Strategic Sourcing: Should I Wear a Lab Coat or Deerstalker?

Strategic sourcing is the process of continuously improving and re-evaluating the candidate pipeline against the position you’re trying to fill. When kicking off a new search, do you know when to wear your researcher lab-coat vs. your deerstalker hat?

Below, I will make that clear as I outline 5 critical steps to help you kick off any new search engagement.

1) Research the job-description:

Read the job-description. Read it again. First and foremost, does it make sense? Can you intelligently speak about the job to a candidate who has never heard of your company? If you answered “no” to any of these, it’s time to get schooled.

Dust off your handy dandy fingers and start Googling any terminology you’re not 100% sure of. Before you start your journey down the rabbit hole, make sure you have a solid understanding of the job description and can intelligently speak about it to an eight year-old.

2) Research the market:

Now that you’re well acquainted with what you’re looking for, let’s get familiar with the market for the role. If a hiring manager is looking for a Java programmer with extensive experience in imaging in Juneau, Alaska, and no relocation allowance is offered, will you be able to tell him/her if this is a viable search? Again, put on your researcher lab-coat and find out how many live Java engineers there are in Juneau, then how many of those are even familiar with imaging.

3) Research the Competition:

Now we’re ready to find out who we’re playing tug-of-war with. Who else is hiring Java engineers with experience in imagining in Juneau? Knowing who your competitors are and who works there will create your hunting grounds. Getting familiar with their compensation packages, trends, and culture can help you make your initial pitches stand out. Following news and trends about your competition will enable you to know when to target them (ie after bonuses are paid, or recent reorganizations). It will also help you to respond to rival pitches to candidates with your own initiatives.

4) Investigate the hiring manager and group:

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It’s now time to trade your researcher lab-coat for your deerstalker hat and your lup?. Who is the hiring manager? Which school did s/he graduate from? What company did s/he come from? Does s/he have a LinkedIn account? What groups does she belong to? What kind of followers does s/he have in Twitter? How’s he doing in GitHub? What are his/her hobbies?

Then investigate his/her group. What types of people does s/he surround him/herself with? How long have they been around? What do they do? What was their latest win? Who is the top performer in the group? When was s/he hired? What is his/her background?

Remember it is human nature to surround ourselves with people like us! Use this to find candidates that will catch the hiring manager’s eye.

5) Investigate your Candidates

Now its time to start searching resumes based on the data you’ve gathered. I don’t have to tell you that a resume does not make a candidate! We never mentioned anything about magician, but now it’s time to transform the 2-D resume into a 3-D persona. A magician never reveals her trick, but since I’m a sourcer, the secret is: talking to the candidate. When you first reach out to a candidate ask them to talk about themselves, who doesn’t, deep down inside, like to talk about their strengths? Start with how impressed you are with their résumé. Ask them what would be the ideal next step in their career and tie that back to your company and the position you’re trying to fill. What’s their role in their current project? What skills are they using that are required in your position? A little twist on JFK’s words –tell them what your company can do for them and ask them what they can do for your company.

image credit: bigstock

Connie Bustillo has more than 10 years of full-lifecycle recruiting/sourcing experience for both Fortune 500 companies and startups. She started her career as a Software Engineer at Apple Computer Inc. For a while she vacillated between engineering and recruiting, finally embracing recruiting 100%.

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