Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Targeted Sourcing/Research Techniques
June 2, 2007, 4:35 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

A great, yet relatively obscure, question was asked within my LinkedIn network today by Geoff Peterson of General Lead:

“Can you share your best or most effective sourcing technique/tip/strategy for finding candidates?”

A number of different directions could be taken to respond to this question, and responses ranged to ones focused on active candidates:

“I do sourcing for a living. Generally my routine goes like this (I move to the next bullet when the resource is exhausted).
– (For IT)
– Question in LinkedIn
– Post in CraigList
– Post in RecruitLadder (for 100k+ Jobs)
– Search for related people in the area and ask for referals. “

“Careerbuilder, Monster, Yahoo Hotjobs, Craigslist, Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace… “

…to more passive contacts, word of mouth, and networking responses like these:

“Stay away from the big job boards, recycled candidates with many entry level recruiters hounding them. Socialize with user groups where people with the right skills meet in groups of 10-50. Online professional groups on Facebook too… Work on keeping your network fresh, reach out to “dormant” contacts twice a year.”

“I source effectively through third party vendors and referrals through my existing candidates.”

“My best sourcing comes through employee referrals and direct hunting.”

“Relationships. Relationships. Relationships. Word of mouth. Reputation. Trust.”

Even though I am a researcher and I do not recruit, I learned a great ‘Target Recruiting’ method from Marc Sennett, one of my former co-workers. The bulls-eye is the first place to start when sourcing: referrals from present and past candidates. As you move away from the center, you discover individuals who are a little further away from your immediate sphere of influence. Next would be your personal/professional network connections. After that would be your internal database. Following that would be your external resources – this would include engaging a dedicated researcher to uncover passive leads from various sources. This might also include your resume boards like Monster and Dice. I like how someone responded that those are ‘recycled’ candidates. My belief is that these boards should be the LAST place you go to for that very reason. Those candidates are like scraps of meat in a hungry lions’ den – everyone’s fighting over them. Notice also that the target area (i.e. your contact selection pool) gets larger the further from the center you move. You have more to choose from, but you’ll have more junk to sift through as you move away from your hot contacts.

Looking at this method from a research standpoint, the target areas only change slightly. Here’s an example of how I do research:Starting off with my internal database only makes sense. Why re-invent the wheel? If I’ve already discovered those individuals in the past, why use external resources first only to find those same people all over again? After that, I will tap my professional networking groups. These are people I have chosen to hook up with, or who have decided that they want to connect with me. Then I move on to more passive searching methods – using listservs, discussion groups, press releases, Boolean search, etc. Finally, I will use resume databases to find the “leftover scraps”. Now, if we have a resource that we pay for, I may use that earlier in the process to justify that cost, but this is traditionally how I will conduct my searches.

Your sourcing techniques will also vary depending on the industry in which you are searching. For example, when I am conducting research in the IT function, I will look at user/discussion groups, listservs, and online resumes. This job function area lets me go to town with creating some Boolean search strings. When I am looking for a person in engineering, or in construction, I might look at an engineering association site, for example the Florida Board of Professional Engineers ( Sites like these often have directories, or at the very least names of individuals who are certified in specific areas. Different resources will prove to be better for different industries.

HR job at Waggener Edstrom


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Amy Beth,

How do you keep “current” with the scraps in the resume databases? What I mean is how do you track new resumes that are added? As a recruiter, my IR would bring me people that had “recently” put their resume out there. Of course, once I got my arms around them, they either took the resume down or made it confidential.

Comment by Brad Attig

I think using an automated tool that retrieves information from your pay-for sources, such as infoGIST or TalentHook, would be a good solution for that. For helping to automate searches on search engines like Google, I like to use Google Alerts to set up Boolean searches to be run on a regular basis. Anything a researcher can use to automate at least some of the research process in my opinion is a time-saver and investing in such tools is worth the expense, in my personal opinion.

Comment by Amybeth

Hi Amy ,

Like to know your sourcing techniques
on passive candidates.

Comment by ITions

[…] several pieces on what makes a researcher a good one: check them out here, here, here, here, here, and here.  Oh and make sure to check out this post which talks about all the sources from which […]

Pingback by Referring Is NOT Sourcing « Amybeth Hale - Research Goddess

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