The Nike Talent Acquisition Team SourceCon Experience

We (Tanja and Arati) recently attended the SourceCon conference in Santa Clara, CA. Having written previously about the collaborative styles we have when working together, to  fill Nike’s job openings, we definitely wanted to experience this event as a team as well. When we approached our manager about attending the conference who was supportive and said go for it!

Here are our experiences from attending SourceCon as a team. 

SourceCon from a Recruiter’s Perspective

I received my confirmation email months ago, my flight was on time, and my hotel was within walking distance from the conference center. I was so close, but would I get in? After all I am a recruiter. I am not a sourcer. Was there a secret handshake? Would they ask for my favorite Boolean string? Would they let the sourcer I traveled with in and not me? Luckily I saw my nametag on the check-in table and I knew everything was okay. I was an official attendee of SourceCon 2011!

My goal in attending was to bring back new techniques I could use to up my sourcing game. I knew I wouldn’t be as skilled as my rockstar sourcer Arati, but at least I would have a few more tricks in my tool belt. As a full cycle recruiter, my time is split between account management and sourcing duties. More often than not, the sourcing falls to the way side and I am left doing basic LinkedIn searches or sifting through our applicant tracking system (ATS) and candidate relationship management (CRM) system. What I learned at SourceCon will definitely give me a diverse set of sourcing tools I can easily put into proactive practice. Simple things from changing my search engine to diversifying results or building a custom search engine (okay… that last one’s not so simple!).

In addition to the presentations from experts in the field, the labs provided a smaller venue to network and learn from peers. I specifically found Mark Tortorici’s presentation extremely informative. I couldn’t stop taking notes during his presentation! He did a great job of providing an overview of many sourcing techniques that are readily available and at not cost. All of these tools are easy to use as well and don’t require hours of intensive training.

Overall during our two days at SourceConI was impressed with how close the sourcing community was and their willingness to share best practices. Google Chrome, Google Custom Search, Outwit, Bing, Plaxo, hashtags, mailtester.com, twitter search, Google + profiles, and Follower Wonk just to name a few!

Lastly, it was great to see my sourcer in her element networking away to learn best practices she can bring back to our greater team. Taking this trip made me realize how thankful I am for the sourcer I have the pleasure of working with each day!

Thanks for letting this Recruiter into the club!

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SourceCon from a Talent Scout’s Perspective

I am still reeling from the SourceCon conference! I am grateful I had the opportunity to meet with and learn best practices from the world class sourcing and recruiting professionals — wow! This was my first live SourceCon and it was a great experience from a participant’s perspective. I had the opportunity to connect with so many innovative sourcers and leaders in this industry who are as passionate about this area as I am. I had only two days at the conference and there were so many experts I could meet with and imbibe knowledge and ideas from. I had so many questions to ask and so many topics to talk about. My list was endless and time was limited. We shared ideas on how to build Google custom search engines, how to extract maximum data from the web, how to find the hidden talent before our competition could find it, how to become experts in Boolean searches, and how there is more to life than one type of web browser.

I especially enjoyed the session “Building a Search Engine” by Mark Tortorici and “Reviving up your Sourcing Function” by Jillian Snavley. Jillian’s presentation clearly articulated the value-add a sourcing function can bring to a company and what it takes to make the sourcing model successful. A true must-watch!

We are indeed living in a very fascinating age where the emergence of social media has led to immense data and has made the game of sourcing a thrill. I was amazed and impressed by the geekiness of the sourcing community where participants with no software language background had built applications to mine the best talent It was also interesting to learn from various recruiting leaders on how they have creatively built business cases for a sourcing model and reduced recruiting cost by millions and millions of dollars. Finally, it hit me hard that I better hurry up and become an expert in mobile recruiting applications if I want to stay current with emerging recruiting trends.

Tanja and I enjoyed being part of the “Sourcing Family” and discussing recruiting issues that face all of us today – identifying and then attracting the right talent. And of course a big highlight was that we enjoyed spending time with each other – some lasting memories that we’ll cherish for a long time!

Arati currently works at Nike as a Talent Scout for Product Creation and Merchandising and is primarily focused on apparel and sports equipment. She combines her International Public Relations experience and full life cycle recruiting experience to acquire the best talent for Nike. She enjoys talking to prospects who have not thought about leaving their jobs and landing them a home here at Nike. Arati has also worked for multiple pipelines at Nike including IT, Strategic Planning, and HR.  She began her recruiting career at a Software Consulting company as a HR Generalist/Recruiter and then worked at Wells Fargo as an HR Associate/Recruiter and Recruiting Manager at American Income hiring commission based insurance agents. Prior to that she worked in an International Public Relations agency and managed clients such as Benetton, Pierre Cardin, and others. Arati has a Masters degree in Communication Studies and was an Adjunct Faculty Member at the Communication Studies department at PSU and taught Speech Communication. When she isn’t building relationships with talent, she enjoys running, reading and spending time with her kids.

Tanja currently works at Nike as a full cycle Recruiter hiring for Product Creation roles and is primarily focused on apparel and sports equipment. She enjoys the variety of candidates she gets to interact with and loves knowing that she is responsible for hiring the teams that make great Nike product! On any given day she can speak with a Product Manager, Apparel Developer, Technical Designer, Mechanical/Electrical Engineer, or Wear Test Analysts just to name a few. She began her recruiting career at Starbucks and Microsoft. Tanja prides herself in truly understanding what motivates a hiring manager and candidate to ensure a win-win situation for all. Tanja has a degree in Zoology from the University of Washington. When she isn’t finding great talent for Nike, she enjoys a healthy dose of retail therapy and being a foster parent for Pacific Pug Rescue. She happily has three pugs of her own.

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