AmazingHiring - Sourcing Guru Interview: Ivan Stojanovic

Sourcing Guru Interview: Ivan Stojanovic

Ivan Stojanovic, formerly known as Irish Recruiter, answered our tricky questions!  His success story is exciting as he is a devoted HR Tech innovator and changes the recruiting world.


You characterize yourself as “Scrum Master of Recruitment Innovation”. What does it mean? Speaking about career aspirations, as a kid, what did you want to be?

I was always looking at what am I doing as a recruiter, and the ways to improve it. Analysing the processes and streamlining it. This was always what made me happy. This lead to work (and life) where the only constant is change.

I joined the recruitment industry because I have seen lots of possibilities to make it better. Years later I am still enjoying training recruiters and even more, helping recruitment teams in restructuring to get them to be more productive, profitable and enjoy themselves in being successful recruiters. 

There never was a title for what I do. So, I had to invent it. I borrowed the Scrum Master title from the Agile methodology and bolted on what I do: Recruitment Innovation. I have had a list of titles in my career, but this is the one that just stuck. 

How did you start recruiting? Why are you still there?

I left Microsoft (at their peak) because I was becoming bored. I founded my company and got a recruitment agency as one of the first clients. We have built their website and integrated it with their recruitment software and job sites. It was at a time when multiple job posting did not exist at all. The effect was they had more time to recruit and make placements. Word spread around, and we have built some 200 recruitment websites in the following years. I learned a lot about recruiting by analysing what our clients are doing. I realised what makes the good ones good. I spoke about it and wrote blog posts. It resulted in companies asking me to train their recruitment teams.

Today my company Irish Recruiter organises recruitment networking events like #tru un-conferences, Disrupt HR, Sourcing Summit and similar events within companies for their recruitment teams. On the other hand, we organise Recruitment Drives for large employers. Those are usually organised as Assessment Centre that we run in the city where we find the large pool of talent for the client company. 

Tell us more about what you do. What is the mission behind Irish Recruiter (Recruitment Events company)?

Besides recruiting I love creating technology solutions that help recruiters. I have built the first multiple job posting software for the Irish job boards – eRecruit. I also made the first jobs aggregator with jobs from all Irish jobs sites and hundreds of employer’s careers sites. Unfortunately, recession in Ireland killed both businesses.

I worked with a list of start-ups in recruitment technology space and still today advise several them on how to grow fast. This year we also released sourcing and social media messaging software and are having fantastic success with it.

You participate/organize in a huge amount of conferences on sourcing/recruiting. What are top sourcing conferences worldwide in your opinion?

Sourcing Summit is the obvious leader for in terms of sourcing conferences. There is nothing else with the global reach like SOSU. If you are sourcing in multiple markets and continents SOSU is for you!

Bill Boorman’s #tru unconferences that I think are by far the best recruitment events globally, also tend to have top end sourcing topics covered. #tru is also global like SOSU. In fact, a lot of SOSU speakers have lead tracks on #tru before. I myself organise #truDublin and #truZagreb for many years now and support other #tru’s in Europe as well. There was no single #tru unconference where I didn’t learn a lot and meet new interesting people.

The largest market, the US, is a very specific market with a lot of tools and innovation happening in the sourcing space with a long list of different events. They rarely get out of US simply because of being US market specific.  Half of the tools built for their market work only there. I am happy to see SourceCon trying to get out of US and organising their first conference in Europe – Sourcecon Budapest 2018. I wish them all the best!

You have a really strong personal brand. How does it help/ hinder in life and business? Who are the thought leaders in HR tech that you follow?

I find it fascinating how people expect to be able to reach out to you and get super high-quality answers on complex questions right away on the spot. I think people listen to what I have to say simply because I do my best not to tell them what they want to hear, but what I really think. This opens conversations where I somehow naturally try to find solutions for their problems. I enjoy helping people. Knowing I might be able to help someone that day gets me out of bed every morning.

I “grew up” reading John Sumser’s newsletter. That was still in the last century. More recently, some 10 years ago I ended up presenting at the conference where two ether presenters have been Jonathan Campbell and Bill Boorman who I didn’t know before. I think all three of us have been at a career crossroads at that stage. Bill made #tru – the best recruitment un-conferences, Johnny made Social Talent – the best Recruitment Training company, and I made Irish Recruiter that started as a recruitment agency, but the success of recruitment events just took over.  

As a sourcing expert, tell us about your three favourite sourcing tools?

I like “Amazing”! 🙂 

In all fairness, it really depends what type of people are you hiring and what geography are you sourcing them from. I do a lot of international recruitment and relocate people globally so have a visibility what works well where. It is fascinating, especially with some top US tools how they are simply useless for sourcing anywhere else.

I still source a lot myself. I notice that the tools I use are usually not built for recruitment. I most often find myself using tools in a completely different way than what was originally intended. I never read the manuals (RTFM) or watch intro videos. I tend to find “my” way around each tool, and that often tends to be a unique way. Not necessarily the best way, mind you!

What makes a person a good recruiter?

Being a good person, in general, has the most impact. Helpful, outgoing, open and honest are qualities that first come to mind. Willing to learn and natural curiosity helps. All the rest like Boolean search strings can be thought and perfected in practice. Polished presenting and sales skills help as well, but being “nice” is the foundation of success in recruitment.

Everyone knows you as Irish Recruiter, but originally you are from Croatia. How did you move? Are there any differences in the way people run their business and recruit people in these countries? Did you have any difficulties associated with the mentality?

Irish mentality is very, very similar to Croatian, and yet so different at the same time. Croats are far more direct to the point that Irish can find them rude. On the other hand, Irish are natural wordsmiths and poets, that Croats rarely fully understand, and wonder what Irish people actually want to say.

I moved to Ireland in 1998 after getting a job offer from Microsoft. It was a big thing for me, moving from then post war-torn Croatia into booming Ireland to work for (at that time) the top IT company in the world. I learned a lot in my years at Microsoft. It was almost like a continuation of my study, like another Masters degree.

15 years ago, I founded my own company in Ireland and I never looked back. Back then I wasn’t really Irish and even less a recruiter, so I had to name the company: Irish Recruiter. People wouldn’t take me seriously otherwise. It’s all about branding!

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