing as fast as you can! (15-minute time limit and only 12 will advance to the next round).

When opening the link to the questionnaire, I was quite happy, because I was reminded of the Social Talent training by the type of questions. As the ones submitting the correct results fastest would advance to the next round, there were different approaches ranging from guessing and submitting as fast as possible to working on the details. Following the motto ‘quality before quantity’ I did not rush through but worked on one after the other.

What Boolean operator is used to broaden your search?

  • AND
  • OR
  • NOT
  • ” “

That was an easy start and did not take me long to think. I assume this was also the case for all other contestants.

What is the proper technique to XRay LinkedIn in Google?

  • Site:linkedin.com (inurl:in OR inurl:pub) “web developer”
  • site:linked.com/in “web developer”
  • Site: linkedin.com/pub (web developer)
  • site: linkedin.com/in (web developer)

As the “…” Operators are the only way to search for an exact term consisting of more than one word; it was clear that only the first two answers could be right. I also remembered the structure of LinkedIn profile URLs, which always include the /in. A look at any random LinkedIn profile would have also led to this conclusion.

Find a PDF Curriculum Vitae of a C++ Developer from Budapest that works for Google. What is his second most endorsed skill on his LinkedIn profile?

  • C++
  • Matlab
  • OpenGL
  • Java

The first thing to do was to start an XRay document search on Google. Search string: filetype:pdf AND Budapest AND “C++ Developer” AND Google. This led me to the CV of Gergely Orbán who perfectly matched the requirements, so I just had to find out about the skills.

Because I am in the lucky situation that my company provides us LinkedIn Recruiter accounts, this was automatically the next site I opened to search. Now the disappointment hit me: There were no endorsements at all on his profile page! So I started to adapt my initial search string over and over again, without any other reasonable result. Being near to desperation I had the brainwave to just try the regular LinkedIn to search Gergely Orbán again – et voilá the endorsements were visible here and in second place there was Matlab.

Who won the first SourceCon Grandmaster Challenge?

  • Katharine Robinson
  • Natalie Glick
  • Jim Schnyder
  • Mike Notaro

I simply started my search at Google with the keywords SourceCon Grandmaster Challenge. The second result was a link to the SourceCon Hall of Fame (https://www.sourcecon.com/the-sourcecon-grandmaster-hall-of-fame/). By scrolling through it was easy to identify Mike Notaro as the first winner in 2007.

Find the article “Sourcing for Domains and Finding Personal Websites.” Use the last search string in the article to find a Senior Developer Advocate at Fitbit. How many years of experience does this person claim to have on their CV under expertise?

  • Three years
  • Six years
  • 12 years
  • 24 years

In this case, I did not really stick to the instructions. First I found the article and tried the last search string with small adaptions site:”*.io” “about me” AND “Senior Developer Advocate” AND Fitbit. However, this led to exactly 0 results. Therefore I started differently, just searching Google for “Senior Developer Advocate” AND fitbit and now there was a guy called Frédéric Harper all over the place. After checking his LinkedIn profile and summing up his experience (actually 16 years by now), I chose 12 as it was the closest number.

What Boolean operator is used to find an unknown word between two other words?

  • ~
  • _
  • *
  • |

Quick win 🙂

Which search string is correct?

  • (intitle:cv OR inurl:cv) (“graphic designer” OR “graphic design”) budapest job -jobs
  • (intitle:cv OR inurl:cv) (“graphic designer” OR “graphic design”) budapest -job -jobs
  • (intitle:cv OR inurl:cv) (“graphic designer OR graphic design”) budapest – job – jobs
  • site:cv (“graphic designer” OR “graphic design”) budapest -job -jobs

I decided to go through the search strings from front to back. Checking the first part, I could already exclude the last option as the site: operator searches websites, but only if a valid URL follows – the other three seemed to be fine. Looking at the second column, it becomes evident that string number 3 is wrong as it would search for the whole term within the ” “ which none will ever write in their CV. The decision between option 1 and 2 was then easy, because only excluding jobs but not job by the operator is kind of contradicting.

Find the Chief of Unicorn Ambassadors on LinkedIn in Hungary. What is his email address? Note – there are several, but one is listed below.

  • heiner.hoeving@online.de
  • heiner.hoeving@gmail.com
  • chief.ua@myperfectinter.com
  • chief.ua@gmail.comua@gmail.com

Ok, fine, I admit it… It was more or less a guess. As the time was nearly up and I’ve heard people saying @online several times (yes, I am also talking about you, Marcel Rietveld :)), I just decided to go for that and submit the results just in the final 5 seconds. Being that late, I was almost sure not to advance to the next round, however having all eight questions correct was the more important criterion. Actually, that already felt like a victory for me.

Round 2: Find three candidates for a job in Hungary on LinkedIn – based on a Hungarian job description! (15-minute time limit and only six will advance to the next round).

Wow, the Hungarian language is confusing. That must have been a HUGE advantage for native speakers. Obviously, the first thing to do for all the others was to translate the website to get a first understanding of the job we should source for. Sounds easy, but was a bit tricky in the beginning as I translated to German (my mother-tongue) first and got “LKW-Fahrer” as job title, which means truck driver – but when translating to English later on it got me “Forklift Driver” instead. Nevertheless, at some point, I understood we were looking for a truck driver with a forklift driving license and Hungarian language knowledge.

All of this took me quite some time until I could open LinkedIn and start my search. First I tried the Hungarian keywords for truck driver and forklift which did not lead me to any results (kamionsofőr AND targonca). Therefore I chose to go for English with the minimalistic search string forklift AND (camion OR truck), Hungary as location, and Driver as Job Title. It was kind of disappointing to only get exactly three results when we were actually asked to find the 3 BEST candidates. However, as the time was almost up, I just submitted the results and thought it’s just better than nothing not expecting at all to advance to the next round with this ‘poor’ performance. That’s why I was really surprised when I was nominated for round 3.

Article Continues Below

 

Round 3: Find out who won the weekly poll on ERE on Oct 10, 2006! (15-minute time limit and only three will advance to the finals).

My first idea to simply search Google failed quickly, the article was apparently not online anymore. But how to find something that was online more than 10 years ago? Again remembering my Sourcing Ninja training, I chose to go for the Wayback Machine to search the internet archive. This site allows you to see copies of old websites at a specific date. Searching for ere.net and selecting the year 2006 led me to a version of the website from exactly 10th of October.

On the first page there was a link to the poll’s results, and in the first paragraph of the article it says ‘A recent ERE poll asked readers which U.S. political party would be the most effective at promoting job growth, and with 667 votes, the Republicans won with 55%’. The real challenge was the incredibly long loading times that nearly drove me crazy facing the time limit. Luckily, in the end, it was still fast enough to advance to the finals.

 

Final Round: Find the email of a former MD at Állami Szívkórház who now works as a Cardiologist! (the first one to find it wins / one winner)

Sitting together at one table with the two other finalists Eline Aanhane and Katharine Robinson created quite some tension, also caused by all the people surrounding and watching us. That is probably why Shannon Pritchett wanted to calm us down a little bit with “It might be easier than you expect. Do not overthink it!” Which only led to even more overthinking for my part.

Unlike in the rounds before the first one to submit the right result would win, and therefore I was rushing a bit. First I tried an easy (non-overthought) search string on Google: MD AND “Allami Szivkorhaz” AND Cardiologist. The first result was the poorly maintained LinkedIn profile of Dr. Faluközy József a cardiologist at Állami Szívkórház without any information about an MD. Nevertheless, as we should not overthink and after quickly googling his name and finding an email address (falukozy@mail.bfkor.hu) I immediately raised my hand to signal I am done. But it was the wrong candidate, so the search continued.

Now I changed my strategy and started at my ‘home-turf’ LinkedIn again merely searching for Állami Szívkórház. There were only ten results and therefore I decided to have a first glance at them to potentially find further hints. One of them, Csaba Jenet MD at Állami Szívkórház caught my interest despite his ragged profile. I needed to find more information about him, but neither the 360 Social Search nor my other Chrome extensions could find any, which led me back to Google. Just searching for the name got me a Facebook profile with the right job titles and the link to a website to the Jenet-Med private clinic, obviously his company. I finally felt I was on the right track. Searching the site for an email address (CTRL+F & @) got me jenetmed@gmail.com. I raised my hand (again), and now Shannon confirmed the result.

And there I was, an inexperienced hackathon contestant in the middle of expert sourcers winning the competition unexpectedly. What a surreal feeling when the people started to clap and cheer! I am still not sure whether it was the exhaustion, the happiness about the victory, or the drinks we had at the hotel bar afterward, but I slept like a dog that night.

Shout-outs to everybody who participated, organized or supported the event in any other way. Special thanks to the jury members Shannon Pritchett, Jim Schnyder, and Mark Lundgren, to Workable for the prize (an iPad) as well as to Johnny Campbell for creating effective training!

To conclude: Sometimes it seems not taking everything too seriously, keeping it simple and just trying new stuff can work out well. That said, I’d like to encourage everybody to keep up the great spirit of community and discovery to make the next SourceCon every bit as fantastic as it was!

Jonas Bächer works as Talent Attraction Manager at Infineon Technologies, a large semiconductor company headquartered in Munich. Sourcing Physicists & Electrical Engineers is just one of his tasks besides various recruiting & marketing responsibilities. First introduced to the Sourcing basics during an internship in 2012, he has acquired the Social Talent Black Belt in 2018. Connect with Jonas on LinkedIn.

Topics