Q&A With Andrea Mitchell

Google anything to do with sourcing in Australia and it’s hard to not come across Andrea Mitchell. An industry veteran and founder of the Australian Researchers’ Network, Andrea has two passions – applying new tools & techniques to sourcing and raising the profile of local practitioners. We caught up with Andrea to discuss her background and upcoming talks at the Sourcing Summit.

Q. As an early practitioner and founder of the Australian Researchers’ Network, what changes have you witnessed with the sourcing profession in Australia and NZ?
Sourcing has gone from something that only a few people were doing to something that almost everyone in recruitment is aware of and talking about. Five years ago the title of Sourcer wasn’t really used and now they’re in high demand. Companies are recognising that sourcing and research in recruitment is a specialist role and are treating it as such. Most importantly, sourcers and recruiters are no longer solely influenced by what is happening in the US, people are innovating and working out new ways to source based on local conditions.

Q. Considering advances in technology, not to mention the explosion of social media, are people easier or more difficult to find?
With the rise of social media there are more profiles on the Internet and more personal information than ever. This makes things easier and harder. While the information you want is more often there to be found, there’s a lot more noise. As researchers we have to be a lot smarter in the way we search in order to sort through the noise and get to the most useful information. Sorting through noise is one of the biggest challenges we face today.

Q. What advances in search technology do you think will have a major impact on sourcing? Are there any particular tools that the sourcing community should keep track of?
When it comes to search engines the technology that runs them is constantly evolving with new features being introduced all the time. Rather than keep an eye on a few specific technologies (e.g. semantic search has been a hot topic for a few years) I think it’s important to watch how these are integrated into the tools that we already use. Google and Bing have both added social search, and their algorithms constantly being tweaked so we also have to tweak the searches we do. When it comes to tools I think that a big thing, once teams get established and build expertise, is to look at automating some basic search tasks, there are some great tools from eGrabber, Broadlook and Outwit that are worth looking at.

Q. Boolean search has been around for as long as computers have been in existence, is it still relevant for sourcing?
We use Boolean search pretty much every time we type something in a search box, so I think it will always be something we need to use. As a trainer I always cover basic Boolean because it is core to search. I think over time this will change as people will probably learn these skills at much younger age! With regards to using search engines and operators to search for profiles I think this will continue to be worthwhile, even though so much information is on sites like Linkedin or Facebook etc if a search engine crawls those sites it can be easier to search them using Google or Bing for example.

Q. What subjects will you be addressing at the summit?
I will look at how Internet search is core to your sourcing strategy, and how you conduct targeted online research based on the the profile of the person you are trying to find. By building a strategy around the candidate profile you target the places that those people “hang out” online, where they have profile information, and communities they are part of.

Andrea will lead a workshop on 10 August (Tapping into Niche Communities) and also speak on Advanced Internet Search on 11 August.