How to Be Hands-on While Sourcing for Tech Talent: Social Sourcing in 2022

By Mark Lundgren 27.01.2022 4 minutes to read

Today, we’ll speak about the strategy to source IT candidates, social sourcing. The process that was implemented at Thoughtworks is called Agile Sourcing. Here is a template for how Mark works. 

  1. Start with research. Identify where the people you need are hanging out. What are you looking for? 
  2. Work with the manager and recruiter to qualify the people before the approach. Ask yourselves: Are these the people we want to interview? 
  3. Agree with managers that if people from the list reply, they would talk to them. 
  4. Identify the tools we need to get them in specific social networks. 
  5. How do we reach out to them? 
  6. How do we follow up with them? 
  7. What works best? 

“We wouldn’t have reached out to people unless we already knew that they are likely somebody we want to work with”.

Where to start?

Everyone is running searches in different ways. Some do it in a very narrow way, and they end up with two results. I like going as broad as possible at the beginning and then narrowing it down. 

Whether I am looking for Meetup or specific people in a specific geography, the first thing I do is focus on those who identify themselves as part of the specific technical group. 

A lot of the time I might find the answers they have on Stack Overflow or code repositories. They might have private repositories with limited information, but knowing they are part of the user group for the technical language I am after means I can dig deeper into the company or specific Meetup group. 

If I approach someone, it’s because I found something about them that interested me in talking to them. It’s not because of a random keyword.

What is social sourcing?

The way we recruit changed drastically from when I first started. It was all about cold-calling, using fax, and getting incoming applications. Now with the likes of LinkedIn, the majority of the passive talent is online. 

99% of all the recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary tool. It’s both good and bad. 

Now everything is focused on social: How do we reach out to people? You can connect with them. It’s popular because it’s easy to scale. Some of it is just us being lazy as it is so much easier to send an inMail to all the 200 people that remotely cover a keyword than spending a little bit more time on doing research. As well, you can do it from anywhere in the world. 

What are some of the most effective social sourcing tools in 2021?

It used to be a lot about finding people’s email addresses, and now it’s less and less that. From the GDPR point of view, I want to make sure if I have the details, I get them from an open-source which limits the number of companies you can work with, which is why I prefer AmazingHiring. It’s very clear: if there’s an email address, I will see where it comes from, and I know that I can go back and find the data on my own. So if the candidate asks me about where I got the email from, I can tell them. 

The tools I use to find more information about people are AmazingHiring, Connectifier, Social links to get other social profiles. Do they have a website, medium posts, do they own a blog, Twitter, what Meetup groups do they belong to? All the information I can get outside of LinkedIn, GitHub, or StackOverflow. What are the other things they are interested in? Enough information for me to create a hook for the message I am about to send. 

First Approach

One of the main values of social sourcing is the engagement piece. Identifying doesn’t take long. Use the right tools to get more information about people so that you can tailor your approach when you want to talk to them. 

For the first approach, I use video email as it shows my personality. I am not just sending an email that hundreds of people have already received. Instead, I make it personal.

I talked about video tools I use in the previous post. Video emails give the highest response rate, and it doesn’t take longer than it would take me to customize a template or send an email. One minute video might take you two minutes to finish: one minute to shoot the video and one more to add the relevant written content and a call to action saying: “Hey, instead of writing you a long email I did this video for you. Do you have 15 minutes for us to talk? Here’s a link to my calendar”. Doing 20 videos like this a day takes me around 30 minutes. 

People appreciate that you’ve done something different, and it feels very personal. Use their name, talk about their experience. They know it’s not a template that I am just using and added it to the outreach program. Even if I use a template, where my story bit in the beginning and call to action are the same, I’ve customized the middle bit. 

I wouldn’t contact people on Twitter, Slack, or via work email.

With Twitter, you can gather the information, retweet their content, but there is no need to send them direct messages there. 

With Slack, again it’s a great place to understand what the target community you two have in common and gather information. 

Approaching passive talent via work email is the last resort. I would instead send a Facebook Messenger request than bother them at their work email. I hate receiving emails to my work email, so I don’t do it and tell my teams not to. 

Follow-up strategy

For the follow-up sequence, I use a tool called Lemlist. If during a week, I have sent video emails to a hundred people I don’t want to follow up with all of them manually. The follow-up email would be tracked, and I can see if they open it, click on the links.

You can also set up email sequences via the AmazingHiring Messaging feature.

If my first message was a video, my follow-up will be text.

Use different channels to follow up with people.

If email only, I stop after three times. I would follow them on Twitter, retweet, like medium posts, repositories on Github.

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You may also want to check the first part of the interview, we spoke about recruiting tools, that Mark uses to source IT candidates.

AmazingHiring also prepared a list of free chrome extensions every tech recruiter should know about in 2022. Check it out here!

This article was updated in 2022.

Mark Lundgren Technical Recruiter, Sourcing Trainer Mark used to work for CSC, Amazon, and many more. Now he is a Technical Recruiter, Sourcing Trainer, Global Talent Sourcer, and also an International Speaker, and Host of the Sourcing Challenge Show.

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