Excited to share the interview with Guillaume Alexandre, a famous sourcing community leader, founder of Gates Solutions, and sourcing competitions winner.
Your Twitter alias is @Mr_Sourcing. Looks like you are the perfect candidate for our blog section. How did you start sourcing? Why are you still there?
Haha, there is a funny story behind this Twitter handle. At the time, I was running a team of recruiters in my agency and I was constantly talking about sourcing and one of them said “Sourcing here, sourcing there, please stop it or we are going to call you “Monsieur Sourcing” now”. And I said.. you know what? I won’t stop so I’ll happily claim that name actually… and created the Twitter going with it lol.
I started sourcing like most sourcers did because I struggled to find candidates. I was in Switzerland looking for SAP permanent people at a time where no school in Switzerland was “producing” people, no local population, highly demanded professionals (mainly freelancers with insane daily rates) and I was helping major clients setting up their SAP Competence Center pretty much from scratch. Back then it was not even called sourcing but it was already sourcing.
I was following blogs and saw the first Sourcing Summit Europe (back in 2012 I think) and there was a contest to win a free ticket if you submitted a hard role that Irina Shamaeva would solve… and problems with sourcing, I had plenty! 😉
There, a guy named Balazs Paroczay came on stage and showed how to recreate and intersect on the Facebook graph search and therefore “unlock” Facebook, I heard the sound of about 80 jaws dropping and said “I want to do just that”… the virus hasn’t left me since.
Why am I still there? Because it is constantly evolving, it’s super interesting and I just love it. I’m lucky enough to source on roles that people would call crazy or impossible and I like challenges.. a lot 😉
Speaking about career aspirations, as a kid, what did you want to be?
I never knew what I wanted but 2 things were sure, I wanted to have fun/freedom and “help the world turn a little better”.
Fun, I’m having a lot and I can consider myself as free.
I might not be really helping the world but I definitely change people’s lives so it’s not too bad.
You are a recognized sourcing guru. What do you do to be aware of the new things in your sphere? Please, recommend our readers people to follow/events to visit?
I try to keep about 20% of my time dedicated to trying new things and learning. It’s probably on Facebook groups that I learn the most, from “mainstream” sourcing groups like Boolean Strings or Sourcecon but also from Growth Hacking for Recruiters where I learn a lot. I’m also part of growth hacking groups outside the recruitment community, some hacking slack channels where people don’t know I’m a recruiter/sourcer but it’s more “gray hat” ;-). Slack groups are great, anywhere where people talk, just humans… give/share and you will get a lot in return.
In 2018, I went to all the Sourcing Summits in Europe and Sourcecon, I also co-organized #truParis and #truGeneva. I can only encourage people to join these events, what you learn is amazing but even more importantly, you meet people that become your friends and you join a community of people always happy to help you.
Wherever you are, build your community around you, organize drinks and even invite people to call your “competitors”, who cares where people work, people are all great. Don’t wait for people to do things for you, just do it.
Trust me, being “open source” in Switzerland is not very “mainstream” but we’re getting there.
You have won a lot of sourcing competitions. What is your sourcing superpower? What are your favorite sourcing tools?
I don’t have ANY superpower, I think sourcing is all about the mindset, how you think about things, understand the behavior of the people more than looking for keywords.
Tools, I’m using many of course but these days, I use quite a lot blockspring and PhantomBuster to increase the reach and automate things, I also use AmazingHiring but seeing the roles I’m doing these days and their reach, Linkedin Recruiter is where I spend most of my time, it is a tremendous tool once you master it.
What makes a person a good sourcer?
The ability to understand other people and create relationships in no time. If you see sourcing/recruitment as purely “transactional”, i.e. I have a role and I need a candidate right now, you’re not a good sourcer.
Tell us more about Gates Solutions. What is the mission behind it?
Gates Solutions originally meant “Guillaume Alexandre Talent & Executive Search” and started as a recruitment agency back in 2011 but I pivoted entirely in early 2016 to a purely sourcing practice.
Now, I would say that Gates is my “sourcing lab” where I can do what I want from setting up innovative recruitment strategies, training internal sourcing teams and setting up sourcing practice within big companies, and, of course, doing sourcing in the form of “sourcing missions” that I do directly with internal recruiters where I act as if I was internal.
Talking about the mission, I would say that I am humbly sharing what I think and I know how to do which is sourcing and providing really good candidate experience in recruitment. If this can help to improve what is done nowadays, I’m happy about it.
You are working for Philip Morris, running Gates Solutions, speaking at major conferences, winning souring competitions. We are not quite sure if you have any free time 😉 but if you have some, what do you prefer to do? What are your hobbies?
When I’m not doing all this, I have to confess I have very little free time but living in Switzerland makes things easy. I cycle everywhere and spend time with my family doing picnics on the lake or hiking in the mountains. I love watching unknown sports (yes, I can go up the mountains in winter to attend a biathlon competition) but mainly spending time with my 4-year-old daughter is what makes me the happiest.