By Maureen Sharib

Reading A Gatekeeper’s Voice

You have about three seconds to read a Gatekeeper’s voice when she answers.

Thank you for calling ABC Corporation – this is Maria.  May I help you?”

That’s it.  That’s all the heads-up you get.

It’s enough.

What am I going to say?  How am I going to approach her?
In that three-second window you must decide her “DREAM”
D   Demeanor
R   Receptivity
E   Experience
A   Age
M Mood

The Sense of Hearing
It doesn’t happen all at once but as a phone sourcer matures hearing fine-tunes itself to sounds that don’t really speak to reason; but more to memory.

A phone sourcer isn’t able to “see” body posture to read that language; the ear is the only sense that provides formatting for a phone sourcer’s approach.

The ear more finely attunes to circumstances on the other end of the phone and intuition and imagination takes over when a phone sourcer is calling.

Think what a challenge this is!
Most literature says that nonverbal communication makes up about two thirds of all communication.

Just think what you don’t have to work with!  Physical features, gestures and the space used to express those elements are missing in phone sourcing.

“Sight makes up 83% of the impact on the brain of information from the senses during a visual presentation. Taste makes up 1%, hearing makes up 11%, smell 3% and touch 2%.”       Source: The Definitive Book of Body Language

Word Communication
Speech contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice quality, rate, pitch, volume, and speaking style, as well as prosodic features such as rhythm, intonation, and stress.     Source: Wikipedia/nonverbal communication

That’s really all a phone sourcer has to work with.

Or is it?

Phone sourcers have a few other things to work with that are invaluable to us – they’re called our “inner senses.”

“Man’s inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively.”
                                                                                                                                       ~ Carl Rogers
Is there noise in the Gatekeeper’s background? Are people coming and going? Are lines ringing – does she sound harried, impatient? Does she sound bored? Does she sound hesitant or timid; confident and bold? Is the connection clear or does it sound tinny?

“The fleet being thus more enclosed will more readily observe the signals, and with greater facility form itself into the line of battle, a circumstance which should be kept in view in every order of sailing.” ~William Falconer

Is it early or late in the day?

Is the Gatekeeper male or female? A 2011 study found that listeners could pinpoint sexual orientation at better-than-chance rates and by by listening to two-syllable words accuracy increased to 75 percent. The key information seemed to be contained in the vowel sounds, though the researchers weren’t sure exactly what part of that information helped identify sexual orientation.
Is the company you’re calling large or small? Is it a branch or headquarters?  What typically goes on there?

How old does the Gatekeeper sound?  In a 2010 study detailed in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary and Cultural Psychology, researchers asked 97 people to listen to 100 samples of speakers ages 2 through 67. Overall, listeners tended to underestimate a speaker’s age. People performed worst at guessing the age of male speakers between ages 45 and 65, but did better with menopausal women and aced the portion identifying kids and teenagers, though the accuracy of their age estimates tended to drop off as the age of the speaker increased.

What day of the week is it? Is it a holiday or is there one approaching?

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”     ~Michelangelo

Imagine yourself there.

Imagine what’s going on around the Gatekeeper – place yourself in her office in your mind and speak with her as if you were in front of her. See her desk/her console/the pictures of her kids to her right. What color is her hair?  Her dress? Can you tell how tall she is?   A study presented at the 2013 Acoustical Society Meeting of America demonstrated that participants who heard just a few lines spoken by persons of the same sex could distinguish the tallest of two speakers about two-thirds of the time, and could also put a group of five people in order according to their heights with fairly good accuracy. Taller people tend to have deeper pitches.

Notice the color of the carpet/the shade on the walls/the lighting/the technology in the office. Is she wearing a headset? Can you hear her nails on the keys of her console?

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”       ~Alan Alda

Intuition is a response to something; it’s a sense of knowing how to act spontaneously. Pay attention to what your physical reactions are to her voice, to the sound of her nails on her console.

Visualize the images her voice conjures for you. Feel the spidey-sense tinglings in your body and let yourself go in the direction of those feelings.  If they help you relax (there’s something called autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) and it’s a euphoric experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine, precipitating relaxation and is emerging in study and popularity) and do your job better as a phone sourcer – take it!

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”    ~Walt Disney

Reading is as much about hearing as it is about listening as it is about noticing as it is about feeling as it is about visualizing as it is about imagining as it is about extrapolating as it is about phone sourcing. Your intuition will inspire you (if you allow it.) Always formulate your approach to the Gatekeeper out of these 5 elements:

Sound   Circumstance  Imagination    Intuition   Inspiration
Does this sound crazy?
To some of you it might sound silly.
You may be thinking, “Come on – really? Who can really see the color of the carpet?”

“… the color of her hair?”

“… what the place smells like?”

“… looks like?”

“… feels like?”

I can.

Oftentimes a visual image forms for me when I’m speaking with a Gatekeeper.  I “see” her as if I’m standing before her.  She is a real person to me – I speak to her as I would as if I’d just walked into her reception lobby and up to her desk.  It doesn’t matter to me what color her hair/skin/eyes are or what the place looks like around her or what she’s wearing (it’s all different.)

To me, she’s the only person in the world to me at that one moment in time.

“This doesn’t make sense.”

Doesn’t it?

Physics is a funny thing.  It involves interpretation. We can “see” images evoked by written text, can’t we?

We can “see” meaning in data. We can “see” literal and metaphysical meaning. We “see” things that are pertinent to the task at hand.

What Our Senses Tell Us
We can see dots on a map that represent cities but political boundaries, zip code boundaries or Internet usage may not be outlined.

We know they’re there.

They’re abstract concepts.


Abstract though they may be, those dots can be quantified.

Meaning can be affixed to them through interpretation.

Using the phone sourcer’s inner sense of Sound, when I call and there’s noise in the Gatekeeper’s background and I can hear people coming and going and lines ringing and she sounds harried – I immediately adjust my sails and tune my pitchfork to all those signals to accommodate her needs as they present themselves while she’s on the phone with me.  If she needs to answer a ringing telephone, I offer, “Do you need to get that?” to which she gratefully and quickly answers “Yes!” and I’ll say,” “No problem, I’ll hold,” and this may go on several times throughout an extended period to the point she forgets who she’s talking to while she thumbs through a company’s organizational chart giving me every name in it along with titles, extension numbers and who reports to who along with what their dog’s names are!

Depending on the inner sense of Circumstance as a phone sourcer if there’s a holiday or one approaching I know there’s a very good chance the Gatekeeper who answers may not be the usual one on duty.  Because I keep pristine notes on every call I make I have many Gatekeeper names recorded at offices all over the world so when I call a medical device manufacturing office in Boston and Alice answers when Betty answered last time I might say, “Oh!  I was expecting Betty!”  This gives me an unexpected advantage over Alice who may be left wondering if that note Betty left not to tell anyone anything may not apply to me.

If I call an office and am transferred willy-nilly somewhere as receptionists and people inside companies are so wont to do and someone answers and the connection sounds different and the person answering is male who just says his name and a “May I help you?” my phone sourcer’s inner sense of Imagination flares into focus and I wonder if maybe I haven’t been transferred to an offsite sales office that might also house a sales engineering function as many do; particularly in companies with a technical focus.  Many times these offices are hidden from public view and call information is very difficult to find so one of the first things I attempt to do is find out the number to which I’ve been transferred.

I immediately laser in on the person’s voice and respond with an inquiry that I call “stabbing in” – one of my most forceful and very effective techniques in phone sourcing that I’ll touch on in a later article.

“I think I may have been transferred to sales – is this sales?” I’ll say to which I’m usually treated to some polite helpful reply either in the affirmative or, in the event that it’s not, correcting my mistaken assumption and offering corrective information and action advice.

“Thanks so much,” I’ll say back.  “So I don’t make the same dumb mistake again, I called 510 xxx xxxx.  What number am I reaching?”

The helpful hardware man usually tells me.  I make a note of it so I have it for my research notes moving forward.

Where would a phone sourcer be without Intuition?  This inner sense is probably the most important of all of them because without it all of the others don’t really have any place to go.  The thing that holds most people back from phone sourcing is misplaced fear of the Gatekeeper.  If you can psychologically adjust yourself to look forward to the sounds of the Gatekeeper and your ensuing reactions you’ll flourish in this activity.  I write about the Neuroscience of Phone Sourcing here.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

Inspiration, the fifth and final inner sense of phone sourcers, serves the industry of sourcing and recruiting, ever driving it forward into new frontiers and opening boundaries and crashing through borders and walls that the Internet cannot traverse – as Walt Disney said many years ago:
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”


We’ve spent some time on the “inner senses” subject of phone sourcing and being able to read and discern a Gatekeeper’s voice and personality characteristics within seconds of her greeting us on the telephone.
These are important matters to phone sourcers and to anyone involved in the subject of recruiting and dealing with people.

One of the fundamental aspects of phone sourcing is self-knowledge and self-knowledge doesn’t come easily.  Some never gain it in this life and in fact, I believe it’s a gift granted to few.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lou Holtz

I firmly believe that to be attuned to others we must be attuned to ourselves.

We have to be willing to challenge the voice of fear in our heads.

We have to be willing to acknowledge the lump in our throats, the sweat in the palms of our hands and the churning knot in our gut.

We must be willing to quiet those challenges by facing them down.

Phone sourcing is a mixture of art and science.
There’s far more science involved than most suspect.

One part of the science is the science of human behavior.

Once we get that, the art follows.


By Chris South, Prominence

Job Boards Are Alive & Kicking
As a recruiter the first port of call when looking to find or attract talent is often job boards and I believe that in most situations this should still be the case. This is supported by a recent survey publicised by the International Association of Employment Web Sites and reported on by which suggests job boards are still the largest contributor to people finding new jobs. jobboard

I believe that this is because if a person is actively looking for a new job they are likely to still visit job boards and providing you have selected the right job board then they will still at least see your advert.

In this circumstance your success as a recruiter largely comes down to how well you can make your advert stand out. Good ways of doing this include adding video, paying to have your branding made more visible and ensuring your advert shows the applicant how your company can help them achieve their goals, rather than a just list of what you are seeking.

Behaviour of Top Talent

The same survey also highlighted that although job boards remain the most effective source of new employment opportunities, their impact has significantly declined.

As recruiters we are generally tasked with finding the top tier of talent, it is my belief that this demographic are primarily responsible for the decline in job board effectiveness.

This is because, whilst job boards are great if someone is actively seeking a new role, in today’s talent-short markets, good candidates are rarely openly active. Instead they hear about jobs through recruitment agencies or referrals (both of which are shown in the IAEWS survey to have had an increased impact on job moves), before they have even thought about starting to search for a new role.

Fewer in-demand candidates looking at job boards creates a problem for most recruiters; how to get jobs or an employment brand in front of the desired candidate audience?

Attracting Top Talent
As a recruiter (agency or in-house) sourcing is the other significant method for getting your jobs to your candidate audience. Online sourcing supplements more traditional channels such as offline networking and company databases.

Whilst all sourcing channels can be very effective, they all remain reliant on one-on-one contact. When compared to job board advertising, this is a very time intensive process, even for the best recruiters.

Consumer Marketing
We have all been exposed to consumer marketing in one form or another, this is because it reaches us on the channels that we are using on a day-to-day basis, such as Facebook, Google, Spotify, websites or YouTube.


Consumer Job Marketing
The good news is that these same consumer channels can also be effectively utilised to promote employment brands and job opportunities. These channels allow recruiters to:

  • Reach people irrelevant of their job search status
  • Target very specific audience demographics
  • Pay based on campaign performance

Although they do require:

  • More early stage candidate contact or automation
  • Advanced setup
  • Different skill-sets and knowledge

Publicly visible examples of consumer job marketing are often those associated with job boards, such as these from Trade Me Jobs and Monster:


As a recruiter there is no reason you can’t create and promote similar content. Lots of recruiters are using these channels and generating fantastic results, but you are unlikely to see their adverts. This is because the campaigns are targeted so that only their audience is aware that they exist, examples include:

Promoted Tweets around Event Hashtags


Thanks to Troy Hammond for this idea.

Promoted Facebook Posts to Pre-Identified Audiences


Core Elements of Consumer Job Marketing

Marketing Channels
Knowing which channels are best suited to your target market is one of the most important factors. Some of the many options include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Pandora, Adwords, Website Banner Adverts, audience re-targeting and Industry Blogs.

Once you know your audience channels, you’ll then need to ensure you know how to get the most out of each. This is because whilst it is very easy to boost a post on Facebook or LinkedIn, it is far harder to get your posts to generate results.

Marketing Content
Equally as important is understanding how your chosen marketing platform operates, often the content that works on one will fail on another. You will likely need to use visual and video content, so having access to graphic design, video production and animation are all helpful.

Measuring Results
The best place to measure the campaign results is from a bespoke landing page. This could be the job advert but is better if it is a unique page, setup to provide tailored information and to convert visitors into applications.

At SOSU Australia Chris will provide further examples of consumer job marketing and explore in detail the knowledge and skills required to successfully leverage several of these channels. To get your tickets please visit

ivanx710x275We caught up with Ivan Burrell and asked him a few things about sourcing at Ernst & Young and his upcoming session at #sosuau.

Q. What is your role at EY and what sourcing problems are you trying to solve?
I manage the Oceania Talent Sourcing Function, leading the team and developing strategies to find and engage new skill sets as we grow and develop our business.

The main challenges that I tackle are:

  • Developing tactical strategies to support new areas of our business
  • Deploying an experienced sourcing team to support four service lines, and working with Leadership, HR and Lateral Recruitment to identify and implement sourcing strategies
  • Developing strategies to engage and manage talent through process and technology, including management of our CRM system

Q. How has sourcing at EY evolved over the years?
When we initially built the Talent Sourcing team, it was quite small and a key challenge was selling the capability to the business. Since then it has developed in more of an Executive Search model, where we work with the recruitment team and the wider business to take a brief, deliver a longlist and headhunt candidates.

We also plan and execute tactical social media campaigns. The business needs are varied, and using a blended model of exec search and as-needed sourcing for volume recruitment allows us to be flexible and cater to the needs of our internal clients. Essentially our remit is senior, strategic, or hard-to-fill roles – including helping the business to identify where we might source new types of talent.

Q. What sourcing issues are the most pressing for EY?
We have a very large growth target to achieve by 2020, and we are hiring skill sets that we have not hired before. There are a few sourcing challenges to address:

  •  Ensuring we use our candidates effectively. Many of our service lines recruit similar skills, so our Talent Pools need to make talent accessible internally and we need to manage our pools of talent effectively
  • As we are recruiting new skill sets and types of talent, my team need to develop and measure strategies to support this. This involves research and longlisting but also tactical sourcing campaigns.
  • With considerable growth, we can come up against process issues and utilisation of interviewers. My team support different approaches to interviewing and attracting talent, including engaging with universities and relevant associations to support internal assessment days. As a team we need to be flexible, creative and open to change.
  • Sourcing for diversity, in line with EY’s ambition to bring different people together to provide a breadth of experience and diversity of thought

Q. What will you tackle at #sosau
How to identify, plan and execute effective talent sourcing strategies for a fast-growing and increasingly diversified business.

Check out

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.

Guest post by Dan Nuroo, GM – Recruitment, IMA Management and Technology

dannuroo275x165Sourcing Rocks… there I said it! I am a sourcing groupie, yes I am. I have a T-Shirt at home signed by Bill Boorman, Glen Cathey and Jim Stroud… yes I am that sad. But with all this cool amazing stuff that these guys do, and their kinsmen and women across the world, there seems to be a missing link of sorts.

You will/can read blog after blog about Sourcing techniques, and how to guide on digging up rocks a world away to uncover that irresistible gem. The talk of data mining, money-ball and every one of those cool little apps, toys, tools, whatever you want to call them is kind of exciting for me.

However, I feel one topic is missed a lot in this space. Talking to someone.

It’s all well and good to have found the lair of the purple squirrel, but you still have to be able to “seduce” or convince them that the lair you have in mind is a better lair than theirs. These purple squirrels may be quite happy with their lair, the benefits that that affords them and they may well be sick and tired of people knocking on their door, or at least looking in their windows and dropping the Google pin on their location.

Having the knowledge of where people are without the skills and ability to talk to them is akin to “having 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife” (Sorry bad 90s music flashback)

This isn’t a sexy topic for the Recruitment Geeks out there. Sorry. But it is an essential part. You can write the best algorythms in the world, universe… whatever! But if you can’t bring that damn horse to water and make him drink the cool aide you have prepared, then it means diddly squat! (Did I use enough cliches there?)

There is one part of the Recruiting process that, no matter what you do or how you do it, it just cannot be ignored. TALKing to someone! whether it be via an email, an InMail, a tweet, a message on an IP3 player sent to their home, a hand written letter sent to their house or “god forbid” a phone call. Somewhere in the process communication, one on one must happen.

I wasn’t a big believer in scripts in the early part of my career, I thought it was too “tele-marketingy”, just as I didn’t believe in practising for an interview before hand. Yes I was young and dumb. It’s not that I want you to have a word for word script, but II want you to have an idea of what you are going to say before you pick up the phone. I want you to have a written down, hot button pushing, objection handling, document you can refer to if/when the conversation gets awkward. Some well thought out crafted phrases that you know are almost guaranteed to pique the interest of most warm blooded humans.

“If I could show you that this move would be a step ahead (a positive career step, or other words to that affect) in your career, would you be interested in exploring this further?”

One of the tricks or things to remember here, is whilst you may well be calling about a particular job, and you may be in the situation where you REALLY need this person, you need to start the relationship off on an equal playing field. Too often you see Recruiters, diving straight into the “I”ve seen your profile on LinkedIn and I know you will be perfect for this job, can we meet so I can get you in front of my client? please/? pretty please??” (OK so I may have added the pretty please for effect. Sue me)

Use phrases and utilise you confidence to ensure the prospect knows you are on the same level as them and effectively you are doing them a favour by calling them. REMEMBER you aren’t offering them a job. You’re calling to explore if there would be any synergies between their career aspirations are and what you could possibly offer them in the job/role you’re working on. It’s more like a blind date to set up a first date. You qualify! The much loved phrase of salespeople across the world (ABC “Always Be Closing”) doesn’t work here. It takes time and trust to build relationships. Don’t rush, and don’t be afraid to walk away.

This phrase, however you put it, at least gets a conversation started. And that my friends is what Recruiting is all about. “It’s all about the conversation” The tools will only get you so far. Somehow you have to manufacture a dialog. Twenty seconds of bravery to start a conversation with a stranger you’ve never met, I know it can be scary, but the rewards can definitely be worth it.

The tools and tricks, boolean strings, new apps, bright new shiny objects etc are all awesome. But to be honest, if I tried every single one of them, or bought everything on offer a) I wouldn’t get anything done and b) I’d have no budget but c) I would have a bucket load of fun!

MY 3 C’s for success in talking to people you have unearthed in your Sourcing fun.


Remember these and more importantly use them and your life as a Sourcer or a Recruiter will be way more fulfilling. Promise

We caught up with Jim Stroud, speaker at #SOSUAU and asked him a few questions about sourcing and his upcoming talk at  #SOSUAU in Amsterdam on 12-13 Sep.  Below is the video. Enjoy.