How To Source: Lesson One – Where’s Your Shadow?

Kelly Dingee HR, Kris Dunn, Sourcing, Talent Strategy

Sixteen years ago, I threw down my HR/Recruiter hat and became a sourcer. Part-time at first, full-time within 2 years.  Telecom was my playground and my mentor was… well, there were no mentors, no one to shadow.  It was the dark ages of sourcing where we all read, trained and tried to find our way. Teams of sourcers? Non-existent. Most recruiters tried to fit the Internet into their day if a) it was allowed and b) they weren’t on a call.

Times have changed and, in a good way, the internet is ripe with how-to videos, purveyors of training, books, blogs and so on. But most times, those venturing into sourcing are feeling overwhelmed. They don’t quite get how to put it all together.  That’s my mission this summer—to provide you with a series of blogs that help you pull it all together.

Lesson 1: Find someone to shadow.

When I trained as an HR Generalist and as a recruiter, I shadowed people. When I needed to learn Benefits, I shadowed the Benefits Manager. Employee Relations? The HR Manager. Recruiting? Either the Executive Recruiter, the Senior Recruiter or, at the very beginning to learn systems and such, the Recruiting Coordinator. All of this shadowing was supplemented with manuals and formal training, but the “show-me-how” mentality worked the best.

If you’re learning how to source and there is another person on your team currently experienced in sourcing, you should shadow them. What are you looking for?  Here’s a few things:

  • Structure of their sourcing day. Do they run searches all day? Focus on search work in the morning, calls in the afternoon?
  • Strategy. How do they plan their search? This will be based on a conversation with the hiring manager, determining the key attributes of the candidate you’re seeking and developing a word list to find them. With that you’ll want to determine what sites do they hit first. What sites do they hold off on?
  • Efficiencies. How do they save time? Are they an X-Ray Wunderkind? Do they use a scraper to harvest data? Master of the ATS? Look for the steps they avoid. Ask them what they avoid because it’s a drain on their time.
  • Technology. How do they store their data? Do they just save the people they need now or are they a digital hoarder? How do they locate those candidates in the future? And can they use this pool they’ve built to generate any market data for the recruiting team?
  • How it just works. Within every organization the sourcing and recruiting process is a little different. You may only interact with your recruiter, or you may interact with your hiring manager. Check with your “shadow” to find out what the etiquette is in your organization.

Sitting with someone for a day or even a week to learn their process can be invaluable in developing your own. Doesn’t mean you have to become their clone, but find what works for them that would work for you and tweak the rest from there. Want to learn but your shadow is in another state? Facetime, G+, Webex… they’ll help you get the job done. Virtual learning can be incredibly efficient and focused.

Are you thinking,”Sure Kelly, this is fine advice but I’m the sole sourcer on my team and I’ve been hired to get the job done.”  Shadowing your team of recruiters is still a great idea to learn how they work and how you can develop your own structure, strategy, efficiences, technology and company etiquette.