Sometimes training is not enough…Sourcing After Dark.

Posted: November 16, 2012 by torontosingledad in Uncategorized
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Over the past couple of months I have been training various different sourcers both externally (as a part of sold business for SocialHR) and internally at my new gig at AON/Hewitt. As part of the trainings I have gone to Toronto, Montreal (most recently, actually I am writing this on the way home), Boston and Waterloo.

It’s been an interesting experience for me. Especially because what I am teaching and advocating is not just simple Boolean knowledge but in fact the next step which is to look at URL patterns to recognize opportunities for using the structure to gain further information from various Social and other Talent pools and/or ponds. It’s not an easy thing to learn and what I am finding is that people very easily pick up the simple Boolean of AND, OR and NOT. OK that’s not that difficult, but when we get into areas like simple Boolean modifiers we usually loose about half the crowd who either over or under use brackets and quotations or misuse them completely. And then when we get to field commands such as site: inurl: intitle: and related: probably another third of the class has their brains on minor fry mode. It’s critical that you get the concepts of site: and inurl and intitle if you are going to utilize the information to mine data that exists on the various search engines in an effective way.

So by the time we reach actual URL manipulation most of the “recruiters” that I am talking to have thrown their hands up in the air and given up. I actually had someone in my training today say “ugh, I hate this it’s too hard and I’m too confused”. And I totally get it, if you don’t have a logical/programming brain then these concepts can be quite alien to you and it’s likely going to take longer than an 8 hour training session to teach yourself to stretch the mental muscles. Because really thinking and behaviours can be changed over time but it takes a concerted and ongoing effort to do so, we see that from our work in NLP and other forms of CBT and behavioural change.

This is part of the reason that I’m a fan of SocialTalent’s new My SocialTalent platform for developing those mental muscles but with all respect to Johnny who put the system together and all their effort something still gets lost when you don’t have a live person there to review the work that you are doing and help you correct your thinking.

So here then are my questions to you out there in the sourcing world:

a) Are sourcers actually born instead of built? There have been some folks that I have trained that as I like to say “see the music” in other words the data that they are looking at just makes sense to them and they can see the flow and ebb of data across the web and where it leads to, watching those folks are like seeing potential being born.
b) Could there be a way to mentor folks on a more ongoing basis not taking away from the various forms of initial training they could take?

I think my answer to part b) is for sure YES. In fact for Toronto based folks I have instituted a drop in program to learn the Art and Science of Sourcing. I am calling it “Sourcing After Dark” and basically we take the Cyber Lounge at my building and we continue to build sourcing knowledge in people two nights a month until hopefully everyone is strong enough to start to help each other to build the knowledge and share together. My hope is that the SAD sessions will expand eventually with the original members still meeting up to share ideas and have hackathons, but that they in turn will find their own venues and hold their own knowledge sharing. By doing that we will continue to build the sourcing knowledge base in the broader recruitment community but also find those talented individuals that see the “music” and help them to build their own profiles.

So I put the challenge out there to my fellow sourcers from around the world. Put on your own Sourcing After Dark events, start in a small group and then expand the knowledge from there in a very organic way. The first rule of Sourcing After Dark is that everyone talks about Sourcing After Dark…let’s drop some knowledge bombs out there.

  1. I like your idea for SAD and would like to implement here in Richmond VA. I’ve got the time to think about it and come up with something in that I’m on a job search presently. Every company I’ve worked at since I started recruiting 6 years ago has had me teaching boolean search to fellow recruiters. I’ve had the occasion to teach once in a while to outside groups too. I recently started my blog on this topic for the simple purpose of consolidating and sharing information.

    I think that beyond the basics of boolean search (OR, AND, NOT), it really takes an ability to understand logic and I think an aptitude for problem solving. In many cases, I’ve found recruiters who simply take my search strings and simply do substitution of keywords because they have seen that the searches work, but don’t necessarily want to understand why they work.

    As for dissecting URL’s, I don’t do enough of this, but when I do and discoveries are made, they are usually pretty powerful.

    So on this note, one of my latest queries has been to try to search linkedin profiles for those that contain a specific skillset with a certain range of endorsements. So far, no success with this. I can only find profiles where the specific Skill & Expertise is listed, regardless of whether it has been endorsed or not. Any ideas on this?

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