Name: Marcel Rietveld
Location : Amsterdam
Company: TalentMapper
Twitter: @marcelrietveld

Q1. What problems are you currently solving in your role? Tell us a bit about TalentMapper
At TalentMapper, we say: ‘we transform the way companies find talent’. It seems like an average tagline, but we are very serious about this. We conduct very detailed research on target groups in the Netherlands. I personally think that the research part in sourcing is the most important step to be successful in recruiting. After the research part our clients know their target group very well and are able to approach them personally and can convince them with the help of key insights.

In my role at TalentMapper I advice companies in the Netherlands how they can implement a strategic talent sourcing function. I adviced several companies like ABN AMRO, BAM and Capgemini. I am very passionate in getting the right sourcing strategy, structure and people in place at my clients. I’m very proud to see our Talent Sourcers making a big business impact for our clients and structurally changing the recruitment landscape within these organisations.


I personally think that the research part in sourcing is the most important step to be successful in recruiting


Q2. How do you define sourcing?
Talent Sourcing is identifying, approaching and convincing talent (online), with the aim to match them directly to a job or placing them into a talentpool. I also like the definition of Glen Cathey: ‘The proactive identification, engagement and assessment of talent focusing solely on non-applicants (typically “passive” talent) with the end goal of producing qualified, interested and available candidates’.

Q3. Sourcing tools I use daily
I must say: I’m a sourcing tool addict. I’m always searching for new tools that can make me as a Sourcer more productive. So I work with lots of tools, but I can name a few: Context Scout, Discoverly, Data Scraper, Datacruit, Email Hunter, Facebook Search, Prophet.

But I always say: ‘a fool with a tool, is still a fool’.

Q4. Can you tell us the people you admire most in sourcing?
I’ve been in recruiting/sourcing for 10> years now and met a few very intelligent people. First of all I want to name my friend and business partner Gertjan van Swieten (also known as @trainersourcing). He is one of the best sourcing trainers in the Netherlands. He taught me a lot about ‘selling the job’ to a candidate and doing ‘deep-data-intakes’.

I think many people don’t know Aaron Lintz. Follow this quy on Twitter. He is one of my sparring partners. I learned a lot from him. He is a very skilled Technical Sourcer. Finding new or better ways to source people, every day.

Martin Lee: Want to know more about international sourcing? He’s your man!

Shane McCusker: Mister Facebook searching! Always experimenting to make sourcing easier for everybody.

Dean da Costa: sourcing toolmaster. Trying to keep up with him, not working 🙂

Glen Gutmacher: Boolean magician and sourcing strategies. Always available to share knowledge.


Q5. One sourcing advice I can give to my peers is …..
Sourcers: ‘Don’t forget your second circle!’ I see many Sourcers approaching candidates directly, instead of asking their peers that already know these candidates. Ask yourself: what is the best route to your candidate? And don’t forget to dig in the network of your colleagues and hiring managers.

Bio Marcel Rietveld. Marcel Rietveld is an experienced Talent Sourcer and Recruitment trainer. With his company TalentMapper he advises Dutch companies about talent sourcing strategies. He has also trained many Recruiters and Talent Sourcers. Marcel is always looking for new ways to find, connect and attract candidates using boolean search, a ton of Google Chrome Extensions and his network of fellow sourcers. Connect with him on LinkedIn: |

We caught up with serial #sosueu presenter and sourcing tragic Jan Bernhart who currently work for Optiver in Amsterdam. Jan will be will be in Amsterdam for his fourth #sosueu.

Name: Jan Bernhart
Country: Netherlands
Company : Optiver
Twitter: JanBernhart

Q1. What problems are you currently solving in your role?

I’m now on a project at Optiver, a trading company  (market making to be specific).  Because we’re neither B2B nor B2C, almost nobody knows us. The IT requirements in trading are very challenging so our bar to hire is as high as with the famous tech companies, but we only get a fraction of the amount of applicants they get. This is where I come in.  Optiver isn’t accustomed to doing sourcing  in-house, so its pretty much a green field situation. Very exciting!


Q2. How do you define sourcing? Sourcing is……..
Attracting talent that you wished would have applied for your job openings, but didn’t. I think that’s the essence. You can break sourcing down to dozens of steps and hundreds of methods, of which search is the most prominent. But for me sourcing is way bigger then making queries or search strings. (Which is also why I advocate a hybrid recruiter-sourcer role rather than an isolated searcher).


Q3. 10 Sourcing tools I use daily are…
First of all; google chrome. When I’m interviewing for new projects I actually verify if the company prohibits to use a different browser than Internet Explorer. That’s a deal breaker. I always have sticky notes open, use Prophet and Hubspot’s email tracker. Shane’s facebook search tool. Onetab, Excel (with my self build search string maker). Worldtimebuddy to keep track of timezones. I love DataMiner as well. Some bookmarklets that I made myself. Oh and spotify or youtube; music increases my productivity (mostly 60/70′ pop/rock, some hiphop).

When I’m interviewing for new projects I actually verify if the company prohibits to use a different browser than Internet Explorer. That’s a deal breaker


Q4. Can you tell us five of the people you admire most in sourcing?
I’m not going to name the super star usual suspects here. The readers already know them and they already know i admire them. Let’s put others in the spotlights today. Aaron Lintz is someone who I look up to for his technical skills. He taught me about webscraping for instance and has IT skills that I’m just jealous of. Guillaume Alexandre is an inspirational sourcer. He’s always curious, always on top of things. This is a guy who walks the walks twice, then perhaps talks about it. The real deal. Follow him. Vince szymczak always shares original views, things he invented/ thought of/ gathered himself. I appreciate that. David Galley is so knowledgeable, its sometimes scary. Always answering the hard questions, helping people when they are stuck. I suspect he’s not a real person, 8 whizzkidds run his accounts. The guy you see on conferences is a very well prepared actor. Last but not least i want to namedrop Enrico Heidelberg here. I worked with him at spil games and he learned me so much about selling a job, closing an offer etc. These aspects are crucial to our success but mostly overlooked in the sourcing community.


Q5. One sourcing advice I can give to my peers is …..
Always be curious. About what your company actually does, about how your job openings contribute to this and what the real challenges are. About what candidates currently do, what drives them and what they think is interesting. Ask tons of questions. Listen. Have conversations with people instead of staring at your screen in isolation all the time. Everytime you speak with a candidate or colleague, try to learn something from them. Knowledge is your most crucial and perhaps even only asset. Gain more.


Bio Jan Bernhart has been in the recruitment industry for 8 years, both at agency and client side. He is a sourcer and recruiter and has hired talent from every continent except Antarctica (which is still on his wish list). He has handled C-level positions to internships and worked for startups to fortune 500 corporates. In his spare time he enjoys developing bookmarklets, creating excel formulas and denying he’s a nerd. Currently he works as freelance sourcing recruiter at Optiver. Jan spoke at the #SOSUEU 2014 and 2015 edition and his talks were some of the most popular sessions of the events. Catch up with Jan Bernhart at #sosueu.


This week we spoke to Alejandro Spicker who currently work for Goodgames Studio in Hamburg. Alejandro will be in Amsterdam for #sosueu 2016. 

Name: Alejandro Spicker
Company : Goodgames Studio
Twitter: AspickerHR

Q1. What problems are you currently solving in your role? Tell us a bit about Goodgames and how you got into sourcing?

Goodgame Studios is a leading free to play, online games development company. We operate across web and mobile platforms and our games are currently played by over 300 million users worldwide. With more than 1200 employees from around 60 different nations, we are Germany’s largest employer in the gaming software industry.
This diversity comes with both an advantage and a challenge though, which is that we currently seek out the best talents in the industry worldwide. Sourcing is such an important tool for our company since we want to find and hire the best employees in our industry, no matter where they are located.
I moved from Colombia to Germany in 2012 and after learning German I decided to apply for an internship in the new ‘sourcing department’ at Goodgame Studios. Although I already had some experience in HR, this was my first point of contact with Sourcing and I have been ‘hooked’ ever since.

Q2. What problems are you currently solving in your role?

My current position as Recruiting Manager consists of sourcing, screening candidates, interviewing them on the phone, Skype or face to face interviews and then negotiate the conditions of their hires. With me, we  are trying out a new position where Recruiters are also responsible of sourcing for their positions. This means, I am responsible for the entire recruiting process for the positions I take care of.

Q3. Sourcing is……

…recruiting’s magic wand. When used correctly, sourcing gives you the tools to find the best possible matches for your vacancies; especially for difficult positions for which applications can be somewhat challenging. It is a great opportunity for companies to fill their positions and react quickly to the market changes. For companies that work agile, like Goodgame Studios, this is actually a way to cut a lot of time in the recruiting process. We love it!

Q4. 10 Sourcing tools I use daily are…

  1. Social Media
    1. LinkedIn | Xing | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | GitHub
  2. Google
  3. Prophet / Connectifier
  5. Rapportive
  6. Bitly
  7. Facebook Search
  8. Boomerang
  9. Multi Highlighter
  10. Hubspot

Turn stones no one has turned before and you will find candidates that will surprise you!

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

There are many different opinions and ways to source. One advice I would give to my peers is to find the one way they enjoy the most. If it is searching with Boolean search, searching on Google, LinkedIn or Xing, everyone should find the method that adapts the most to them and exploit it the best they can. Then they should get out of their comfort zone, get creative and do some talent mining in other areas they have not explored before. To be a successful sourcer you have to be creative! Turn stones no one has turned before and you will find candidates that will surprise you!

Catch up with Alejandro at #sosueu.


We are staring a new section where we profiled people who work in sourcing across Europe.  This week we spoke to Klara Hermesz  who currently work for BMC software about a wide range of subjects. Klara has attended #sosueu in the past and will be back this year. She can be reached here.

Q1. What problems are you currently solving in your role?

Wow, I get this question quite a lot these days 🙂 I have been with BMC since April, so almost 2 months in the job now. I am basically building out Sourcing as a separate function since we have 360 Recruiters and we need to help reduce their workload. Plus there is a need for having Sourcing as a Specialist function. I think these days what companies really miss with not having a dedicated Sourcing function is the amount of information and valuable data that a Sourcer acquires during the in-depth searches we make. My role is to build out a Strategic Sourcing function and help Recruiters see the value of market intelligence, market maps, talent maps, talent pipelines, etc.

I also got a little side project to help and boost the social media presence of BMC. It’s a great company and we don’t show enough of it to the world yet. We have really cool success stories, like Chevron who had to put 60 hours into finding errors in their systems before installing our software and thanks to us it is 5 minutes now. This should be out there! We also need to show more of us as a team because we are quite diverse, a really international bunch of great people. Plus we need to share all the fun we have here, like the planking or the pool championships we just had recently. 🙂

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

FUN :)….I have always enjoyed sourcing. The moment right after you got a new role or project and start looking around, basically opening your first Google search literally gives me goose bumps every single time. 🙂 #weirdo… Than the whole process of figuring out, getting to know and understanding the market and the role itself and finding the best people is just great. I love to get to know new industries and become a Trusted Advisor. For me, Sourcing has to be a valued function in an organization on its own not just 10% of a Recruiter’s job.

Q3. 10 Sourcing tools I use daily are…

First of all I need good music in order to be able to focus on my sourcing task…Okay, no jokes. I always need Notepad and Google as a start (I know this is not so sexy but really useful). And then we can talk about all my little Chrome extensions that I use quite often, like Prophet, Discoverly, Email Hunter, Image Search, WhoWorks.At, Facebook Search Tool, and other tools like IFTTT, Rapportive, Sidekick, Time Converter (always confused with time zones :)). And many more but we already have 10.

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

Well, my most respected Mentor is Balázs Paróczay from whom I learnt everything basically, the whole methodology and the mindset (and probably I am still the only one from the sourcing community who can write down his name correctly being a fellow Hungarian). Actually even before that I started to learn about sourcing by myself in my spare time (when sourcing was still not sexy and I was hiding it from the agency where I worked because Social Media was evil 🙂 ).

So the ever first webinar I watched was by the brilliant Shane McCusker (still love his accent) and then of course Johnny Campbell. When I started to actually get it I read everything by Glen Cathey, who is really the top person to follow in sourcing and you just need to know him. Lately it is getting harder and harder to find someone who can come up with something we don’t know yet so I am still looking for my 5th hero! Position open, Apply now 🙂

Always try to understand the market and the role first

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

Always try to understand the market and the role first. Without having a clear picture of what is the position about, which ones are the key requirements, and which ones are just the nice-to-have ones you cannot really create a good search and you will probably not find what you need. Always try to imagine what you are going to see when you find the result. Imagine the kind of person, their job, the words they use, the world they live in.

Understand them and talk to them with as much curiosity as you can. People love to talk about their jobs and sometimes they just need someone to take the time and listen to them carefully. Use all those information in your next search! That’s how you become an Expert!

Do you wish to share you sourcing story? If so, contact us.

If you are effective and efficient in what you normally do, you naturally stick to it. To cope with the rapid changes in the business world you need to look a bit further ahead. There are situations and challenges when the norm is not sufficient – instead of finding out the hard way the wise prepare. This article is meant to give you a blueprint on how you can create a sourcing strategy when you anticipate a difficult challenge or know that for some reason you can not stick to your normal activities.

1. What is a sourcing strategy?

Let’s start answering the question what is a sourcing strategy with understanding what is, generally speaking, strategy? A question so simple, but one which has so many answers to. The evolution of management theory generated many definitions, like this from the person who probably holds the Guinness record for appearing in most university subjects, Michael Porter:

“[Strategy is the] broad formula for how a business is going to compete, what its goals should be, and what policies will be needed to carry out those goals”

A widely used definition by Oxford Dictionary states:

“A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.”

The key things to understand are that strategies

  • Describe your end-goal
  • Focus on how you are going to gain competitive advantage  (watch this 1,5 minute video of Porter explaining why this is crucial)


  • Are long-term
  • Break down what is needed to reach the goal

2. Now that we know what a that strategy is, the question is what is sourcing?

The point of this article is certainly not to write an in-depth analysis of what should be considered sourcing and what is not sourcing (read about that here from Glen, here from Balázs, and here again from Glen). But since there are contradictory sourcing definitions, let me define it with a sentence how I typically introduce it to a layman.

Sourcing is the opening act of the recruitment process, where the candidate and the representative of the company find each other and decide whether there is mutual interest in moving forward.

Notice that:

  • sourcing is not just searching.
  • sourcing is not just dealing with passive candidates.
  • sourcing can be done by a sourcer, recruiter, HR representative or even a hiring manager depending on the process at the given company.

It is no coincidence that we use terms like passive sourcing, active sourcing, direct sourcing, phone sourcing or internet sourcing: there are many ways how you can find the candidates or you can encourage the candidates to find you.

3. So, then the sourcing strategy is…

A long-term plan of how you will establish and uphold the continuous flow of the targeted talent to your company’s recruitment process and how will you edge out the competition looking for the same talent.

That means:

  • You do not have a sourcing strategy for each and every position
  • But you should have multiple sourcing strategies for the different type of talent you seek (think about dividers such as seniority, industry, white-collar/blue-collar, geography)
  • Your company does not need a sourcing strategy for a type of talent where everything works already great and you anticipate no major changes
  • It’s a long-term plan, meaning you do not take the status quo granted, but think about trends and changes in the industry
  • You focus on best practice and push the boundaries for “even better practice”
  • Strategy is not a collection of tools you will use. That’s just one of the end products of your strategy.

4. Why create a sourcing strategy?

Creating a sourcing strategy is a good way to prepare to source a new type of talent or for a new challenge with the known talent. The challenge may come from the quantity of candidates (you need much more than so far), timing (you need them faster, at a special time, or continuously for a long period) or a change in the behaviour/structure of the talent pool.

Unfortunately many lose the above goal and try to create a sourcing strategy to simply impress a client, a stakeholder or a manager. While a good strategy certainly has the ability to help you with this, if impressing is your primary goal, instead of bringing value to the process you just waste time on summarizing your current actions. Beware: this limits your thinking so may be even more dangerous than doing nothing. Only create a strategy if there is real need for one!

The desire to impress #recruitment managers or clients is not enough to start creating a #sourcing strategy Click To Tweet

On the other hand, when you have finished the strategy, be sure to share it with the appropriate audience – a little visibility in the eyes of your management, hiring community or client never hurt anyone.

5. While we are this: So what’s a recruitment strategy? And why to create a sourcing strategy, not a recruitment strategy?

Just as sourcing is part of the recruitment process, the sourcing strategy is part of the recruitment strategy. Besides further steps like interviewing, assessment, on-boarding, a recruitment strategy should involve much more work organisation/resource allocation questions. For practical reasons (time, effort, value-add) and because of sourcing being perhaps the most crucial part of the recruitment process it may make more sense to narrow your focus to a sourcing strategy. Also, do not forget that typically the stakeholders and the decision makers on the proposed steps differ (in other words you need higher involvement for a recruitment strategy).

Guide to create your sourcing strategy

Now that we discussed exactly what a sourcing strategy is, it’s time to learn how to create one.

1. Format

Classically strategies are written documents with 20-50-100-200-2173612876391268793 pages. I believe we already passed the era (were we ever there?) when people read so long documents, so if you do not want your reader to only read the introduction and the end conclusions, you may want to pick a different format. Except if you want to impress someone with the sheer amount of printed papers you throw at their desk – after my explanations above hopefully that is not your goal.

Better visualisation of your analysis will help you come up with better conclusions. Using a slide format is much more visual, and chunks the information into more digestible and understandable pieces. Plus in most cases you work together in a team, you have a manager, a hiring manager or if you are on the agency side various client representatives. You will most likely show the strategy to them in a presentation, so it’s a smart move to already prepare the strategy in slides.

2. Content

Now that you know all this it is time to prepare a process redefining, stakeholder charming and world saving piece of strategy. Generally speaking strategies consist of a short introduction to the situation, an analysis of the factors, conclusions drawn from the diagnosis and – if they are not fake materials existing just on paper – end with an action plan. The below 9-step guide shows how this looks in the case of a sourcing strategy (click here to open a bigger version).

2.0. Inputs

The sourcing strategy derives from the business plans (coming from company strategy) and HR strategy. The first part of this statement is obvious: you will need to hire people to divisions/markets where growth or big fluctuation is expected. If you diagnose there will only be a spike in required workforce, not a constant need, then hiring may be a bad decision in the first place. This leads to a very practical thumb rule: if the business can not predict the employment needs with at least some degree of certainty, there is not much sense in trying to think in a strategical way.

Alignment with HR strategy is equally important. Are you a company with relatively low average salary level hiring and developing young talent or are you the company with high average salary who routinely picks off these companies? On a related note, what is your training and development strategy? Do you invest in your employees growth? Internally or externally? How does your career management system work? Is there one in the first place? Is the primary function of your performance evaluation system to measure & reward, or to identify & develop?

All these questions will impact who are the right candidates for you.

2.1. Summarize the need

Your strategy starts with summarizing the employment need based on the inputs above. This is a very brief introduction of the situation and the timeframe.

2.2. Pinpoint the challenge

Essentially you have to explain why you have created a sourcing strategy. In the chapter “Why to create a sourcing strategy” I have mentioned that the primary needs for a strategy are new type of talent or a new challenge with the known talent. Sum these up here!

While sharing the strategy with the team or presenting to stakeholders, this is the part which should grab the attention and set the scene.

2.3. Defining the targeted talent

There are many ways how you can do this. Depending on how strictly you target you might go for something really concrete like personas or just a broad description. Any way you do this, be sure to go beyond job descriptions. The actual tasks are not the important part, the skills, qualifications and personality traits are the dimensions which define what ‘talent’ means for you.

2.4. Understanding where is the talent now

By now you explained what you seek –  this is the part where you start looking where you might find this. Threat “where” as a question as broad as possible:

  • Which geographical area is of your interest?
  • Maybe you should look for candidates from another region, or another country?
  • What communities are they part of?
  • What companies are they working at?
  • Perhaps in an entirely different industry?
  • In which schools/educational institutes they are developing themselves?
  • What events are they participating in?
  • Where are they spending time online? Forums, social media, blogs, websites, job boards?

2.5. Predicting where the talent will be in the future

Suiting profiles change, habits change and generations change. Analyze the economical, industrial and social trends and think about the same questions as in point 4  – but now in 2, 3 or 5 years (depending on the timeframe of your strategy and the speed of change).

Again, think broadly! Find reports, analysis and prediction. Look for comparable situations (how things happened in a different country/industry). Talk with industry experts in and outside of recruitment. Talk with some of the current candidates you have in the process or employees you have already hired.

2.6. What are the competitors doing?

Competition in this context means both the direct competitors of your business and everyone else who is on the hunt or will be on the hunt for the same talent.

  • How are they sourcing now?
  • What are they doing to prepare for the future?
  • How are you different from them?
  • What are they not doing and why?
  • What are you not doing and why?
  • What can you use to position yourself better than them?
  • How will the candidates hear more and better things about you?
  • Why will they choose you in the end?

2.7. Sourcing Mix now

It’s time to translate your deep analysis to the recruitment industry. By now you have a good understanding where your talent is and what your competitors are doing. So think about:

  • What channels are possible to use?
    • Online advertising (job boards, social media, SEO)?
    • Direct sourcing (search on job boards, social media, forums or web)?
    • Referrals (internal or external)?
    • Phone sourcing?
    • Headhunting?
    • TV ads?
    • Print ads?
    • Radio ads?
    • University programs?
    • Events?
    • Involving third-party agencies?
    • Cooperation with NGO-s and professional organizations?
    • Unemployment agency?
    • Internal sources?
  • Out of these, which are worth to use?
  • Which will result in best ROI?
  • How are you going to communicate with the candidates?
  • What should your message be?
  • How you should present your message?

Sourcing Mix is a term I borrowed from Marketing – in the line with the famous 4P (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) as known from the Marketing Mix. A future article is coming on this topic – if you do not want to miss it, subscribe here with just an Email address.

2.8. Sourcing Mix of the future

If your talent pool, or the way how you can reach the candidates in it are prone to change over time, it is natural that your methods should change as well.

Revise your Sourcing Mix keeping in mind what you discovered about your future talent. Add new elements and plan to eliminate old ones. It might be worth to add tools to your mix which are not work the best now, but you expect to rely on them more and more – better be early than late. Being an early adopter means a competitive advantage, but that is not the only way to differentiate yourself. Think out of the box and try not to limit yourself to what you are used to do.

Thinking out of the box can help you out with formulating or changing your message as well, but do not lose your identity while trying to be different and creative. You certainly can and should change your message over time, but stay true to your organization’s identity and general strategy. Not everyone is Google or Coca-Cola, and not everyone should be.

2.9. Checkpoints, measurement

You worked out your sourcing mix for now and for the future so now you just have to execute it, right? Well, not so fast. You certainly used all the data you could gather to predict which methods are the best for you, but there is no guarantee everything will work out the same way in reality as it looks on paper.

The solution is to make sure you will be able to measure and compare the elements of your Sourcing Mix (I wrote here on this topic earlier). Depending on your decisions earlier and the talent scope of your sourcing strategy this may range from a source and conversation ratio tracking to complete revisions of your employer brand. Plan what are the most likely causes why you could get off track, and be prepared to intervene in time. A good practice to make sure you act in time is to set up revision checkpoints – for example if source A is not reaching the efficiency level of X/week, or if Y% of candidates have a negative experience  – when you have to intervene.

3. Preparation

Strategical thinking is fun and brings great value to your organisation, but ultimately your goal is not have a good strategy but to hire the most suiting people to run your business. It’s time to put together and implement the operative plan on how you are going to bring your sourcing strategy to life.

Three last tips

Working out a coherent sourcing strategy can be a very challenging task. Before you start, make sure you have the backing of your stakeholders or otherwise it’s very likely that your well-thought out strategy will not bring much yields.

Generally speaking involve everyone who might have a valuable point of view on the subject of your talent or your recruitment process. More eyes see more, and more minds are capable of thinking further.

Share the above with your colleagues and coworkers so you have a common ground on what are you working towards. There is nothing more hindering cooperation than not being aligned on the goals.


It’s not easy to read and process such a robust material. If you have made it so far I am sure you found value in it.

Comment your opinion and experiences below, share the material with your networks, or subscribe to the site here.

Most articles about hiring through the upcoming social media are really lame and only say: ‘post relevant content on Snapchat’ & ‘be authentic on Instagram’. This is all fun and games when you are Facebook, Stripe or Uber but most of us founded / work for companies which only followers are your mum and a couple of randoms — if you are lucky.

While I agree that it’s good for (startup) companies to have some presence on these channels, the real benefit from it will only be in a much later stage when you already have someone managing social media for you. The real work has to be done by yourself, right now, and this all starts with your attitude.

disclaimer: you need to know basic x-ray searching with google and use your brain occasionally if you want to do this yourself.


When I talk attitude, I mean attitude towards the internet and how to use it to find your next colleague. Most of us have limited views on where you can find people. People massively flock to LinkedIn and only use this as their one stop shop for finding/hiring people. More advanced people (founders, tech-leads & good tech recruiters) put Github, Stackoverflow, Hackernews & Reddit to their use to find talent.

Because I was bored of being in the same places as everyone else, I started thinking. In essence the success of Linkedin is that they managed to get shitloads of people to sign up to their database and leave important data on their profiles.

However, the tide is changing. Quite frankly I don’t really care about previous work experience, or a nice chronological list of when & where you studied. The ‘resume’ style of presenting yourself is becoming obsolete. I’d much rather know what code you’ve pushed, what music you like and what you care about outside of work. A chronological list is just a nice to have, because I will find out those things when you get back to me because I found you on say, Couchsurfing.

With that in mind, think of the endless opportunities that snapchat, instagram and couchsurfing give us. A look into peoples interest and the best of all: they all have user databases where people leave info. Yeah, about the job they do or what they study.

Couchsurfing & Strava

Let me put this ‘attitude’ to use.

A simple google search like: "software engineer" London gives me 50 software engineers in London, who open up their houses to complete strangers. This says a lot about a person, and thats just what I am after.

The good thing is, I am a fellow couchsurfer so it gives me a great plus when I reach out to them. I have even sent Couchsurf requests when I could not find peoples private email and always with success.

This is also why I always cross reference check people with strava (runners / bikers community). My javascript bookmarklets I showed in a previous post are helpful here:


Since I am not big on the newer social media like Instagram, I am much more limited than the younger people out there looking for their talent. It feels lame to follow someone on instagram because I want to hire them.

However, if you have the following and use them new social media daily, it’s a whole different story.

The core of cracking these user-databases is knowing how they structure their urls to get to their users (eg. “/users”). Also need to know how to craft your search-string so that you will only land on user profiles. For Instagram, profiles always have “followers”, “posts” and “following” mentioned, so it’s smart to add these to your search string. Also, Instagram does not have a separate link like Couchsurfing for their users.

So a search like "computer science" posts followers followinggets you all the computer science people on Instagram, which are around 1800 profiles currently.

The fun thing is that you can do crazy stuff with Instagram, if for whatever reason you care that your hires like Man Utd, simply add manutd to your string and bang: 3 people left. (Says enough about ManU as well, :troll: ) "computer science" post followers following manutd

I think you get my point, be creative (how to add those emoticons in your search?) on your strings. Add stuff that is relevant to you and your company and single out people. When you find someone, look their name up on your favorite tool Linkedin.

Product Hunt

Product hunt became big! And it’s full of people who care about products. Or make products. People who make stuff are nice. People who make stuff are good hires across the board.

Same story here. But because I am obviously not going to do all the hard work for you guys. I write this stuff up hoping you go creative yourself. Yes, you can add something like this: "1..10 made" to your string to single out makers only. Stuff like that, go do it.


If you want engineers with a sense of moneymaking in them, Airbnb is a good one. Also, they give you a look into their house (which is frequently the equivalent of a look inside their brain).

If your startup has some money to spend go book nights with all the SF based Computer Science people: "computer science" "san francisco" gives you 1290 nights * $200 avg price = $258.000 to spend a night with all of them. Success guaranteed of course.

Probably there are many other sites like these that have a database you can search through. Things that are relevant for your business. Things that make it easier to connect with people through shared interests.

Let the stupid recruiters spam people through Linkedin. You, CEO of a business, founder of a startup, even engineers! Go out and do these things instead. Stand out from the rest, that’s how you get attention from the best.

Here at Improbable we have been applying these and much bolder tactics to hire our world class team. As a virtually unknown startup we managed to poach the best people from Google, Amazon, Goldman Sachs & Airbnb. Partly because of our ‘attitude’ we managed to build a team that got voted #38th smartest company by MIT & we are one of the only two EU companies that got an a16z investment — where obviously talent was a big influencer as well.

Currently I am trying to crack Snapchat for hiring. It’s been an awkward few weeks of trying as I never used it before. Stay tuned for that.

If you liked what you just read, share it with your friends.

Also, follow me on Snapch… errr 

Souring Summit Europe is back!

For the fourth  consecutive year, #SOSUEU will be held in Amsterdam on 28-29 September. This year we are moving to a new venueand we are already planning for what promises to be our biggest and best event ever.

We are also excited to announce our first batch of speakers, and will be revealing our complete line-up and agenda shortly. Expect a sourcing feast.

Tickets sold out early last year. Don’t delay. Grab an early bird ticket today. Register now!

We spoke to Christelle ARQUIE, marketing manager at Talensoft

Can you tell about how talentsoft started and where it stands currently?
Founded in 2007 Talentsoft wanted to push innovative, intuitive HR software into the mainstream with a single platform dedicated to every aspect of the talent management process. Since its founding Talentsoft has expanded rapidly and is now the leading European provider of SAAS based talent management. Out of a desire to help our customers to rethink how they approach HR we strive to continually add innovative tools to our suite. The latest tool we have is Hello Talent, which is a unique application for sourcing, aggregating, and sharing CVs of prospective candidates.

What main recruitment problem(s) does Talentsoft solve best?
The Talentsoft platform is designed to address all matters related to recruitment and talent management. We’re particularly excited about our new application Hello Talent and how it is helping organizations to move away from the “post and pray” era to proactive, collaborative sourcing and recruiting of passive and active candidates. Hello Talent allows users to easily find profiles anywhere online, store/save them in personalized communities and share them with fellow recruiters, hiring managers, etc. to involve everyone in the hiring process.

What sets talentsoft apart from other recruitment technology providers?
Talentsoft has set itself apart by focusing on providing innovative, intuitive software with a best-in-class user experience that is easy to adopt and integrates well with other platforms. Hello Talent serves as our latest differentiator because it is one of the first tools on the market to focus on collaborative sourcing while also being able to integrate with most ATS platforms. This means that sourcers, recruiters, and other HR professionals can manage their sourcing processes in Hello Talent and then export candidates to an ATS when it becomes necessary.

Any tips for talent sourcers in Europe?
We recommend talent sourcers in Europe avoid the trap of focusing on just one or two networks or platforms when sourcing talent. While most recruiters know this intuitively, it can be hard to stick to this principle because juggling all the profiles and platforms can be a real challenge. To help solve this issue we built Hello Talent to allow you to keep profiles from multiple platforms in one, easy to organize space. To learn more check out our Slideshare with 10 reasons you shouldn’t source from just one place.

Talentsoft will be attending

We had a chat with Bas Westland of ePeople. Bas will be the MC for day two of Sourcing Summit Europe.

Q. Can you shed some lights on your background. What problems do you solve for your clients?
After doing HR for 10 years I switched to commercial recruitment in 1999, initially as Commercial Manager for Brunel, later on I founded e-people with help of a VC in 2000. They were tired spending their money on agency fees and decided to create their own. Later on I gained a majority stake in the company and re-started and re-invented the company after the turbulent GFC.

At e-people we typically recruiter for hard to fill positions in the ICT and Internet sector. So mostly Online Marketeers and Developers of all kind, but also Managers and Support Staff. We rather focus on the Industry than on specific profiles.

Next to that I am passionate about sourcing and recruitment innovation. I’ve been training fellow recruiters since 2007 – both corporate and agency – on how to source on LinkedIn, but more and more also on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, StackOverflow and just using Google.

Q. What’s your take on the role of sourcing in Netherlands in particular and Europe in general?
I think sourcing is still very much under utilized, especially in the corporate space. I am still flabbergasted about the lack of skills with fellow recruiters, where I see that sourcing is my main source for getting the best candidates for my clients. ON the other hand I see good sorucers waste a lot of sourcing effort by using the wrong tone of voice in the approach of scarce candidates. That’s where you make the REAL difference.

Q. What in sourcing excites you? In your opinion, are sourcing best days ahead or behind us?
I feel like a private investigator, it’s like treasure hunting. I especially like to source the trigger for the candidate, the personal note based on information that you source. not the candidate him- or herself. That”s usually not the hardest part.

Q. You attended #sosueu last year what are your impressions of the event?
It was great, especially the session where the sourcers shared their best hacks on stage. The big difference between sourcers and plain recruiters is that sourcers are willing to share their knowledge, where recruiters tend to be secretive and keep their cards close. Last year was very valuable for my own sourcing skills as well. I learned stuff which I could apply the next day. It had been a long time that I learned so much in two days.

Q. This year you are the co-MC for #sosueu, what can delegates expect to learn? How can they get the best out of the event?
Be prepared to learn a lot. Most #sosueu speakers share a lot, so pay attention. Bring your open mind, be willing to look at your sourcing process from a different angle and you will gain new insights. Also make sure to bring your laptop so you can immediately try out the tips and bookmark them on the spot. It’s going to save you a lot of time and money.

They say candidate sourcing is sexy, the special playground of “smart nerds,” the engine behind a continuous inflow of quality talent, and the part of the recruitment process most appreciated by hiring managers today. Sourcing in recent years has significantly transformed, thanks to innovative methodologies and technologies. The recruiting world has probably never seen such a big turnaround in its internal functions, and you can hardly have a discussion today in which sourcing is not mentioned as one of the top three recruiting topics.

But as is the case with every niche and unique brand on the planet (think fashion or high-end technology), the sourcing discipline must reach out to and influence broader audience as it evolves and expands around the world to finally become accessible by the great majority of buyers. The real proof of the power of sourcing is just now appearing on the horizon. For HR leaders and other stakeholders, they will want to access its powers not through nerds, geeks, or ninjas but through seasoned professionals who think like them and can help massively build their businesses.

The more time we spend polishing the obscure aspects of sourcing, the further we are removed from supporting the goals of these stakeholders.

Sourcing will soon have to undergo a transition from being an exotic practice to becoming mainstream and familiar. It will have to lose its sweet mystery to clarity and transparency. Its complexity must become easy to analyze and understand. Only when this happens will sourcing become a truly integral part of the recruitment process.

However, we have to come to this realization: sourcing is just one part of the game. Sourcing should become as important to the talent acquisition process as candidate selection. Businesses need reliable partners with predictable deliverables, and sourcing has to say goodbye to its opaque practices and inconsistent results. It is time to for the sourcing industry to grow up and move beyond its infancy stage.

On September 23 at #sosueu, I will talk about how to build a relatively large sourcing factory – what are the key components of building, measuring, and continuously improving the performance; how to make this factory approach fun; and how to ensure your sourcing processes are extremely efficient and successful across a highly disparate EMEA landscape. By transforming sourcing into a predicable and transparent part of your talent acquisition process, you’ll surely help your organization build the talent pipeline it needs for success. Hope to see you there!