When I first came to the world of recruiting back in 1996, the internet had only been publicly available for around five years.  The world then was only beginning to understand its potential.  I recognized it as game-changer.  And I was right. It was the death of recruiting as it was and the birth of how it would be.  Leveraging this realization enabled me to achieve my first great success in this business.  I went from a hapless rookie to an industry leader by doing one simple thing: connecting with people online.  No one had recruited like that before.  This taught me a valuable lesson about the business of hiring people: you have to adapt and innovate to succeed.

Since that time, I’ve strived to adapt and innovate to remain at the forefront of an ever-changing landscape of technology and corporate culture.  From my determination between 2004 and 2006 to convince LinkedIn that their product would have massive appeal among recruiters if only they let us have it (resulting in LinkedIn Recruiter), to my influence over the creation of hundreds of products that make it easier to do our job, I’ve come to believe that technology is a great enabler but it is not the sole answer to the quest for talent.  It is our human spark, our creativity, the innate human desire to explore and discover that makes it possible to find the unfindable.  And this spark is the soul of adaptation and innovation.

As I look back on 21 years in this business I’ve seen many seismic changes.  I’ve seen “Sourcing,” as I conceived it in 1996, evolve from an arcane skillset to a widely adopted and mature specialization employing almost half a million people worldwide. And through all these years, I can say only one thing has remained constant: the exponential growth of the information available to us all. 

And because of this information overload, what was once a simple proposition of matching keywords in a pile of text now produces so many results that we suffer from analysis paralysis.  No longer is our task to find a needle in a haystack but rather to find the needle in stack of needles.  And in our confusion, we are tempted with the wrong-minded compulsion to turn blindly to technology for answers. But the answers we seek are those that computers are least equipped to provide. These answers can only be arrived at through the application of human intuition, by taking leaps in logic and identifying patterns and through understanding both context and subtext.  This is the only way to identify the hidden gem, the perfect candidate, the purple squirrel.

Looking forward, I see the barriers around walled information gardens falling. I see more and more people becoming more and more visible.  And I see the candidates we seek becoming more and more obscured by the crowd. You may think that with all the search technology out there it has become easier to find people, but the truth is the opposite. The technology is being developed precisely because it is that much harder to find people because there are simply more people to sort through. 

In Europe, the challenge recruiters face is even more complex simply because of the variety of languages.  For instance, search techniques that may work in English may not work in French or Dutch. But natural language search works in any database, structured or unstructured, in any language, and is far more scalable than any Boolean based search ever was. So the unique solutions needed to succeed in the recruiting of the future will require that human spark of creativity which will be called upon evermore to find them!

At this point I will digress and say that I look forward to meeting many of you and that I very much look forward to exploring these topics and others with you in depth soon at SOSU Europe!

5 weeks until SOSUEU

So, it’s 5 weeks until #SOSUMED, and what does that mean? It means Dan here gets a severe case of FOMO. The weather will be better than the misery we are wading through with our weather here, when the cast and crew of Phil Tusings troop swans it way to Europe for another all singing all dancing Recruitment extravaganza.

If you have ever attended a #SOSUMED event, you will feel the power of my FOMO. This one with the theme “Exploring new frontiers for sourcing” promises to be one of his best ones yet. My excitement (and future hashtag stalking) comes because, Phil has gathered a cast of people, some of which I have known and obsesses over for years and others, well upon reading their bio… I may just start obsessing over.

Shally Steckeral, is my original sourcing guru. Back in my ERE.Net and involvement days, he was one of the people who made me fall in love with Recruitment again. The passion and knowledge this guy consistently drops is worth the plane fare and entrance fee along. He won’t remember this, but we became pig brothers back in 1997 in Sydney.

I could write about Troy Hammond, but the man has become a brand unto himself, he seriously should trademark his name (tipping he has already), beard and thongs (OK jandals, I think he is almost a kiwi). But listening to his knowledge and un-wavering commitment to our craft is always inspiring. however, if you don’t like the odd “F” bomb, try to steel yourself.

I met Mark Tortorici at a conference in the last year or 2 (they get muddled in my head) over here, this guy is crazy smart and creative in the way he goes about finding the unfindable. I’ll admit I was in awe of his mind. Martin Lee, a true Recruitment protagonist, who is definitely on my bucket list to have a quiet beverage with, if you haven’t listened to him or read his constant thoughts, you are truly missing out.

I will admit that the other speakers are new names for me… however, if I know anything about the SOSU team, they will have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, literally scouring the globe, to get some of the best minds in the business to highlight his event.

You may not know me either, but I am a sucker for a great conference where I judge them by the thoughts they inspire and the takeaways I can action to improve myself or my business. Do yourself a favour, if you are a Sourcer and want to learn how to really wow your clients or bosses, beg borrow or steal to get yourself a ticket. You’ll thank me later…



My Sourcing Story : Jiri Herodek, Blue-Infinity

Name: Jiri Herodek
Country: Czech Republic
Company: Blue-Infinity
Position: Talent Acquisition Manager
Q1. Tell us what sourcing problems you are currently solving  
I had been working for a boutique search agency specialized on IT recruitment for almost 5 years. I have joined Blue-infinity recently as a Talent Acqusition Manager/Recruitment Trainer for CEE region.The first biggest sourcing challenge is to assess how sourcing has been working so far and how can we improve our recruitment funnel, which tools should we implement to increase number of placed candidates and keep our “quality of hire” at the same time. The second pain point is how can we attract talent who is relevant for us.Since we are focused predominantly on Salesforce and e-commerce IT specialists that question becomes more important for us now.

Q2. How do you define sourcing as it currently exist at Blue Infinity
 and how you see it evolving? 
The current state I would describe as shifting from reactive recruitment to proactive recruitment.  We are in the phase of assessing current state, implementing of new techniques, processes and technologies. My goal is to build a functional sourcing team with sufficient knowledge, skills and multi-channel sourcing in its classical form including proactive sourcing and other channels
Q. Who do you admire and learn from in sourcing? 
 That list would be very long:-)
I would start with people who I know in person and who inspired me and why:
Johnny Campbell – He has a very sharp mind in marketing and candidate attraction methods
Bill Boormann – my “Mr.Yoda” not only in recruitment and networking but also when it comes to life itself.
Shane McCusker – is very inspiring in Facebook sourcing
Balazs Paroczay – he has inspired me a lot in building our sourcing team and in sourcing tools
Matěj Matolín – inspired me a lot in employer branding and how to set up sourcing in a start-up company
Otherwise, there are plenty of people who I admire and who inspire me every day: Dave Hazlehurst, Karen Azulai, Irina Shamaeva, Katrina Collier, Kasia Borowicz, Martin Lee, Julia Jolkin, Shally Steckerl, Henk Van Ess

Q3 Sourcing tools I use daily?  

Besides my brain and Google I use:-) 
  • Hiretual – Is very complex tool comprising sourcing, finding contact details etc. and absolutely must have for all sourcers
  • Facebook Search – I use this tool for sourcing on Facebook.Its simple and easy to use
  • Git discovered and Github emails finder is must have tool for all sources like me  who hang out on Github
  • Contact out – its the best tool if you need to find email addresses and contact information
There are plenty of other that I use as well:
SoucerHub, SearchBar, Extensity, Data Miner, Rapportive, Email Qualifier, Cirrus Insight, Auto Text Expander, Google CSE
Q4 One bit of sourcing advice I can give to my peers
My advice is very simple: “Never give up in sourcing because there is always way how to find and attract people you want.The common mistake is in wrong or inaccurate boolean string, platform or place where you source, way/method how you approach your candidates or lack of information about the role from your client/hiring authorities.”

Collaborative Sourcing, the Power of Networks, and the Wisdom of the Crowd

Guest post by Alexandre Pachulksi

Talent sourcing is one of the youngest, fastest growing areas of talent management. Many of us, myself included, have only recently discovered how important sourcing really is, and it has been incredible to see all the advancements that have taken place in this community. Generally speaking, most people seem to be focusing on the hacking part of sourcing. We’re looking for the right Boolean string, or the right way find an email address hidden in the code of a website, and a good deal of the content on blogs and at conferences is related to this. While this is all incredibly useful, I feel our focus on hacking has sometimes caused us to neglect the more human side of sourcing.

In 2004 author James Surowiecki wrote a fascinating book called The Wisdom of Crowds that brought attention to the idea that, under the right circumstances, the collective knowledge of a large group of people is superior to that of a few experts. While a few single individuals may have a wealth of knowledge, a large enough group of people is going to be more accurate in their choices. This concept has been applied to many areas of business and culture, and it has helped me to take a different perspective on sourcing.

Sourcing, owing to its relative youth, is often viewed as a solo sport. One sourcer, sometimes two, searches for and curates a list of candidates to provide to recruiters and/or hiring managers, and then refines the search based on feedback. Overall, it’s work that is done in isolation and has each party working separately at each stage in the process. While sourcers have been able to deliver great results with this model, I believe that applying some of the concepts of the wisdom of crowds, and looking at the human side of sourcing, could help us to achieve even better talent acquisition results.

Surowiecki explains in his book that there are four elements that create a wise crowd: diverse opinions, independence, decentralization, and aggregation. Most sourcers will probably agree that the first three traits are well established in sourcing. Unfortunately, aggregation is often a missing component. We sometimes fail to bring information from all stakeholders together and harness the power of small groups. Furthermore, we occasionally fail to harness the wisdom of large groups by leveraging the power of people’s networks. Yes, we can hack for data and break it down, but are we also bringing people together to review that data and are we using personal, human relationships to source the right candidates? Too often we are not, which means we are missing out on the power of aggregation.

Small scale aggregation occurs when everyone involved in the recruiting process is actively sharing information and keeping up to date. Most current models have information going from group to group in a kind of workflow. However, if everyone is able to be watching information together from an early stage there are large efficiency gains to be had. For example, if the hiring manager is able to see the preliminary lists of candidates a sourcer is finding, she can give feedback on which candidates are good fits. This allows the sourcers to instantly refine their searches rather than waiting until they’ve curated an entire list. It’s a small thing, but over time, and with hundreds of vacancies, it can make a large difference.

Large scale aggregation is different in that it involves significantly bigger groups and occurs through all of the networks that we and others have. Thanks to social media and other technology we have a relatively easy way of tracking and finding all the people we know. If we as sourcers make the effort to bring multiple people and their networks together we’ve not only expanded our ability to search, but we’ve expanded how we can best find and contact people. Everyone we know is not only a potential source, they are also potential sourcers. From this perspective, sourcing is not an individual effort at all. It’s a group process! (Shameless plug: The importance of aggregation and collaboration is one of the things that inspired me to create Hello Talent and try to make it one of the best sourcing tools available.  I believe that as more sourcers try to harness the wisdom of crowds they’ll need tools to make that easy. Hopefully Hello Talent can be one of those tools.)

So what can we as sourcers do to better harness the wisdom of crowds? I believe there are two key parts. One, take the time to involve everyone in the process and do it early! If you bring people together and make it clear that this is a collaborative effort, you’ll benefit from shared knowledge. Two, don’t neglect people’s networks! Hacking is a big deal, but if you also have the ability to work with other people to see if they can facilitate connections you’re going to not only find more candidates, but also have a larger volume of them convert into hires. In the end, sourcing is something that can be done in isolation, but by applying the wisdom of crowds the entire process can be made much more effective.

Alexandre is the co-founder of Talentsoft and creator of the sourcing tool Hello Talent. He has a doctorate in knowledge management from Dauphine Unviersity Paris, is a regular speaker at events, and writes extensively, including having written three books about talent management.

My Sourcing Story : Sören Frickenschmidt, Boehringer

Name: Sören Frickenschmidt
Country: Germany
Company: Boehringer

Q1 – What problems are you currently solving in your role?
I am heading the recruiting services team at Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany, a family-owned pharmaceutical company with 47.000 employees worldwide. My team is filling positions with internal and external candidates and manages temp labor. My day-to-day work mostly revolves around making sure that we have all we need to do so, are aligned with everyone playing a role in the process an adapt to external and internal changes.

Q2 – How do you define sourcing as it currently exist at Boehringer and how you see it evolving? 
When we talk about “sourcing” we mean identifying and contacting possible candidates instead of waiting for them to react on our offers. We have started to do this systematically some time ago and it is getting more important and more effective each year.  For the lion’s share of our positions, we get very good applications if we post the jobs on our website or online job boards. On the other end of the scale, there will always be positions where we need the help of selected external partners. But there is a growing area in between, where the best option is to actively approach interesting candidates ourselves.

Q3 – What are the biggest challenges you currently face as a recruiter/sourcer
I see two big challenges: One is adapting quickly to permanent volatility and ambiguity in the recruiting demand. The other is bridging the gap between our desire for a positive candidate and manager experience and a highly regulated and complex environment.

Q4. Who in recruitment do your admire or learn from? 
There are some brilliant professors, tech start-ups and consultants out there. But my best source of inspiration are other practitioners from large organizations. New ideas, strategies and technologies are fascinating, inspiring and always come with a lot of sex appeal. But I learn most from people who actually did something in a real world environment – and either solved a problem or learned from the failure.

Q5 – One bit of sourcing advice I can give to my peers
Innovation is just the sidekick. Impact is the superhero.