I’m a fan of SourceCon (my first SourceCon was in 2008 and I just totally geeked out while there). I came away with tools, techniques and even better, strategies (!), that helped shape me into the sourcer I am today. I was ecstatic to see this fall’s agenda because Jeremy Roberts and his team have structured the conference into tracks – focusing on Leadership and Tactical and…incorporated a Sourcing Lab.
Sourcers are a tough crowd, so offering up a diverse menu to address the needs of a newbie and the quest for “more” of an experienced sourcer is always a challenge. Jeremy is taking it head on by offering tracks and incorporating insight from real world sourcing leaders, creating an opportunity to dig in and see what worked at a variety of organizations out in the mecca of tech – Seattle. And the Sourcing Lab? It’s riddled with experts.
Jeremy’s a busy guy but I needed to know more about the brains behind a conference that was making me think of leaving my lovely home office in metro DC. Here’s how our conversation went down:
kd: You’re the new SourceCon leader, what drew you to this opportunity?
jr: I wasn’t actually looking for a change but the opportunity to join SourceCon was something I couldn’t pass up. In my opinion, SourceCon is the best brand in sourcing. I saw this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to not only be involved in my favorite professional conference, but to make a difference in a profession that I’m very passionate about.
kd:Give me the 2 minute elevator spiel on your sourcing background? (this may have exceeded 2 minutes)
jr:I started in the search business with a healthcare staffing firm in 2003. It was an intense environment with a lot of phone sourcing required. I continued working in third party recruiting (retained and contingent) until I joined a large defense contractor in 2010. The entire time I was in third party recruiting my favorite part of the business was the sourcing and candidate engagement piece. After joining a corporate recruiting department I was able to help my manager (Justin Clem) start a sourcing function that supported the recruiting team. During this time I was also able to complete a Six Sigma project that included implementing a CRM solution for the sourcing function. This experience prepared me for my next adventure which was to lead a sourcing team for a large RPO engagement. While supporting the RPO client we grew our sourcing team from 4 to 24 members.
kd:What are you trying to develop or achieve for SourceCon?
jr: SourceCon has grown a lot in recent years. When you attend the event you will find a very diverse group of people. You encounter the highly technical, very advanced sourcers that were common during the early days of SourceCon, and you encounter very new sourcers and recruiters that need to wrap their brains around the basics of Boolean search. My mission with developing this agenda was to make sure we were creating something that would be valuable to both of those groups, as well as the sourcing and recruiting leaders that attend. I would like for companies to know that when they send us their sourcing team, they will come back with new tools and techniques that make an immediate impact.
kd: Have you had a pivotal “SourceCon” moment?
jr: My first SourceCon was a pivotal moment for me professionally (NYC 2010). I had always been fascinated by the sourcing side of the business and loved sharing with other sourcers. Being in the room with so many sourcing thought leaders, and learning so many great new techniques was a great experience and opened my eyes to the career paths that existed for me. After just one conference I felt an incredible loyalty to the conference and all of the people I met. I’m excited to now be a part of the team and able to contribute to future events.
kd: Why are you excited about this year’s SourceCon?
jr: There are a lot of exciting things about this conference. First of all, the location. Microsoft headquarters is a great venue for a conference and Seattle has a very dynamic sourcing and recruiting community. I’m also excited about the SourceCon challenge that we are designing for this event. We will be launching the pre-conference portion of the challenge on the 27th of August. Everyone that completes the pre-conference challenge will be able to compete for the title of “Sourcing Grand Master” at the fall conference during SourceCon After Dark.
kd: If people have never been to a SourceCon, why should they go?
jr: SourceCon is 100% sourcing. If you’re a recruiter who sources, or a sourcer, this is the best place for you to spend two days learning from, and getting to know, the smartest people in our business. Between the two tracks (Leadership and Tactical) and the lab sessions you will walk away with new tools and strategies that will make an immediate impact on your production. If you lead a sourcing team, you’ll be able to hear what’s working for other organizations, and also learn from their past mistakes.
kd: If people have been to a SourceCon, why is it time to come back?
jr: Sourcing is constantly evolving as are all of the tools that we use. During the early days of SourceCon, it was harder to find candidates. Today, it’s easier to find candidates, but we need to get faster at cutting through the mess to get to the right candidates. Then, we need to get better at engaging with those candidates quickly. The problems are changing, but we still have just as much to discuss as ever. We need to continue meeting as often as we can to share best practices and keep pushing the sourcing industry forward. If you’ve been to a SourceCon in the past, and you think you have something to offer the community, I would love to chat with you about blogging or speaking. Please let me know!
kd: You’ve got alot of great speakers lined up, who is the absolute can’t miss, the one that when it’s their time on stage you will be saying “See ya…I gotta catch this…” (and why?)
jr: I’m excited about everyone on the agenda. However, if there is one person that I would say you can’t afford to miss, it’s Eric Jaquith. Eric always says something interesting and never disappoints his audience. The primary reason you can’t miss Eric is that he never writes. For example, he joined Twitter on April 1, 2008 and currently only has 2 tweets (though he may delete them before this post runs). The bottom line is that if you want to learn from Eric, you better listen while he’s on stage. He won’t be blogging any time soon. (kd’s note: I totally agree – Eric is never to be missed!)
kd:And lastly, tell me about yourself….
jr: I live in Dallas, TX with three great kids (7, 9, 12), and an amazing wife, Kristi. I drink a lot of coffee, still ride a skateboard, and spend too much time on social media. Keep up with me on Twitter via @imJeremyR.
Guess what? Jeremy at SourceCon has some through with a 10% off registration discount code for FOT readers. Just enter 10% SC13FFOT when registering, but do it by Friday, that’s when the price kicks up.