How to Maximize Speed, Success in Sourcing

It’s a hypercompetitive talent market, meaning talent sourcers need to move fast, be creative and have a can-do mindset, said Conni LaDouceur at a Feb. 21 session at Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech LIVE! in Las Vegas.

“There’s so much noise with the internet, and we all have access to the same tools,” said LaDouceur, CEO and chief sourcing strategist at EQC Talent Sourcing Experts. “So how do you differentiate yourself?”

Modern success in sourcing involves strategic planning, which should start at the intake meeting with the client, which she said can be a good opportunity for sourcers to demonstrate their subject-matter expertise. Go into the meeting armed with information–about the client, the position, potential talent profiles and lists of competitors looking for the same talent, for instance. Sourcers should ensure they walk away with a firm understanding of the client’s must-haves and nice-to-haves when it comes to the position, diversity expectations, timelines and names of people not to contact.

Sourcers should create a definitive list of target companies, using resources such as panel symposiums, industry award winners and even contributors to successful patents.

Then, it’s time for creative research to build a candidate pool. LaDouceur recommends beginning with previous research, including lists of former candidates and incumbents. Secondary research should follow, centering on everything from Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter to attendee lists for industry events and D&B Hoover’s. When you get a good candidate, she said, put their name into all of the top search engines–Google, Yahoo and Bing, for instance, only have a 28 percent overlap–to generate phone numbers and email addresses. If you’re struggling to find mobile phone numbers, one trick LaDouceur relies on is to search for the area code in which the person lived between 1995-2000–when most people today got cell phones–along with their name in quotation marks.

One underutilized source of information, LaDouceur added, are those with master’s of library science degrees at local libraries, whom she noted can help sourcers navigate databases to cull the best candidates.

Building an organizational chart is also key, she said. LaDouceur advised attendees to rely on a combination of phone and internet research in their sourcing endeavors for the most efficient and effective results.

“While you’re online, you can be on the phone. The phone may be ringing, you may be on hold or being transferred so you only have to start paying attention when someone starts talking to you,” she said. “And it’s a great way to identify the exact on-target team.”

LaDouceur shared several recorded examples of sourcing calls in which she utilized “direct, disarming dialogue” to identify talent charts, pivoting the conversation whenever the representative with whom she was speaking asked why or from where she was calling. Instead of asking yes or no questions, she advised, she drills down into the who/what/where topics: Who is responsible for … ? Who are the direct reports … ? What is his email address … ?

In one instance, this generated 17 on-target names, none of which had been identifiable through secondary research.

LaDouceur echoed Rusty Rueff’s sentiments from the RTT LIVE! opening keynote, in which he advised recruiters to experiment to get ahead in today’s competitive labor market.

“You can’t just think about it, you can’t just read it,” she said. “You have to do it. Go give it a try.”

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at