My Sourcing Story : Q&A With Jan Bernhart, Optiver

We caught up with serial #SOSUMED presenter and sourcing tragic Jan Bernhart who currently work for Optiver in Amsterdam. Jan will be will be in Amsterdam for his fourth #SOSUMED.

Name: Jan Bernhart
Country: Netherlands
Company : Optiver
Twitter: JanBernhart

Q1. What problems are you currently solving in your role?

I’m now on a project at Optiver, a trading company  (market making to be specific).  Because we’re neither B2B nor B2C, almost nobody knows us. The IT requirements in trading are very challenging so our bar to hire is as high as with the famous tech companies, but we only get a fraction of the amount of applicants they get. This is where I come in.  Optiver isn’t accustomed to doing sourcing  in-house, so its pretty much a green field situation. Very exciting!


Q2. How do you define sourcing? Sourcing is……..
Attracting talent that you wished would have applied for your job openings, but didn’t. I think that’s the essence. You can break sourcing down to dozens of steps and hundreds of methods, of which search is the most prominent. But for me sourcing is way bigger then making queries or search strings. (Which is also why I advocate a hybrid recruiter-sourcer role rather than an isolated searcher).


Q3. 10 Sourcing tools I use daily are…
First of all; google chrome. When I’m interviewing for new projects I actually verify if the company prohibits to use a different browser than Internet Explorer. That’s a deal breaker. I always have sticky notes open, use Prophet and Hubspot’s email tracker. Shane’s facebook search tool. Onetab, Excel (with my self build search string maker). Worldtimebuddy to keep track of timezones. I love DataMiner as well. Some bookmarklets that I made myself. Oh and spotify or youtube; music increases my productivity (mostly 60/70′ pop/rock, some hiphop).

When I’m interviewing for new projects I actually verify if the company prohibits to use a different browser than Internet Explorer. That’s a deal breaker


Q4. Can you tell us five of the people you admire most in sourcing?
I’m not going to name the super star usual suspects here. The readers already know them and they already know i admire them. Let’s put others in the spotlights today. Aaron Lintz is someone who I look up to for his technical skills. He taught me about webscraping for instance and has IT skills that I’m just jealous of. Guillaume Alexandre is an inspirational sourcer. He’s always curious, always on top of things. This is a guy who walks the walks twice, then perhaps talks about it. The real deal. Follow him. Vince szymczak always shares original views, things he invented/ thought of/ gathered himself. I appreciate that. David Galley is so knowledgeable, its sometimes scary. Always answering the hard questions, helping people when they are stuck. I suspect he’s not a real person, 8 whizzkidds run his accounts. The guy you see on conferences is a very well prepared actor. Last but not least i want to namedrop Enrico Heidelberg here. I worked with him at spil games and he learned me so much about selling a job, closing an offer etc. These aspects are crucial to our success but mostly overlooked in the sourcing community.


Q5. One sourcing advice I can give to my peers is …..
Always be curious. About what your company actually does, about how your job openings contribute to this and what the real challenges are. About what candidates currently do, what drives them and what they think is interesting. Ask tons of questions. Listen. Have conversations with people instead of staring at your screen in isolation all the time. Everytime you speak with a candidate or colleague, try to learn something from them. Knowledge is your most crucial and perhaps even only asset. Gain more.


Bio Jan Bernhart has been in the recruitment industry for 8 years, both at agency and client side. He is a sourcer and recruiter and has hired talent from every continent except Antarctica (which is still on his wish list). He has handled C-level positions to internships and worked for startups to fortune 500 corporates. In his spare time he enjoys developing bookmarklets, creating excel formulas and denying he’s a nerd. Currently he works as freelance sourcing recruiter at Optiver. Jan spoke at the #SOSUMED 2014 and 2015 edition and his talks were some of the most popular sessions of the events. Catch up with Jan Bernhart at #SOSUMED.


What’s the ROI of Sourcing?

Guest post by Jan Bernhart, International Corporate Recruiter at Spil Games

19918_10151227190941915_338513695_nThese are exciting times for sourcers, the internet detectives of the recruitment industry.

Cool new sourcing tools are launched (connectifier) regularly while many die (falcon) with a fast pace. The image and profile of a Sourcer is shifting from being a nerdy recruitment assistant to a big-shot recruiter who gets head-hunted for high-profile sourcing jobs in different continents. And then there’s the upcoming Sourcing Summit Europe.

Finally a sourcing event for us Europeans – #SOSUMED.

For me, this event will be the ultimate test for the maturity of sourcing as a craft. Of course I’ll be there to learn and share cool new tips and tricks. But I’m especially interested in learning to which extent the presenters and attendees can showcase best-practices that are proven, sourcing strategies which are scalable and ROI driven solutions.

Currently, I find it’s not always easy to justify all the energy and hours I’ve spend mastering the craft of sourcing (most of it learnt at my own free time because I love doing it. Yeah I’m the nerdy guy). Sure, my sourcing skills are paying off now, but it is still hard to measure ROI and also convince others on the value of sourcing.  Can I really advise people that regard hacking with Google a hobby to take sourcing seriously? Or will sourcing remain a niche craft for nerdy assistants in the recruitment team?

On the one hand, I don’t think I’m the only sourcer who tries to track his ROI and create proven best-practices. But on the other hand we’ll need a lot more data, more than guys like me can gather, to really prove the value-add and ROI of sourcing. Time will tell; but I hope to find some answers at #SOSUMED.

See you guys at SOSUEU in Amsterdam!

P.S. if you need advice for getting around in Amsterdam , I am a local, feel free to contact me. My contact details are easily googleable J

Portfolio Items