Using Data in Sourcing

This post is inspired by two very good people who are close to me, Derrick Zeller and Marie Burns. Earlier this week, both of them happened to reach out to me on the same day, asking questions that were related to data and sourcing.  They were the kind of questions that friends within the industry ask each other in order to step back and help advance initiatives that they’re working on each day.


So here are, arguably, two of the top sourcing people in the country asking me questions, probably because I have the data at my fingertips. It made me think, how do you source using data? Well, I’ve been doing it for years. And I haven’t seen anything written about it lately, so I thought I would come off script and give some sourcing tips that I used to use, that others can use in order to find top talent in the marketplace.


One of the questions I used to ask hiring managers after an intake session was, “Do you have a score card or key performance indicators that you’ll be tracking for this particular role or for positions like it inside the organization?” Typically, the answer was yes, which would typically lead to me getting a copy of the score card or indicators. It also meant that I could ask questions about who the top performers were and what their key performance indicators looked like.


That was a long time ago. The way we collect data now, their dashboards and key performance indicators on individual contributors, managers and divisions are all over the place. Most organizations are run on goals and objectives and have all kinds of metrics and measures that they try to improve on. In fact, in many cases, they are very finite and very specific.


As an example, let’s look at recruiting. It’s not unusual for recruiters to have a scorecard that measures the number of requisitions that they manage, their interview to hire ratio, and their distribution of diverse candidates. There are all kinds of measures that recruiters have, and it’s not uncommon for those key performance indicators to make their way onto a resume, LinkedIn profile, or in the natural language associated with an abstract at a conference or any kind of thought leadership sharing event. All of a sudden, we now have a set of keywords that talk specifically about performance, typically hone in on the level of improvement that person has achieved, and it serves as a qualifier on how they measure themselves and how success has been measured for them. A candidate that has a profile that talks about success using numbers typically has a high performance rate.


One takeaway is to ask for the scorecard or for the key performance indicators that the new employee is going to be measured upon and then ask what does “good” look like in terms of the key performance indicators. You need to leave with an understanding of what those keywords are and you can use natural language with in any number of sites to help you do searches and bring up profiles in a way that you probably didn’t think of looking at before.


So what happens when there isn’t a scorecard or the manager is still trying to figure out what “good” looks like? Well, this is where the internet can really help you. What you want to look for is a third-party analysis that has been done on a particular topic related to performance in that particular discipline. As an example, if I wanted to understand more about demand generation, because I’m looking for the paper personnel, I could search for something about analysis that has been done by third-party experts in relation to that topic. Turns out, there’s been several white papers and several surveys that have gone out to people who purchase all types of software programs, like HubSpot or Marketo, that indicate the types of campaigns that people do in demand generation, the key performance indicators that they would typically measure, and some of the campaigns that those people typically do to drive key performance indicators.


Of course, you can go ahead and look at companies that you can poach from, and titles that you need to focus on, but it’s amazing how the better companies and the right titles have the right mix of key performance indicators, measurements, and scorecard techniques listed on the resumes, profiles, and articles that are on the internet that would list contact information.


Over the past so many years, talent has become harder to find.  This is not just because some people don’t go public, but because we are also navigating through a sea of information that’s just overwhelming. We have to make sure that we’re looking for the right type of information out there, pull out the top talent and reduce the amount of time we invest in looking at less than top talent.

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