It’s Australian for Sourcing, mate

Helloooo everyone, I’m back!  Now most you are are saying to yourself, “when were you gone?”  But I can tell you that I have been on a tour with Derek Zeller (@derdiver), Matt Charney (@mattcharney), and the rest of the ATC Events gang (@atcevent) speaking at the Sourcing Social Talent conferences.  #SST2014


It was a whirl-wind adventure visiting Sydney, Melbourne, and Auckland within the space of 10 days while speaking at a conference in each city.  I wanted to share my observations with everyone about the state of sourcing over there, the industries they focus on, the types of reqs they get, and the solutions that we came up with.

The Conferences

The reason for my semi-cheesy picture on this post is for a very good reason.  The 2 speakers that I was with had some very good content woven into their presentations.  Matt Charney presented the reasons why recruiting is so far behind marketing in terms of messaging and content.  And this included the USA!  The message was simply (and brilliantly): recruiting = marketing = sourcing = recruiting.  Anyone who argues against that fact doesn’t understand their job very well.

Derek Zeller talked about candidate interaction and the power of candidate bonds.  You may not end up placing that candidate, but do the extra work to make them feel like a person (rather than a metric) and it will pay off for you.  Also, Derek asked the audience who the best sourcer was and then put up a picture of Professor Xavier.  Hence, my funny picture reference to Australia (please don’t get mad at me, NZ for lumping you guys in with AUS, but I didn’t have time to write 2 separate posts!) Continue reading

The Future of Recruiting


Looking into the future is sometimes easy to do, if you know where you’re going.  You don’t even need a time machine.  So what what about the future of recruitment?  Well the answers have been here all along.  The signs are continuously pointing to what recruitment is, and what it will look like in the future:

  1. Sourcing has been evolving and continues to do so – Heywaitasecondhere….isn’t this a blog post about recruiting? Yes, it is.  But the role of the sourcer has evolved.  At SourceCon in Denver this year, I spoke about the Modern Day Sourcer and what they do.  Part of the talk focused on the increasing skills of candidate engagement, technical know-how, and candidate closing that many sourcers of today possess.  These increased and expanding skills will change recruiting.  But don’t worry, it will be for the best.  This just means that recruiters will take up more sourcing and technical skills as well, which will blur the lines between the two roles even more.
  2. Everyone knows where everyone is – Internet search, cold calling, networking, and good ol’ fashioned detective work have made it very easy to find just about anyone.  Once you know how to find these people the only thing that really matters is engagement.  Which brings me to my third point…
  3. Content is the new recruiting AND sourcing – I have to give my colleague Jim Stroud credit here, since he has a book called “Content is the New Sourcing”.  But I want to take that a step further for recruiters.  The content of any and all recruitment branding should be handled with the polish, targeting, and forethought that corporate marketing teams use. So besides the content of landing pages, blogs, candidate emails, and social media sites, the verbal communication between the recruiter and candidate must be targeted, precise, and sound like it’s coming from someone who will work directly alongside of the candidate once they are hired.  Establishing that rapport and demonstrating the knowledge of the job, team, company and industry is paramount.  We need to sound less like sales and more like fellow engineers.
  4. Speak to your candidate, not their demographic – Long gone are the days of “we are a 10 ten company to work for…join us”.  The reason why those days are gone is because every candidate in this market has a ton of “top companies” that they can choose from.  The courtship between candidate and corporation needs to be even more precise, personalized, and above all…honest.  Candidates can easily detect if your company is full of B.S. or if there are a host of unhappy employees behind that recruiter’s smile.  So instead, find out everything there is to know about your candidate and speak to the motivating factors that drive them.  I’ll give you a hint: it’s not all about money $$$$$.

In the end, the only way this will work is if we all step up our game.  Yes, personalization takes time.  Yes, learning about every single technical aspect of your company takes time.  Yes, you can easily just post jobs and catch whatever gets caught in your net.  But are you getting the job done?  Or are you putting a piece of duct-tape over a burst pipe?  Sure it works at the moment.  But if there’s one thing I know about the future, is that it’s a finicky creature who never does what you think it will.  😉

– Mark Tortorici
Founder & Training Expert
Transform Talent Acquisition

The Power of TMTOWTDI in Talent Acquisition – Part II

Part II of Our @ATCevent #SST2014 Series

Last week we talked about the power of TMTOWTDI (pronouced TIM-TOADY) in sourcing.  The idea is that there is more than one way to source for a req.  Now today we will talk about the next steps in the process: Candidate Engagement and Attraction.  TMTOWTDIWhen reaching out to candidates via email and the phone, what is the correct way to approach them?  What is the best way to message them?

The real question you should be asking is: What do you have that they want?  This is a very simple question with a host of complex answers that are changing all the time.  There is only one way that you will get the answers you need.  By PICKING UP THE PHONE AND TALKING TO THE CANDIDATE!

Now I know that I sound angry by typing in all caps, but I’m really trying to drive home this point:  Too many sourcers and recruiters are afraid to pick up the phone and instead only do what is called “email recruiting”.  The problem with that method is that it’s difficult to get an honest (or close to honest) read of the candidate.    We live in a world where people can hide.  They hide behind emails, they hide behind social profiles, they hide behind comments on websites.  This technological separation between people allows them a certain level of protection and feeling of bravery.  The downside is that the candidate’s answers are not spontaneous, they are edited many times over, and sometimes they are not even their own answers! Continue reading

The Power of TMTOWTDI in Talent Acquisition – Part I

If you are a programmer, you understand the meaning and power that TMTOWTDI (pronounced TIM-TOADY) can give you.  It originates from the world of Perl but also programming practices in general  it means that for every solution to a problem, there is more than one way to do it.  There are different ways to write the code in order to achieve the desired results.

Now before I receive an onslaught of emails from programmers, I also agree that the simplest, cleanest solution is usually the best for coding and low overhead in a software program.

But for candidate attraction, we need more than one way to find those candidates and attract them to the company.  How many ways can this be done?  The answer is as many as you can imagine.  Even if you use the simplest method in the world for finding candidates, that does not necessarily guarantee a hire.  So instead, you picture what the perfect candidate profile looks like, and then devise many different paths to get to that candidate profile.  If you just rely on one method, whether simple or esoteric, you are missing out on candidates and possible hires.

It Starts with the Req

Let’s take this Environmental Engineer req in Sydney, Australia:

” Track record in  power/energy and civil infrastructure projects.  Senior Environmental Engineer with heavy civil engineering experience. Continue reading

Crossing Over to the Other Side – From Agency to Corporate

Hiring Technical Recruiter or Sourcer with agency background experience has always been a trend. Why is this? What are the skills that agency recruiters and sourcers have that make them appealing to leaders of corporate staffing teams? Also, if you do work on the agency side but want to break into corporate, what do you have to do? Do you possess the skills that will make you marketable to a staffing team on the corporate side? Of course, just because you work at an agency doesn’t guarantee that you are instantly AWESOME. You still have to be good at your job. Here are some of the transferable skills that are needed in order to cross over to the other side. And why corporate staffing managers should pay attention.

Skills to Pay the Bills

If you have a good agency recruiter or sourcer who is on your doorstep applying for a job, then here are some the skills that will be of benefit to you:

  • Time management – I you’re thinking: Well yeah, duh!!! Of course recruiters have to be good at time management. But agency staffers have to source, recruit, and submit candidates for new jobs opened THAT DAY. Sometimes within a couple of HOURS!
  • Competitive – Of course everyone in staffing is competitive. Companies are all vying for the same top talent and there is only so much to go around. But in the agency world, you are normally competing with 30 or so staffing agencies on the SAME JOB. You can bet agency staffers are competitive and FAST. Their ability to identify, qualify, and submit candidates quickly is their livelihood.
  • All around technical knowledge – Most corporate recruiters and sourcers work within a single vertical or group. They usually have 5 to 10 open reqs they are working for the length of their stay at the company. Agency staffers receive multiple new reqs each day from a wide variety of clients. This means over the course of a few days, a recruiter could work on an IC Design Engineer, a Software Validation Engineer for a biotech company, then move on to a Techno-Functional Oracle ERP implementation consultant, tackle a DevOps engineers with cloud platform experience, before finally wrapping up with a Finance Manager who has EFT / ACH systems experience.
  • Ability to work without hiring manager req intake meetings– Because many agencies are RPO, VMS, or contingency-based, they often times have no contact with the hiring manager. They do not typically get clarification, job insights, or what’s written between the lines of the req. Because of that, agency recruiters and sourcers must use their experience, instincts, and research skills in order to figure out the correct angle when working a req.

Continue reading

When the Boss Asks for the Inconceivable: Sourcers Must Call Candidates!

inconceivableIf you’re a sourcer and thinking about this headline, you might start having an anxiety attack, sweating profusely, talking like Porky Pig, or begin planning how you will get out of your current contract in order to avoid the phone.  (And if you weren’t thinking about this before, you certainly are now!)

Fear not, true believers!  This is something that you have experience with already.  It’s called: communication.  You’ve been doing it your whole life since you could talk and believe it or not, it’s been with people that you’ve never spoken to before.  Of course as we grow older from our childhood into adults, there are seemingly more roadblocks, timing issues, and weird personalities to deal with.  But really it still boils down to a simple exchange of information between two people.

When sourcing first started, it was usually a name generation or pure research role.  Sourcers “supported” the recruiter through their candidate generation efforts.  But over the last decade that has progressed.  The sourcer is also becoming a candidate engagement specialist or even the recruiter.  Now I realize this is not the structure in every company, but times are changing and will continue to change.  For budget reasons, headcount, or to speed up the hiring the process,   we will continuously see the roles of sourcer and recruiter blend.  The recruiters will get better at sourcing even if it’s only for a short time during the day, and the sourcers will get better at contacting candidates and speeding up the hand-offs in the hiring process. Continue reading

How to Win the War for Talent

A step-by-step guide by Mark Tortorici.  Every few years or so, it happens.  Someone declares a “War for Talent”, battle lines are drawn, and then candidate poaching begins.  Now while some of this is a little sensationalist, it is also very true.  Any company, who wants to not only attract the best & brightest, but also the best personality & culture fit, must set themselves apart.  Since there are a bazillion different companies all vying for the same types of candidates, the landscape can get cluttered.

So let’s talk about who, what, where, why and how:

Who: If you are a marketer, engineering manager, sales executive, recruiter, ceo, or owner, you need to examine your brand, products, services, culture, and future direction.  If they are not as good as the company down the street, then something needs to change.

What: Sure, your company may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but that doesn’t mean you can rest on those laurels:

  • Your company could be the latest exciting entry within the industry, but what makes it different from the competitors who have been doing the same thing successfully?
  • Your company thinks they can revolutionize the automotive industry with their robotics hardware.  Are they different enough to get the attention of the candidates that you are trying to attract?
  • Your company could be founded by 2 Stanford Ph.D.’s who are planning on changing the world with their idea.  It sounds a little harsh for me to say, but so what?  There are a TON of up and coming companies in EVERY industry that are trying to make their mark on the world. Continue reading

To Source, or Not to Source…


“To Source, or not to Source…that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler for recruiters and sourcers to suffer
The Postings and Campaigns of outrageous Recruitment life cycles,
Or to take up Sourcing against a sea of difficult Reqs,
And by sourcing fill them: to close, to fill
No more; and by close, to say we hire”

So I may have altered the soliloquy from Hamlet by a few words here and there, but there is a good reason.  For all the recruiters and sourcers out there who contact candidates, you probably have more than one req you’re working on.  In fact, if you work for a mid-size technology company, a recruiting agency, an RPO firm, or a start-up then you probably have anywhere from 5 to 25 open requisitions.  These can range from entry-level engineers all the to software engineering team lead.  All of these reqs need attention from you, but it may not be feasible to give each of them equal attention.  There’s only one of you!  So what do you do? Continue reading

Why Recruiters Need to Step Up their Sourcing Game

The Problem

So this is something that I think (and hope) everyone should be doing in their power to accept, change, and implement. The landscape of recruiting today is light-years removed from the free-wheelin’ early 90’s, where many “old school” recruiters could take on the world with their phone, a rolodex, and maybe a Hotjobs account (with an accompanying action figure).

That time has passed, if it ever should have even existed before in the first place. The top 2 complaints that engineering candidates have about recruiters are:

  1. They never follow up with candidates about steps in the hiring process
  2. They try to sell candidates a job that they know nothing about

And as you might have guessed, your hiring managers will NOT be happy if they hear about those complaints.


As recruiters, we have to master several different skills/abilities in order to be a “good recruiter”. Someone who is an aggressive telemarketer or door-to-door salesman will not cut it. You might get your foot in the door, but without technical, sourcing, and company knowledge, you will get the door slam in your face.

The “Old School” Solution

If we go with the “traditional” definition of the recruiter’s skills, they are (or should be):

  • Sherlock Holmes-level interviewing skills
  • Candidate management down to the smallest details
  • Being the face of the company (and/or culture)
  • Selling the best aspects of the job and sometimes having to clarify (or spin) the negative ones

The main problem lies with the lack of job understanding and technical knowledge. Sure, you can sell. But the “selling ice to Eskimos” approach only goes so far. People will catch on pretty quickly that you are buzzwording their resume to match your job. The fact is, that candidates have many choices when dealing with companies, and they do not have to deal with just you. Continue reading

Recruiting a Candidate with Ruby (not slippers)

These days, everybody is looking for candidates with Ruby programming experience.  But if you are a Recruiter or Sourcer who doesn’t understand what Ruby is and the many different places it can be used, you might end up selling the wrong job to the wrong person.  You also may ask the wrong questions about the things that the candidate will be working on in their job.  As a recruiter, nothing is worse that not understanding the job you are recruiting for.  The days of “I am a great recruiter and I can recruit for anything even if I don’t understand it” are long over.


Ruby is based off of Perl, Eiffel, and Lisp.  The Ruby programming language is a very versatile object oriented language that can be used for:

  • Stand alone applications like those written in C, Java, C++, etc.
  • Test automation frameworks like Perl Frameworks, Junit Frameworks, Python Frameworks, etc.
  • Web application frameworks similar to PHP, ASP.NET, Java Server Pages, Python pages, Perl pages, Cold Fusion, etc.
  • Shell commands similar to bash, korn shell, bourne, etc.

There are other uses besides these, but these are the most common ones that we see companies implementing.  Now inevitably when you talk about one technology topic, you end up talking about others.  So here is a more in-depth explanation of the list of things that Ruby can be used in: Continue reading