Thursday, May 31, 2007

Interesting searching thru exalead

I don't how many of you have heard of a search engine called exalead. It has been around since 2004, but I think it has some cool features and it works so well for resume searches that I thought it was worth mentioning for those of you who may not have heard of it.

Some of the particular things I like about exalead is that it does something unusual with the asterisk (*) not only does it let you use it at the end of a word for truncation purposes like manag* finds manager, managing, management etc. but also in allows you to use the asterisk in the middle of a word using pattern matching as in psych.*ist - finds psychologist, psychiatrist, pyschotherapist.

Also it allows for the use of the bolean operator NEAR, which in their instance finds words within 16 terms of one another as a default or use NEAR/n which finds words within n number of terms one another as in the following example - Oracle NEAR/3 developer

It does approximate spelling with the command "spellslike:", and phonetic searches with the command "soundslike:". It does some other interesting things but then I better let you explore.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tackling Sourcers’ Challenges

Candidate sourcing is the single greatest opportunity to impact the total cost, quality, and performance of recruiting. Sourcers have tremendous challenges facing them but somewhere tucked away in these challenges we have the potential for a solid sourcing plan.

Sourcers face many obstacles that recruiters don’t have to deal with. For instance regardless of how strong your sourcing skills are in some circles you’re still considered jr. level or even worse entry level. So what’s the solution? Are sourcers fighting a losing battle? Not necessarily. Try these tactics below to tackle the unique sourcing challenges.

Strategy #1 Information Gathering/ Learning specific business requirements and needs

Don’t make assumptions, take the time to research and understand the specific business needs. Don’t consider yourself exempt just because you may have seen that skill set before. Usually sourcer’s receive their job requisitions and begin to highlight the buzzwords and within minutes they start doing searches. Save yourself time and money, do your research first. You need to know more than just keywords you need to know your prospective candidate’s industry, what they’re looking for and what drives them. Once you know what they want, you can tailor what you have to offer them and make it more enticing.

Strategy #2 Technology and market development analysis/identifying and defining targets, approaches, and tactics

Tailor each approach to specific target candidates. Once you learned the specific needs it would be easy to define the appropriate approach and tactics. You can’t and shouldn’t have a cookie cutter approach to sourcing. When your campaigns are targeted at technical people, speak in technical terms. Capture their interests and look for ways to capitalize on it.

Strategy #3 planning strategy/Solution specification/Deriving short & long term plans.

Adding to your knowledge of your candidate industry and the tactics that would work best you are ready to begin your planning. Preparation and careful planning can effectively improve your chances of delivering on your sourcing goals. To achieve sourcing success we must rely on a combined set of actions. Planning will ensure that you keep your sourcing on track.

Strategy #4 solution strategies implementation

Implementation of a chosen solution has to be effectively managed to deliver the desired effect. Link your activities to your plan; don’t just see them as just things to do. As you start implementing your well-thought out sourcing plans. Whether it is internet sourcing, job posting, job board searches, name generation, email campaigns, or plain raiding a target company you will see that your sourcing will take on new life because now it is not a routine but part of a strategic placement of tactics to reach your goal.

Strategy #5 monitoring sourcing performance/Regular strategic reviews

Usually as sourcer/recruiters we get so involved in our routine that we make assumptions. It is easy to thing that being busy is being effective. Monitoring the performance of each sourcing tactic can help you determine whether we need to adjust to a different source. We may get a high number of responses to an email blast but the skills may be wrong, the ad may need to be tweaked, or my cold call script may need to be changed. The only way to know and truly measure our effectiveness is thru tracking and monitoring each sourcing strategy.

Strategy #6 Trend analysis
Trending your sourcing activities is the best way to truly know the direction your sourcing is headed. It validates your judgments and provide for finding and implementing best practices. We need to distinguish from our impressions and reality, trending results will help us differentiate between the two and drive us to deliver on our goals.

Remember that while sourcing goals may not change, the market has and so have our research methods which continue to evolve, and that means that sourcers need to stay on guard to stay in the game. Managing and monitoring your candidate sourcing activities is essential to maximizing the value we provide.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Making lemonade out of lemons and hibernating mice

by Pete Johnson, Nerd Guru

Wired magazine recently had story about DARPA's string of human enhancement projects that contained the epitome of taking a bad situation and making good out of it. We all have down times in our careers and a key to advancing is to learn from how we got there and how we can dig ourselves out.

Recall that the folks at DARPA are the same good people (not Al Gore or even Tim Berners-Lee) who brought us the Internet. There is some very cutting edge stuff going on with enabling field soldiers to function more efficiently. The article focuses on two specific projects. The first has to do with regulating body temperature and how it is really heat, and not chemical buildup as is commonly thought, that fatigues muscles over time. The key then becomes finding a way to cool those tissues in order to improve endurance.

The second project I found more interesting, though -- not because it is any more or less impressive than the first, but because its genesis sure is. It tells the story of biochemist Mark Roth. Ten years ago, he suffered about the most devastating loss that a parent can experience: the death of a child. Roth eventually rose from his sorrow, unsurprisingly, with an interest in immortality, and that path ultimately led him to working with DARPA. For a soldier, what happens in the first hour ("the golden hour") after suffering an injury can be the difference between whether he or she lives or dies. In theory, if you could place a severely wounded soldier into a state of suspended animation within that first hour and then transport him or her to a more sophisticated facility than what is available in the field, the chances of recovery increase dramatically.

In 2005 DARPA held one of its famous contests that challenge scientists to achieve some set of criteria. This time, it was to keep a mouse alive for 3 hours with 60 percent of its blood lost, which simulates a lethal wound. Roth's studies took him from immortality to being able to stimulate a state of stasis in animals not known to normally hibernate. Using a combination of lowered oxygen levels and a dose of hydrogen sulfide (the latter inspired by a PBS show he saw on a caving accident), Roth was able to induce the mice into a hibernation-like state and then re-animate them after 10 hours.

Roth turned the loss of his daughter into the fuel for a research problem that shows potential to change the medical field forever. It is hard to think of another example where something so personally bad was turned into something so possibly good for all of society. How about you? The next time you find yourself in the pit of despair, how are you going to get yourself out of it? In what way will you better yourself or help others so that all can learn from what happened to you? Follow Mark Roth's example and make lemonade out of lemons and hibernating mice.

This article is courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another Yahoo feature combination!

Since earlier I shared with you the “feature” command I wanted to open it up to another cool way to search for people. Remember this is a command used particularly in yahoo. A cool way to combine the feature command is with the word homepage. When combined this way it finds personal pages excluding commercial or business sites without having to use any exclusions. Notice the example below.


feature:homepage "software engineer" cobol

This search string quickly returns about 1,500 results all from individual’s home sites that mention that they are software engineer who mention cobol as part of their skill set. Not bad, huh!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Different approach to resume searches on Yahoo

Recently Jim Stroud did an interesting study on document searches and which were the most common resume file types on the net; so I won’t go into a deep study on how to do document searches but as a brief summary. File extensions are extremely important, especially within the internet. File extensions instruct browsers, and other applications as to how to maneuver, or use a file. Common extensions Picture1include .doc for Microsoft Word documents, .pdf for Adobe Acrobat PDF, and .xls for Microsoft Excel.

You can search specifically for extensions or file types by using the search command “filetype”


resume "software engineer" "Nortel Networks” filetype:doc

But like I said, my intent was not to go deeply into filetype searches. I want to share a neat command I found for yahoo. This yahoo command is “feature:” This command when used with the keyword “acrobat” will find page links to adobe acrobat PDF files. The interesting thing about this combination is that it doesn’t necessarily return PDF files. Try this search string in yahoo.

resume "software engineer" oracle SQL feature:acrobat

This returned quite a few resumes. Usually when you use a filetype search you may need to use exclusions to clean out unwanted results. This search string returned resumes of Software Engineer with Oralce SQL experience, very limited miscellaneous results, … Isn't it cool!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Would you like a free subscription to Fordyce Letter?

In there was an interesting question raised, Slouch is offering a subscription to the Fordyce Letter to the one who answers his post with the best recruiting lesson ever learned… If you haven’t yet you should go add your two cents worth. You never know it might be yours!!

Anyway, as I wrote my answer, it got me to thinking, in my mind the best recruiting lesson was learning the ability to ask questions. I never felt so intimidated yet so thrilled as when I did my first technical interview. This guy was many times the bigger nerd than I was, several pocket liners and all. I’m sure many of you might remember having a butterfly in your stomach or then again not. Anyway, luckily I’ve learned a thing or two since then, enough to know that knowing what to ask the right questions is one of the hardest and best lessons I am still learning.

Asking questions is particularly difficult for recruiters as it relates to technical skills. We get hung up on keywords because they are the searchable portion of the job descriptions. Usually as recruiters we focus on the tools and technology but these are the easy skills to learn but they are don’t offer nearly enough scope to let us address the candidates experience. There are at least three other kinds of technical skills to consider. Let's see if I can break it down, beyond knowing the tools (i.e. oracle, xml etc…) there are the techniques of application, how many techniques for applying the tools does your candidate know? Then there is who well the person applies the knowledge as in problem solving and finally how well the person understands the industry needs and expectations.

It is not just about asking how long have you been programming in Oracle, but what methodologies have you used? how did you apply them? what kind of solutions did you offer? and how was as far as meeting customers needs? So far we only cover the technical aspect of question but there are still so many others to ask that we can write volumes. If you disagree with me as this being the best recruiting lesson to be learned visit the Slouch at and take a swing at it. You might take my subscription from me. We’ll see.

Beating the averages

Most smart recruiters have a hidden weakness and that is that we’re absolute suckers for anything that sounds clever. That is why there is so many of us paying so much money to learn about different internet search techniques like x-rays, flips and others that frankly have been around for many years. Even though they can be an essential part of any sourcing job the truth is that this same tools we are paying so dearly for were introduced for free, yes! gratis! by the search engines.

If recruiters spent more time in the search engine tutorials they would have all the tools to do advanced internet research. If you haven't mastered these techniques you may be missing out soon. The next level of internet search is coming and we can't get there without the right tools.

Let me explain, for us as sourcer or recruiters the internet shouldn't be about finding resumes but about finding people. There are so many tools to help us find just the people we need. But first there is the matter of the size of the internet. There are approximately 500,000 search engines both general search and vertical search engines. How can we use all those tools to you capture all the data?

Which brings us to the next point; the information in the internet is divided into two main parts, the open or surface internet and what is been dubbed the deep or invisible web. The invisible web is considered at least 500 larger than the surface web and most of that data is found through dynamic database resports out of which approximately 95% of the content is availbable free of charge.

Back to my original thought, how can we access the information databases have in the hidden web if we don't master the simple search techniques that draw out the information? Since search engine come in so many different flavors and all use the same tools so differently it is the perfect learning ground to prepare us for the resourcefulness it takes to conquer the invisible web.

Friday, May 18, 2007

How much is too much

Queries are the combination of words and operators that we enter into search box of search engines and directories to show it what our intention from the search is. In order to maximize your search you should use a minimum of six to eight words in your query. They don’t all have to be related to your search; they can be exclusions as well. Try the following example in google:

Example: Resume Lawson financials ERP beans –job –submit –eoe –post

The exclusions I used (just in case it isn’t obvious) are keywords that normally would be found in sites related to job search or job postings. As I tried this a few minutes ago it brought 618 results. With at least 60 percent of them being resumes of Lawson professionals. Using more keywords will allow you to reduce the number of results to a manageable level before bringing in the power tools.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Searching with Synonyms

If you want to use search engines successfully to find candidates you have to know that all search services interpret your queries differently. The better you understand how search engines translate your query into a search the better you will be able to control the results.

Search engines don’t deduce anything from the keywords you enter. For instance; if you enter the keyword heart you will not find results about cardio nor concepts related to love. If you enter TV you will not get television, kids will not return children. Any way you get the picture. All search engines just merely match strings of characters together.

You can capitalize on this by the use of synonyms. For example: advertising OR promotion OR Selling could all return results related to marketing. Another example might be: if you are looking for someone with XML Skills you might try (XSL OR MSXML) and you might be surprised. If you learn to cover a particular idea in different ways thru synonyms you will be closer to the results you want all the while avoiding all the keywords that other recruiters may just be using straight out of the job description

Sourcing is like attending a garage sale.

The more I think about this the more it makes sense to me. Everything you need to know about sourcing you can learn by attending a garage sale!! Call it what you will; maybe it is the thrill of the hunt, the thrill of finding hidden treasure, or maybe even the thrill of beating the system. (You know, getting good stuff for a fraction of its value!) If you ever attended one you’ll appreciate some of these great nuggets of wisdom I learned from them.

When you go to a garage sale you never know what you'll stumble upon, but you've got to maintain patience if you expect to land a deal. When you are sourcing the first lesson you learn is patience. You are going to be going through a lot of fluff resumes and talk to a quite a few wannabees. So get ready to do a large investment of time. If you are not patient, you shouldn’t be sourcing.

You probably won't find a new real treasure on your first trip. Chances are the first candidate you find will not be the “One”. Soucing is like going on a wild goose chase or as the old cliché goes there may be a lot of toads kissed before the prince charming is found.

It might even take you several trips before you make a purchase. You will see some likely candidates but on further inspection you’ll find they are not a real bargain. Be ready to go to your next source.

You can't be discouraged. Searching thru junk hoping to find a bargain is exhilarating for precisely that reason: Just when you think you're out of luck, you discover a treasure. Isn’t this great, just when you’ve just about given up on finding that ace candidate!! Wham!! You can’t wait to dig thru the car seat for those fifty cents!!!!

But the main reason why sourcing reminds me of garage sales is that if you just pick up “bargains” simply because they're bargains you’ll soon find out that sometimes there's a good reason why an item is a bargain: It's junk. Beware of the low hanging fruit!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The alarming signs you mat be addicted to sourcing!!!

I was reading an interesting article titled Am I addicted to food?Which said: “According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, food addiction is simply an obsessive preoccupation with food. It doesn’t mean that a food addict can’t get enough of food – it could be that they are so concerned with food, that they avoid it at all costs.”

I had an interesting thought, what if we applied that definition to recruitment as it applies to sourcing. A sourcing addiction is simply an obsessive preoccupation with sourcing. It doesn’t mean that a sourcing addict can’t get enough of sourcing – it could be that they are so concerned with sourcing, that they avoid it at all cost. I think that explains a few recruiters!!! I’ve noticed a growing trend in recruitment. I read recruiters’ resumes often and find that there are mentions of sourcing all over but the experience summaries don’t describe what I know as sourcing.

According to the sourcing definition on wikipedia "Sourcing for candidates also generally applies to a focus primarily on proactively identifying people that are not actively looking for job opportunities." The sourcing described in most resumes is searching through the resume boards, careerbuilder, etc… all they do is talk about sourcing but don’t do it; does that qualify as a sourcing addiction?

It's all that!

I found this cool search engine the other day and just thought some of you may not have seen it. It is called It is a meta-search engine with extra kick. No, I'm not affiliated with them nor do i get anything out of it. I just thought it was cool.

I like its ability to search thru as many search engines as you'd like it seems to do well enough. I tried adding and deleting search engines and it is quite easy. Altavista doesn' seem to interact well with it, but it just still cool.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

10 things you better not say in an interview.

Tonight in talking to some great recruiters over dinner, the conversation drifted to the bad things that happened in interviews and then it hit me. We all have stories to tell about things that candidates said or did in interviews that were unbelievable. Wouldn’t be fun to put together a list of things not to say in an interview based on real life incidents we all have heard.

Would you send me your unbelievable interview faux pas’ to compile them into things you better not say in an interview? I’m hoping the list would grow beyond ten.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools!!!

We all remember when it was easy to find candidates; they just about found us pretty much on their own. There were so many candidates all we had to do was put out some kind of sign and wham!! Candidates seemed to appear out of nowhere. Things are so much different now. Candidates no longer find us and to top it off there is a shortage of qualified personnel.

Yet many people are still using the approaches that worked then but are no longer effective, things like job fairs, newspaper ads etc… In an interesting article titled 9 signs the online job market is broken, Ben Yoskovitz asserts: “Compare a job ad from 100 years ago to a job ad today and they’ll look almost identical. The buzzwords have changed, but the format, style and general dullness have not. …” He goes on to say; “ now offers free job postings. They couldn’t figure out how to get people to pay for them, so they offered job postings for free. My take:” he says “They should be free. They’re largely worthless.”

The scarcity of top talent is fast growing into a crisis but what this means to me is that it is important to be more than just competent at sourcing. If it isn’t clear by now we need to become more and more adept at exploiting every available tool, yet many of us are not keeping up. Take for instance; our ability to search the titles of web pages using many of the over 4,000 search engines; there are at least 4 different title search commands but combined with some of the over 40 advanced search commands the combination strategies are tremendous. How many of these advance search commands can you list?

My point is that we need to test our ability to strategically source and accurately match candidates with needs. But how can we ensure we will get the job done when we are doing today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools? A good sourcing strategy is built-in on the premise that we have the mechanisms, skills and means to find the candidates we need. Our sourcing strategy needs to have a process for eliminating bureaucratic procedures and updating and streamlining our search tools. Only then we’ll we position ourselves for sourcing success.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Shy Networking? The way of the future

I think the recruiting animal is on to something here. I was reading his post titled Networking For Shy People. My imagination took me away to figure out what that would be like; I mean, "networking for shy people".

This is what I imagined, I pictured a room full of people, a shy person walks in and you can see him feeling uneasy but still pushing himself to enter. As he walks through the crowed avoiding eye contact, he can feel the anxiety level rising. He thinks about introducing himself to someone and the sweat drops start forming on is eyebrows. He spots a likely candidate to introduce himself, someone who appears welcoming, friendly and open. Each step closer to the target the hands tremble a bit more and the heartbeat gets faster. By the time he reaches his target he is almost at a panic attack. But as luck would have it, he spots a name tag on the prospect and all the fear fades away?

Animal, I don’t think your idea works too well!! As Aerosmith would say, Dream on! I think that the real networking for shy people is all about myspace.

If half of america's employees got their job networking...

I didn’t take note of the article I read it on but what I was reading was that eighty percent of available jobs are never advertised, and that over half of all employees get their jobs through networking, the article was quoting a company called BH Careers International.

I went immediately into a maddening daze of thoughts!!! and thought holy cow, Batman!!! If half of the employees get their jobs through networking why does America spend 80% of its recruiting budget on the three major job boards (being Careerbuilder, monster, hotjobs). Wouldn’t this indicate that we need to focus our effots in networking? This is the best reason as to why sourcing is being successful we are tapping into the piece of the market that is most ignored. It is a great time to be a sourcer, isn't it!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

If Elvis were alive how would you find him?

I thought I would try something fun today (at least fun for me). I want to see the creativity of our internet research community at large. So, here is my Idea!! I wanted to see if you guys can help me put together some search string/queries or any idea on how to find “Elvis Presley” if he were alive today!! I’ve often thought that as internet researchers/sourcers we can find anything. Here is our chance to prove it!!!

Here are a couple of search strings I thought might work
“Elvis Presley” Graceland Burger –“burger king” –impersonator –look-a-like
(intitle:burger OR inurl:burger) “Elvis Presley” (TN OR Tennessee OR Memphis) -impersonator Elvis (the other King) “hound dog” -wannabe

You can add your search strings as comments or email them to me.

Monday, May 7, 2007

How to screw up your sourcing 101 – Chapter 4

I was reading last Friday’s article on the itzbigblog titled “War on Talent-What war on talent?” The article had some great thoughts that I thought were worth mentioning. “The war on talent is kind of a strange phenomenon…Part of the reason behind this war on talent is that organizations’ strategies for cost-cutting (offshoring, contract workers, etc.) are exhausting their effectiveness more quickly than anticipated…That means dramatically broadening your efforts in sourcing and recruiting in ways that not every hiring professional can do.”

We do have to broaden our skills but before we do we need to get the basics right. We have to learn to avoid some fundamental mistakes. The simplest mistake that most often keeps us from sourcing success is that we simply talk too much. That must sound strange being that we make our living by talking, but when you are talking you are not listening, not learning about your prospect’s wants and needs.

In today’s complex sourcing environment, effective communication is the secret ingredient to meeting our bottom-line demands. Communication is a multi-faceted dynamic process and effective listening skills are an essential part of that process. According to the book, Beyond "Hello" by Jeannie Davis, the percentages can vary by interaction, but your telephone conversations are generally about 70% tonality, 14 to 20 percent actual words, and 10-16% body language. This means to me that as sourcers we can’t give ourselves the luxury to underestimate the importance of listening in order to understand that 80 to 86% of the conversation that wasn’t an actual word.

Listen to the pace a person speaks with, the accent, the word choices, the pauses, how the tone may climb or descend. Listen for background things that can give you cues to a person’s current environment. If we acquire skills to be good listeners not only will we be able to solicit good information from others but also to find underlying meanings in what your candidates may say, to answer questions better, build rapport with them better and more importantly it will drive you to implement more successful strategies to connect and improce your sourcing success.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Extra! Extra!! Spiderman is a sourcer!!!!

Although Spidey has always been a classic underdog character, I feel a connection to Peter Parker if only because he is such a nerd. With a major movie that becomes his third major motion picture having been unveiled this weekend, it's a good thing that bug bite gave Peter Parker's alter ego a talent for sticking to walls and the ability to shoot webs from his wrists.

The more I thought of Spiderman and his attributes the more I figured he is a sourcer. Think about it, our favorite arachnid can do more than scale walls he can spin a web so fast and do so while in mid flight. As sourcers we can spin our web on the phone so fast even on the fly. Spidey shoots from the hip and with such accuracy; he can hit the only plagpole sticking out of a building for miles. We source with such accuracy as to find those purple squirrels that everyone thinks don’t exist. Spidey always deals with a villain gallery that includes the likes of the Green Goblin, Doc Ock and Venom, facing the toughest of issues and doesn’t shy away from them. As sourcers we are not only accustomed to dealing with impossibly tough assignments, cryptic job descriptions, and even unbearable hiring managers we do not shy away either. Best of all he gets the job done and so do we.

See what I mean!! Spiderman is a sourcer. I’m trading the phone to don a mask but wait I just put the mask on and already I feel my black persona enveloping me, just call me “The Sourcing Samurai”.

Friday, May 4, 2007

How to screw up your sourcing - 101

I decided to change the name of the current series of journal entries. It just seemed more appropriate. Anyway, continuing the thought of the barriers to sourcing success or “how to screw up your sourcing efforts - 101".

Your prospective candidates are all about their job or career, they aren't bad people, to get their interest in what you have to say you don’t have to watch your words as much as the assumptions behind them. It's the assumptions that undermine what you are doing.

Let me explain... I love the miracle of telephones. I love talking to anyone, anytime and anywhere. I love the feeling of being connected, of being able to connect with people in the other end of the world in just seconds without having to leave home. I love negotiating and closing deals on the phone. I also love the interaction between technology and people exploring it and taking it to the limits. Like I said, I am fully appreciative of the joys of modern technology but then again technology can invade our private space unlike nothing else.

I have come to tolerate telemarketing calls to a degree but there is nothing worse that being called in the middle of a meeting or even worse finally finding a moment to focus on the task at hand only to hear it the shriek of a telephone ring piercing through your quiet time like finger nails on a chalk board. Just yesterday, after a day of meetings and all the other stuff we are faced with; as I began to work on my spreadsheets (being a people person I really need to focus on number crunches, so I save it for a time when I can focus). Enough said the phone rings, okay, I pick it up, setting aside my work - already annoyed because I lost my concentration. When I pick up the phone, there is this person trying to “warm up” the call with chit chat. I tried to listen but I felt a burning sensation working up my spine and my face reddening. What does this person want – I began to wonder - can’t he get to the point. After a couple of minutes I understand it is a recruitment call. I make any excuse and quickly hang up.

The first thing this recruiter did wrong was he spent far too much time in conversation about trivial matters, like sports, the weather etc.. you get the picture. He assumed that because I answered the phone I was interested in what he was saying. The other crucial thing this recruiter did wrong (and what many recruiters do when they call prospects at work) was that he launched right into his spiel without thinking that I might be in the middle of something important. He assumed that because I answered the phone I had the time to talke. You have to understand that If your call is taking your prospect away from something they're involved in, whether it's important or not, they will not give you their attention, even if they stay on the line.

Do let let your assumptions control your call. Show respect for your prospects time; always remember when you call at their place of employment that they are in the middle of doing a job that feeds their family and are expected to produce results. Good business relationships develop slowly based upon mutual respect. Keep initial sourcing calls cordial but professional. Instead of going straight to the point try asking for permission to speak; being attentive to a prospects needs so that they see you as a dependable problem solver is one of the best ways to develop a long term business relationship. Nothing will derail your sourcing efforts quicker than perceived disrespect by your prospective candidate. The third barrier to sourcing success it disrespect to your prospective candidate.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sourcing or body sculpting?

I had a flash thought strike me, something akin to lightning and it made me feel dizzy. Check this out, as sourcers we specialize in finding any candidate whether their hiding behind a firewall or a brick wall (or cubicle). As I thought about that, it hit me; we are taking the human capital of the fat corporations and redistributing to where our clients need them. In medical terms that would be called liposuction. We are performing liposuction on the corporate business. What a thought we are sculpting the corporate world, no wonder it is exciting work.

The Second Barrier to Sourcing Success

Continuing my thought from yesterday, the second barrier to sourcing success is sourcing without preparing a formal script. Many sourcers/recruiters think they can just improvise or ad-lib their calls, that they can just let the natural flow of the conversation go because they know what they want to say. It is my belief that you should never stop using scripts but if you rely on your wits and charm and there are still those moments when you think “that didn’t quite go the way I planned”, then you really should consider a script. If you don’t use them, let me tell you, used appropriately they can take your sourcing/recruiting efforts to the next level.

A recruiting script is a documented, methodical, learnable, effective system of marketing yourself, your position and your company in the best possible way. It is a written process designed to give you control of the call while creating much better results and to keep you from wasting calls.

A script will help you establish a strong first impression and to create a trustworthy feeling within a few seconds of the call. It also provides the means to a well thought out presentation to simply say what you want to say clearly, accurately and simply. A successful script is an explanation of what you represent, given in your normal style of speaking and in a methodical organized way, so that your prospective candidate understands.

Another thing a good script does is to set you up as an expert espcially if you use phrases like "we specialize in..." or "our reputation is..." "we are known for..." Effective scriptwritting helps build rapport, handles objections and provides confidence. Combined with listening, presentation and closing skills you can achieve exceptional heights. It takes practice and dedication to do it well but scriptwriting can be an enlightening and gratifying experience.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Thanks for your feedback, Rithesh.

Rithesh Nair made a very good point in his comment my journal entry titled Crafting the candidate experience which I thought I needed to add to. He said”…but I am smart buyer. It doesn't bother me that the "pick me" ones are staring at me; I go for the one I want does a good candidate. Long term strategy should market the hardcore ones ..easy "pick me" are easy to get.. oh here comes another one... ...:)

I agree wholeheartedly with Rithesh and didn’t mean to say that we should go after the low hanging fruit. The point I was trying to emphasize was that we need to strategize our approach to make ourselves the most desirable product so that when the right candidates comes along, we will be chosen because we made it easy for him to make that decision because as Rithesh said a good candidate is a smart buyer too. Thanks Rithesh.

The first barrier to sourcing success

Today I thought to muse about phone sourcing and the growing difficulty in finding the qualified candidates we seek. As sourcers, perhaps the most critical initiative we can undertake is to develop is an effective phone sourcing strategy. The key to achieving your sourcing goals is designing a program that is based on a solid understanding of the challenges you'll face. My impression is that we are finding it difficult primarily because of our inability to adapt our current recruiting model to the tightening market. There are many great prospective candidates out there, unfortunately, they are totally unaware that they're even a candidate, and to make the matter worse they don’t have any interest in exploring career opportunities.

I thought that in order to give the subject of phone sourcing justice I would take the next several blog entries to focus on the different barriers to phone sourcing success. For now I will just cover the first barrier to sourcing success which is that of being “unprepared”. So how do you prepare? Preparing means studying the job description, developing cold-calling strategies, preparing scripts, building networks, getting referrals, and handling objections (yes sourcers need to learn to handle objections too, it isn’t just for recruiters).

Start by defining your target’s habits. Look at things like what does their world consist of? What you know about their habits. What magazines or journals do they read? What conferences might they attend? Who do they talk to everyday? What are they like? Don’t forget to keep up with the schools that possible candidates may have come out of. Any school that may offer that have the type of degree your prospect may have, make a list of all applicable ones. Later on in your search they may be useful to either network with the professors or to look for their alumni associations.

Don’t forget to compile and maintain a list of newsgroups, discussion forums, or blogs where prospective candidates are likely to participate in. Think of possible companies that would have the perfect candidate. Create a target list of companies you wish to penetrate. Be sure to include physical address, phone number, and website information.

Keep in mind that preparation can only strengthen your presentation. Strengthening your own sourcing skills can add directly to your bottom line. Spending time understanding the real needs and wants of prospective candidates before making your calls is an investment in your success.