Sourcing & Business Intelligence
To succeed as a Talent Sourcer, one has to constantly keep up with the latest trends, and study competing companies (not necessarily companies with similar products or client base, but companies that utilize the same technologies and attract similar candidates).
Over time, Sourcers came up with plenty of ways to stay up to date with the market. We keep up with news about companies that are closing, selling, or issuing, and keep our ears to the ground, to catch hints of any other change that could increase our chances of attracting new employees, on the hunt for their next challenge.
There are well-known ways to accomplish that: from reading the local “gossip” on Geektime, Globes, and Calcalist, to browsing our personal Linkedin feeds. This article, however, will focus on more savvy methods, which come into play way before there is a huge article on the subject, and before it becomes the talk of the day on LinkedIn. These methods allow Sourcers to identify a trend at its inception, before it becomes “known” to everyone, using tools and tricks borrowed from the world of business intelligence.
These tools, used to hone in on any spec of hint or evidence for meaningful changes in the ecosystem help us identify the most relevant candidates, at exactly the right time.
Three tips for sourcing, the business intelligence way:
Do Company Background Checks: Periodically check up on companies that interest you on their Insights page. This way you can gather information that indicates certain trends that the companies are going through. For example, it can sometimes be identified from the data that there is a significant decrease in the number of engineers in company X, which could indicate a “crisis” or some other turbulent period the company is going through. This is a good predictor for higher than usual positive response rate when approaching the employees of said company.
Trend Forecasting: Although there is no feature (yet) that will alert us about an employee who resigned his job, the information is already there, if this reverse engineering method is used just right. Every day we get updates about LinkedIn friends who have started new jobs. Whenever you get such an update, immediately check which company they’ve left. Over time, you might notice a repeated pattern, which becomes significant and valuable information. You can also learn about this by looking at the resumes you receive at your company. If we see a mass of CVs from employees of a particular company, it is a sign that it is very worthwhile to pay attention to. For this to work, it’s important for the recruitment team to share knowledge and cooperate fully, to make sure no valuable information is missed or overlooked,
Human Intelligence — This one is not about sending spies of course. Rather, it’s about the very simple things that every recruiter does as part of their job. An example of this is the simple question asked during any job interview: “Why do you want to leave your current company?”, which can gold nuggets of information. Changes like future cuts, a new management tier, or even a change in the location of a site, can cause employees to sour their workplace and eventually leave.
Such information is the bread and butter of the Talent Sourcers, and the first to gather it is the first to make the move and address those “unsettled workers”. In addition, a Talent Sourcer who’s aware of the informal discourse with the ecosystem is a Sourcer who can generate insights at a higher level and at a quicker pace than other Sourcers. Another source for this type of intel is informal conversations with people from the industry in meetings, meetups, conventions, professional conferences, and more.
These tips can give very interesting insights, but of course, they are not enough on their own. It is still necessary to cross-reference information from different sources like Glassdoor or Crunchbase, explore more, and equally important — the right approach.
In conclusion, competition is a positive thing. It encourages us as Sourcers to strive for creativity and perfection in methods of finding and approaching candidates, and it encourages organizations to be creative and proactive in retaining employees. It’s a win-win that benefits all. Respectively, it is also important to remain ethical, even within a wildly competitive market. Locating a company that is in a negative trend still requires sensitive treatment, in line with our rules of ethics and professional values, to avoid swarming a large percentage of the employees in one company. Despite all the difficulties and pressures we experience on a daily basis, it is important that we maintain a well-mannered attitude and the values that preserve the good name of our profession.