What Separates the Best Talent Sourcers from the Rest?

This question is often asked on many different recruiting groups on Facebook. How do I become better at talent sourcing? Of course, it’s good to highlight the importance of having the latest recruiting tools and also the ability to master Boolean strings. But those things can only take you so far and honestly don’t scratch the surface. The deep dive includes a lot of traits and soft skills that take many years to master.

This is coming from me, the person who loves the latest recruitment sourcing technologies. I have the shiny tool syndrome, and I enjoy reviewing the most recent tools on my talent sourcing blog. To become a wizard at sourcing, you need to master many deeper qualities. Being passionate, confident, and open to learning will get you to the next level.

I’ve been challenged by my mentor to reflect on my career. I’ve completed almost a decade in the talent acquisition space now. Some questions that she had me pondering: What have been the most challenging parts and the most rewarding parts? How have I become a better talent sourcer throughout the years? How can I continue to improve at talent sourcing? I encourage you to reflect on these questions and do your best to answer them honestly. Reflecting on the past can help you grow and improve in your career moving forward.

After reviewing my career and background, I put together a list of 12 qualities and traits that will improve your overall talent sourcing abilities and skills.

The Ability to Network Fast

Once you have the necessary requirements from the hiring manager, you need to start sourcing. You are off to the races and need to find the right leads fast. Networking is done mostly online and requires an immense amount of effort and skill to convince a lead to respond back to you. You need to be able to sell and create excitement in a short amount of time. The ability to network efficiently online is essential to your success.

Communication – Being a good Listener

I’m naturally introverted, and I’m not overly communicative. Whether you talk a lot or not, you need to be able to have a good conversation with a lead. You need to be able to sell the role, but more importantly be able to listen and ask thought-provoking questions during your call. When I have prevailed upon somebody, I let them talk. Being good at listening to what is said and not said during the call takes skill. The best recruiters can read someone based on a 10-15 minute call.

Having a Positive-Winning Personality

I have failed way more times than I have won in my career. If I counted all the times that I failed I think that I wouldn’t be in the recruiting field. You need to have a very thick skin to be successful. That’s why having a positive, winning attitude matters. You need to handle challenging situations. You need to sound positive on the phone and keep sourcing and searching until you find the great applicant.

Being Passionate about Where you Work

You need to have where you work. If you don’t like it, then you can’t sell it either. Being able to talk about the culture and company will do wonders. You need to paint of picture of why other employees work there, what drives them and what gets them excited. Employees are not looking for amenities like ping pong tables; they are looking for career growth, rewarding challenges, and passionate teams.

Learning a Niche Field or Skill-Set

Being a generalist will only get you so far. You need to become a master of whatever skill-set or niche that you are sourcing. If it’s finance, sales, or information technology you need to understand where the applicants are originating. Everything from understanding the technical skills, to understanding what drives those employees. You can take courses, attend conferences, or go to a meetup in your area. The point is that you need to network and build relationships at the local level. Become the go-to SAP recruiter in your region.

Mastering  Basic Searching Principles

You need to master every search from Boolean strings and search engines to database searching. You need to understand all these technologies and skills to be great at talent sourcing. Thankfully, I do offer one on one training on searching.

Living out Kaizen CI principles

There is never a day where we should stop learning. While you may be finished with formal education, the world is always changing all around us. Continuing to strengthen your knowledge and skills will help you stand out as a top-notch recruiter. This doesn’t mean you have to attend a ton of conferences every year, though one or two probably isn’t a bad idea. These skills are relatively advanced. But basically, you need to keep learning and improving off your mistakes.

Learning from Mistakes & Failing Forward

You need to be able to handle making mistakes while searching. More importantly, you need to learn from your mistakes and grow from them. Maybe you failed to ask a more in-depth question, and that’s why the hiring manager keeps rejecting your submittals. For example, I kept submitting AX developers, and none of these had break-fix experience. I failed to ask more questions and was missing the mark on my submittals. The point is, keep learning from your past mistakes and keep failing forward. You need to be driven/focused and be able to change your search criteria reasonably quickly.

Finding a Mentor who Challenges you

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Finding a mentor in your area can do wonders. It will take you from being good to excellent. It’s having someone who understands your industry and is open to giving you honest and direct advice. They have been through their hurdles. There are many ups and downs in recruiting. Having someone to reflect and challenge you will get you to that next level.

Conflict Resolution at Work

You need to be able to handle conflict. Sometimes it comes from other recruiters or hiring managers or HR business partners. You need to be able to resolve conflict on a daily basis in a personal and thoughtful manner. We face many challenging scenarios in the recruiting space.

Setting goals and Time Management

You need to be able to have time management skills and track your goals on a daily basis. It’s easy to get distracted by emails or other people at work. You need to produce and get people hired. That’s why it’s so important to stay organized throughout your day. This was very hard for me to master during my first few years. I had to build in daily routines to help stay on track and up-to-date. I truly live and breathe by my Outlook calendar.

Reading good content – blogs, books, or podcasts, etc.

Learning from the best, I dedicate at least 3-4 hours per week on reading and listening to recruiting and sourcing related content online. I encourage you to try to put this goal on your calendar. Research the latest recruiting trends and read the best blogs.

Jonathan Kidder is definitely a super fan of SourceCon! He has 7 years of recruiting experience and has worked with startups and small businesses alike on their talent sourcing efforts. He blogs about talent sourcing trends on his own personal blog - WizardSourcer which focuses on the latest recruitment insights, extension tool reviews, recruiting startups, and interviews with industry leaders. 

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