Introducing the “New” and Improved #SourceCon Hackathon

SourceCon is pleased to announce a major revision to the ever so popular and entertaining late night hackathon. Formerly known as After Dark, we’re bringing this night back to the way it was meant to be. This late night sourcing event is guaranteed to be a major highlight of the conference. Part sourcing lab, part game show, and all for a great cause. Bring your sourcing arsenal and don’t forget your sourcing toolkit. The SourceCon Hackathon is where you want to strut your stuff. And if you need help, then this is also the place to go.


The SourceCon Hackathon commences with a learning session where you can exchange sourcing ideas with like-minded sourcers or bring your sourcing problems to a team of SourceCon experts to help you find the solutions. This part of the night is all about individual help and passing along cool sourcing tricks and tips that we can all learn from.

After an hour of the sourcing lab, we will move on to the SourceCon HackathonGame. We will pick four teams with four sourcers on each team. The object of the game will be to solve a real world sourcing challenge and can feature any sourcing method that you want to use. We will have a first round where two teams compete against each other while the other two do the same. The winners of both rounds will then square off against each other for the ultimate bragging rights in our industry. The winning team will receive a VERY cool prize.

After the game is over, we will demonstrate some of the great ideas that the teams came up with and display them to all attendees at the event. We will then finish up the SourceCon Hackathon with an additional sourcing lab that will last approximately thirty minutes.

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This is a must attend event! There will be snacks and beverages and more importantly….power! Laptops are required, superhero costumes are optional.

The SourceCon Hackathon will take place at the 2016 Fall SourceCon Conference on Thursday, September 22 at 8:00 PM. Don’t forget to get your discounted ticket by July 15.


Mark Tortorici is a training, recruiting, and sourcing manager who has been providing expert-level training for sourcers and recruiters since 1997. He is also the founder of Transform Talent Acquisition, which specializes in training for high technology computer concepts, advanced active & passive sourcing techniques, and full life-cycle recruitment process. He has created and delivered robust training programs for companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Ebay.


11 Comments on “Introducing the “New” and Improved #SourceCon Hackathon

  1. If you do this at night you’re handicapping phone sourcers because company resources (as many) aren’t available at night. You’re limiting phone sourcers basically to night personnel. Do you see the problem here and the part Sourcecon plays (unintentionally, I’m sure – who gets this stuff but true phone sourcers) in the inhibition of phone sourcing within the industry??

    1. I’m switching gears from the Hackathon, but to your point Maureen, I would love to see a return of the SourceCon challenge to the essence of the one I designed that involved actually sourcing candidates for a real job. Phone sourcers could participate in such a challenge without even having to touch a Boolean search string.

      Interestingly, if I recall correctly, there were some participants who had never picked up the phone before (never had to in their roles) and were quite successful in doing so and were able to produce viable candidates for the Red Cross.

      1. Sure – directories are available Glen, but that’s not really allowing a phone sourcer to feature “any sourcing method” they “want to use” – is it? Every true phone sourcer knows the fastest bullet train to information is through the live gatekeeper – whether that be the front desk – the security guard – the guy sweeping the floor or the IT manager who knows all the security codes. And, as long as we’re talking about directories; it should be noted – many directories are changing nowadays. Some are much harder to get into – have different tricks to get into and not infrequently today ARE NOT listing high value employees. This in itself is an interesting paradigm ripe for a whole other discussion – one I see astonishing in its potential for what it could bring down upon companies in terms of liability (didn’t they learn anything from the Silicon wage suppression suits?? Apparently NOT. )

        Who but a true phone sourcer could bring forth that kind of information this early in the game?

        Who will hear the call if an organization like Sourcecon doesn’t give the medium a platform?

        Moving back to your Twitter point, though, that this isn’t “totally” unfair… um… Really Glen? What part of this “fair” pie should phone sourcers be willing to accept?

        On your OTHER subject. Sure. Put phone sourcers on those Sourcecon challenges and they’d be over in no time. The problem is there aren’t enough phone sourcers participating in Sourcecon to participate in those challenges (I’m talking about REAL phone sourcers – not people who find names on LinkedIn and call them up and ask them if they’d be interested in jobs) – as outlined here from an upcoming article of mine:
        Phone Sourcing, Artificial Intelligence and Sunglasses at Night
        Really? At Night?

        “Phone sourcing” has come to mean (d’horreur!) in the sourcing community finding someone online (mostly LinkedIn) and calling them on the phone and asking them if they’d be interested in a particular opportunity.

        This, my fine-feathered sourcing brethren, is not phone sourcing. It’s recruiting and if this is what you’re doing you’re a recruiter and not a phone sourcer and you’re part of the disconnect, off-the-rails misunderstanding that is going on in the industry today.

        Phone sourcing is calling people on the phone and ferreting information – the kind of information that generally is not “findable” online and to many of you this seems like a fairy tale but because you are not schooled in the ways of Harry Potter’s Hogwart professors – you do not really know.

        Watch for it. Coming soon.

        Back to your point, Glen. Put those true phone sourcers on those challenges and they’d be over lickety-split. Most phone sourcers don’t have time (or need) for Boolean search strings. Warning though – it’ll be a different kind of “show” up there on the stage. There won’t be so much estranged geekiness and it may not last as long but one thing’s for sure – there will be just as much science as there is art only it’ll be more the science of human nature and – interestingly today – what I see adding to the narrative – artificial intelligence: how phone sourcers are the original text tacticians; how we’ve been using context to use words to elicit information and interpret gatekeeper responses and pivot exchanges to generate additional information from other sources all on the same call.

        We are skilled “artificial intelligence” classification librarians.

        You all have no idea what you’re missing out on.

        It’s a whole lot easier – and a whole lot cheaper – and a whole lot sexier – to teach (and sell) the Internet stuff. You guys know it. And that’s where we are today. Stuck between a rock and a hard place – offering the other side a piece of a “not totally unfair” pie.

        Gee, thanks.

        Thank goodness for bones (I suppose.)

        Michael Kelemen told me I was at the wrong party and didn’t know it. He’s right and he’s wrong. I know it.

        1. Maureen,
          Wow – I can see what trying to find a positive angle instead of a negative one gets me. 🙂

          With regard to “fairness” – who decides what’s “fair?” Ultimately, it’s a matter of perspective.

          You have the right to be disappointed and complain about your style of phone sourcing not getting as much attention and love (content, hackathons, contests, etc.) as you think it deserves, but I don’t think your approach is helping your cause. The bottom line is that life’s not fair (unfortunately) and no conference owes anyone anything. Not me, not you, not anyone. No conference can possibly please everyone.

          The fact that you think it’s easier and sexier to teach and sell “the Internet stuff” is interesting to me. Why do you think that is? I really do want to know. For the record, unlike you and others who earn a living in whole or in part by training or selling/performing any kind of sourcing services for others, phone or otherwise, I don’t.

          You’re entitled to your definition of phone sourcing, but keep in mind other people are entitled to theirs – and they believe they are just as right about their opinions as you are about yours. I don’t think it would be difficult to argue that phone sourcing includes calling anyone, not just gatekeepers, to elicit information about people and organizations. If someone calls into a company to speak with project managers to specifically elicit referrals of the best business analysts they’ve worked with, they’re using the phone to elicit information on people that may likely not be found (easily or otherwise) online. I’d say that’s a form of phone sourcing. I know you likely disagree, but I don’t care if we agree – there’s more value in disagreement. I personally think it makes no sense to unnecessarily restrict the definition of phone sourcing. Keep in mind I’m the guy that thinks there’s a good portion of the sourcing/recruiting community that too narrowly defines sourcing to using the Internet.

          Times change and things evolve. Sourcing isn’t only about the Internet and it’s also not only about calling gatekeepers. You can source names or people, or you can source candidates, which involves recruiting people. Many people disagree with me on that last point, but I feel it’s time to move sourcing forward and not hold on to ideas from 10+ years ago.

          I think that one of the reasons why phone sourcing doesn’t get as much “prime time” attention is that some folks assume it involves rusing, which typically involves deception/dishonesty, and it seems like a lot of people don’t feel comfortable being deceptive or dishonest, regardless of whether or not they think it’s right or wrong. Rusing works, and as you’ve pointed out before, it doesn’t appear to be illegal. However, for some people, being deceptive or dishonest is unethical and something they won’t do simply because they feel it’s morally wrong. No judgment here – to each their own.

          If we can ever get the SourceCon folks to go back to a SourceCon challenge like the one I designed which involved finding and recruiting people (sourcing viable candidates), I think it would be great to have phone sourcing pros participate to see the outcome.

          I sincerely hope others weigh in here because I would love to see a wide variety of perspectives on these matters.

          1. I agree – I think it’s way past time we all move forward and feel we’re all stuck ten years past we should be on the subject of “sourcing.” In fact, I’m tired of the word and feel it’s outlived (outgrown maybe?) its time and place.

            You made this thing a whole lot more complicated than I think it needed to be but if there’s anyone wordier in our space I recognize it’s you.

            I agree one thing (maybe the biggest thing) that stymies the acceptance of phone sourcing is that people THINK phone sourcing has to involve rusing. It doesn’t and I’m FOREVER telling people that – I have always tried to educate on the subject (that’s what got me started on writing about it in the first place so many years ago – nobody understood WHAT phone sourcing was or HOW it was really done!) I merely state the facts as I understand them and try to stay current with the law; to do so otherwise would not be responsible and in fact would be reprehensible.

            Like you I do not judge those who do ruse – it’s an interesting subject and Michael Kelemen made a wonderful slide deck for my Australia and New Zealand presentations recently that made the point succinctly and was well-received.

            Ummm; maybe you haven’t been reading me lately (or maybe you have) but I’ve long maintained phone sourcing covers far more than calling into receptionists for information. ANYONE inside a company is a Gatekeeper (didn’t I say that in my first paragraph above?) and phone sourcing covers myriad acts of activities today – that’s why I say I’m tired of the word “sourcing” and feel the industry is mired in the muck of the word holding it captive.

            BUT going back to the point of FAIR and UNFAIR and I’ll make this short. There’s not a whole lot of “perspective” to argue when a contest is held at night when just about every company’s normal trading hours are closed and the normal gatekeepers who are the phone sourcer’s usual pathways to information are not available.

            It’s very simple and no matter how many words you want to dance around the subject – them’s the facts, Jack. Yes, an organization can choose to hold an event anytime and anyway it chooses. I said before, I don’t think this is an intentional oversight – it’s merely because some people on an organizing committee don’t understand the subject. I’m not surprised. I’ve seen it happen time and time again over the years. In spite of my (and a few – a very few others) best efforts, phone sourcing is still a hardly grasped/poorly understood concept. I’m sure Sourcecon wants to do better and will do better in the future.

            I agree with you; i hope others weigh in. It would be nice to see discussions in the ERE comments section again on all their wonderful articles.

  2. Asking for referrals is a form of sourcing and it is done on the phone but it’s not what anyone I know means by phone sourcing. Phone sourcers don’t tell people that they are recruiting. For most people this is much harder than internet sourcing because you are speaking to a real person in real time who can ask you questions you don’t want to answer and they can get angry at you whereas of a the results of a boolean search can’t and that’s a huge difference.

  3. Just because there aren’t specific sessions at SourceCon revolving around the phone nor is the Hackathon specifically enabling phone sourcing does this mean the Sourcing community has abandoned the telephone. There hasn’t been a SourceCon I’ve attended where the phone sourcing hasn’t liberally come up in conversations – and the ensuing chats have been fascinating. To imply that the event has been biased against the phone is simply untrue. No one has ever been excommunicated from SourceCon for talking abut the phone…

    However, as Michael wrote, phone sourcing IS much harder – at face value – than Internet research (although I don’t necessarily agree; there’s sourcing and then there’s SOURCING and both platforms have a learning curve). While it IS easier to sit behind a keyboard than to dial the phone and work with and/or around gatekeepers, the current state of the recruiting industry is driving much of the activity in Sourcing these days. There most certainly has been period where SC has focused on tools and techniques to find people; last few years we’ve seen more sessions focused on human engagement to go along with the concomitant undercurrent that speaks to the need for our industry to be more human.

    The combined effort of using the phone AND Internet research in sourcing goes back to the early days of ERE – in no way is it a new phenomenon of recent years. Hey Mo, what’s old is new again. So design the session that you and I have spoke about for years, and we’ll pitch it to Shannon and the SC brain trust. Deal?

    1. Interesting as I never thought about this way before until Maureen pointed it out.. Not saying Internet is more productive than phone, but Internet is 24×7 where the phone is not.

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