Privacy is one of those topics you can bring up anywhere, anytime and it will generate a lively discussion. Many people feel like sourcers dive into people’s personal lives when we find them online. Truly I don’t.I work with what you put out there. Every once in a while I work with what other people have put out there for you. Like your Marketing department. Or the Conference you just spoke to or attended. Or articles I find online where your job comes into play. I delve into rosters, speaker lists, annual reports, patents…it goes on and on. In my role at our company, it’s rare that I just float a name to a recruiter, if I only find a name I search until I locate some type of biographical information and then float a profile to the recruiter.
Where is the difference in sourcing from say… creeper? In my opinion, it comes down to transparency – owning where I found you. I’m incredibly transparent when it comes to sharing with candidates and clients where I found people and my motives are not personal, always on the up and up. The candidates are the ones I have the most concern for… if someone has to email me with the query of “where did you find me”? It worries me. You should have a handle on where your name is available online and definitely where it’s associated with your employer or profession. If you can’t remember if you built an online profile on LinkedIn or anywhere else, it’s time to Google yourself. Set up an alert. I know, it sounds narcissistic, but it’s really a great tool to keep a handle on your professional reputation.When asked “where did you find me”, I always come clean. We may have had you on file (you applied to a prior job), I may have sourced you (I always save the link to where I found you to tell you how), or you may be a referral. In my opinion sharing that information creates instant trust and verifies credibility that you mean to do no harm, but serve up a job opportunity.
I have had people say “you did not find me on ….” and in that case I always come back and in a nice way share a screenshot of where I found them. They need to be aware how findable they are, especially if they were expecting to not be findable and of course to be aware that old profiles still exist. Same goes for clients. If they want to know where I found their talent, I share it. Kind of scary, because maybe they want to do it on their own. But I generate more sourced candidates in 24 hours than they would be able to generate in 6 weeks, because I’m only sourcing. I don’t have operations or HR responsibilities. And clients really like to know.
Moral of the story? If you want privacy, control it online. Decide how you want to be represented and realize every time you create a profile, you make yourself findable.