My 4 Sourcing Lessons From 2013

I love this time of year. I enjoy taking stock and reflecting on the previous years’ highs and lows—and the times that everything was on cruise control.

This year was a bit more of a roller coaster than I expected in my personal life, but wow… work life knocked the ball right out of the park!  We’re doing research faster—and smarter—than ever before.

What’s working? These four things:

1) Questioning the Process.  We took stock of what we were doing research-wise, and where we were getting bogged down. The main booger? Poor intake. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a chatty group, but we worked on honing in on the questions that make the research hum from the get-go.  The research questions are definitely different from the interview questions… we need hard facts, keywords, examples, similar terms, phrases, degrees, certifications and so on.  Those interview questions often dig into soft skills and aren’t useful to me when I’m scanning biographical data. Now, in our intake session we nip those conversations in the bud. It’s nice to know, but if I’m not going to see it in print, I don’t care.  We fixed those questions and all of a sudden our research process was rocketing ahead by leaps and bounds.

2) Managing the Data Bad Boy.  We’re constantly working on managing our data.  It’s tough to wrap your arms around all the data we’ve acquired over the past three years, but I love looking at it and seeing how our homegrown database has become a mega resource for us. As much as I enjoy a hire credited to research, I love it even more if I found the person three years ago and now we’ve made the right match between our client’s needs and the candidate’s.  This year, we’re looking at how to leverage internal data even better, culling the wheat from the chaff and finding those top 10, top 5, top 2 candidates faster and faster—before we even start the external research.

3) Turn Into a Toddler to Effect Change.  We’ve thrown a temper tantrum when it was necessary. Oh yes, we got our ATS and other systems working the way we wanted, especially because our wants were basic. And I see a few temper tantrums on the horizon for 2014…

4) We’re getting educated.  Turning the page has been how I’ve quite literally spent 2013.  I can’t recall a time when more sourcing books have come available.  But in 2014? It’s all about face time—we’re hitting up the conferences. First up? Sourcecon. Thrilled to be speaking but even more thrilled to be attending.  All I’m looking for is one or two good tidbits to jumpstart my year.  And, from this session list, I’m pretty sure I’ll get it. Want to join me there? Sourcecon was kind enough to offer a 10% off registration discount with code SC14DING.  Please note that code is case sensitive and that the early bird discount ends on December 31.

What does 2014 hold for our research team?  The big task? Innovate. How are we going to do that?! I’m not 100% sure—I mean, we’re ending 2013 on a high note.  But 365 days from now, I’ll let you know how it worked out… and you’re welcome to join me on the journey, I have a feeling it could be a bumpy ride!

Happy Holidays and happy sourcing to you in 2014!


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. Megan Burkett says:

    Thank you for this post Kelly! So much I agree with- I have always been a fan of questioning the process. You can’t improve it if you don’t analyze it and you can’t become complacent with the process or innovation dies.

    This quote: “This year, we’re looking at how to leverage internal data even better, culling the wheat from the chaff and finding those top 10, top 5, top 2 candidates faster and faster—before we even start the external research.” Is mistakenly undervalued. I firmly believe that internal data goes far beyond time to fill into all sorts of TA expertise.

    Finally education- speechless on the need for everyone involved in the HR and recruitment process to desire on going education about their client, the talent pool, and the latest trends. I could go on for hours about the future but thank you for fueling the flame!

  2. Steve Levy says:

    Spot on KD…let me add one more that IMO serves as the biggest gap between finding them and getting them:


    I’ve always believed that I can give away (actually I do) my best sourcing secrets but “you” still won’t get them the way I do. Engaging these purple squirrels is what separates the average from the top 10% of our profession. There are secrets to engagement but in reality it’s knowing what the needs of the hunted are – and frankly knowing how to match their needs with your marketing. Easier said than done.

    In 2014 my writings will focus on engagement. Stay tuned (and I’ll keep reading your stuff for great KDisms).

    BTW, read my latest on 😉

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