5 Takeaways from Day One at SourceCon


In case you failed to get the memo, SourceCon is happening this week. It’s always one of the more entertaining and interesting shows you can attend. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, it hardly feels like a pre-teen, and it shows.

My stint at this year’s show is brief, but I thought there were a few takeaways from the opening day’s keynotes worth sharing. Here you go:

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  • InMails suck. According to Intuit’s Brett Coin and Mimi Turner, prospects don’t respond to LinkedIn InMails, let alone emails much anymore. This reality calls for a variety of marketing strategies to fill the void, such as paid media, events, and social media. Oddly enough, though, when announcing a sourcing contest of their own, Coin and Turners outlawed using InMail as a tool, so it must still have some value.
  • VR might actually become a thing. Virtual reality may not be ready for prime time, but Intuit has used the technology to effectively recruit at job fairs and career events. They leverage the technology to showcase a brand that many job seekers don’t recognize, showing how “cool” the company is by taking prospects on a virtual tour of the organization. The tech also helped improve the company’s Net Promoter Score from -60 to +30.
  • SEO tools as sourcing tool. Search engine optimization tools, like ones that help marketers discover a plethora of keyphrases related to a primary keyword, have bled into sourcing. Holly Mallowes highlighted a few of her favorites, with Keyword Shitter getting the lion’s share of applause. Considering the name, it’s easy to see why.
  • Custom audiences got some airtime. Putting that database of prospect emails to work through Facebook’s custom audiences feature is finally getting the respect it deserves in recruitment. Upload those candidates emails into Facebook and the social media site lets you put recruitment ads in front of those users for a very reasonable investment. Both LinkedIn and Twitter let marketers do this too, and even though those weren’t mentioned, I have to think they’ll get mentioned somewhere at the conference.
  • Business is good. Much like the environment at HR Tech earlier this month, the good times are rolling. The economy is good, hiring is hard and good people are in high demand, which is a recipe for fun and profitability for solid sourcers. The conference’s vibe clearly reflects that, even though there might not be enough hours in the day for many of the conference attendees.

There were other takeaways, but you get the idea. Overall, the strategies of marketing and recruiting continue to run together, which is a good thing and something I expect to see more of. As Maren Hogan underscored in her presentation on Day Two, “marketing is the new sourcing.” Many attendees agree.

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.


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