When I first came to the world of recruiting back in 1996, the internet had only been publicly available for around five years.  The world then was only beginning to understand its potential.  I recognized it as game-changer.  And I was right. It was the death of recruiting as it was and the birth of how it would be.  Leveraging this realization enabled me to achieve my first great success in this business.  I went from a hapless rookie to an industry leader by doing one simple thing: connecting with people online.  No one had recruited like that before.  This taught me a valuable lesson about the business of hiring people: you have to adapt and innovate to succeed.

Since that time, I’ve strived to adapt and innovate to remain at the forefront of an ever-changing landscape of technology and corporate culture.  From my determination between 2004 and 2006 to convince LinkedIn that their product would have massive appeal among recruiters if only they let us have it (resulting in LinkedIn Recruiter), to my influence over the creation of hundreds of products that make it easier to do our job, I’ve come to believe that technology is a great enabler but it is not the sole answer to the quest for talent.  It is our human spark, our creativity, the innate human desire to explore and discover that makes it possible to find the unfindable.  And this spark is the soul of adaptation and innovation.

As I look back on 21 years in this business I’ve seen many seismic changes.  I’ve seen “Sourcing,” as I conceived it in 1996, evolve from an arcane skillset to a widely adopted and mature specialization employing almost half a million people worldwide. And through all these years, I can say only one thing has remained constant: the exponential growth of the information available to us all. 

And because of this information overload, what was once a simple proposition of matching keywords in a pile of text now produces so many results that we suffer from analysis paralysis.  No longer is our task to find a needle in a haystack but rather to find the needle in stack of needles.  And in our confusion, we are tempted with the wrong-minded compulsion to turn blindly to technology for answers. But the answers we seek are those that computers are least equipped to provide. These answers can only be arrived at through the application of human intuition, by taking leaps in logic and identifying patterns and through understanding both context and subtext.  This is the only way to identify the hidden gem, the perfect candidate, the purple squirrel.

Looking forward, I see the barriers around walled information gardens falling. I see more and more people becoming more and more visible.  And I see the candidates we seek becoming more and more obscured by the crowd. You may think that with all the search technology out there it has become easier to find people, but the truth is the opposite. The technology is being developed precisely because it is that much harder to find people because there are simply more people to sort through. 

In Europe, the challenge recruiters face is even more complex simply because of the variety of languages.  For instance, search techniques that may work in English may not work in French or Dutch. But natural language search works in any database, structured or unstructured, in any language, and is far more scalable than any Boolean based search ever was. So the unique solutions needed to succeed in the recruiting of the future will require that human spark of creativity which will be called upon evermore to find them!

At this point I will digress and say that I look forward to meeting many of you and that I very much look forward to exploring these topics and others with you in depth soon at SOSU Europe!

So, it’s 5 weeks until #SOSUEU, and what does that mean? It means Dan here gets a severe case of FOMO. The weather will be better than the misery we are wading through with our weather here, when the cast and crew of Phil Tusings troop swans it way to Europe for another all singing all dancing Recruitment extravaganza.

If you have ever attended a #SOSUEU event, you will feel the power of my FOMO. This one with the theme “Exploring new frontiers for sourcing” promises to be one of his best ones yet. My excitement (and future hashtag stalking) comes because, Phil has gathered a cast of people, some of which I have known and obsesses over for years and others, well upon reading their bio… I may just start obsessing over.

Shally Steckeral, is my original sourcing guru. Back in my ERE.Net and Recruitingblogs.com involvement days, he was one of the people who made me fall in love with Recruitment again. The passion and knowledge this guy consistently drops is worth the plane fare and entrance fee along. He won’t remember this, but we became pig brothers back in 1997 in Sydney.

I could write about Troy Hammond, but the man has become a brand unto himself, he seriously should trademark his name (tipping he has already), beard and thongs (OK jandals, I think he is almost a kiwi). But listening to his knowledge and un-wavering commitment to our craft is always inspiring. however, if you don’t like the odd “F” bomb, try to steel yourself.

I met Mark Tortorici at a conference in the last year or 2 (they get muddled in my head) over here, this guy is crazy smart and creative in the way he goes about finding the unfindable. I’ll admit I was in awe of his mind. Martin Lee, a true Recruitment protagonist, who is definitely on my bucket list to have a quiet beverage with, if you haven’t listened to him or read his constant thoughts, you are truly missing out.

I will admit that the other speakers are new names for me… however, if I know anything about the SOSU team, they will have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, literally scouring the globe, to get some of the best minds in the business to highlight his event.

You may not know me either, but I am a sucker for a great conference where I judge them by the thoughts they inspire and the takeaways I can action to improve myself or my business. Do yourself a favour, if you are a Sourcer and want to learn how to really wow your clients or bosses, beg borrow or steal to get yourself a ticket. You’ll thank me later…



Name: Jiri Herodek
Country: Czech Republic
Company: Blue-Infinity
Position: Talent Acquisition Manager
Q1. Tell us what sourcing problems you are currently solving  
I had been working for a boutique search agency specialized on IT recruitment for almost 5 years. I have joined Blue-infinity recently as a Talent Acqusition Manager/Recruitment Trainer for CEE region.The first biggest sourcing challenge is to assess how sourcing has been working so far and how can we improve our recruitment funnel, which tools should we implement to increase number of placed candidates and keep our “quality of hire” at the same time. The second pain point is how can we attract talent who is relevant for us.Since we are focused predominantly on Salesforce and e-commerce IT specialists that question becomes more important for us now.

Q2. How do you define sourcing as it currently exist at Blue Infinity
 and how you see it evolving? 
The current state I would describe as shifting from reactive recruitment to proactive recruitment.  We are in the phase of assessing current state, implementing of new techniques, processes and technologies. My goal is to build a functional sourcing team with sufficient knowledge, skills and multi-channel sourcing in its classical form including proactive sourcing and other channels
Q. Who do you admire and learn from in sourcing? 
 That list would be very long:-)
I would start with people who I know in person and who inspired me and why:
Johnny Campbell – He has a very sharp mind in marketing and candidate attraction methods
Bill Boormann – my “Mr.Yoda” not only in recruitment and networking but also when it comes to life itself.
Shane McCusker – is very inspiring in Facebook sourcing
Balazs Paroczay – he has inspired me a lot in building our sourcing team and in sourcing tools
Matěj Matolín – inspired me a lot in employer branding and how to set up sourcing in a start-up company
Otherwise, there are plenty of people who I admire and who inspire me every day: Dave Hazlehurst, Karen Azulai, Irina Shamaeva, Katrina Collier, Kasia Borowicz, Martin Lee, Julia Jolkin, Shally Steckerl, Henk Van Ess

Q3 Sourcing tools I use daily?  

Besides my brain and Google I use:-) 
  • Hiretual – Is very complex tool comprising sourcing, finding contact details etc. and absolutely must have for all sourcers
  • Facebook Search – I use this tool for sourcing on Facebook.Its simple and easy to use
  • Git discovered and Github emails finder is must have tool for all sources like me  who hang out on Github
  • Contact out – its the best tool if you need to find email addresses and contact information
There are plenty of other that I use as well:
SoucerHub, SearchBar, Extensity, Data Miner, Rapportive, Email Qualifier, Cirrus Insight, Auto Text Expander, Google CSE
Q4 One bit of sourcing advice I can give to my peers
My advice is very simple: “Never give up in sourcing because there is always way how to find and attract people you want.The common mistake is in wrong or inaccurate boolean string, platform or place where you source, way/method how you approach your candidates or lack of information about the role from your client/hiring authorities.”

Guest post by Alexandre Pachulksi

Talent sourcing is one of the youngest, fastest growing areas of talent management. Many of us, myself included, have only recently discovered how important sourcing really is, and it has been incredible to see all the advancements that have taken place in this community. Generally speaking, most people seem to be focusing on the hacking part of sourcing. We’re looking for the right Boolean string, or the right way find an email address hidden in the code of a website, and a good deal of the content on blogs and at conferences is related to this. While this is all incredibly useful, I feel our focus on hacking has sometimes caused us to neglect the more human side of sourcing.

In 2004 author James Surowiecki wrote a fascinating book called The Wisdom of Crowds that brought attention to the idea that, under the right circumstances, the collective knowledge of a large group of people is superior to that of a few experts. While a few single individuals may have a wealth of knowledge, a large enough group of people is going to be more accurate in their choices. This concept has been applied to many areas of business and culture, and it has helped me to take a different perspective on sourcing.

Sourcing, owing to its relative youth, is often viewed as a solo sport. One sourcer, sometimes two, searches for and curates a list of candidates to provide to recruiters and/or hiring managers, and then refines the search based on feedback. Overall, it’s work that is done in isolation and has each party working separately at each stage in the process. While sourcers have been able to deliver great results with this model, I believe that applying some of the concepts of the wisdom of crowds, and looking at the human side of sourcing, could help us to achieve even better talent acquisition results.

Surowiecki explains in his book that there are four elements that create a wise crowd: diverse opinions, independence, decentralization, and aggregation. Most sourcers will probably agree that the first three traits are well established in sourcing. Unfortunately, aggregation is often a missing component. We sometimes fail to bring information from all stakeholders together and harness the power of small groups. Furthermore, we occasionally fail to harness the wisdom of large groups by leveraging the power of people’s networks. Yes, we can hack for data and break it down, but are we also bringing people together to review that data and are we using personal, human relationships to source the right candidates? Too often we are not, which means we are missing out on the power of aggregation.

Small scale aggregation occurs when everyone involved in the recruiting process is actively sharing information and keeping up to date. Most current models have information going from group to group in a kind of workflow. However, if everyone is able to be watching information together from an early stage there are large efficiency gains to be had. For example, if the hiring manager is able to see the preliminary lists of candidates a sourcer is finding, she can give feedback on which candidates are good fits. This allows the sourcers to instantly refine their searches rather than waiting until they’ve curated an entire list. It’s a small thing, but over time, and with hundreds of vacancies, it can make a large difference.

Large scale aggregation is different in that it involves significantly bigger groups and occurs through all of the networks that we and others have. Thanks to social media and other technology we have a relatively easy way of tracking and finding all the people we know. If we as sourcers make the effort to bring multiple people and their networks together we’ve not only expanded our ability to search, but we’ve expanded how we can best find and contact people. Everyone we know is not only a potential source, they are also potential sourcers. From this perspective, sourcing is not an individual effort at all. It’s a group process! (Shameless plug: The importance of aggregation and collaboration is one of the things that inspired me to create Hello Talent and try to make it one of the best sourcing tools available.  I believe that as more sourcers try to harness the wisdom of crowds they’ll need tools to make that easy. Hopefully Hello Talent can be one of those tools.)

So what can we as sourcers do to better harness the wisdom of crowds? I believe there are two key parts. One, take the time to involve everyone in the process and do it early! If you bring people together and make it clear that this is a collaborative effort, you’ll benefit from shared knowledge. Two, don’t neglect people’s networks! Hacking is a big deal, but if you also have the ability to work with other people to see if they can facilitate connections you’re going to not only find more candidates, but also have a larger volume of them convert into hires. In the end, sourcing is something that can be done in isolation, but by applying the wisdom of crowds the entire process can be made much more effective.

Alexandre is the co-founder of Talentsoft and creator of the sourcing tool Hello Talent. He has a doctorate in knowledge management from Dauphine Unviersity Paris, is a regular speaker at events, and writes extensively, including having written three books about talent management.

Name: Sören Frickenschmidt
Country: Germany
Company: Boehringer

Q1 – What problems are you currently solving in your role?
I am heading the recruiting services team at Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany, a family-owned pharmaceutical company with 47.000 employees worldwide. My team is filling positions with internal and external candidates and manages temp labor. My day-to-day work mostly revolves around making sure that we have all we need to do so, are aligned with everyone playing a role in the process an adapt to external and internal changes.

Q2 – How do you define sourcing as it currently exist at Boehringer and how you see it evolving? 
When we talk about “sourcing” we mean identifying and contacting possible candidates instead of waiting for them to react on our offers. We have started to do this systematically some time ago and it is getting more important and more effective each year.  For the lion’s share of our positions, we get very good applications if we post the jobs on our website or online job boards. On the other end of the scale, there will always be positions where we need the help of selected external partners. But there is a growing area in between, where the best option is to actively approach interesting candidates ourselves.

Q3 – What are the biggest challenges you currently face as a recruiter/sourcer
I see two big challenges: One is adapting quickly to permanent volatility and ambiguity in the recruiting demand. The other is bridging the gap between our desire for a positive candidate and manager experience and a highly regulated and complex environment.

Q4. Who in recruitment do your admire or learn from? 
There are some brilliant professors, tech start-ups and consultants out there. But my best source of inspiration are other practitioners from large organizations. New ideas, strategies and technologies are fascinating, inspiring and always come with a lot of sex appeal. But I learn most from people who actually did something in a real world environment – and either solved a problem or learned from the failure.

Q5 – One bit of sourcing advice I can give to my peers
Innovation is just the sidekick. Impact is the superhero.


Name: Billy McDiarmid
Country: Scotland
Company: HR Consultancy
Twitter: billymcdiarmid

Q1 – What problems are you currently solving in your role?
The range of disciplines that we cover! I work with a team of 30 end-to-end agency recruiters in sectors including finance, engineering, financial services and legal. Sourcing and attracting candidates is completely different in every sector so I try and come up with best practice that can be used both in those sectors and across the business. I also work close with external clients to solve their problems that cannot be resolved through straightforward contingency or retained recruitment.

Sourcing is … the process of identifying, attracting and engaging with people so that when the time is right it will be easy for them to become a candidate

Q2 – How do you define sourcing?
The process of identifying, attracting and engaging with people so that when the time is right, it will be easy for them to become a candidate! I’m not a believer of the active / passive candidate terminology. People are simply people until they decide to throw their hat into the ring for a position – then they become a candidate. It doesn’t matter whether the have been looking for job or not.

Q3 – Sourcing tools I use daily
Where do I start?
– Our CRM and Marketing platforms Firefish Software and CampaignMonitor.
– For talent pooling I use HelloTalent.
– For social media I use Buffer, Audiense and Canva,
– For data I use DataScraper, Outwit, Import.io, Blockspring and Postman.
– For contact information and engagement, I use Prophet, Lusha, Name2Email, Rapportive and Streak.

Always remember – your competition will stop looking at some point. If you never stop looking, then you will find those that others can’t!

Q4. Can you tell us five people you admire most in sourcing?
There are so many people but the top five would be:

Aaron Lintz – very much a geek in the same mould as myself, and just superb at hacks.
Michael Kelman – one of my favourite parts of the recruitment world is the community, and whether you love Michael or not he has created one of the best for sharing ideas and learning.
Martin Lee – for introducing me to the sourcing community in the first place!
Kasia Borowicz – for not being frightened of calling recruiters out and for always putting the candidate at the core of the recruitment experience.
Randy Bailey – just a great source of information – always willing to share and get sourcers speaking to each other!

Q5 – One bit of sourcing advice I can give to my peers
Always remember – your competition will stop looking at some point. If you never stop looking, then you will find those that others can’t!

Billy is speaking at #sosueu on 27-28 September.


Name: Ralitsa Burneva (Rali)
Country: Luxembourg
Company: Amazon Web Services
Position: EMEA Recruiter


Q1. Can you tell us about your current role and what problems you are solving on a day-to-day basis?
I work as a full-cycle recruiter for AWS and support the hiring for our Partner organization across EMEA and for our Nordics Sales teams. AWS is growing at an enormous pace which puts a healthy pressure on us in the recruitment team to find the right people yesterday, in big volumes and at the same time keeping the Amazon hiring bar high and keeping our amazing culture uncompromised.


Q2. What are the biggest challenges you currently face as a recruiter/sourcer
I am now working as a full-cycle recruiter for the first time in my life, after several years as a sourcer. It requires a special effort, strict planning and prioritization to still be doing your own sourcing, be creative and up to date with your sourcing approach and at the same time deliver quality service to your clients throughout all other stages of the process.

Sourcing and recruiting across EMEA has its unique challenges and I need to be aware of the specifics of all local markets I touch upon.

On the other hand, the tech industry is getting more and more competitive and fast-moving which calls for speed-of-light recruitment actions. Every day I need to find the right balance between moving fast enough and insisting on the highest standards when it comes to candidates’ skill and cultural fit; between the huge influx of applications we get at AWS and proactively engaging with the people we are interested in.


Q3. How do you define sourcing?
Sourcing is the art of match-making in the corporate world.

It is the best job in the world for people who:

  • Are information and internet geeks
  • Crave puzzle-solving and finding the missing pieces
  • Love engaging with people and helping them achieve more than they thought possible


Q4. Sourcing tools I use daily?

Internet, phone and chocolate! J

Specific tools change constantly as every day better ones arise but there are a few:

Referral sessions!, a great internal tool our IT team built for us at Amazon, Meetup, Quora, 360social, Newsle, Facebook Graph Search, MailTester, various phone number search engines (vary by country), good old X-ray searches, CSE, LinkedIn…


Q5. Can you tell us the people you admire most in sourcing?

This list can go on and on!

Glenn Gutmacher, Shally Steckerl, Maureen Srarib, Irina Shamaeva, Jim Stroud, Balasz Paroczay are just a few people who have influenced my sourcing journey. I am super excited I will get to meet some of them at SOSU!


Q6. One sourcing advice I can give to my peers is….

Everyone can learn how to play with tools, do research and gather CVs. What really differentiates you is how you engage with your candidates – so spend time to get to know them on personal level, dive deep into their goals and drivers and be present for them every step of the way. You might be surprised to understand how much that mattered to them when they get to choose between your offer and another one at the end.


Name: Victor Soroka
Country: Ukraine
Company : EPAM
Position: Global Leadership Hiring

Q1. Can you tell us about your current role and what problems you are solving on a day-to-day basis?

My current role at  EPAM is about Leadership Hiring mostly. We are growing in 20+ countries for 25-30% every year so leaders’ attraction is a critical point for us. EPAM has its own unique engineering culture so sourcing and recruiting our type of leaders requires combination of sourcing creativity, global market and industry understanding as well as deep knowledge of company DNA.

Q2. How do you define sourcing?

As we all know there are no only one “right” definition of sourcing. For me sourcing is range of activities focused on identifying and attraction professionals who are qualified for the specific position based on initial requirements. Depends on the specific situation your sourcing strategy can be focused on passive or active candidates (or both groups) but the main goal is the same – fill the pipeline with specialists who meet the role requirements.

Q3. Sourcing tools I use daily?

It may sounds a little bit old fashioned but I’m a big fan of tools which really work so I would like to put LinkedIn Recruiter at the first place in my sourcing tools list.

Except that:

Q4. Can you tell us the people you admire most in sourcing?

I would pretend that this question is not about specific names of sourcing masters we all know (however I have my own favorites in this listJ) and try to put this in the following way… Most of all I admire people in sourcing who are brave enough not to follow old patterns and constantly trying to invent something new, even if it means replacing sourcers with algorithms (just joking).


Q6. Is sourcing conducted differently in the CIS region?
I do not think there are some major differences compare to global sourcing, however we can definitely talk about some local specifics:

  • sourcing as a separate function/role/unit is present in tiny % of companies, in most cases one person does a full cycle recruiting, in some companies HR and Recruiter is still the same person;
  • active sourcing is common mostly within IT industry, in most other cases “post and pray” approach is used;
  • RPO is not really popular in this part of the world but you will find number of freelance recruiters available (especially in IT again);

Q7. What sourcing tactics work best in CIS?

  • right mix of global and local sources should be used; penetration of LinkedIn is relatively low (especially when we are talking about not-IT candidates);
  • % of English speaking population is low so make sure to include local languages titles into your search strings;
  • global people aggregators may have not enough information about candidates in this part of the world so don’t forget about old good Boolean Search and X-Ray Search.

Q5. One sourcing advice I can give to my peers is…

…get into details. You can have all possible sourcing tools and systems but it is not possible to run effective sourcing without deep understanding of the role you are working in. So my advice – before starting searching (or even worse contacting candidates) make sure you do understand who you are looking for and what this person supposed to do on day to day basis.


Victor will be at #sosueu in September. Get your tickets now.





Every year, one of the highlights at #SOSUEU is the ‘hacks’ – fresh and smart new ways of finding talent – contributed by speakers and delegates alike.

This year we are taking our love of hacking further by dedicating one day to sourcing hacks. We are delighted to announce a #hackathon or rather a #sosuhack day on 27 September.

Whether you are a perennial tinkerer who loves playing with tools and technology, or just interested in discussing new ways to find talent you will enjoy #sosuhack. It’s one day of harnessing wisdom of the crowd, networking, making new friends and exploring cool news ways of finding talent. The event is only open to #SOSUEU delegates. For more details go here

Below perennial hacker and regular contributor at #sosueu – Jan Bernhart – demoed what a hack looks like and what you can expect from #sosuhack day at #sosueu.

Jan will be one of the many hacking leaders at #sosuhack. Don’t miss #sosuhack , get your #sosueu ticket today



Name: Roanne Yee      
Country: Frankfurt, Germany
Company : SYZYGY AG
Position: Senior Talent Manager
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/roanneyee

Q1. Can you tell us about your current role and what problems you are solving on a day-to-day basis? 

SYZYGY is an award-winning full-service digital agency group. Whilst it has a German base, it also has multiple international offices and brands spread across 8 cities. With currently 600+ employees and growing rapidly, we have a lot of open positions, many of which are considered to be both rare and niche roles in the German digital market.

Until recently, recruitment had been a decentralised process shared by several HR team members and quite frequently external headhunters. I joined SYZYGY a month ago to establish recruitment as a specialised discipline within the HR team in Frankfurt.  Together with my recruiter colleague, our role is to focus on implementing seamless recruitment processes, and maximize hires through internal active sourcing. This also includes enhancing the use of social media channels for recruitment and employer branding. As internal recruiters, we see ourselves as authentic ambassadors of our company, able to convince passive candidates more effectively than headhunters.


Q2. What are the biggest challenges you currently face as a recruiter/sourcer

Our recruitment team at SYZYGY have multiple challenges to meet: Germany’s declining population, which has severely narrowed the employee market, particularly where we look for qualified German speaking talent. Additionally, the creative industry has seen a huge transformation over recent years, with fewer talents willing to work in permanent roles and qualified digital talents being snapped up by heavy competition from either agile start-ups, or big corporations in the consulting and financial sector.

Due to strict data privacy laws in Germany, access to databases and the ability to pipeline talent are limited for recruiters.  This means developing clever long-term sourcing and pipelining strategies is crucial, and building a sustainable and attractive social employer brand is a top priority.


Q2. How do you define sourcing? Sourcing is…..

Detective Work and Problem Solving:

  • Gather all Evidence and Facts,
  • Hunt your Passive Candidates,
  • Identify the Prime Suspects,
  • Analyse and Understand their Motivations, Personality and Circumstances, and then
  • Create the Ultimate Pitch.


Q3. Sourcing tools I use daily?

  • Xing
  • LinkedIn
  • Google
  • Behance
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Trello
  • Notepad (… and lots of Coffee)

Sourcing is 1% search and 99% persuasion.

Q5. One sourcing advise I can give to my peers is….

Sourcing is 1% search and 99% persuasion.

Anyone can learn Boolean, do an advanced LinkedIn Search and filter out a list of qualified candidates to reach out to with a job description. But creating engagement is the essence of a recruiter’s job.

Before you source, you need to create your pitch (and this is not just a job description and a link to your website!) Start by gathering information about the business, the company culture, and the role. Dive deep – interrogate the hiring manager, interview members of the team – what drives them, what are their challenges and what is their vision? Then you need to analyse your target candidates – demographics, motivation, where do they come from and what is important to them. Now you can start to craft a winning story and give your open role it’s own “unique selling proposition” – keep it simple but compelling – this sort of communication will engage and attract those passive candidates and make you an Expert Sourcer.