A SourceCon SoCal Adventure

Home in Sydney and back at my desk, I have the opportunity to reflect on the awesome experiences I was lucky to have in sunny California. Winning the ATC Brilliant or Bullsh*t competition was my Willy Wonka moment – a golden ticket to the Golden State of California. No bullsh*t.

Arriving in Anaheim two weeks ago, the sunny land of Walt Disney, super tall palms trees, and mega conferences (there was a recent conference there in excess of 80,000 attendees), I was stoked to soak up the SourceCon vibe. The theme for the conference was “We Control the Robots”. Given my strong interest in the interplay and future of sourcing, talent acquisition, and recruitment with technology, this was a great opportunity to meet a range of experts and listen to their experiences.

With so many sessions packed with interesting content and led by great speakers who have a genuine passion for sourcing and recruitment – I am thrilled to share my top 10 take homes from SourceCon Spring 2017:

 The Humans Will Control the Robots

An overriding theme was that as recruiters, we will excel when we know where it makes sense to use the machine, to improve the candidate experience or a process.

Our success for the future, according to Summer Husband from Randstad Sourceright, will be the centaur approach – a blend of both human and machine. Times are changing, and as Jason Roberts also from Randstad Sourceright, highlighted “what got you here, won’t get you there”.

Automation means machines are starting to think and your engagement will be what matters – how you blend tech and touch will be what sets you apart.

 Be Human

Katrina Collier, The Searchologist, had the room enthralled with her Aussie/UK blend of forwardness, honesty and humour and reminded us, above all, to be human, to be peculiar and to use the information we have intelligently.

Primarily, recruiters need to talk to people and Katrina encouraged all of us to #FightSpam and call out those in our industry who flood their candidates with generic emails. We could all use some empathy and personalisation when engaging candidates and this could be the point of difference that gets you real results.

 Engagement

SourceCon legend Glen Cathey, focused on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) during sourcing and how we, as humans, can use it effectively to make our approach more personal. This process is what Glen calls “intelligence amplification” and the people who are able to marry the use of technological tools with critical thinking and outbound sales skills will be ones who succeed in the future.

So keep up the trends peeps, embrace our robot overloads, and use the tech to make you better at what you do.

 Community

SourceCon was all about the people – from the ERE Media team that put on this amazing family reunion-styled event, led and inspired by the impressive Shannon Pritchett, to the crew of volunteers that made sure everyone was welcomed and having a generally awesome time – to the great staff at the Marriott who fed and watered us – and the sponsors who shouted us a couple of drinks.

To the 650 attendees from across the United States, and the 20 or so of us who made the journey from further afield. To the speakers, the experts, the newbies, the hackers, the veterans, and the damn whole crew who were there to learn, engage and connect – what a great community to be part of.

Transparency

One of my earliest and most important lessons in corporate recruitment was to be transparent. This transparency has always fuelled better collaboration with my team, peers, stakeholders, candidates, suppliers and business leaders.

Recruitment can be a tough, sometimes isolating, and often disparaged (yet rewarding) gig. But over the years, I feel I have seen the industry move from siloed and competitive outlook to a more open community. Collaboration and transparency via events and conferences are keys to an inclusive culture, which can only improve the overall reputation and longevity of our industry.

 A veritable plethora of tips and tricks

Wow! So many and I can list a bunch, but here are some of my favourites:

  • Set up an about.me page for yourself but don’t write angry or engage with or follow trolls. Just follow people in the industry you recruit for to keep yourself in the loop with the latest happenings;
  • Set up a strategy battle card to outline your competitive intelligence data, prioritise your prospects, and bring these information to every intake meeting;
  • Run ongoing drip marketing campaigns to court your candidates and build long term relationships between you and your talent community;
  • Get your stakeholders to commit to a process to have more candidate control, and think about the psychology of recruiting and where your human touch can have an effect – from the intake meeting, candidate engagement, assessing & screening, interviewing and closing.
 The Tools

Check these out and consider them for your sourcing and engagement:

Competitive intelligence tools mentioned included:

Tools for matching

Facebook groups that may be interest include

Keep on reading

 Diversity
Me and my SourceCon soulmate – Vira Povkh.

Remains a hot topic. Be sure your messages and branding appeal to the type of personas and people you are looking to attract to your business. Some of the tools mentioned above are really going to add significant value when sourcing diverse candidates.

For me, as visitor to the US, I was also really interested to see that diversity did really rule at SourceCon and I was so pleased to meet someone who shared that awe as an outsider – the effervescent, positive and super lovely Vira Povkh from the Ukraine. This was her first SourceCon experience too, and she had travelled even further than me – taking three flights over 30 hours to make her way to the USA, and yet she still bubbled with excitement and contagious interest.

Vira quickly became my SourceCon spirit guide and she encapsulated to me what made SourceCon so great – to be human, to engage, remain excited and interested in learning how to best harness the machines to do our jobs even better.

 Innovation

Creativity is what sets us apart from the machines and Kerstin Wegner was a terrific keynote speaker. At DB in Germany, she manages a team of over 300 sourcing specialists who made over 13,000 hires in 2016. Her mission has been how to become better, on doing social right and she highlighted how her customer is her applicant.

The focus for her team is very much on innovation and the candidate experience. She shared that to be an innovative recruiter, or what she termed a “trendscout”, was to be ahead of the curve through a focus on market intelligence (market research, technology trends & performance analysis) and an innovative attitude. As a leader she inspired her team by providing structures that support innovation via digital and social think tanks, and team enablement that challenged existing processes and methods and aimed for simplification.

 Los Angeles, I’m Yours (The Decemberists)

I got to spend an amazing two weeks in SoCal! From Downtown LA, Disneyland and Universal Studios, to West Hollywood, out to Palm Springs, a drive through Joshua Tree National Park, to Pasadena, Santa Monica, and a side trip to San Francisco, I had an absolute ball.

What sets SourceCon apart for me was the mentality of giving and collaboration and a big thank you again ATC for the opportunity to attend – definitely brilliant!

Images: Emily Alexander

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