As part of the next generation of interviews within the SixDegreesfromDave.com series we introduce "Wisdom of the Trade." It was going to be called Tricks of the Trade, however, my friends, what our peers do are not equivalent to what illusions a magician pulls from a hat, but rather - the product of wisdom they have gained from years of dedicated inquiry, research and deliverables. Who better to start the series than my continuing conversation with Russ Moon, aka, "the Sourcing Samurai".


• Russ Moon
• Sourcing Consultant, Talent Find LLC
• Richmond VA
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Q&A with Russ Moon

Six Degrees: What is the source of your "LOWEST COST OF HIRES" - (least amount of invested resources for the easiest hires, regardless of quality) at your present employer?


Russ: In general employee referrals rank right up there for corporations. The internet with proper candidate development is even less, but frequently is not maximized in terms of the cost reduction potential. This is due to improper structure, inadequate training, process…..it only takes one fundamental block to be out of place to drastically dilute your results.

Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?

Russ: The computer does not know if you are looking for executive chefs, gas turbine start-up engineers or SAP FICO folks…that’s what I love is the variety of searches available. If you know the syntax, tools and techniques you can find what is needed. I love the hunt.

Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?

Russ: I have approached my training from a holistic standpoint in that I try to expose myself to a variety of training given that each has its own merits. My goal with each session is to learn at least 3 new things I can try to help me find talent more efficiently and rapidly.


My education started in 2000 when I started with the original AIRS I,II and III (CIR) courses. Then I was fortunate to be on the AIRS University program during my tenure at MeadWestvaco while serving on their centralized recruiting team. I took full advantage and took like 9 courses in 7 months and that saturation training really leapfrogged my ability.

About the same time I recruited Shally to help me go to the next level and started his apprenticeship program. We worked together several times a week, he would at times coach me on particular searches or even come online with me to search and show me new approaches. That one year, in retrospect evolved me more than 5 years of self study. My income based on what I could do experienced a nice surge during that timeframe…so something was working …at least for me.

During my time at Wachovia I became involved with Broadlook Technologies and had some high caliber 1-1 training sessions with Kary Valley. Kary is simply scary smart and his impact on how I viewed what is possible in terms of data mining blew apart my mindset at the time. Delved very deeply into their Eclipse product, ultimately being named their first non-employee Black Belt. What still blows my mind is there is still a healthy amount of untapped capability that I have not harnessed with that product.

I returned full circle near the end of 2008 and start of 2009 returning to AIRS to renew my CIR and earn the ACIR (Advanced Certified Internet Recruiter) and recently the CSSR (Certified Social Sourcing Recruiter ) certifications. Really enjoyed the experience and was pleased to see AIRS still bringing fresh content to the training space. Every conference I attend I have made a point to sit in on Glenn/Shally’s presentations to stay on top of new syntax and their approach to sourcing. Preparing to further study under Shally as his time allows to “take it up another notch”. That will happen this week in his home and I have asked him to put together a regime for me that is somewhere in intensity between US Army Ranger Training and an unsedated medical procedure.
I want it to expose every chink I may have, put it out in the open and then we will jointly develop a written development plan to take me from point A to point B. I have also already heavily invested in some of Broadlook new training which is quite good. Improvement doesn’t just occur, you have to mentally be willing to pay the price just like an Olympic athlete who endures the workouts to condition themselves to perform at their peak.


There is a great deal of informal sharing and training that goes on, specific people I seek on particular topics. It is just a matter of saying “I’d like to learn more about this” and it helps to bring something to the table to share with them. I love our community.

Six Degrees: What recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?

Russ: It really depends on the assignment. I no longer have a stock response of “I use XXX” because my toolkit has developed to the point of being somewhat unique and to tools to some degree can impact the direction the search takes based on the capabilities you have available to you. Of course, it comes back to skill and being comfortable with a certain procedure or tool or syntax which comes through practice. Lately, I find myself rethinking how to generate more speed in terms of my ability to find the same people I would have located anyway faster. The goal being to develop a more optimized toolkit and how I use it to allow me to deliver more talent in the same amount of time. Enjoying the process and several people have shared tips that have already shown me this is going to be a very good initiative. Some tools recently have been deleted, while in the last week I have added two new ones. Always evaluating and optimizing what works best in my assignments and if something doesn’t cut the mustard…it doesn’t last long.

Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?

Russ: Three tools when I first started (2000) that stood out as having either a “wow factor” or extreme utility were ACT!, AIRS Search Station (beta-tested) and EGrabber address grabber.

• ACT! – has a lot of interesting features and I thought was pretty versatile
• AIRS Search Station – my first foray into beta-testing and seeing a glimmer of how powerful search technology could be
• EGrabber address – it worked, easy to use, worked with ACT didn’t have to worry about it doing anything except pretty much working.


Six Degrees: How did your expectations of being a recruiter compare to the actual, first time you got on the phone or in the cubicle? In your opinion, how do people's assumptions about our vocation differ from reality?

Russ: I had no idea what was involved when I started. I remember buying Paul Fordyce’s manual on recruiting and studying others to try to develop my own authentic style. Sourcing – was so new that few in our industry understood it, much less knew enough to set their expectations. I realized later, as I spent more time in the trenches that part of my role was to educate, facilitate, share and catalyze understanding. During that process I experienced some of my greatest moments of illumination.

Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t, and how that moment culminated into a true learning experience?

Russ: Early in my career I would start sourcing, with an ‘eager to please’ attitude, without fully arming myself with all the information needed to really surgically source. This resulted in some near miss type candidates which were in the ballpark but not “Yes!” caliber. Intake Mistake …don’t make it and I will blog on this very soon.

What I learned was ‘slow is really fast.’ Slow in terms of taking the time to really indentify exactly what we are seeking, mapping out where this talent typically would congregate and thinking through your toolkit to make a decision on which tool/technique/source etc is going to have the highest probability of revealing that talent pool on my screen so that the core pipeline can be built. The tool piece is a bit sophisticated because there are more variables to factor in, with practice you start dialing some techniques in and it is very pleasant when you see your results onscreen change from goobley-goop into pure usable talent….that’s an interesting moment every time.


Six Degrees: How do you personally expect to facilitate change within our industry, and/or at your place of work? If you started that process, outline the problem, your solutions, and the vision.

Russ: I am being very authentic (which can be scary) and let my actions do the talking. If people are paying attention, they will get the message.

Certainly, I’m very passionate about helping others learn more about sourcing because it is part of the giving back process. There is no doubt in my mind that I have some very bright folks who graciously mentor me and I want to extend their influence by passing that on to others. It never fails to help me evolve so that philosophy has resulted in one win-win after another.

The forthcoming radio show, Sourcing Samurai, will be part of that effort where I’ll talk to very seasoned, knowledgeable experts who have spent the time in the trenches to really know what works about the people, experiences, training, technologies etc. that forged their sourcing mindset; changing how they approached their craft forever. Hopefully this very candid sharing will stimulate some thought in the audience over how they might learn from what the guests share with me.

Research is as much about knowing how to find the answer as it is knowing it. I know the guests who are slated to share are people that anyone who wants to learn more would do themselves a service by making a decision to spend that 15 minutes or so with us. Understand I touched upon the Sourcing Samurai previously, but it bears repeating, something free you will not want to miss.

Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?

Russ: I developed a sourcing model and was able to navigate actually gaining senior leadership approval without any revision to the original presentation. Again my network served as a private sounding board which contributed invaluable insight. My experience at Wachovia/Wells Fargo truly ingrained the concept and value of open collaboration. It is a form of intellectual diversity which results in an end product which is far superior to simply locking yourself in your office and doing the work in a vacuum.

Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?


Russ: Striving for brevity for the sake of time while balancing that with ensuring the communication is effective and professional.

Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?

Russ: My opinion, which I don’t confuse as fact

Project Management - We need better skills there in general. We need to ask the right questions, i.e., “What’s the real scope ?” “What outside of the scope?”

“Letting Perfect be the Enemy of Good” – at a certain point, get going, watch what happens and adjust accordingly. Jason Goldberg has a phrase “Ship it”, which I have adopted. “Ship it”, Just do it and adjust vs. waiting until everything is perfect and the window of opportunity it closed.

Six Degrees: Considering all of the frustrations you have experienced in your career as a recruiter, -- what inspires you as you continue in your career?

Russ: I love what I do. Learning new things, analyzing, meeting the people, the relationships that have developed and are developing, technology - and I get paid to do things I really enjoy. I love it so much I just want to keep on going, evolving, growing, and seeing where the journey leads. We are in an era of exponentially accelerating possibility and that drives me.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you find most ideal given the opportunity to develop/ implementing/ invent professionally that has yet to be done.

Russ: I think for me personally I want to immerse myself in desktop technology and expand upon ways to increase the speed with which I source based on layouts, add-ons, toolbars and how I use them. It’s low cost, experience has shown me there is a lot of utility if you are disciplined in how you experiment and it sharpens your sourcing in general.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Russ: My online Radio Show – "The Sourcing Samurai" - stay tuned lining up our first recording session now.
My Arbita BlogBlog – http://aces.arbita.net/blog/Russ
My Arbita Homepage


Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?

Russ: I would like to help propel some of the thinking surrounding our industry. I would like to seed some healthy discussion, unearth some utilitarian tools, share with others and maybe inspire someone to really go for it. I have several experiences with “reverse mentoring” where I had a mentor who helped me with a topic and during that process I helped them gain a deeper understanding of what sourcing is all about. My new career provides opportunity for pursuing that passion and I truly enjoy the interaction with the super talented bright minds I tend to gravitate towards.

Help bring Sourcing/Research a little more out of the shadows. Keep and expand my seat at the table as a trusted adviser to the Senior Talent Acquisition Leaders who engage me to the point they want to bring me back. Help inspire someone with the aptitude to pursue this career path and show where it can lead.

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Thank you Dave for sharing your perspective on me, I learned things about myself just by reading the post.
At times just to pause a bit helps, this helped me refocus.

Link to podcast Sourcing Samuari - bit.ly/6X4Hnv

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