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!
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.