I quite often talk about sourcing. I admire real sourcers who can interrogate the internet and discover people with the experience and skills to fit a job. I know a bit about the art, but I also know I have a lot to learn.

The difference between a sourcer and a resourcer is that a real sourcer looks for people where as a resourcer is looking for CVs. Social sourcing is changing the art of sourcing because even the most difficult to find people are leaving a footprint and plenty of clues. All a sourcer needs to start a search is one footprint. One clue that they might be on the right path and then the trail starts. One footprint in any channel leads to another, and each step takes you closer to your targets. You could describe them as people trackers, and they look in unusual places to get different results to everyone else.
On my part this means geek word searching in twitter or one of the other social channels. Geek words are those words that are unique to a profession or discipline. Twitter search is a great place to start this because the results are real-time, and you need no invitation to connect with the people you find. Once you find a twitter exchange between two people containing the geek word or phrase, you have a starting point to go and get more data in any of the social channels. This might mean following a trail from twitter, to youtube, to wordpress, to Flickr, to LinkedIn. Everywhere that I land there is a bit more data and content that helps me to profile a person and understand if they might fit. The challenge to finding people is getting the right geek words to start with, setting the searches and alerts and then finding the first footprint. I have described this in the past as searching for the haystacks rather than the needles. First find where the people hang out based on the footprints they have left, and then start exploring the other people who are connected, because people connect with like people. Similar backgrounds, similar interests, similar education or experience. The haystack I’m looking for might be a meet up group, or an on-line forum. Once I have found one person and followed the footprints to the group or place, I get to know where everyone else is hanging out. It is a lot of fun trying to beat the challenge and find the people. Any trail starts with that one footprint.

The best way to understand the art of sourcing is to spend time with the sourcers. For #trulondon on the 22′nd and 23′rd October, we have put together a great team of sourcers who will be running the sourcing stream over two days. Each of the sourcers will cover the same track title over the two days, with Tuesdays tracks being pitched at a more advanced level. Each session will be hands on and interactive, and will cover a different channel or technique. All tracks will have a tactical and practical¬†focus, rather than theoretical.

The Sourcers:

Martin Lee

Irina Shaemaeva

Jonathan Campbell

Katharine Robinson

Shane McCusker

Bill Boorman

Balazs Parocsay

Gordon Lokenberg

Andrea Mitchell

Oscar Mager

That is some serious sourcing talent (plus me talking a bit of Twitter stalking), coming from 7 countries. ¬†Sourcing tracks on Facebook, Boolean Strings, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Flickr (and other images), YouTube and for tech recruiters, a special session on Stack Overflow. The sourcing lab is sponsored by MySocialTalent, the brilliant new training platform from Jonathan Campbell’s business Social Talent.

You wouldn’t want to miss this one. Find out how to follow the footprints!


PS: If you want more training on the art of sourcing, Irina Shamaeva, Martin Lee and Andrea Mitchell will be running the People Sourcing Certification Program in London on 24′th October.