Sourcing 101: Which comes first…finding people or engagement?

Engagement.  It’s a sexy phrase in recruiting right now.  Pretty much by talking about “engagement” we are reminding our recruiting peers to be decent human beings and follow the age old “golden rule”.

I heart LinkedInEngagement is supposed to be key, whether you’re a VP, Business Partner, Generalist, Assistant, Recruiter or Sourcer in HR.  But for sourcers, how much engagement is key?

I’ve been tossing this over as I get ready with my recruitDC peers for our spring event.  I’ve been thinking about “new” sourcers today.  I’m betting a lot of organizations introduce them to LinkedIn, maybe with a Corporate Recruiter account and say …have at it.  Drum up your keywords by talking to the hiring manager or deferring to the job description and go.

Oh.  And be nice.  Respond.  Engage.

Very good for LinkedIn.  Not so good when you’re reliant on finding people only by profile and skipping name generation.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Linked in.  I should have an I “heart” LinkedIn t-shirt.  (And by the way, if they see this and make them up for their next big Corporate Recruiter conference…I expect one.  And I’ll even wear it in a new profile pic…because I’m a tshirt *****).

There is at least one day a week where I force myself to turn off LinkedIn as a first resource. It’s so easy to go fishing in the same fishing hole.  But eventually, that may favorite spot, as gorgeous as it may be, may be overfished.  It’s really important that our new sourcers learn about name generation.

What am I talking about?  I’m talking about doing some homework.  Researching like organizations.  Searching those same organization via site:, or Hoover’s, or Jigsaw, or Manta for names of the professionals you’re seeking.  Maybe I’m digging for names within conference sites or meetup groups or professional groups.  Ripping this data first gives you names to profile.  We’re inferring here…that people with the right title at similar organizations could be the candidate we’re looking for.  We then have options, continue with profiling the names by plugging them into a search engine with the company name or their job title to see if a bio or profile is yielded.  Or, we can start to engage, via email or a phone call.

Hmmm.  So maybe finding people does come first.  And then engagement.  Make sure you are developing your sourcers so they can find people, not just keyword search LinkedIn.

FOT Background Check

Kelly Dingee
Kelly Dingee is a Senior Manager, Global Talent Acquisition for Marriott International. She has extensive sourcing experience having worked for Staffing Advisors (retained search), AIRS (training!) and Thales Communications, Inc., (cleared/telecom) and got her start in the profession while a full life cycle recruiter at Acterna (now known as Viavi). Lucky for Kelly, she had a boss who could see the potential of sourcing candidates from the web, and in 1998, she stepped into a newly created sourcing role. No truth to the rumor that she has a side business to help you push your resume to the top of Google search results…


  1. Suzy Tonini says:

    Great post and I can sooooo relate. Just finding names and contact info is *yawn* not going to cut it in today’s hyper-competitive talent landscape. Getting back into full swing into the sourcing world, I ask myself: so I found this really great list of people; why would these people want to actually interact with your company (engage)? This will require some serious employment branding and some recruiting and hiring manager synergies. I have ways to find candidates, way beyond LinkedIn. But what happens after I find them is up to the recruiters and companies, and the candidate experience. And the company culture, ultimately.

  2. So true. Each position starts with slowing down to develop a strategy. LinkedIn will be a major part of that strategy typically, but there are other spots on the lake to fish as well. Trophy fish don’t often swim where there are a lot of lines in the water.

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