A funny thing happened, on the way to and from the Forum.

The Forum, in this case, being the SourceCon Facebook page (it’s excellent, by the by, and you should join up if you haven’t already – I’m assuming that you enjoy things like that, since you’re on a blog like this – if you’re not, or you just need a break from it all, I recommend this).

So, still with me? Great. As a reward, I’ll give you something fun at the end.

And who doesn’t like fun? I mean, beyond this guy?


So, anyways.

The thing.

Big long thread, started by the fabulous Stacey Donovan Zapar (I’m linking to her company, because you should hire her if you can). She was presenting to some muckety-mucks around talent acquisition technology recommendations, and wanted to verify her assumptions with a bunch of people she respects (and me), as well as look for innovative ideas from said same group.

Really great chat came out of it.  Long and the short of it is: there are lot of options you could recommend a firm buy into. Maybe, even, too many. Certainly, a lot of them compete (that’s natural), and there are also noticeable gaps (did I mention I have ideas for a suite or products and/ or features? Yes. Yes, I do.) In fact, it seems like there are a ton of apps/ tools in certain segments of the “solution continuum” (TM!), with some areas that are just sucking void. That’s all a side note, btw – let’s focus on what’s available.

So, you want to recommend solutions to your boss/ client/ mom, whatever. You chat them up (if you’re reading this from the UK, no, not that kind of chatting up, I just mentioned your mum for the love of Pete). You get an idea what their long-term goals are, wish lists, maybe where they vacation, etc. You tie that into more short term strategic goals, and then tie that back into tactical wins (also, if you tied their vacation into all of that, you have won them as a client for life). Then, you say, “Ta-da! Buy this combo of Entelo/ TalentBin/ Gild/ Dice OpenWeb/ CareerBuilder Recruiter Edge, LinkedIn/ Monster/ freaking Xing!, and blah blah blah, and give it to your 100 sourcers, and you’ll be a hero!”

Only… maybe not. What if, instead, some of those sourcers loved the combo. Say, maybe 2 of them. Because that’s about what you’ll get. Amongst the rest, you’ll get some who are happy with TalentBin, but man there are others going “WTF, I love _Enetelo_, man!” Maybe you’ve got hard-core nerds goin “LinkedIn is for also-rans. I want to build a Sovren-based sourcing instance, and scour the deep Web… and gimme the AIRS search bar!”

There will also be 8 who hate everything you do. There. Just. Will. Be. They happen to relate to this guy.


So, you can’t please them all. Unless you can (except for those last  8 – they suck).

My idea, small one, is that we can riff off of the BYOD movement. Or, maybe the better way to look at it is, we can riff off of what smart engineering leaders have known for years: geeks are hard to please. Technical geeks are even harder to please. More to the point, they’re probably smart enough that there’s a reason they’re so hard to please.

They want to use the tools that fit them. So, when they hire them, they ask what sort of dev tools they need, what sort of machine. Because they are smart, and they know how to succeed.

I think it’s the same with sourcers and recruiters. Just because one of your top people is a whiz at cracking LinkedIn like a walnut, and has a freakishly high InMail response rate (I believe LinkedIn rates anything over 15% as freakishly high these days, but I may be off), doesn’t mean that their neighbor will. In fact, their neighbor may be phenomenal at inhaling data via, say, that Sovren-driven tool they home built, and all they need is a license. Or, maybe they’re well known in the Stack Overflow community, and need to use that tool to win.

What. Freaking. Evs. It’s all good. Let them have their cake, and let them eat it.

Here’s the play. You get a rough budget idea, based on last year, for tools. Maybe you make some cases for exceptions, but you can start with that baseline. Survey your team – do it via  Google Form to make it stupidly easy. Just ask: what tools work for you? Which ones did you never use this year, and if you lost them, would you come and yell at us? Why in the world would you do that, are you one of those freaking bottom 8’s??

Wait – sorry – deep breath.

Anywhooo, you get the idea. Find out what’s working for your teams, and why. Force rank their requests a bit, do a bit of follow up to confirm your suspicions, run some of this past Compliance/ IT/ leadership, etc, and then once you have a sense for what’s possible, set up the tools. Communicate with people that, yes, Virginina, there is a Santa Claus, and he just got you your GitHub account, and he’s gonna give you some IT support to set up that cool Sovren tool you keep rambling about.

It’s a bit more work on the front end – you’ll either need a good agency of record (there are several, like HireClix, TMP, etc), or the bandwidth to do a bit of extra negotiating up from, since it means more vendors/ contracts/ invoices to manage, but… less people yelling. Better sourcing. Good metrics a-go-go.

Also, put aside some money in your budget, for when you make new hires, and let them know “Hey – we get it. You want flexibility. This year, we have contracts with this menu of vendors, with these tools on offer. You don’t get them all, unless you want us to start taking it out of your pay, but you can select up to $xx amount from the menu, place your order, and the kitchen will get to work cooking it up for you.”

If you’re a sourcer, reading this, think about how that would feel. No more: “You get a Recruiter seat, and you get to post to Monster.” More: “We want you to succeed. How can we best invest in you?”

If you hire sourcers, imagine being able to use that in your pitch? Or, better yet, imagine your competition being able to, when you can’t?

Well. Unless they’re the ones who don’t like anything. We all know what to do with them.

Alright, thus endeth the ramblin’, and I do remember I promised you something fun. I happen to like this, today.