Is it just me or has time become even more of a precious commodity today? I don’t know about you, but I want to do it all. I’ve been like this for years…trying to cram in the work stuff, the home stuff, the volunteer stuff! Many professionals, particularly recruiters, are now faced with doing all their regular work and taking on additional tasks, like sourcing. And they struggle with the limited time they have, to be the best they can be. A lot of people aren’t aware that I got into sourcing when I was pregnant with my second daughter. I had an amazing boss who offered me a job opportunity that literally redefined me professionally and enabled me to really balance my home and work life.
—First – get some training. We all need training, and everyone goes to something to refresh and recharge. Some go to conferences, some come to full day classes. If you can’t attend in person, attend online. Typically the first thing I hear from people is that they don’t have any time to do all the work they have and they definitely don’t have time for training. Make time. Request the budget dollars. Invest in you and in your company’s future. Ever hear that saying, “If you aren’t the lead dog, the view never changes”? Well, do you want to be the lead dog or chasing your competition’s throw away candidates? Definitely choose training that allows for practice time; I can hook you up with a company that does just that. If your Trainer offers to help after class, take them up on it! Follow up on your action items, run your search strings and strategies by them. Get as much feedback as you can. Also look for Alumni of the same training, particularly in groups on LinkedIn. You’ll find more people just like you, and quite often pretty passionate about sourcing as well. Connect. Ask Questions. All of that expands your sourcing knowledge.
–Second – set aside some practice time. Not alot, just 15 minutes every morning, if you’re feeling generous, go for 30. Book it in Outlook and give yourself a mission. Maybe it’s to see how many different keywords you can generate for one of your requisitions. Or build an extremely detailed competitor list leveraging the related: command at Google and digging into Google Finance for even more reference information. Or maybe it’s creating a bunch of search strings in a Google Document to use the next day, during your next sessioin. Kick it up each week. Push yourself to think and act swiftly with the knowledge you have and test out new techniques and resources. Stretch yourself, if you always use Google, try Exalead or even better, bring a Metasearch Engine into the mix to see comparisons between top search sites. Read the “about” section of your favorite search engine, take a leap and click on the “more” button. If you always use Internet Explorer as your browser, try Chrome or Firefox. And follow one of my personal practice rules, use a company or person in your examples whom you know really well. Why do that? Because I want to find fabulous people like those employed at the company I know really well. And while you’re doing all this practice, make note of what works and what is absolute crap. And remember, if a technique isn’t working, touch base with a cube mate, mentor or trainer to bounce it around and fix it.
–Third – find people who are passionate about sourcing to connect with – they’re on LinkedIn, they have Google Profiles, you’ll probably be able to track them down on FriendFeed or Twitter too. Look within your industry. If you’re in the hospitality industry, consider keeping tabs on Sodexo, they set the bar pretty high. Do some research, meet some of their team. Will they share all of their secrets of sourcing? Maybe not, but you’ll have at least set yourself a new bar and work hard towards being the lead dog. When you do find these people, make sure you leverage Google Reader and dump all your RSS feeds in there to catch up on what your personal crew of thought learders have been doing, ideally check in on it at least once a week. And in tandem with finding people, find resources, free ones like this, that will keep you on your toes.
–Fourth – Years and years ago when I was in Bridezilla mode, my mother sat me down and said, “you are NOT the first person to get married.” And I will now tell you, you are not the first sourcer ever. If you think you know it all, then get humble because you don’t. No one does. I absolutely refuse to own the moniker “guru”. I continuously refer to myself as a student because I am surrounded by some amazing people who everyday blow me away with their out of the box sourcing and recruiting thinking.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.