Sourcing is like an Onion…you must peel it back

We live in a world of automation.  We want to speed things up.  Or at least that’s what we want when we’re doing mundane things that are wasting our time.  It comes down to 2 things: FRUSTRATE or AUTOMATE.  FRUSTRATE: sitting in traffic going 3 MPH and watching squirrels walk faster than you.  AUTOMATE: adding a 360-degree jet-propulsion system to your car and flying over everyone.  FRUSTRATE: using a sourcing method that is cool…but takes too many steps for it to be worthwhile.  AUTOMATE: cutting out the extra steps, getting to the specific information you want, and easily repeating the process.  digital onion

For instance, it’s no big secret that there are many different coding user groups and exchanges on the internet.  And if you source/recruit for the world of computer science, then you should already be aware of the potential use of these sites.  As sourcers, you should always remember the basics because they will help you.

Now take a site like Snipplr or Google Code, which everyone knows about.  They are sites for developers; with tools, code, discussions, and other technical resources.  Whenever you approach ANY site, the first things that should go through your mind are:

  1. What is this site’s purpose?
  2. Who uses it?
  3. What user information is available?
  4. Can I search for users while still focusing on specifics?
  5. Can I speed up my search process while still maintaining the integrity of my search?
  6. Can I search this site from another source? Continue reading

How to Source without Saying a Word

Let’s face it. Some people just don’t want attention. It’s hard to believe that. Especially in this over-hyped, over-socialized, and over-advertised world we live in.  But there are candidates on Linkedin, Twitter, websites, and job boards who don’t feel the need to cram tons of information about their experience in one place.

Other engineers do not put certain words on their resume because to their peers, the inference is common knowledge.

In fact, some candidates go out of their way to be shy, coy, or minimalistic about their experience. But some of these candidates could be very good. They might just not want to advertise to the world’s recruiters about who they are and what they do. So how do we find them? How do you find a C++ or C engineer without saying “C++”? How do you find a ruby developer without saying “Ruby” or “rails”? How do you find an accountant with Fixed Assets experience without saying “Fixed assets”? 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

Big Data….Big Deal??? – Sourcing Data Services


Funny Anchorman jokes aside, the reason for the picture here is because so many people talk about Big Data to the point that it’s a little over-used. So why am I talking about it? Well, because technology corporations still need engineers who are constantly solving data aggregation issues that are ever increasing. And because of this, sourcers and recruiters need to understand what to look for in the engineer’s experience besides the words “Big Data” (which really makes me cringe when non-technical people throw out that word to me and assume they have instant street cred….or tech cred, as the case may be). Continue reading

Beyond the Pale (Sourcing Beyond Linkedin)

As a sourcer, if you are only using one tool to find candidates, then you are severely limiting your possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, Linkedin is a great sourcing tool, but it should be used in conjunction with many others. I listen to many corporate staffing managers talk about their push to get more candidates from passive sourcing. But when you delve deeper, you find out that sourcers and recruiters are still spending 90-95 percent of their time on Linkedin. 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

Mobile Recruiting & Sourcing!

We are creatures that communicate via mobile constantly.  It only stands to reason that a sourcer or recruiter must be just as connected as their audience in order to identify, engage, and attract the right talent.

Micro-blogging (blogging via Twitter, IM status, Facebook status, Linkedin status, etc.) is one of the main communication methods that a lot of people use.  Because of the avalanche of information out there, certain mobile apps can be beneficial in the mobile recruiting / sourcing space:

mobile app logos

Foursquare,, Circle, Intro, Sonar, and Twitter: Of course these are just more ways for us to talk about what we’re doing and share via social media, but the recruiting/sourcing possibilities are just too good to pass up.  Especially when used around a group of people containing a high concentration of potential candidates.  Good examples include tech talks, conferences, restaurants, etc.  For an easy illustration of this, I have enlisted the help of my friend, Plugged-In Pete: Continue reading

So yeah…HTML is just like HTML 5…right?

Wrong!!!  If you are like most people (that are not developers), you really don’t know or see the difference between the older HTML 4 standard and the in-demand HTML 5 standard.  If you talk to a candidate and ask them if they have HTML 5 experience, then of course they will say yes.   Anything to get their foot in the door at a top notch engineering company.  The candidates that don’t have enough experience are counting on sourcers and recruiters who don’t know how to qualify technology:

according to plan2

When it comes to qualifying technology experience, you can approach it with one of two methods:

  • The “Fake it Until You Make it” approach
  • Or the “Wowee, this is My Job and I Should Probably Be Good at it” approach

Now I know what you are thinking; “Mark, I’m not an engineer!  We should leave the engineering knowledge to the engineers!”  You are actually right.  We don’t need you to code a super interactive and dynamic website, but we do need you to understand the basics that are involved.  So why use HTML 5?  Well here’s your list: Continue reading

Twitter Sourcing Made Easy

Twitter has been around for quite a while and is definitely here to stay.  The user base is around 500 million users with 200 million of them actively posting.  And yet, there are many people who do not utilize this free source of potential candidates.  Here are some reasons why:

  • With any amount of users that reach in the millions, the odds of finding potential candidates are quite high
  • For a lot of social media users, Twitter is their main source of communication / messaging / interaction….NOT Linkedin
  • Let’s face it, we live in a world of short attention spans: Twitter is a great medium for people who are just too busy to read long boring job postings
  • People are social creatures, they like to have conversations about things that interest them
  • You can target Twitter users with simple, results-oriented searches

Now I know a lot of people will tell me things like “I don’t have enough time” or “Twitter is scary” or “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”.  But really there is no excuse to not use this sourcing tool.  Just like with any sourcing tool, if you rely on it too much, then you will seriously limit your candidate pool.  Twitter will be just one of many sourcing methods that you use.

One of the great things about Twitter is the ability to utilize the network without being connected to many users, or even being connected to the user that you want to target.  A simple string can capture candidates.

How is it done? 

Let’s say we want to target PHP developers.  If you search “PHP developers” in Twitter, you will probably get a lot of job postings from recruiters.  Since we don’t want to connect with more recruiters, then we need to search for PHP developers in a way that they might communicate.  They may say things like “coded a PHP module all day today” or “php frameworks are a challenge to code”.  Those are examples, but they can be captured by using the subject (PHP) and the action words (code OR coded OR coding) that a developer might use. Continue reading