People Sourcing Certification Program Review

“It’s not rocket science,” she says. There’s even a slide to confirm this.

I look around the room and several mouths are left open as the attendees remain fixated on the screen not quite believing what they just saw. I can’t tell you what they saw either; it’s secret and would send shivers up the spines of the owners of certain social media platforms.

“Can you do that again. This time a bit slower,” someone asks.

I’m attending Irina Shamaeva’s two day People Sourcing Certification in San Francisco in The Penthouse Suite of TalentBin’s offices. I’ve had worse views.

The course is at two levels and looks at Search, Social and Tools then there is homework and then an examination.

I know this stuff and I’m wondering what I’m going to learn. I guess the other participants are too and whether they will get sufficient ROI ? Have they picked the right course? Will they make extra placements and what are the lunch options ?

The room is a mixture of contract recruiters, newbies, veterans, agency and corporate recruiters.

Here’s the agenda for all three parts (Day 2, advanced):

 There’s a lot of material here and it’s covered in depth as each session lasts 90 minutes. At the end of each, we have a break and the students eagerly try out their new skills. Sometimes it works but most of the time it doesn’t so we try again and again until it does.

Lesson 1 – Practice

Now it’s not like we haven’t seen this stuff before, we are all sourcers right? We all know about Boolean and search engines, social media have a few tricks of our own, but the difference is the level of understanding. We start digging under the hood of html throw a big lump of data into Excel and out again with the bits we want. We even start looking at url’s and what they mean, what happens when we change them, what do the component parts represent and how by knowing this do we use it to find better candidates?

“Why are we talking about such jibberish?” she asks. “Because we want to learn what can be found and what can be not.”

And that’s it isn’t it? If we really understand this then as sourcers, we know what can be done, but more importantly, we know what can’t.

Lesson 2 – Be inquisitive and then some

Social and tools are both fast paced sessions. LinkedIn is heavily featured and rightly so: it’s the No.1  current platform for finding people. However it’s also the No.1 platform for every recruiter in the world sending countless irrelevant messages to constantly hounded candidates. So we have to be able to think differently, work differently and find those people Joe Soap won’t.

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(We also have to present our opportunity to them in the best way, but that’s another subject.)

Lesson 3 – Think different

All the social media platforms are covered and a few others.

All of the above and hundreds (thousands maybe?) more are places where potential hires hang out. And then we have all the tools at our disposal, however many there are with new ones appearing every day. That’s great (and keep them coming) but it’s difficult to keep on top of all them with a day job!

Does it matter if we remember every tool or trick we have been shown? I say no.

What I realise after two days is that the real lesson we are being taught is that as a sourcer you have to have a certain mindset. Everything you look at can be a potential candidate finding, attraction or messaging tool. It’s your job to work it out.

Lesson 4 – Get the mindset

But the fun bit of course is when it works. Or you create your own shortcut, hack or more efficient way of doing things. What does Irina say?

“We can use things in a way they aren’t intended to give us an advantage.”

Lesson 5 – Try and break stuff!

Keeping on top of latest technologies, search engines and the like can be a full time job on its own and the day job doesn’t help. Setting time aside to dedicate purely to training whether it be face-to-face or online is an investment in yourself. Better still, if it costs money, get the boss to invest.


8 Comments on “People Sourcing Certification Program Review

  1. Very well said, Martin.  I just completed Irina’s course as well and was amazed at how much I’ve learned in short amount of time.  As a new recruiter I feel like I have a solid foundation to work with and have keys that other, more experienced, recruiters may not know.

  2. Excellent blog, Martin.  As a 15 year veteran to recruiting, I took CPSP Level II to learn a few new tricks.  What I gained was a “deeper mindset” and the skills to “break INTO stuff”.  There is virtually nothing that I cannot find now.  I feel like the Superwomen of the recruiting world — using my powers for good.

    I believe the key is in the practice tests, homework and the exam.  Something happened to my understanding when I practiced on “breaking stuff”.  My advice to Level II participants is to scour for every test, homework, practice, and contest Irina has developed.  Work the solution backwards if necessary.   Get frustrated and TRY AGAIN.  
    It is worth it.  I passed LEVEL II in June.  Felt like a huge accomplishment.  
    Guess what??? — I also used the skills to source a number of real people for real jobs!  Two had interviews already. Were they hard to find?  Not really, but they were one level deeper than I normally would have gone.  Finding them felt a part of my natural process now.Take the tests — get certified.  (P.S.  I won’t tell you how long the test for Level II took me…. but let me warn you…block off an afternoon.  LOL) 

    Best of luck, 
    Heather Bain-Donovan (now Thomas)
    Recruiting Project Manager

    Duffy Group, Inc

    Toll Free (877) 264-1764

    Visit us at


    Connect with me on LinkedIn:


    Follow Duffy Group at

  3. I’ve just given the test.. 2 day training program was very informative though i’d some prior knowledge of sourcing

  4. Great article Martin! I have also taken Irina’s CPSP-2 and it was an amazing experience, it was definitely the right course to take for me. I previously studied on my own and the course material helped me deepen my knowledge and really solidify the basics. Right now at work, not only am I able to find candidates in “strange” places but I am also able to do this much faster than before. Which is what we really want, isn’t it? To be creative, effective and productive! I really wish I could have attended the course in San Francisco, in person! That sounds like a lot of fun!

  5. Great article Mr. Lee!  

    Hi, I am new to your community and would like to introduce myself.  My name is George Glikman and I will be in charge of customer support for the People Sourcing Certification Program in the coming months.  I am still learning the basics, but I find Mrs. Shamaeva’s lectures fascinating and her teaching style very straightforward.   I look forward to learning more and meeting and connecting with new people in the sourcing and recruiting community.  Please visit to learn more.  Sincerely, George Glikman

  6. Martin, I attended Irina’s course in San Francisco.  It is totally changed the way of finding resumes. Our Clients are finding quality resumes from me and other recruiters are not able to reach those candidates which I am reaching. Because candidates profiles are not only in job portals and it is everywhere. How to search? That Matters. Irina covers  search techniques in Level 1 and Level 2. If you ask me, is it worth attending Irina’s course?. I will say YES. Thanks.

  7. Thank you Martin. I agree with everything you said. It was also very nice to meet you that day. 🙂 I’ve taken and passed Irina’s CPSP-2 and agree with previous commentators below. After following Irina’s training, blog, and certification program, I feel like such a cyber sleuth! Like the internet Sherlock Holmes. There is so much that can be done online and you feel so powerful. 🙂 I am able to get into sites & dig up info that weren’t meant for outside eyes to be seen. Like Irina has said, you need to be careful with the info that you are able to uncover. It’s so true. I am excited about everything I’ve learned and feel it makes me a better interviewee when interviewing for sourcing or recruiting jobs, as well as a better sourcer when I am at the job. 

    You’re right about the large body of knowledge that is out there & that if you have a day job, it’s a lot to keep up with. That’s why I just attach myself to everything Irina writes & posts about b/c I feel that’s the best way to stay on top of sourcing. 

  8. Although I’ve been with my current company for 4 years now, we’ve only decided within the last year to have one person solely focus on sourcing for two direct hire recruiters (me).  And this program was exactly what I needed to bring the level of candidates we provide to the next level.This program has so much to offer for people at all levels.  And Irina is excellent at explaining processes and readily available for additional support. 
    Being a newcomer, I was able to pass the Level I test.  I look forward to trying the Level II test in the future.
    Great program, I highly recommend.

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