Welcome to the newest entry to our Guide for Building and Scaling Sourcing in Fast-Paced Organizations. For this article, we had great help from Kate Hotsyk from A-Players Recruiting to discover her take on the most meaningful baseline skills and qualities every exceptional sourcing professional should possess.
Kate is a Lead Talent Sourcer Consultant with 5+ years of fruitful hires for startups and fast-growing organizations. She helped grow teams at widely-recognized Relocateme.eu, DataRobot, RefaceAI, Shelf, Mindvalley, Reddit, and many more. If you are looking for some great advice on building and growing the sourcing function in your company, Kate is the best person to talk to.
What distinguishes the best sourcers from the rest
Before we get into skills and qualities, let’s take a quick look at the endgame. What are you getting at the end of your journey? What does a truly great sourcer bring to the table?
You may work hard on building the employer’s brand and all the perks and programs in order to attract potential talent. Yet, the pipeline remains somewhat dry.
The thing is when the time comes and your perfect candidate starts actively searching for a job, your company’s brand will be on the shelf along with many others. Especially in competitive markets with high demand for niche specialists such as IT.
On the other hand, according to this report from LinkedIn, 90% of global professionals are open to hearing about further career opportunities while still being employed. The precision of that number may be questionable, but it seems completely logical to keep one’s hand on the pulse of the job market at all times.
And that’s when sourcers come in.
Their responsibilities include establishing and maintaining firm and warm contact with those top performers. A lot is required to achieve that. In-depth knowledge of the market, latest trends in compensation packages, talent supply and demand, and sourcing tools, complemented by a profound set of hard and soft skills.
This is where a great sourcer gets a huge edge. If you are looking to get one into your team or help your existing talent grow, what are the qualities to look for?
The portrait of a perfect sourcer
1.Exhibits proof of mastery in a research
42% of job applications don’t meet your requirements, and at the same time studies show that sourced candidates are twice as efficient as the ones who applied. You know what your goal is here: attracting those >86% of candidates who are not actively searching for a job.
Sourcers know what type of information is needed and where to find it. Their arsenal includes unique data points and rare tools. Everyone knows that you have to go beyond LinkedIn and explore GitHub, or StackOverflow, or Reddit.
Well, the great sourcers take that research a step forward.
- They operate the same advanced search techniques and data points to discover connections others missed.
- Their creative approach to recombining those tools and techniques almost looks like turning information into intelligence.
- And they can do wonders to help discover potential talent in some hidden corners of the web and craft the right message to reach out to them (we’ll talk about it later in this article).
Try asking about the use cases in the interview and you’ll see the difference.
2. Craves personal development
It’s common to stay updated with the latest developments in one’s field. The Internet is filled up with sourcing content, courses, and more. We tend to subscribe to a few relevant media outlets, look at some new tools coming at the sourcing market, revisit educational materials from time to time to check up on our knowledge of the fundamentals.
If you want to hire a great sourcer, look for those who are:
- passionate about their self-development and permanently ongoing education;
- more inclined to networking and social activities (say, a sourcing hackathon);
- overall more open to non-conventional education methods if those provide an edge on the market.
Speaking about unconventional and gamified educational sourcing content, you may check out “sourcing games” as an example, or view Amazing Hiring’s sourcing hackathons recordings on our YouTube channel. Btw, running sourcing hackathons is a great way to attract talent, see their actual skills, and hire the best to work for you.
3. Possesses good content creation skills
Every now and then we all struggle with those cold emails or spend too much time crafting that first message on social networks. So there is no secret that some form of copywriting is a desired skill for any sourcer.
Yet, there is so much more content to be created on the way, and a great sourcer knows that. Look for those who go beyond the emails or pitches.
- They know how to transmit brand values right.
- They use exceptional research (or, as we called it earlier, intelligence) to personalize their emails or LinkedIn requests.
- They are also glad to tell a story about how they designed a perfect answer on Quora, kept a conversation going somewhere on Twitter, or constructed a post that got a ton of upvotes on Reddit.
Kate remembers how once she congratulated GitHub users owning the Arctic Code Vault Contributor badge with the fact that their code will be kept inside of a Norwegian mountain for 1,000 years. This got her a 40-45% reply rate which is above the average.
In other words, there are times when content is king in sourcing efforts too.
4. Creates a call to action instead of waiting for one
This may be a great point for any role in the company, but it is especially important for sourcers. Sourcers can get a brief from a manager and quietly retreat to a lonely sourcing bubble to do their jobs.
Note that great sourcers would have quite a different answer to a question about their work process.
- They are inclined to be involved in more processes and create a sense of full visibility for the recruiting team.
- They work hard on creating a perfect workflow.
- They promptly share insights and data.
- They feel at ease connecting with more people on the team and getting a deeper understanding of the project and its requirements for candidates.
So pay attention to see if a potential in-house sourcer is prone to waiting for a manager’s command. They will be those that come to a project meeting uninvited to listen to all the details about a new job opening and trust us, you won’t be annoyed by that.
5. Feels that sharing is a core of sourcing
Some sourcers are happy to share knowledge, some aren’t. Nonetheless, there is a huge community around sourcing and its capabilities. Many of us are active in our own way, putting some interesting cases out there, helping out the newcomers, and so on.
You’ll see that great sourcers care about sharing much more than others. For them, It’s a way to build a personal brand and an immense boost to one’s perception of an expert. Here are just a few ways how advanced sourcers share their experience:
- They can act as “coaches” to others, participate as experts in as many formats as they can handle
- They put out there a lot of content in a “how-to” manner, bringing true value to the community
- They drive some great initiatives which are aimed purely at helping their comrades out, e.g. sourcing schools or huge lists of handy resources, etc.
As you can see, the qualities that underscore great sourcers may seem pretty common and straightforward. Yet, it’s important to notice that best-of-breed sourcing experts always take those skills to the next level, while improvising and improving along the way.
In our experience, it seems like a close-to-impossible task to find this set of skills and qualities fully arranged in a potential candidate to the sourcing team. Hence, consider spending much more time (and forgive a lot of mistakes) on the existing recruiting talent you decide to grow into sourcers internally.
The good thing is, most of the above-stated qualities are not inherent and may be trained over time. Just understand the scope of potential investment in this kind of development.
If you think we’ve missed some important skills of a great sourcer, feel free to reach out at email@example.com to share your story!
Once again, thanks to Kate Hotsyk for letting us share her insights in this article.
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