3 "Crazy" Ideas For Sourcing Talent (Not Using LinkedIn)

Ever think "There just aren't any more candidates out there!"? Sooner or later, we all have been in that situation.

But how exactly do you determine it's the end of the line and there is no more talent in the pool? Is it when your job postings don't pull? Is it when résumé databases run dry? I would argue that many recruiters and sourcers come to this conclusion when LinkedIn can't provide the profiles you’re looking for. After all, it's 300 million people, right?

Yes. And no. While LinkedIn is a great sourcing tool, it's not the be-all, end-all of who is out there. This is true for many reasons.

Potential candidates that are in high demand tend to avoid LinkedIn (OR edit their profiles to make them more difficult for sourcers to find). Imagine getting 5+ inmails about jobs per day. Can you blame them?

Additionally, those who are hesitant to fully dive into online social networking are not on LinkedIn and probably won’t be anytime soon.

There's a third reason. How many times have you heard at a dinner party, “Yeah, I really should update my LinkedIn profile”? That's the trick with passive candidates. Some haven't updated their profiles in years. It's not a priority. After all, they are passive candidates, “happily” working away.

In the spirit of pushing the envelope, here are some ideas for sourcing outside the "usual" places, when the 'ol standby isn't cutting it.

1) Learn to x-ray. It's not nearly as difficult as some folks think. Blogs by Glen Cathey (@GlenCathey) and Irina Shamaeva (@braingain) are fantastic resources to get your feet wet. Shane McCusker (@1ntelligence) has some great videos on YouTube. Start off with some very simple strings targeting bios and/or content on websites that may shed light on where your talent may "hang out". For example…

Looking for programmers? I recently went to a developer career fair where many technical candidates listed GitHub.com profiles instead of LinkedIn. One of Shane’s videos covers x-ray sourcing with Stack Overflow – another great source for IT talent. Did you catch that? They're not on LinkedIn! But you know where they are now.

Looking for highly specialized construction managers? Kelly Dingee (@talentsourcer) was, and presented some fantastic ideas for seeking exactly that type of talent at SourceCon. She found that wedding sites such as TheKnot.com list newlyweds’ titles and companies in their wedding announcements - that you can x-ray! Bam! New leads.

Looking for killer sales reps or leaders? X-ray Amazon.com for reviews of sales books. Ask what your Hiring Managers read and evangelize. Look up reviews for those books, and cross reference any names, handles, and/or other details you can glean from their reviews or bios with Twitter, YouTube, Google+, etc. Boom! Sales professionals that speak your Hiring Manager’s language.

2) Infiltrate non-professional networking groups. While sourcing aerospace engineers, I found during the intake that many were model airplane enthusiasts. I then "infiltrated" online model airplane enthusiast groups in various places (Reddit, Meetup.com) and posted group announcements that we were seeking to connect with engineers, and included a Talent Network invitation. Zap! I had prospects to reach out to, and soon, hires to boot.

3) Try "reverse sourcing" your top performers. Go beyond previous companies and where they went to school. Google them along with other critical candidate variables to see where they pop up. Pay attention to the details. For example, notice what events or professional organizations they participate in. What are their hobbies? What websites might they frequent? Now target those sites for more top performers like them. I did this for sales professionals recently and found my top sources in a given market were not only industry websites & associations, but also press releases. Say what!? Awesome sauce! Go get 'em!

Hopefully some of these strategies will not only help you with your sourcing, but encourage you to similarly get creative. Always be thinking about who your candidates are and where they are "hiding". Where do they “hang out”? On what sites might they be listed? If you were an advertising executive, no doubt you'd do extensive demographic research, right? Why not for your sourcing? Profile talent, get inside their heads, and utilize your findings in not only finding professionals but engaging them as well.

Lastly, have fun! Try new things. Share some ideas below. If you have thoughts or comments, or additional musings, please comment!

Views: 9030

Comment by Derdiver on September 16, 2014 at 3:18pm

LOVE THIS MAN!!!!  I like the way you tell the story Nathan and this is some really great advice! 

Comment by Irina Shamaeva on September 16, 2014 at 3:42pm

Good stuff!

My term for "reverse sourcing"  is "follow the leads" - it works wonders.

Comment by Nathan Vance on September 16, 2014 at 4:09pm
I like it, Irina. Following the leads is exactly what we Sourcers do!
Comment by Kate Baran on September 17, 2014 at 9:29am

Great article Nathan!  As someone fairly new to sourcing I find it hard to break free of the easy access and speed of LinkedIn.

Comment by Derrick Coshow on September 17, 2014 at 3:27pm

Great article, I'll have to share this!

Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 17, 2014 at 9:20pm

This post flat out kicked ass!

Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 18, 2014 at 12:29pm
Excellent. I just sent this to my recruiters and sourcers. And this old dog may have learned a few new tricks. Thank you for something relevant and valuable.
Comment by Mitch Sullivan on September 19, 2014 at 3:28am

Sandra, I figured you were old, but dog?  Never!

Pussy cat more like.

Comment by Amber on September 19, 2014 at 12:15pm

Good ideas, thanks! Shared with the office.

Comment by Barbara Goldman on September 21, 2014 at 10:23am

Thanks, passing along to the team.


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