Actionable sourcing techniques from the first ever SourceCon DC event hosted at Brazen

Nov 14, 2018 - Joe Matar
After an hour of networking, eating and, of course, imbibing in our lounge we moved to the larger, adjacent room for the main attraction: Steve Levy from Crowded.com and Tiffany Ballve from Microsoft. And they were fantastic. The best part about their presentations were that the techniques they recommended can be implemented for free or at a very low cost. The tips and tricks apply to any sourcer, not just those who work for large organizations with lots of money to spend on technology. Let’s take a deeper dive into the evening’s insights. And if you’d rather see some highlights, we put together a 15 minute highlight video of the event and the speakers:

Diversity Sourcing

Tiffany Ballve, a senior sourcing manager, events and diversity and inclusion at Microsoft who is also with recruitDC, kicked things off with a presentation about diversity sourcing. While the presentation title may be broad, the information was anything but that. If I were to try and distill Tiffany’s presentation down into one sentence I would say, “Try as many channels as possible until you find something that works, until it doesn’t work, and then repeat.” The first step in diversity sourcing is to identify a comprehensive list of channels you might find people in your target talent pool. And the list is much wider than the Big Four social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn). It also includes and is not limited to Snapchat, Amazon, Meetup, Classmates, Eventbrite, and YouTube, just to name a few. Yes, even YouTube provides sourcing opportunities. Tiffany gave an actual example, too. It starts with a simple Boolean search on YouTube like for “African American” AND “Computer Science” AND “software engineer.” The results will surprisingly produce YouTubers who match these characteristics and who are active on social media. So where do you go from here? The goal is to learn all you can on this person or persons. Many times those who are active on social on one channel will link to their other social channels (because they want followers). So follow the breadcrumbs to their other social accounts like Twitter or LinkedIn. Spending a few minutes glancing at the content on their social channels will help you build a story about this person. And with that story in hand it’ll make that connection a little warmer. Combined with the fact that you should have multiple ways to connect (tweet at them or connect and message on LinkedIn). Boom. Thank you, Tiffany!

Sourcing on the cheap, cheap, cheap

After a nice intro from Arjun Gupta from SourceMaven, one of the event sponsors, we moved to our keynote with Steve Levy, who is a powerhouse in sourcing and tied very closely with SourceCon. Steve’s presentation was titled “Superior Sourcing on a Shoestring Budget.” In addition to solid alliteration in his presentation title, Steve had some solid advice for sourcing. He shared numerous techniques any sourcer can apply. Here are a few that stood out. A/B test: Just like Tiffany, Steve recommended experimenting with lots of channels in order to find the ones that work for you and your candidates. And one thing that is inherent with experimentation is testing and measurement. Steve suggested that you should be testing everything from your email subject lines to your LinkedIn messages to your searches. Are people opening my emails? Are they responding to my LinkedIn messages? And am I finding the right candidates in my searches? Discard what doesn’t work (based on the numbers) and double down on what does. Know your audience, be creative and be human: It’s not enough anymore to just send emails or LinkedIn messages to potential candidates like “I have reviewed your LinkedIn profile and I think your skills and experience would make you a great fit for this job.” That’s too robotic. Too automatic. Instead, you must know what makes your candidates tick and play to that tick. Steve shared some successful subject lines that he has used to recruit designers:
  • I’m very Font of you…
  • Oh crop...another recruiter email.
  • Nah, Comic Sans is way better...
Intake sessions: Hiring managers might not always be on the same page with talent acquisition teams. In some ways, this makes sense. They have responsibilities and goals outside of hiring. And as important as hiring is for hitting those goals, hiring managers don’t always see things that way. To assist with the hiring process, it is of the utmost importance that sourcers and recruiters have in-depth and detailed intake meetings with hiring managers, asking everything from “why would people leave their current employer to come here?” to “describe a good day AND a bad day on the job in this role” to “why would the very best person want to come here?” These aren’t easy questions but hiring managers need to have answers, otherwise they shouldn’t expect top talent to want to join their team.

What’s next

The event wrapped up with some tips from Ryan Gillis from McCormick Group and then the group mostly dispersed, braving the evening traffic to return home. But a few of us stuck around, including the presenters, to record a brief recap of the event: The information shared at the first ever SourceCon DC event hosted by Brazen was superb. The next event will be sure to match the content of the first event, with even more people in attendance. If you want to stay informed of our upcoming events, connect with us at the following registration page.

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