The Imperfect Science of Hiring Great People: A Look into Talent Sourcing

The Imperfect Science of Hiring Great People: A Look into Talent Sourcing
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Hello! My name is Eliana Watson, InfoTrust’s first talent sourcer! If you are unfamiliar with the concept of recruiting, it’s even less likely that you have heard of a talent sourcing function. However, it’s an integral part of hiring the right candidate, as we sourcers are responsible for figuring out many logistics that attract talent on the front end. 

Across my experience over the last few years creating and sustaining this function, I’ve learned that one sourcer can have vastly different responsibilities compared to another, but I have always thrived in sourcer roles that are research-heavy. I define sourcing as the ability to not only find the most interesting and qualified candidates through deep internet searches and recruitment tools, but to create specific and targeted marketing campaigns to sell candidates on the positions that come across my desk. This means that I initiate interest in InfoTrust and the position I think is the best fit, looking to ultimately build strong working relationships—whether that specific position is aligned with what they’re looking for, or not. 

Sourcing and Storytelling

Sourcing is heavy on storytelling, and I ask myself often, how can I truly translate the bright vision and future of the company into typed words that make the recipient want to speak with me? Not only that, but how can I make the candidate feel like I’ve invited them to have a comfortable, equitable conversation with me to prioritize their interview experience? My personal experience being approached by recruiters can make me feel as if they sent the same message to everyone, rather than being interested in my unique career journey—going through the motions, if you will. I know I am not alone in this experience, and it does hurt candidate morale. I ensure all of the messages I send remove the layer of imbalance that candidates feel when speaking to a company—as if the candidate doesn’t also have to ensure that we are their next best career move. From there, I get to get to know the people I engage via email and calls beyond that imbalance, and build professional relationships full of candor, understanding, and even lots of laughter if the conversation calls for it! Being able to have this freedom with InfoTrust has totally transformed my sourcing interactions and processes. 

Staying Curious

Having an abundance of curiosity has also gotten me far, because in this role, there is always something to learn more about. When keeping a pulse on current employment and industry trends, I move with the current to ensure the best possible experience for both InfoTrust and prospective candidates. For this reason, I keep an open mind while actively crafting my internet searches (otherwise referred to as Boolean operator searches). These are normally predicated on whatever keywords I add to my search. As an example, if I am looking for a candidate for our open strategic account director role on LinkedIn, I may add the term ‘director’ to my search as a requirement, meaning no candidates without ‘director’ in their LinkedIn profile will be available to me. This is where the perpetual curiosity comes in. What if there was a candidate who had director-level experience under a unique or different title? I would miss them entirely. It takes constantly being open to farming various terms, techniques, and search types to filter for everyone qualified for the position. 

Finding the Right Candidate

Being that my position and function is fairly new to InfoTrust, I spent a lot of time when starting out creating the framework for a ‘keyword database’, even including fun emojis candidates may have on their profile for a specific role (the woman at her laptop of all variations can help me search communities like women in tech, since many women in the field have it in their LinkedIn headline or in their summaries!). But I also keep in mind that not everyone fills out their LinkedIn to the detail any sourcer would salivate over, which is perfectly fine! It takes knowing the specific language of the desired industry and/or position to help navigate this, on my end. If a candidate I am looking at in my search mentions a hyper-specific term tailored to their career journey, I have to be able to figure out not only what that means in the landscape of hiring for this position, but whether it is specialized knowledge or simply unrelated. My job is to validate the skill set I am looking for as specifically as I can, and when I need more information that I cannot see on LinkedIn or other databases, I take the time to schedule a conversation. 

Many times, I’ve reached out to a candidate I had a hunch about despite no clarifying information being on their Linkedin, only for them to have the experience I’m looking for! This is partly why ‘sourcing science’ is rather imperfect. On the research front, sourcing can only give me as much information as is available on the internet. So, I find it imperative to create that human connection, as I personally believe candidates should not be entirely defined by their resumes. That is what I find so cool about talent sourcing at InfoTrust. I’m able to approach it holistically in a way that both I and the candidate genuinely appreciate. 

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Originally Published: March 1, 2023
March 1, 2023

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