Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Where Do I Go To Find People?
July 24, 2008, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

One of the most common questions I get asked by others in the research and sourcing world is, “Where do I go to find people in [insert industry here]”?

Obviously, the answer to this question is going to vary depending on the industry in which you work, but I have a couple of suggestions that are sure to help you start going in the right direction, and can be applied to just about any industry.

  1. Ask questions. Specifically, start tapping your network and ask questions. When I start doing research in a new industry, the first thing I want to know is who I need to know. The best place to find the answer to that question is your network. I use LinkedIn Answers to do this. I choose the appropriate industry/function category, and I ask a simple question, such as “I’m new to this industry, and I wanted to find out from some more seasoned pros what some of the industry associations and networking events I should know about or be participating in. Where should I look for knowledge on this industry?”
  2. At this point in time, in my humble opinion it’s not appropriate to start recruiting these people, but to learn from them. It’s important to make sure you know what you’re talking about before jumping in unprepared and making a fool of yourself. Sam Lawrence, CMO of Jive Software, recently wrote a fantastic article on some of the things that people do to screw up their marketing strategy, and #5 on the list is “Blindly jump in”. Big mistake (and many of you see this on Twitter a lot!) – there’s a time for everything and throwing up all over your new knowledge sources right after you ‘meet’ them is not the right time.

  3. Investigate the resources you’re given, and ask more questions. Once you’ve gotten some resources from your initial questions, i.e. industry association sites, publications that should be read, prominent folks you should connect with, investigate these resources and ask some more questions. Some of the first places I go to find folks in a new industry are industry association websites. Typically, these association sites have lists of local chapters, and within those lists you can often find chapter leaders or board members. Some association websites will even graciously let you peruse their entire member directory, and still others offer places for their members to post their resumes. You can start contacting these people to learn more about the industry. Most people will welcome a request for expertise – it’s a compliment to them that you want to know what they know.
  4. In addition, reading information on industry association websites will help familiarize you to some of the buzzwords in your new industry so that you can easily start formulating some Boolean queries.

  5. Think like the person you’re looking for and not like a recruiter. Good researchers know that in order to find what they’re looking for, they need to put themselves in the shoes of their target candidate. Don’t waste all your time searching resume boards – though you’ll find some good people there, the majority of those folks are active job seekers and you’ll miss out on all the people who aren’t actively looking. If you want to find prospective candidates, put yourselves in their shoes – what networking groups would they belong to? What associations would they join? What kind of hobbies outside of work might they be into? When you start thinking like your target audience, you’ll start discovering new resources that will yield you good results if used properly (see ‘blindly jump in’ above).

Of course there’s much more to answering the question of where does one start, but this should give you a darned good start on learning a new industry and making good connections. Remember, establishing good relationships now will yield you more hires down the road, so treat these folks with respect and kindness! And the best way to learn, in my opinion, is to shut up and listen to someone who knows what they’re talking about.



My second fund-raising goal of $1000 must be accomplished by September 1st – can you help?


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[…] know existed!) who writes the blog Research Goddess, offers some excellent advice in her post Where do I go to find people?. We translators could replace “people” with “clients” and her advice is […]

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