Source: Shortlist

Agency recruiters often have better technical sourcing skills than their in-house peers because of the high stakes riding on their success, according to a global sourcing expert.

Both internal and third-party recruiters deal with unique advantages and disadvantages when sourcing, but the stress of competition is a surprise perk for agencies, said Irina Shamaeva, who is a sourcing trainer and the chief sourcer at Silicon Valley recruitment firm Brain Gain Recruiting.  “We’re competing so we really need to search deep before we reach out to candidates, because we depend on those placements to make our levy, so agency recruiters are often more technically skilled,” she said.

“Corporate recruiters are often tasked with a lot of working with databases and procedures that takes them away from the proper sourcing they can be doing. That’s their challenge.” Her comments echo those of UK recruitment specialist Andy Headworth, who last year told agency recruiters to keep up with new technologies like database mining and social sourcing, because they must be able to achieve things their clients don’t have the time or resources for to win business.

Where internal recruiters have an advantage, however, is in their ability to build talent pipelines, Shamaeva told Shortlist ahead of her presentation at the upcoming Sourcing Summit.

“If [agency recruiters] stay in the industry for years they may be building some pipelines. For corporate people, they may not be necessarily rewarded for one placement, but for them – for the company to prosper – they need to be building those talent pipelines, and this is where sourcing brings a lot of value for them.”  Sourcing is, however, getting tougher for all recruiters as it gains in popularity, warns Shamaeva.

“On one hand, so much information is online. So somebody who’s not familiar with the area may decide, ‘it’s so easy. Now our job is only to sell, because we can look up everything online and off we go’. “On the other hand, the information that is online has become very distributed and not very easy to access,” she said.  “Sourcing is becoming extremely important, and at the same time it’s becoming more complex and less complex.”

The seeming ease of sourcing is a trap for unwary recruiters who go after low-hanging fruit, because people who are the most visible online are usually bombarded with recruiters’ calls, said Shamaeva. “[A worker] could have, say, an incomplete LinkedIn profile, but [finding] some professional blog, publications or patterns that tell us that they’re really a very accomplished professional – and maybe a top candidate – is tricky, and a special art and science,” she said.

One of the biggest factors stymieing the growth of sourcing is a desire to measure its return, added Shamaeva. “If you want to tell your management that you’re doing well in sourcing, you’re hitting a wall here, because what can you measure? The number of submissions? The number of resumes? How can you compare two positions?”

Where should recruiters start?

For managers trying to encourage consultants to hone their sourcing abilities, Shamaeva advises them to focus on advanced search engine or Googling skills, and effective use of social networks. “Practice is the number one thing. Reading a book will teach you as much about sourcing as reading a book about swimming will teach you to swim. You have to instantly get your feet wet,” she said. There’s no single social media channel that will give recruiters the best return on their time; a combination of channels is best practice, said Shamaeva.

“I would say LinkedIn, but if you go to LinkedIn and just search for a few key words from your job description you will not be doing better than the other person, because everybody does very similar things. LinkedIn is a very wide and deep resource, where you need to be skilled in order to make good use of it. “At the same time, LinkedIn alone is worth less than LinkedIn combined with other searches such as Google searches, professional networks and so forth,” she said.

The third part of the sourcing equation is productivity tools, which will help recruiters collect and process the information they find, said Shamaeva. “There are many little tools. Some of them are free, some of them are browser add-ons… that help you to extract details, such as contact information, for example,” she said.

Sourcing Summit, Australia’s only dedicated talent sourcing conference, is back again for the third year in a row. The event will be held in three cities – 4 August Melbourne, 5 August Sydney and 8 August in Brisbane.

Once again #SOSUAU will highlight the important role of talent sourcing in Australia and will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn from international experts.

Two of the top global sourcing thinkers and practitioners – Bill Boorman (UK) and Irina Shamaeva (USA) will present at the event.

billx505x235 irinax505x235





This year the format is different. There will be less speakers and the sessions will be more hands-on with a workshop style learning format. SOSUAU will address all aspects of the rapidly changing world of talent sourcing. We will tackle everything under the ‘Sourcing’ umbrella including the following:

– How to find people who have no online footprints
– Sourcing using referral networks
– Sourcing without Linkedin
– Hacking Linkedin for productivity sourcing
– Facebook Graph Search
– Advanced Google+ search
– Advanced talent mapping & phone sourcing and more.

SOSUAU is designed for sourcing practitioners and anyone involved in talent acquisition. Do not miss out. Early bird price ends on 8 July. Register now.

By Dan Nuroo, GM Recruitment, IMA Management

Well that’s it then.. another SOSU done and dusted. I know it’s taken me a week to blog about it, but please, there was a heap to process.

As with the previous three it did not disappoint. Despite an ungodly hour, that my day started to get my sorry bum to Sydney, the range of speakers and coffee from the surrounding areas kept me wide awake and my mind bursting at the seams.

Apologies to the other presenters, but Phil’s acquisition of both Will Staney and Stacy Zapar was a major coup. Just so if you’re reading this you know, I cannot dissect every presentation that was given here, but here are a few highlights

Seriously, looking over my notes and tweets. The first one I saw was “Will Staney, very cool, new shit”…. I think that bodes for a great conference…

They didn’t disappoint.

Will’s energy was infectious, and he held the audience in the palm of his hand… figuratively of course, although who knows what one can do with the Google Glass he was sporting (please note, my eyes are too ordinary to use them and I’m a little jealous!).

Will grasps the Recruiting function from a marketing perspective and he (quite rightly) ranks sourcing as the top part of talent acquisition. His assertion around the fact that with the fact that with all the bells and whistles within our industry and the amount of data, and the complexity of such data growing, that whilst the role of Sourcing is both easier and harder at the same time. He also introduced me to the term “contextual technology” which I loved and have used it as my own in conversations since (ssshhh don’t tell anyone)

One of his other memorable points was when he stated that Sourcers are emotional marketers, story tellers if you will. That imagery just rocks, however it only works if the Sourcers are away from the computer and talking to people.

Then Stacy hit the stage, and stacy is (let’s all say it together) THE most connected woman on LinkedIn. Talk about another ball of energy, she was conscious of not going over her allotted time as Phil was being a hard task master on the watch). It’s easy to see how she has got to where she is. The hints I got from her, made me look like a wizard when I returned to the office the following day. (Not sure if I mentioned where I got the tips from)

She spoke about being who you want to be online, especially on LinkedIn. I mean who thinks of doing a search of how you want to be found on LinkedIn to see if you are number 1? I sure didn’t… until now :). I mean I’ve googled myself (who hasn’t, but always in the privacy of my own home), but never LinkedIn’d myself. The importance and learnings around what goes into the LinkedIn algorythm was definitely eye opening.

One of my biggest takeaways, which I promptly forgot and had to resort to getting Mark Mansour to help me out on, was the “on-click invitation”. Solid gold! and implemented immediately (well after Mark told me how to do it) and made my immediate and wider teams too.

This takeaway slightly shaded the “How to view your 3rd connections who viewed you” bit. Very sneaky, but strangely obviously, someone else just had to think of it first. 🙂

Mark Reilly stood up and did what he does best – sourcing tools. Just wowed me in what he knows and how much depth he knows things. He made a conscious effort to de-geek his presentation and the great news is, that he succeeded magnificently, as I could understand what he was saying and even implemented a few of his things. I mean a place that builds search strings and saves them for you… who wouldn’t like that right? His tip to search with Recruitem ( did however make me break Google to the point Mr Google thought I was a robot. Good times 🙂

Laura Stoker has to be the person that makes the energiser bunny tired. I hadn’t spent too much time with Facebook Graph search in the past admittedly , and this was a new frontier. OMG this will cause a lot more rabbit holes for me to fall down. Well played Mr Zuckerberg (and hat tip to Laura for taking me on this journey) natural language search capability you say (well I just said it and I think saying that makes me sound smart)

She backed up with another site I again knew of but hadn’t played with yet, this too looks pretty cool, I must admit, I have meant to do something in this place, but the tab is still currently open in my browser and I still haven’t really touched it. Laura caused a few gasps in the audience and I think a few of the hard core sourcers may have passed out when Laura told the crowd “not everything you are looking for is going to be on Google”

Daoud’s case study from Lion really caused me to think and examine what I am doing at IMA, I spent more time writing notes for myself with ideas that he sparked in my head that specifically about his presentation. Always a great sign of a presentation I think. @doudis “Quality conversations lead to quality outcomes….” Yes sirrrrrr

Jessica Dunham from GE embodies what I think a Sourcer should be and what I’d want in a Sourcer. Reflecting back on my notes, I’ve scribbled, “next hire will be a Sourcer like Jessica, OK maybe a little more junior”. She spoke a million miles an hour, with a passion that is hard to find. She really loves this stuff. She spoke of market mapping, she spoke about the need for the inhouse Recruitment function to provide the business market competitive analysis, she spoke of the necessity of cost efficiency, and how imperative it if to partner with and educate the business.

“Don’t hire for business… hire with it!…”
We want to fine the “Key people in the market… NOT ON THE MARKET!……” AMEN sister!

Apologies to the other presenters or “Unconference” people I haven’t mentioned, but there was just that much happening. It was a really great day ,even the breaks provided great content and the chance to meet old friends and new friends in real life that I”d only met on Twitter, which is always pretty cool.

Before I sign off I must acknowledge Suzanne Chadwick for keeping a bunch of Recruiters who love a chat on schedule, a gigantic effort.

By Suzanna Chadwick, Conference Chair Sourcing Summit

Over the past couple of years as LinkedIn and Social in general has taken an irreversible grip on recruitment, I feel like the landscape is starting to flatten out a little, making it easier to see the wood from the trees! Too many metaphors? What I mean is that there are three clear focus areas that organisations are looking to define, dive deeper into and measure.

1) FIND – Sourcing
As we see a new profile aggregation tool every few weeks, recruiters and businesses are working their way through which key tools are worth using and which ones they need to bypass. The usual suspects when it comes to sourcing and finding who you’re looking for are LinkedIn, Facebook graph search, Twitter (follower wonk), Boolean searching and usually your own database. Other sites such as TalentBin, HiringSolved using social plug-ins like or Rapportive and a realm of other sites are becoming everyday tools as well. Ensuring that your sourcers and recruiters understand where they need to focus their time and efforts will be the key to ongoing productivity as we get flooded with more and more sourcing platforms and options.

As Johnny Campbell said not that long ago at SHRM Conference in June this year, the issue no longer finding the candidate, it’s really about engaging them.

2) ENGAGE – Employer Branding and engagement
Even though employer brand has been around for some time now, there seems to be a huge push in the market as many organisations realise that their targeted talent want more when it comes to the ‘offering’ the organisation is providing. Candidates wants to see more when it comes to images and video; they want to know what current employees are saying, they want to understand what the social responsibility policy or focus of the organisations is and how they not only give to the employee but how they give back to the community. With an increase of 93% (2010-2011)in video mobile streaming more and more candidates are going on the hunt for information that companies provide about themselves. What is the employee value proposition – why would I work there? are their employees engaged? What will my career path be? Will I have work choices and flexibility?

If companies are not able to articulate answers to these question in a quick and ‘consumable’ way – meaning that I can click quickly and easily to hear, see or read great content, they will switch off pretty quickly.

3) BUILD – Talent pipelining & community build
Not only do I need to find the right talent and then engage them with all my GREAT content, but I need to ensure I don’t lose them and all my hard work along the way.

Building talent pools, pipelines and communities with strong CRM and engagement strategies are the way many organisations are winning when it comes to attracting their passive audience. Just because I’m not looking for a job now, doesn’t mean that I’m not interesting in what you’re doing as an organisation. If you serve me up content that is relevant to my work and help me connect with other great people then the benefits for me are tangible. By providing these benefits to me, I don’t mind seeing a job or two here and there or even being asked for referrals. Many businesses look at talent pools are just a way to hold names of people they’ve engaged with in the past, what many don’t understand is that your talent pool and communities can be one of your strongest assets when it comes to building engagement and your employer brand in the mind of candidates that may be looking down the track.

The key message is to understand each of these areas of your recruitment strategy. Know what you want to achieve, understand what your target audience (not EVERYMAN and his dog) wants and needs and then deliver that and you’ll reap the rewards!

Karalyn Brown, Founder of InterviewIQ, Co-Developer of myPitch app

karalyn brownI was very interested to read Dan Nuroo’s post next door on the importance of candidate conversations. It’s a topic close to my heart, and to the many people I have worked with through my blog, InterviewIQ – and through the work I have done coaching people through the recruitment process.

With so many companies cutting back on entry level and middle management positions, within the next five years we will be really finding it tough to find the talent that has the business knowledge, strategic nous, communication and problem solving skills that we need to work in a global environment.

As the hidden gems become harder to find, and possibly more risk averse to moving, I thought it would be interesting to talk about the deal-breakers in the recruitment process. Naturally if you’ve worked so hard to find someone, the last thing you’ll want to do is to mess it up with something that’s easily avoided.

With some of these you may scratch your head and say “really – teach me how to suck eggs Karalyn.” However if hiring people is something you do every day, it’s easy to forget that you are more than just a quick call or email to someone. You are actually signalling the start of a process that could dramatically change someone’s life.

It is very easy to forget that people identify so closely with what they do. Changing jobs is one of the most stressful life decisions. Talented people will generally only ever have to formally apply for one or two roles in their lifetime. So they experience a lot of confusion about what to say or do. In many cases because work is life for people, when you are discussing the role on offer, you are actually talking through someone to their entire family.

This is the challenging context in which your words and actions are judged. So seemingly little things to you do have the potential to become big things in the eyes of the person at the other end.


1)      Communication – this can include not being available when you say you are, not returning calls promptly, not making contact when you say you will.

This is close to the number one complaints people make about recruitment consultants, and now the many internal recruiters that have taken their place. It is often very difficult for someone to get away from work to make a quick call, or send an email via the work system. So you can guarantee if someone is waiting and you have said that you’ll call or be available at a certain time, and you’re not – they will note this down as a big black mark. Or they’ll just give up.

Think about it like this. You’ve entered into a relationship of trust with the candidate. They’ve not seen the deal in action – the job. So their trust in the deal is being reinforced, or not, by the people who represent it.

2)      Long winded recruitment processes – I often have clients that tell me that they’ve been through 4 or 5 meetings over 3 months plus taken psychometric and aptitude tests and been reference checked, only to be told they’re put on a “waiting list” or the job is on hold.

Many people read that as “can’t make a decision,” “poor internal processes,” “still looking for someone better” and get mightily annoyed.

To me the ironic thing is that the organisations that do this often cannot support their processes with solid research that shows they work as single or whole parts of the process, yet they persist in putting candidates through the process.  The bottom line here is that people don’t tend to stick around after you’ve put them through the hoops then made them wait.

3)      Impenetrable information about the role

Many organisations have advertisements, processes and position descriptions that confuse and bemuse. There’s a huge trend in HR towards dressing up jobs, perhaps based on the assumption that everyone wants to have a superstar career and strive to get to the top of the ladder.

I’ll often see a lot of words about the requirements for the role, but only a line devoted to the one thing that will make a big difference to someone’s application or decision to take it further – that is “what will this person be doing every day.”  Yet this is essentially what people want to know.

4)      Weird interview questions – here’s a list of the interview questions people struggle with – including “tell me about yourself,” and “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”  

I call these weird questions because they are way too general. Candidates don’t tend to answer them very well. To get any value out of these questions, you need to assume that the candidate has a) a lot of interesting self-insight and b) a willingness to share something that they may be judged harshly for. Candidates will respect a well researched interview as it gives them confidence that you are making the right choice about them.

5)      Dodgy discussions around salary
It’s amazing how many people will get to the end of the process and there’s been no word on the salary package. Or the recruiter has insisted that they name their price before giving them information about the role.

Any evasiveness around salary eats into the candidate’s sense of financial security – which is pretty much the number one issue in changing jobs. People much prefer a more honest discussion that shows the organisation has done their research on market rates for the level of accountability and outcomes they expect, plus have an understanding of why that salary structure fits into their business practice.

Karalyn Brown will speak at #SOSUAU about candidate engagement at #sosau.

#SOSULIVE Challenge

One of the benefits of attending #SOSUAU is the opportunity to witness some of the foremost sourcing experts  in Europe perform live sourcing on stage.  Delegates can submit their sourcing challenges (sourcing tasks they cannot solve) for our speakers to solve in real-time. It’s raw, it’s immediate and it’s tough. But our speakers love a good sourcing challenge.

We would like to open #SOSULIVE to the public. So if you have a sourcing challenge you cannot solve let our #SOSUAU speakers have a go and you might win a ticket to watch it live at #sosueu.

The steps/rules:

1)      Enter a sourcing challenge in the comments section below or the contact us form
2)      #SOSUAU organisers will select the standout entries
3)      We will select one lucky winner to attend #SOSUAU each week
4)      Our speakers will tackle the challenges at #SOSULIVE on 12-13 Sep

  • Tips: Don’t post a job requisition or challenges that can be solved by a simple Google search



By Dan Nuroo,

squirrel-1-0Been thinking a bit of late as to what is the most important thing about Recruiting… Is the ability to find that (excuse me for saying) Purple Squirrel, that “unfindable” person? Or is it the consistency of finding great people for your company?

I’m all for the latter.  Finding the superstars, the unfindable, doesn’t really change the world.  Sure it’ll make people happy, it’ll solve an immediate business problem, and allow you to give yourself an internal high 5, and allow you to brag to everyone how great you are as a Recruiter.

Here’s my theory.  All companies have their Superstars, all companies have their good, ordinary people, those people who just get things done, and ALL companies will have a bottom 10 percent.  You know that magical number that some companies brag about purging year on year!  Sorry if that offends anyone, but seriously, it is a mathematical fact that there will be a bottom 10%.

When you look at the success of sporting clubs, they all have their stars, those people who can win the unwinnable game for you.  But that only happens occasionally, not every week.  Ultimate success is found over an entire season, and that success comes from a consistency of performance across the whole year, not just the occasional piece of brilliance.  Don’t get me wrong, that piece of brilliance is amazing and a great tool to have and everyone strives for that piece of superstardom, but let’s keep it in perspective.

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link” is a great saying.  You need every person pulling in the same direction, doing their job and doing it well, when someone stuffs up it can have an effect on the whole team, or company.

Here’s the thing, every company I see marketing itself in the employment space will say something along the lines of “We only hire the best” “We hire the top 2%” blah blah blah.  Well that’s great, but managing a whole team of “Superstars” who normally have the ego to go with it is another challenge unto itself.  Especially if you as an organization have targeted, pitched to and  coerced someone to join you.  You do need a mix.

When we sit down and look at our hiring strategies going forward, yes we plan to hire superstars, we will hire superstars which will help our company grow in the direction we want it to go, but, our focus is always on consistency of hire, let’s minimize the gap between our best and our worst, let’s build a consistency that will make us better as a whole.  Let’s face it, those superstars tend to hire themselves.   If they are looking for a change, or you’ve been able to position your company to a point that they are looking for a change, and you’re it, then the hard work is done.  All you need to do is identify, engage and provide the environment for the deal to be made.

The meat and potatoes of Recruitment however is in the rank and file hiring.  The people who do all the “Real work” for you.  The one’s you’ll attract via a job board (yes they still exist and are effective!) .  The hard yards is the constant interviewing, cv reviewing etc to uncover people who will make a long term benefit to your business.  Not lowering your standards when the CEO is at your desk screaming at you to fill x amount of vacancies in y amount of time.  Remember this consistency is the benefit you’ll bring to the business as they underpin the business as a whole.