I started really running 13 years ago. I had just been laid off, had nothing but time on my hands and needed something to do that was cheap. So I ran. I set a goal of running 5 miles every day, and I have no idea how I got there, but I know by September 2002 I hit it. I’d hoof it through our new neighborhood daily. In October of 2002 I found out I was pregnant and was sick as a damn dog for 4 months—which curtailed the running for a year.
Since then it’s been an on-again, off-again kind of thing. And it has not been as successful as that first go. It is one of those things I go to when I need a huge stress reliever or to clear my head—last year, aka “The Year of Suckiness,” I’d run and cry. I wouldn’t stop running until I stopped crying, and that usually meant I ended up far away from home, exhausted in my own proverbial Forrest Gump moment.
I started running again at Christmas, and I’m up to 2 miles every other day. I have to go slow, and I really have to persevere. It occurred to me after a recent sourcing training for one of our clients that starting to run is like starting to source.
First of all… it’s shiny and new, and you’re really excited. The clients I recently met with actually took AIRS training back when I first did—18 years ago. And it didn’t stick. They were really excited when they took the class, loved all the tools they got out of it and the camaraderie of the 3-day class with their DC peers. They left certified and full of gusto to find everyone. It’s the same way I feel when I get new gear, or download a new app to get me from 5k to 10k. Anything is possible, am I right?
Second… reality hits. That first mile is hard! I hate the first mile. Especially where I live—there is no way you get out of my neighborhood without going up a hill in the first mile. And on some searches, finding the right sources and keyword mix can be as rigorous. Figuring out your search syntax might feel tricky. Especially when you’re new. And if you’re new to recruiting, or running a full desk, or are an HR Generalist and have to balance all your responsibilities with using your new tools and techniques, well that’s hard. Time to remember why you were initially excited about sourcing.
Third… you can get sidelined or sidetracked. It’s important to stay focused. Running is working right now because it is the hardest thing I’m going to do every other day. I decided the only way I was going to make it happen routinely was to block time for it every morning, after coffee, before the 2-mile puppy walk. It’s the only way. I needed to time to focus, clear my head and get it done without distraction. If you’ve just started incorporating sourcing into your day, I advise that you block yourself for an hour, shut the door, ignore the phone, ignore email, don’t text. And work on sourcing. One hour, every day. Same time.
Fourth… environment and tools are everything. This time I’m running on a treadmill. I’m trying to set myself up for springtime success, so I’m working out getting my mileage up on consistent terrain. My music is equally important. For some reason, “Lose Yourself” can always get me through that first mile. When sourcing, you’ve got to have a space where you can focus and a decent laptop. You’ve got to shut the door if people are always in your office, or put on noise-canceling headphones if you’re in a cube. Multiple screens are ideal. Tools like Connectifier and Broadlook will make your life easier. Determining how to store usable and unusable profiles is important, too. I like Bookmark folders for projects—for me, staying organized is really key.
Fifth… when in doubt, find a coach. I have had coaches over the years—for strength training, for running, for sourcing. This time around, I’m pulling all the good things that I found worked best when I’ve been successful running before. Like squats after running (stretches your hips, and apparently if your hips are healthy you can run forever). If you hit a wall with your sourcing, find a peer group to ping questions around with. Boolean Strings Network gets a lot of activity as does Sourcon.qa. If you’re on Facebook, I’m really liking the SASS group—and they actually meet in person every so often.
Sixth… set measurable goals; persevere and meet them. I like goals. With running, the goal—by May—is 5 miles every other day. I’m pretty sure it’s doable. With sourcing, create some metrics for yourself. You can look at how many candidates you found, how many scheduled that first interview, how many made it to final, how many were hired. Whatever works for you. I, personally, like hires. But I look at all the numbers because it helps to see if there are any hiccups in the recruiting process so we can fix them.
In the end, structure and commitment—they are key to your success whether running or sourcing.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.