Mapping your Way to Sourcing Success

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On any journey a map is always a good idea.  Even if you’re planning on being flexible when you get to certain checkpoints.  The fact that you have a guide to where you need to be, when the best time to arrive is and what it may cost you along the way, always puts you in good stead to have a success, hassle free trip.

The sourcing journey is no different and for the best outcome of finding your target audience; planning and knowing where and when you need to be somewhere can be the difference between success and failure.

So how do you plan your sourcing journey I hear you ask?

Well as I mention a map is always a good start.  A Source Channel Map allows you start mapping out you’re the sourcing channels that you believe will work for your specific role or job family.     So let’s say that you’re looking for a Microsoft Dynamic CRM professional; start by placing that title at the centre of my map so it’s clear what the key focus for this exercise is.  Then I start to think about all the places that I could find these people.

Sourcing channel map

By building your map before you go to market, it means that you’re able to get a clear overview of what may work and what may not as well as if there are specific conference, workshops, meetups that you need to be at to network and find the candidates you’re looking for.

So…… Microsoft Dynamic CRM – where could I find them?

1.    Internal sourcing strategy

  • What will we do to attract these people?
  • Does our career site provide a clear overview and EVP that will attract and speak to these types of candidates once we find them or if they find us first?
  • Do we have videos, images and a clear understanding of what it is we are offering them if they come and work here?
  • Do we know what we can offer them?

2.   Referrals from either within the organisation or from other candidates that I’m speaking with

3.   Publications – either print of online.

  • What do these types of candidates read on a daily basis?
  • Are they subscribed to certain websites or blogs?
  • Are there magazines that focus on Microsoft technology that we could advertise in or need to be aware of?

4.   Competitors/Target organisations

  • Are there specific companies that you know these candidates come from that is a good fit for you organisation?  Don’t be shy – go get ‘em tiger!  And if you can’t then find someone who can.

5.   Associations and groups

  • Is there an accreditation that they need to have?
  • Will knowing this make it easier to search for them?
  • Can you find a list of people that have this accreditation to narrow down the search?

6.    Job Boards

  • Are there specific job boards that specialize in attracting these types of candidates?
  • Do they have a database that you can search?

7.    Conferences and Events

  • Where do they congregate?
  • Know your target audience’s tribal mentality.
  • Do they go to Meetups?
  • Are there online forums that you can check out?
  • If there is a conference that you know these types of candidates will be at, then when is it and how much will it cost to attend?

i.    Knowing this information will help you to plan and budget for the year.

8.    Social Media

  • Which social channels are they are? ~ don’t assume, go and look!
  • Are there groups on Twitter?  Are there candidates on twitter that you can find?
  • What about using Facebook graph search as well as seeing if there are Microsoft Dynamic CRM Facebook pages or groups.
  • LinkedIn searching is an obvious one as well.

9.    Search/Title Terms

  • What else could a person with these skills be called?
  • What other titles do they go by?
  • What are the keywords I need to be searching?

10. Recruitment Agencies

  • If I need to use an agency which agencies are right for these types of roles?
  • Which agencies have delivered what we needed in the past?
  • Who knows this market really well?

These are just a few of the sourcing channels that you could use.  Understanding your candidate market and profile is critical in today’s recruitment landscape.  There are so many platforms and so much information that it’s easy to get lost when searching for the right people.

Doing some of the ground work before you start will help you be targeted in your sourcing approach.  It will mean that you’re exerting your energy and budget in the right places.   Building a clear candidate profile will help you to understanding all of these channel better and will ensure that you have the right channels for the right target audience.

Is LinkedIn creating lazy recruitment?

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It’s just a question…. but after reading the 2013 Social Recruiting Activity report put out by Bullhorn Reach the other day, I have to wonder….. is LinkedIn creating a breed of lazy recruiters?

I remember when everyone was searching Monster CV databases and posting all their jobs online and if you weren’t doing that, then you were obviously just missing a trick.   I always get a little bit cautious when one big organisation seems to be holding all the cards and our blinders gets thicker to continuously improving the way we engage and connect with candidates.

I’m fully aware that LinkedIn is extremely valuable to recruiters, it’s an easy way to find the people who you need and build your personal brand as well.  I log in every day myself and yes I definitely find it very valuable, but I’m also well aware that there are a huge number of highly skilled candidates that are not on LinkedIn, nor do they plan to be.

So the question is, are recruiters using LinkedIn as their one stop shop for recruiting and when they’re done with that and of course the job boards, then their search is over?  I’m guessing most of the time – the answer is yes, and from recent research it seems to be going that way.

The report states that ‘while 48% of recruiters relied solely on LinkedIn in 2011 for social recruiting, a full 64% did so in 2012″.  It’s the word solely that catches my attention.

linkedin recruiter connection

Personally I think it’s key that we have a varied range of sourcing channels from which our recruiters find their candidates.   I always say to recruiters that I’m training, if you advertise your job online, you may just be getting the best candidate that applied and not actually the best candidate in the market or the best candidate for the role.

Having a sourcing strategy that covers a wide range of channels can include:

Referrals, Internals, headhunts, social networks, talent pools and communities that you’ve built, open web searching, conference and associations, generally networking events and potentially self hosted events, blogs, market mapping, gamification, apps and the list goes on and on.

As with any sourcing channel that is heavily relied on, how would you as a recruiter or how would your recruiters go if that platform was taken away all together?  Would they still be skilled enough to find the people who you need?

I talk about the “Curious Recruiter” a lot and once again it’s those who are constantly looking at what is driving the candidate market, which platforms they are on and where they are connecting and communicating that will be a head of the game.

Some of my favorite searches included:

  • Groups either locally or globally
  • FollowerWonk which helps me target Twitter users
  • Facebook Graph Search is probably one of the most under utilized search tools around, with one of the widest reaches
  • and of course open web searching which means you can get your hands on thousands of LinkedIn users whether you have a recruiter license or not.

Over the next few posts I’ll focus on how I use these tools to search for those ever elusive candidates.

Do you have ‘curious’ sourcers or recruiters in your business?

Waste Not, Want Not ~ Building Alumni Talent Communities is just smart sourcing!

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When was the last time you saw a great corporate Alumni page, activity, community, strategy?

The last one I saw was a recent tweet about Accenture sending their Alumni, Valentines days cards, saying “We miss you”.   This kind of creativity will go viral every time; why?  because it’s interesting, funny, innovative and personal.  It ticks all the boxes.  Not only would that be appealing to some of their Alumni but it puts Accenture in the forefront of other potential candidates minds when we see things like this, because so many business waste the connections they already have when it comes to great employees that have worked for their businesses before.

Whilst many organisations talk about utilizing their Alumni community, there are few organisations that do it well.

An article that was written last year entitled “Adopt a Whole Career Strategic Hiring Model”  really appealed to me when thinking about the career life-cycle of your current employees.

The article talks about candidates who will come into your organisation and because they are very talented and ambition may not stay for more than 3-4 years before they are looking for something new and exciting.

Now whilst not all organisations are able to evolve at the speed required to retain these employees, or are able to provide ongoing training, development and career opportunities; very few companies have a focused policy and trigger point, that ensures the conversation with the departing employee is one that guarantees an ongoing relationship.


If one of your best employees is moving on to do something else, then why not have a strong process in place that ensures you connect with them through every and all social channels.

Ask the question:

  • What information would they potentially be interested in receiving from the business in the future?
  • Are there areas of the business that they are interested in keeping up to date with re future developments?
  • Are there referral schemes for your Alumni group that ensures that you continue to tap into their networks and communities once they’ve left your business?  what could this look like that would appeal to them?

Alumni’s are a hugely under utilised sourcing channel that many organisations just either don’t know how to tap into or don’t see the value.   Even employees that you may not think are right for your business now, may be right in the next 5-10 years.  They will have ongoing development through other businesses, create their own path and may be exactly what you need in the future.  Thinking that you wouldn’t want them back now is short sighted.

So how can you set up an Alumni that can work for you as a strong sourcing channel?

  1. Decide on a platform – There are many different ways that you can set up your Alumni.  You can do it through Facebook, LinkedIn, there are also tools such as TalentCircles or a number of applicant tracking systems have Alumni capabilities. 
  2. Have a clear plan on how you will engage your Alumni community – what do they want from you? what do you want from them? be clear and transparent about this. I.e:  “We are looking to keep in touch with talented individuals as they grow and develop their careers, we want to keep you informed about what we are doing as an organisation and we would love for you to share our information with your networks if you find it interesting”.
  3. Reward your Alumni – make it worth their while being part of this community.  I’m not saying everything has to be cash, maybe it’s movie tickets, flights, gadgets.  Ask them what would be of interest and make it fun!
  4. Really follow them and actively engage in conversations so that you can see what they are doing, then as and when roles come up in the organisation down the track that you think they may be interested in, you can tap them on the shoulder.   If you’ve engaged from when they left your business and they are still around, then at least you’ll have a candidate that knows what the business is all about.

These are just a few tips to building a successful Alumni and a ‘whole career hiring strategy’.   Be smarter with the communities you build and watch people come and go from your organisation with a positive experience and strong brand advocacy.