What do You Call Sourcing?

How do you define Sourcing? Is it dark-web Boolean searches? Is it a virtual career fair? Is it a social media post? Is it a monthly call or connection? Is it research? Yes, yes, and yes. Search for a definition of talent acquisition sourcing and you will find explanations like Wikipedia that note Sourcing to be the  identification, assessment, and engagement of skilled workers.  I don’t disagree with that meaning. However, what needs defining are the behaviors and actions that make up a Sourcers daily workload.

I am a relationship Sourcer. While the hunt for leads is enjoyable, it is the long-term lure that excites me. I would have made a great fisherman. Patiently waiting and tempting the fish till it bites.  Anglers know that there is bait fishing, fly-fishing, bait casting, spinning, and trolling. There is no one size fits all. Like fishing, there are many ways to go about a passive candidate search.

Old School Conversations – Yep, we still need to pick up the phone. Honestly, I am right there with you. I can barely leave a voicemail anymore that doesn’t mirror the rambling of a preteen. But practice makes perfect. Although the first few connections can be text or email or socials, the candidate will eventually want to speak to you “live” for the best experience.  Try doing a “Talking Tuesday” where once a week you commit to the telephone.

Hit the Pavement – I hope you have your Covid vaccine. If you do, it’s time to get out there!  We call these Community Sourcers.  But you don’t have to be labeled a Community Sourcer to get out in the world with your actual legs.  In healthcare, we have dietary and environment services roles that are best filled being out in the community, shaking hands and kissing babies.

Boolean – This is for those Sourcers that are fighting to learn or use Boolean and think “I’m doing fine without it”. You simply can’t uncover 100% of the labor pool without it.  If you have had a few bad teachers, shake it off and find another.  You need to understand the language of the internet to use the internet for sourcing.

Job Fairs – Don’t try to fight me on this.  Let Recruiters take the handfuls of resumes back to office for candidates who are an immediate fit. But the Sourcers must lay claim to all the candidates that refused to stop by the booth, declined, or just simply were unimpressed.  The Sourcer does the follow up and works the magic with repetitive cadence and reach outs to win the person over. That takes the skill, attention, and commitment that a Sourcer can provide.

Content Marketing – Put ten Sourcers in a room and maybe one has a marketing background. It’s not our forte. However, I urge Sourcers to make the effort to get famous on at least one social media and grows followers organically.  Candidates are consumers. They will research you. And a “famous” Sourcer with a reputable social media presence gives candidates confidence. Not to mention it keeps you relevant to a candidate till they are ready to take on a job search.

Research – Shout out to Nancy Nelson, Sourcer at UT Southwestern who told me she was in pre-search on a role, waiting for a report to come back on trends for ideal candidates on a certain role. A Sourcer who looks for trends in schools, degrees, and competitors is to be celebrated. If you don’t spend time knowing your competitors, you will never know what to leverage.

This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. Whatever tactics you use that are legal, moral, and ethical to find potential passive leads can be called Sourcing. Don’t try to fit the mold. Carve out your space. It’s not stupid if it works.

Happy Hunting!


Talent sourcing Take momentum

Sourcing Requires Momentum

There are few absolutes these days. Talent acquisition is not absolute. Recruitment is the movement of people through a hiring process - and when people are involved, rules become less defined. People are messy. Sourcing too can be nebulous. The sourcing function itself is an obscure luxury for even the most modern organizations. I have come to set the record straight on at least one hazy subject in sourcing, and that is that sourcing requires momentum.

Momentum is defined as “mass in motion”. Simply, it quantifies motion. If something doesn’t move, it has no momentum.  When we think about momentum in sourcing, it means that we shouldn’t just dabble in-and-out of sourcing if we want to be successful. Sourcing demands the unyielding hunt for passive candidates over time. It is a consistent force of progress. Motion turned on and off is not momentum, it is inertia – the opposite of movement.  Sourcing isn’t a vending machine to which you submit a quarter and three highly qualified candidates spit out on demand.  There is no inventory or pipeline unless a Sourcer builds the funnel intently, with staunch momentum. A relentless pursuit. A consistent force of advancement.

In my consulting role, I see performance metrics for teams with part-time or traditional requisition based Sourcers. The challenge I see with these Sourcing models is the starting and stopping of work.  Sourcing for multitudes of positions, in multiple specialty areas, requires the Sourcer to be good at many things, but an expert at none. When a Sourcer is assigned work via longest open requisition, they start and stop momentum for every role, shift, and location they are seeking. The traditional Sourcer, working off old requisitions, is becoming an antiquated model.  We now know that candidates behave as consumers.  And these consumers need persistent multi-channel approaches over time before they may respond with interest.  This number varies but somewhere between five and fifteen times probably won’t surprise anyone who does the job today. If we are not insistent with our sourcing attempts over time, and managing those attempts over time, how then will momentum be built?

Mature sourcing structures have already realized the value of a pipeline sourcing model.  In this model, a Sourcer does not work via requisitions, but rather by a specialty area. Focus on one to two specialty areas allows the Sourcer to build momentum.  In a healthcare example, we would call this a Nurse Pipeline Sourcer or Nurse Evangelist.  Instead of trying to fill a physical therapist role today, and an ultrasound tech tomorrow, the Sourcer simply focuses all their energy on strong experienced nurses. Those passive candidate reach-outs have a ripple effect over time. And before long, your Sourcer becomes an expert on all things nursing, all competitors, and all the players in the region. And most important, the momentum has garnered a robust pipeline of candidates that seemingly has no end to its ripple. I tell new Sourcers constantly, that their job is to become famous amongst the people they are trying to recruit.

An argument to switching to a pipeline model of sourcing, which allows for momentum to have a huge payoff, is that the role is too specialized. You may have to hire more Sourcers to cover the gap if Sourcers aren’t paying attention to the oldest requisitions to source, right? Not exactly. Sourcers should be working on roles that are the most difficult in the organization, not to supplement a gap in the sourcing ability of over-worked Recruiters.  If an organization only has the budget for three Sourcers, the temptation will be to spread those Sourcers out to cover as many open positions as possible.  The alternative to consider now is to focus those three Sourcers on the job categorizes with the highest level of openings, and the lowest level of talent availability.

Building sourcing momentum has one glaring negative. Sourcing the same roles over and over requires a repetition that most people do not enjoy. Therefore, identifying the best Sourcers can take some planning. But we are out there. This repetition is identified by the experienced Sourcer as the specialization gratification. Specializing allows room for momentum to build and allows for the Sourcer to become an expert. Being seen as an expert is an intrinsic reward.  Intrinsic rewards are intangible, psychological rewards that you get from a job well done, and lead to employee satisfaction on increased tenure. And what organization couldn’t benefit from that?

Talent Acquisition teams working togther to make placements

Talent Acquisition: Four Components of Modern Teams

Everyone wants the magic potion for the most efficient and innovative talent acquisition teams. In certain industries, the modernization and drive for cutting-edge teams has reached a crisis point. Not to be dramatic but we are almost at a perish or die moment.  I have had the pleasure to consult with all types of businesses, large and small across the nation in the areas of talent acquisition (TA). All the top box performers share a similar philosophy as to the makings of a great team. I share the common elements below.

Four Components of a Modern TA Team

  1. Traditional Recruiting

Stating the obvious. We still need traditional full-life-cycle recruiters to manage the candidate and hiring manager process, end-to-end. Recruiting is the giant overseer to which all other components support.

  1. Sourcing

The best TA organizations view sourcing as the only way to truly pipeline candidates for the future. Sourcing isn’t a vending machine that spits out candidates or engages in just-in-time staffing. It is the long-term woo of prospects who for whatever reason, aren’t ready to take a job right now.  However, there are Sourcers who function on emergent needs. It’s not the best use of Sourcers, but most successful TA team has at least one Sourcer reserved for difficult and urgent requirements. Bottom line, if you don’t have Sourcers, you aren’t pipelining.  It’s like being the Yankees without a minor league farm team to pull from.  There is an investment that is necessary to grow talent until the talent is ready. And to that end, you can’t grow talent without the brand messaging that comes from the next component of recruitment marketing.

  1. Recruitment Marketing

Content. Content. Content.  Engage. Engage. Engage.  Candidates are consumers. We are selling our positions to them just like Apple markets an iPhone.  The connections should be measurable, planned, constant, and persistent.  Sourcers won’t be successful without the knowledge foundational marketing knowledge around timing, content, and engagement. A candidate relationship database or recruiting platform is required to maintain these budding relationships and connections.  Sourcing and Recruitment Marketing go together.  You can’t have one without the other.

  1. Competitive Intelligence

Would it be easier to find talent if you were the leader in pay, benefits, and culture? You bet it would.  Knowing a competitor’s weakness is a skill that has been long perfected in the sales industry.  Those same tactics of researching a competitors’ product are used today in market analysis. Engagement campaigns to passive candidates can be tailored to fill a gap in a competitor limitation.  As an example, consider a competitor that has shown to have a weakness in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. A Recruiter or Sourcer would leverage that intel by focusing a recruitment marketing campaign around the diversity programs and underrepresented individuals in leadership. Offering solutions to a candidate’s problem is ultimately what makes a person apply online for a new position.

Can a talent acquisition team be successful without these four components? I am going to go out on a limb to say no, it is not possible.  Missing even one component puts an organization at risk for failed performance. If you don’t have sourcing, you aren’t pipelining.  If you don’t have recruitment marketing, you are failing to understand the consumer-driven candidate of today.  And if you don’t have competitive intelligence, you won’t be able to woo candidates out of their current jobs. And without Recruiters pushing the candidates through the process, no one would ever get hired.

Can a leader rearrange duties in a smaller organization so that all four of these components are covered by one person?  Yes. There are varying degrees of need, but a need, nonetheless. Welcome to the 21st century of talent acquisition.  Happy Hunting.

how to screen candidates

How to Screen or Not to Screen Candidates

As talent acquisition professionals, we can get hung up on tradition. Little has changed within hiring operating procedures or employment laws over the last 10 years. Candidates still must apply online. Talent Acquisition professionals still screen, interview, and make offers. But how to screen candidates is often a question that arises. Our corporate organizations still have compensation teams and onboarding groups. We are predictable.  But what has changed for the candidate?  Technology has changed, but applicants aren’t privy to the behind-the-scene monotony of the talent acquisition process.  We still make candidates jump through fifteen-minute-long applications, six interviews, and long waiting periods of uncertainty surrounding their application status. We can debate the entire employment process at another time. Still, I want to focus on what an individual contributor Recruiter/Sourcer can control, and that is the applicant/prospect telephone screen.

Speaking the Same Screening Language

There are several types of phone screens. The most common is a telephone interview and Human Resources screen, conducted by a talent acquisition team member or company representative as a gatekeeper. But even before a candidate reaches the gatekeeper, there may be an introductory call with a resume screener or sourcing professional. Later, there can be a call with the hiring manager too.  These calls benefit mostly the employer. The employer gets to ask qualifying questions, verifies education and certifications, and can assess culture with questions about the candidate’s behavior.  The myriad of telephone screens is usually required as a prerequisite before an in-person interview (pre-COVID).

So, What’s the Problem?

Talent acquisition decisions should be calculated from the candidate’s perspective. Why? Because getting a job is still a two-way street.  Some organizations have sacrificed a candidate phone screen for one-way video platforms (recorded answers to prechosen questions), email prescreens (knock-out or other screening questions via email), and artificial intelligence screening via chat-bot.

While our sometimes-titanic moving profession is welcoming in new technology like chat-bot and video interviews, we must use caution and remember the end-user, the candidate. Technology makes the process efficient for talent acquisition, but it can limit the relationship building and engagement with the candidate. Ask yourself…  Will this technology or process allow the candidate to ask their questions about the role? Will this technology or process limit candidate engagement? Will this technology or process allow our culture to shine? Does this process/technology make the candidate feel important?

Does this Mean Still Screen Candidates?

Personally, I don’t want to see the candidate phone screening step go away. Does it mean I’m part dinosaur holding on to the antiquated process, maybe? The predictable and boring phone interview and screening call between the candidate and hiring professional help sell the candidate's role, answer their questions and ascertain skill or cultural qualifications. A. Two. Way. Street.  What must change about screening prospective hires is the return of the conversation. A conversation is a talk between two or more people.  It should not be one-sided.  A prospective new employee must be given an avenue to ask questions. This is not just the right thing to do. It is unequivocally required for a candidate to accept an offer. How will an applicant be able to assess an organization without a platform to express concerns and questions?

The psychology of candidate interest is not complex.  Negative aspects in the current job will have to be alleviated by something a new company is offering before the candidate will accept an interest in a role. Failure to resolve the negative issues will lead to candidate declines. Declines for screening, declines for interviews, declines for referrals, and declines for offers.

The bottom line, screening is a necessary and vital part of the candidate hiring process.  Just don’t forget to bring the candidate along for the ride. Screening candidates the old-fashioned way can increase candidate engagement and improve interest in the company's overall brand.

Happy Hunting.

No Degree for Talent Sourcers

Talent Sourcing: There is No Degree For It

Preaching to the choir here, but there is no degree for Talent Acquisition, Recruiting, or Talent Sourcing.  We can get a Human Resource Management degree, and that degree is vital to understanding employment law.  However, there is no such thing as a bachelor’s degree in Talent Acquisition.  We are lucky enough to have some great training and certificates available thru SourceCon/ERE, Recruiter Academy, AIRS, Brain Gain, and Sourcing Certifications. Thank goodness for those. But for us in talent sourcing, we are in the business of research curation. That research curation requires diligence and a constant that doesn’t end in a terminal degree.

So, what is research curation? A Sourcer is equivalent to a reference librarian. If you aren’t aware of that, I can paint a picture for you.  Back in the day before the internet, answers to any questions meant a trip to the library.  In high school, when a book report or paper was due, it meant a trip to the library. Library users were able to use a card catalog and look up most research articles, books, and magazines, on most any type of topic, all on their own. That would be akin to a Google search today.  In every library though, there was a holy section of books. Not accessible to the public to touch on their own but guarded by the reference librarian.  This reference librarian had first editions, full encyclopedias, genealogy, greys anatomy, and other scientific manuscripts, and myriads of other collateral too expensive and specific to leave out for the general public.  They were keepers of specific information. If you couldn’t find it on your own, you enlisted the help of a professional reference librarian.  A Talent Sourcing professional has access to most pieces of information found in the card catalog of data. But if you want the specific, the special, the hard to find, you enlist the help of today's version of a reference librarian, the Sourcer.

Not every search that a Talent Sourcing professional is engaged with requires a deep dive on the internet with complex Boolean strings. Finding candidates off Indeed and LinkedIn can still be 60% of a Talent Sourcers hires. There is no shame in the low-hanging-fruit game. However, a Sourcer wants to leverage 100% of the workforce, not just the active candidates on paid job boards. To access 100% of the labor pool, a Sourcer must have records and data stored that directs us on our quest for the most qualified. To that, I will give you a peek inside a Sourcers inventory and library.

A Sourcers Library includes:

  • Competitive Intelligence – Links to all resources to identify market intelligence. Perhaps even battle cards to summarize each competitor’s weakness, strengths, and value propositions.  This includes Google Alerts, Salary intel, Employee Reviews, Email Naming Convention, Benefit details, and Culture on all competitors. This intel should be stored and cataloged alphabetically by each competitor.
  • Recruitment Marketing – Oh, yes. We can no longer say “that’s not my job” on recruitment marketing. Sourcers need to know where to find the best hashtags, how to post the most compelling content, and manage their own social media calendars. Social Media is now 50% of a Sourcers job. Since many of us are not marketing experts, we imperatively need a content library to house all our recruitment marketing collateral. I suggest following Rally Recruitment Marketing for their free templates and advice.
  • Chrome Extensions – There are still plenty of free Chrome Extensions that are safe, and supply Sourcers with all they need to identify contact information. Right now, I have about 40 chrome extensions for contact info in my URL toolbar favorites.  Don’t neglect the Chrome extensions that are out there for efficiency either.  Ways to track, mine, and stay organized.  CV Timeline is my favorite time-saver for LinkedIn.  Technology is there to make our lives simpler and more efficient. Take advantage of it.
  • A CRM – There needs to be “one-source-of-truth” when it comes to storing our most priceless curation, and that is the leads/prospects we are identifying.  I’ve tried a million different spreadsheets to serve as an alternative storehouse, but a CRM is by far and away from the best tool for storing candidate curations.
  • Lists – Sourcers have lists for everything. Lists of associations, data mining, scraping, data extractors (whatever you want to call it), and more. Paid tools like Phantombuster are a great start to categorizing candidate details for future curation.

A good Sourcer can rattle off twenty places to find a single candidate for any job thrown at them. Not because they went to school for it. Not because they received a bachelor's or master’s degree in it. But because they practiced a good behavioral habit to be curious and care about how they store that research for later use.

For your next Sourcing hire, look to add a training program. Realize the shortage in our industry for trained professionals and invest in them. They need to learn the skills somewhere.  Happy Hunting.

2020 talent sourcing for recruiters

Ruminating on 2020 Talent Sourcing

I took it upon myself to conduct an unofficial and unscientific talent acquisition survey.  I wanted to talk to various Sourcers from around the nation and get their take on the candidate of 2020. Did we learn anything this year that will help us prepare for 2021?  The Sourcing ruminations I gathered are mostly anecdotal, but they are from the horse's mouth and should be given credence.  Sourcers are the first point of contact with a potential prospect and have been privy to unfiltered candidate emotions.  Everyone's opinion or empirical observations have at least a smidge of truth and are worth reflecting upon. The hope would be that we've learned something from 2020 talent sourcing with the ups and downs, the highs and lows, and the struggles and successes that will help position us better in 2021.  Even though this year showed us that any good plan could be whittled to dust within 24 hours, we must attempt to understand.  Covid-19 dismantled economies in literal days.  In 2020 talent acquisition teams had furloughs and reassignment we never dreamt possible, but here we are.  I surveyed about 30 Sourcers from coast to coast, from Maine to California.  Most of the Sourcers were in healthcare, keep that in mind, but from all types of organization sizes, strength, and profit level.


Here are their thoughts on 2020 Talent Sourcing:


  • More candidates responded in 2020, still declining, but the responses are kinder and swifter.
  • There is an increase in texting responses from prospects. They seem to like texts as the first form of contact.
  • Moderate to a large increase in candidate negotiations for increased salaries.
  • Moderate to a large increase in counteroffers.
  • Moderate to a significant increase in internal transfers.
  • Some organizations sped up their hiring process to meet Covid needs – they fared better than those who kept it business as usual.
  • Candidates are off the market fast. Sometimes within days.
  • The majority of candidates are asking to work remotely.
  • “Good candidates are very picky.” Sourcers note skilled staff know their value and expect more in a new position.
  • People share a lot more personal information with us. They want to share their real needs, their human side (less formality).
  • Loss of entry-level worker roles to remote positions.
  • Pay and bonus structures are hot right now. Rates need to be competitive.
  • Phenomenal candidates are pushy and are very high touch. Without high touch, they walk away. Serious attention needs to be given to a “white glove” treatment.
  • Due to furloughs, the quality of candidates in 2020 was high.
  • Candidates seem uncertain – to stay or take a leap of faith and relocate for a new role – requiring more assistance, documents, selling collateral to convince.
  • Reprioritization of family. Candidates ask for input from spouses, consideration of children, and family issues in a way we haven’t seen before.
  • Candidates appear burnt out and anxious.
  • People are asking about Retention – Turnover Stats. Candidates are challenging culture claims. They want proof that they are moving to a great company.


I hope talent acquisition leaders read this.  This is not the time to take our foot off the gas.  We need shorter processes, revamped compensation plans, a renewed emphasis on community resources for relocation purposes, hiring manager involvement, and recruitment marketing and engagement plans with dollar signs behind them.  We are not at the end of this yet. The candidate of today will take some time to recover.  And they are getting smarter.  2021 will continue to bring challenges that must be addressed with fresh eyes and focus.


Happy hunting, everyone.

Everything new in recruiting is old

Everything Old in Recruiting is New Again

What a time to be alive! Artificial intelligence for candidate matching, advanced site Boolean strings, free recruiting software for phone numbers and email addresses, as well as data lists and scrapers, are making candidates easy to find these days. You can swiftly identify Non-exempt and high-level exempt candidates via the internet. The REAL struggle begins when you attempt to woo a passive candidate to respond to your messages.

We must now train talent acquisition professionals to use modern technology to source candidates, but the technology exists. You can teach almost anyone to use it. However, today's Recruiters and Sourcers that have not received recruitment marketing engagement training are at a profound disadvantage for recruiting in today's market. It is easy to waste hours sourcing the most qualified candidate is wasted when the messaging sent isn't transparent, genuine, and worth the candidates read. Honestly, I think some talented professionals forget to feel like the candidate.

Thirty years ago, the employees in a Personnel department sat around waiting for candidates to funnel in from the two-thousand-dollar Sunday newspaper advertisements. When the candidates didn't arrive at fill-out paper applications, we hit the phones using the Rolodex. God love agency recruiters, they never moved away from cold calling, but many corporate recruiters have lost the skill. There is a magic that happens when a Recruiter goes back to the basics of leveraging referrals and picking up the phone (or text or, however, people prefer).

There is already a recruitment marketing philosophy that subscribes to the idea of candidates as consumers. Consumers desire relationships. The wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am type of recruiting gives our industry a bad name. Anyone reading this has probably received a spam email about a job they are over or underqualified for. That type of unsolicited connection rubs a consumer the wrong way. The consumer wants to know who they are dealing with. Think about your own life. A consumer likes to use the same mechanic, hairstylist or barber, auto dealership, HVAC tech, pool guy, personal lawyer, accountant, etc.… The consumer wants to do business with someone who knows their preferences. There is no reason why a candidate can't see a talent acquisition professional as "their recruiter."

Reviving traditional standard operating procedures centered around relationships with candidates and peers is how challenging positions will be filled through the pandemic and beyond. Asking for references and referrals, knowing your candidate's preferences, leveraging your network, gathering allies, asking for help, sharing, and networking are old-school techniques that are not only free but take little time to complete. When our backs are against the wall and cannot find a match, we tend to turn to the internet and job boards. There was a reason we used just to hit the phones when we struggled on a position years ago, because it was free, fast, and it works! Humans tend to respond for help, so let's use who we know to our advantage and ask for help. Modern-day crowdsourcing is just an updated telephone tree.

So, what is the best-case scenario? I am not advocating that we ONLY use old-school methods to identify and connect with candidates. There are talent acquisition professionals who take a mix of traditional recruiting methods and combine them with today's technology. A combination of tactics is ideal and a healthy way to stay engrossed in our occupation. The most important thing to think about when recruiting and sourcing today, whether you use technology or not, is to feel like the candidate. Speak to your candidate using transparent words. Try to break the HR Lawyer speak. There are plenty of ways to be truthful without getting sued. And listen. Listen to the candidate. That is the best Sourcing tool available.

Happy Hunting!

recruiter taking the 50X playbook challenge

Does TA Understand Passive Talent Engagement?

As a talent acquisition consultant, specializing in the areas of sourcing and recruitment marketing, I am frequently asked to aid in hard-to-find candidate pursuits. Generally, I can perform a few Boolean searches to identify said passive candidate within a few minutes, retrieving a myriad of qualified candidates for the picking.  It has taken a pandemic and thirty years of experience to finally realize that the “war on talent” is fictitious. In this internet age Recruiters and Sourcers can identify any person, anywhere, including their former names, contact info, x-spouses and neighbors’ email.  That is not intended to be funny, we really can do that.  Information is everywhere. This leaves the question to be asked, do we really have a problem finding talent, or do we have trouble getting talent to respond to us?

Now before you start telling me that you have an actual job that really is hard to fill, I can tell you I believe you. But if we hash out the details, I’m sure we could agree on the fact that the type of person you seek exists, it’s just the Recruiter can’t find someone to be interested in the job when they need them to be interested.  This is where the problem lies. In order to look at the talent shortage differently, we must rephrase the problem we are trying to solve. The talent acquisition challenge is no longer around “where do we find candidates”, but “how do we get passive candidates to engage with us”? Recruiters now are expected to be recruitment marketing gurus, without any training in that area, and to adopt an always-on news media cycle to job sharing and content writing. When Recruiters fail to understand passive candidate engagement, the time it takes to fill a job increases. Hiring managers complain. Leaders then assume a performance problem with the Recruiter, when in fact it is a skill and training issue.

The first step in changing a perspective, when faced with a challenge, is analysis. Noted are a few challenge questions to determine if your organization understands the need for passive talent engagement:

  • Do your Recruiters lack a multi-channel approach when reaching out to prospective candidate leads? Do they rely on a good mix of email, phone, text, and social media direct messaging?
  • Do your Recruiters have a one-and-done mentality? Meaning, do Recruiters only focus on the potential applicant that responds favorably?
  • When a prospect declines a request to engage, do your Recruiters log those declines and plan for future engagements with the candidate?
  • When a prospect declines a request to engage, do your Recruiters request to stay in touch for referrals?

The long-term philosophy for candidate engagement is to log, connect, and reconnect with prospects. Those connections, if done right, eventually form a relationship with the prospect. That relationship helps to identify the potential candidates dream role. The Recruiter then ties that dream to a company value. It is the purposeful and diligent connection with the prospect that, over time, help the lead to recognize the positives of a new job can outweigh the negatives in their current role. Yahtzee.  Seriously, do our recruiters have time to form these relationships while managing eighty requisitions?

A modern talent acquisition team understands that the department doesn’t start and end with Recruiters.  Leading-edge talent teams incorporate Sourcing, Recruitment Marketing, and Competitive Intelligence as sub-sets within the TA department.  Missing any part of that equation positions a team for failure and missed opportunity.

So where to start? Budgets are tight. Perhaps asking for a sourcing team or a CRM is an unrealistic ask right now.  My suggestion is to start with marketing. Ask for an internal marketing resource to be dedicated to talent acquisition.  Even better, you can take a current TA resource (perhaps a coordinator or recruiter) and swap out the FTE budgeted role with your own recruitment marketing specialist. It’s a start. Happy Hunting.

Librarians Make Great Sourcers

At an increasing rate, leaders connect with me to ask about the characteristics and skills that make up a great Sourcer. We are at a point in Sourcing maturity, especially in healthcare, where leaders are recognizing that the Recruiters they tried to train as Sourcers, are struggling to succeed. There are exceptions of course.  Some Recruiters have really taken to the Sourcing role, using the same communication and marketing skills they learned as recruiters in a new Sourcing role. But the majority of new Sourcers are learning all too late of the prerequisites required to be successful in the job.

What then, does it take to be a savvy Sourcer? I confess this is arguable based upon the industry and leadership mentoring style. I can only tell you what life was like for me as a sourcing practitioner, and what life is like for my clients fraught with setting up thriving sourcing teams. The following list of traits is not all inclusive, but a guide to help leaders understand the role requirements more thoroughly.


I note this characteristic first.  A Sourcer must have the inquisitiveness of a three-year-old to question, why, why, why? The Sourcing role is an independent position. A recruiter has structured workflows and boxes to check off in the ATS.  The Sourcer doesn’t have such a prescribed plan. The Sourcer must be able to ask their own questions and follow up on their own hunches. Think about a bill collector skip tracer.  Their job is to find where a debtor lives and works so they can collect a debt.  They scour the internet, search for clues, and follow up on those clues without instruction.  The same could be said of police detectives. This identical sort of prying interest is what solves a case. The Sourcer behaves in much the same way as the detective or skip tracer. Following sets of clues without instruction, but with initiative, is imperative to finding the right candidate fit.


I always tell people that I am a better curator of research than I am at sourcing.  An English major, librarian, or other individual with a background in custodian data will do well in a sourcing role. Sourcers are stewards of information. No matter what position you are sourcing for, I can tap into my sourcing catalogue and find the right inventory needed for the hunt. Individuals who don’t excel in this area will constantly be asking you the same questions repeatedly, because they fail to keep this array of inventory at the ready.  I can not stress enough the frustration of a Sourcer who regularly forgets their tools.

Love for Repetition

The sourcing role is doing the same thing over and over again and loving every minute of it. Sure, there are different resources and candidates to talk to that help to break the day up.  But have you ever tried performing research for eight straight hours? It is exhausting. It takes time to train your eyes to the strain and your brain to the deluge of information. The individual that masters this level of activity does well navigating the echo in the role of a Sourcer.


A common hesitation from Recruiters turned Sourcers is that they will miss the personal relationships with their candidates. I honestly do not know how this could be possible.  I am way more engaged in candidates lives, and for a much longer time frame as a Sourcer than I ever was as a Recruiter. The wooing period for a Sourcer can last for months, and sometimes years. In that time frame, I have had countless calls and touchbases with a candidate on their needs for a new role and dream position. I have become passionate about their wants; I generally find out more about their family and background during this time as well.  It once took me twelve years to find one candidate their ideal new position.  I realize that is an exception.  But more oft times than not, when a Sourcer connects with a passive candidate, they have a checklist of items they need met before a job change can be made. The Sourcer guides that checklist and advises on best ways to achieve their goals faster. The Sourcer role remains intimate with the candidate and heightens the role of counselor. At least it does if you are doing it right.

I realize this is all just empirical and anecdotal evidence and not at all scientific. I am sure there is a strength finder guide out there that will tally up all the desirable traits of a Sourcer on a more academically acceptable scale.  In the meantime, I hope this helps in choosing the right candidate for the role.  It truly is an inspiring and rewarding career. Happy Hunting.

Addressing Old School Resume Protocol

I read a lot. I enjoy mysteries, but I also read for work. I read to stay on top of trends in talent acquisition. I read to discover new technologies in Sourcing. I read to be informed on recruitment marketing drifts. The talent acquisition profession had years of sluggish growth that has been replaced with technological systems and workflows. Recruiting uses software in the form of ATS, CRM, referral and reference software, as well as advances in artificial intelligence candidate matching tech and chatbots. Coupling old school recruiting process with new technology means talent professionals now will be required to update as fast as the software changes. Therefore, shouldn’t our modus operandi in recruiting change too? Why are we holding on to resume etiquette and other outdated practices? I’m willing to argue some of these practices be put to bed.

Is a good resume only two pages long?
Sigh. I’m working on my doctorate. In my early days of the program, I pestered my advisor daily for advice on the proper length should of a doctoral dissertation. Surely someone, somewhere could give me an average measurement. One hundred pages? Three hundred pages? The answer I always received was “it takes as long as it takes”. That is the advice we should be giving candidates who ask the question of resume length. Noting a resume should be two pages was just an arbitrary number that stuck. I don’t care if its only half a page resume for a new graduate or a twelve-page cv for a research scientist with publications. It takes as long as it takes.

Adding References to a Resume
“References Upon Request”. We can stop typing this at the end of a resume. There is technology for reference checking now. Not that I don’t like adding your references to my CRM and calling on them for jobs of my own later, because I will, it is just no longer necessary. An ATS or reference checking software will ask candidates this information at the appropriate time. However, as an industry we need to be better about practices that do not benefit the candidate. References on the resume is one practice that no longer aids the candidate, it exploits the references for unscrupulous recruiters to leverage.

Work Authorization
Add it. I’m all for helping a candidate note their authorization to work in the US if they are getting declined too often from recruiters due to visa assumptions. We need to do better at recognizing our own unconscious bias to candidates with names or locations that lean to foreign national status. Until then, the candidate needs to fend for themselves and do what is necessary.

I really do need to know where you live as a Recruiter or Sourcer. This is tied to relocation and geographic searches. But I’m fine if you want to leave off your street address, just the city and state is now acceptable. We aren’t mailing decline letters anymore via snail mail, so removing that information is now standard. We still need email and phone number, but a candidate need not announce it. I know anything with an @ symbol is an email address.

Colorful, Graphic Heavy Resumes
Go for it. Decorate that resume to your hearts content. We don’t scan resumes anymore. Years ago, the scanning software was the reason behind plain resume text and fonts. The scanners couldn’t pick up details and decorations in a resume to be stored accurately, the sophistication just was not there. Today, a modern ATS can upload any kind of document. Imaginative resumes are not just for graphic designers and creative roles anymore. You go buddy, you do you. Job descriptions are now becoming graphic. Resumes will not be far behind.

Objectives are necessary should you be switching careers or just starting out. There is no reason to have an objective if you are full on into your career where the trajectory is obvious. If after thirty years in talent acquisition you want to switch to working in social services, then absolutely add an objective. If your objective reads as an inane cliché to what you think people want to hear, then you have permission to delete it altogether. Ask yourself, is this objective a value add?

I am not advocating that we throw resume decorum in the trash. I still believe in formality, procedure, and rituals. 2020 has been a hard year, and I have seen humans act in self-regarding ways. Modern thinking and change should not be filed away as venal and privy to short cuts. Change is about accepting different thoughts, ideas, and actions that make our lives more fulfilling and less stressful. Let us not be overly aggressive into ideals they have run their course. It is a new day for candidates, and we need to come along for the ride.