Do we have the wrong approach to sourcing?
- Interview with the vice world champion of sourcing
Tips & tricks for your sourcing strategy from one of the best sourcers worldwide, Guillaume Alexandre
Q: Hi Guillaume,first of all, please tell us a little bit about your self
A: My name is Guillaume, as you could guess from my firstname, I am French and live in Switzerland (Geneva) for the last ten years. I help companies set up internal Talent Sourcing function, define their strategy and help them hire/train their internal teams and when I am not onsite, I work with internal recruiters to do the sourcing for them on hard to find roles. I’m the one people call when they really want to change, grab the bull by the horns and take control over their recruitments either one a one-shot basis (sourcing for them) or long term (defining strategies and implementing a permanent team). Q: You have made second place at the Sourcecon GrandMaster Challenge, congrats. Could you tell our readers, what this challenge is about, who else participated and of course how did you made it to the second place?
The SourceCon GrandMaster Challenge is the most prestigious and well-known Talent Sourcing contest, it is organized every year by the people organizing the world reknown Sourcecon conference (twice a year in the US and for the second time in Europe in May this year in Amsterdam). More than a conference, SourceCon is a community of sourcers dedicated to sharing and expanding knowledge around Sourcing, the practice and all the technics around it.
The GrandMaster Challenge is an online challenge, and changes every year, you never know what to expect and really have to be on top on your game. The qualifying challenge was a 1 hour long timed challenge where you have to find very quickly information online. For the final, we were 11 people (6 americans and 5 europeans) were we had a first enigma following by a 2 hour very intense challenge, for the first time a non native English speaker won (Iker Jusue from Spain living in the UK) and 3 europeans on the top spot, Iker, myself and David Sankar from Indeed in Ireland. Well done #TeamEurope
They are typically what I call “rebound” questions: get a clue, find someone who brings you to another info on the web where you find someone else and then the contact details you were asked for etc etc. It is all about mastering Sourcing techniques on Social Medias, open web, OSINT (open source intelligence) to surface information online. It goes faaar beyond finding someone on Linkedin, trust me Q:What do you see as the biggest challenges for sourcing today?
I think that the true value of a sourcer relies in its ability to go above and think beyond the standard tools and keywords. Finding one candidate online is easy, there is always someone with the right keywords. Having keywords does not mean you are a good potential candidate. And not having these keywords doesn’t mean you are not suitable for the role either. I practice a lot what I call “behavioral sourcing” which means finding people online through their behaviors (who do they talk to, what do they talk about, where do they interact, who they are connected to etc) and end up by contacting them on linkedin. Linkedin (as it is the most commonly used tool worldwide) is like an iceberg, a minority of profiles actually have the keywords as you would like them to be, how to search the massive data pool without keywords is the key to success in sourcing. Q:How do you think are the sourcers prepared today for these challenges?
I think the majority of people who call themselves Sourcers are mainly using Linkedin/Xing as a CV database and just massively contact people. This is sourcing for sure, that doesn’t make them impactful sourcers. I, unfortunately, do not think that the majority of sourcers are prepared for tomorrow. Sourcers should have 2 brains, one “data” brain focused on finding data online (well assessed by contests like the GrandMaster Challenge) and an “engagement marketing” brain to write impactful messages that will trigger interest in the people and convert them to candidates. I think sourcers should be aware of this duality embedded in our role and work as hard as possible to push in both direction. Finding the best people has no value if they don’t respond/engage with you and engaging people who are not suitable for your position in the end has no value either. You have to find a balance and ideally push both practices to their maximum. This is way I’m studying NeuroMarketing and NeuroSciences on the side too, to understand better what triggers people’s decision making processes when it comes to extremely impactful decision like changing job (and maybe relocating for it). Q: How will sourcing look like in 2025?
I really think that the Sourcing function in major organization will be a proper department, with its tools, technique, working hand in hand with the Talent Acquisition (in charge of interviews, assessment, culture fit etc). This is already happening as some of us are building these teams with tremendous success as we speak, the time to hire are decreasing drastically, quality of hires are up and external partners spending (recruitment agency) are disappearing and largely compensating the cost of having an internal team. Q:What will be the role of algorithms and AI for the work a sourcer?
I think we will be assisted by AI based tools for sure to help reconnect the dots in the data. But almighty tools would have absolutely no purpose because if you and your competitor use the same tools, it will find the same candidate who will end up being harassed by recruiters and become unresponsive. I think will have “sniffing dogs” type AI tools that we will guide with commands like “who is this company could be suitable” etc… this would have a real value, enhance the sourcer. I also think we are the last generation of sourcers to actually come from recruitment/Talent Acquisition. Aligned with the “2 brains of a sourcer” I think we will either hire ex technical people (developpers etc) who will have the ability to write code on top of sourcing or ex marketing people, really good at engaging with the people. As time passes, reconciling the two brains in one person might become harder. Then again, tools will probably help in being better every day. Q:What are your favorite tools in sourcing?
I have an ever changing tools stack but these days, I’m playing a lot with Prohet 2 that I love because not only is it powerful but it is cool (try the konami code on it for the vintage gamers out here). This is brand new, still in beta test but extremely promising. Otherwise I scrape a lot of information to enrich it and use Dataminer or Instant DataScraper Linkedin Recruiter (of course) makes me save a lot of time, I probably could do everything I do with a free account but that saves me more time than it costs, even though it is expensive. For engaging making a real difference, I’m using LemList an ultra-personalized email marketing tool (contact me and I’ll introduce you ) For tech people, I like amazing Hiring a lot because their data set is very well represented in Europe. But the list is quite long of course, I use many tools but try not to rely on them too much, they come and go. Q:What are your 3 tips for new sourcers?
My first tip would be: get out of your comfort zone. One day a week, if possible, try working on roles without using the standard Linkedin/Xing/CV Database suite of tools
Tip 2: There are no elevators to success, you have to take the stairs. Everything around sourcing is online, free, all you have to do is work on yourself, get the sourcing mentality and try to push things every single day
Tip 3: Stay connected, the sourcing community shares a lot, you cannot know everything, learn from others online, go to conferences, engage with other sourcers, do not stay isolated, sourcing is a team sport. Be humble, work your way up and GIVE back, share your findings.
Thanks a lot for your insights, Guillaume
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