Balazs Paroczay is a pioneer and thought-leader in sourcing and is one of the leading voices in Europe. ‘Jedi master’, ‘visionary’, ‘thought-leader’, ‘hall of famer’ are just some of the sobriquets associated with Balazs’ name. Technically astute and a perennial experimenter Balazs is considered to be the foremost authority on Facebook as a sourcing channel and have spoken extensively on the subject across Europe. His deep knowledge of sourcing techniques and affable style and skills are highly regarded by his peers, clients and the wider sourcing community in Europe.
Balazs now heads Randstad Sourceright’s EMEA Shared Recruitment Centre based in Hungary and will be speaking at #SOUEU. We caught up with him to find more about his background, current passion and session.
Q.1. Balazs, can you shed some light on your background, your current work and how you got into sourcing?
Almost 10 years ago one of my friends offered me a summer-work in a Hungarian headhunter agency. It was a researcher role and I had no clue about recruitment, sourcing, interviews or so – actually, I did not even know what the word ’CV’ was meant for… I was an Assistant Mise-en-scène at the Hungarian State Opera that time and had no any intention to leave my profession. But then I joined the company and realized that I had got most of the skillset to become a quite successful researcher and honestly, I was pretty much enjoying the search piece, the new challenges in addition to the robust learning. As a researcher I was able to blend my theatrical background with my analytical and psychological interest – do not forget that was the time when we were massively relying on phone sourcing – so I made a big change and changed my career and my entire life.
Currently, I am heading the EMEA Shared Recruitment Centre of Randstad Sourceright and working with extremely talented young professionals to source and recruit all across the region. I have a team of app. 15-20 people in Budapest and we are still growing. I am much passionate to train, educate and continuously keep them updated on the most innovative global and regional talent resourcing solutions and tactics. When I closely work with them, for instance, we re-work a complex Boolean string I meet with the same enthusiasm that I had at the very beginning of my career and that makes me extremely proud, glad and driven to help them become one of the best recruiters in Europe.
Q.In your opinion, is sourcing getting more easier or more difficult?
Hmmm… Sourcing has never been easy (has it?) but the major challenges have a little bit changed. Some long years ago we had little available human capital data online and/but candidates more appreciated a recruiter’s approach. Talent identification was not easy (especially for those ones who hated cold calling), recruitment technology, Google and the giant social networks were not in place (or were in a quite embryotic mode) and the major sourcing concepts were missing. There was not a global sourcing community either that you could join and everyone was more-or-less pioneering on their own to find the best ways to search and engage with candidates.
Today, it is a very noisy and super-connected world and it looks like candidate identification and connection have got easier, however, the candidate response rate is getting lower and lower year-by-year so that the pursuing and the engagement cycle can make your work pretty difficult. I always say that a good sourcer should be a brilliant combination of a ‘secret intelligence agent’ and a ‘retail marketer’ and probably, this blended work mode is the most challenging requirement today.
Q3. What sort of sourcing tools and techniques do you find effective, are there any particular tools you find promising?
The technology is only one aspect of the sourcing world and actually, is not my first focus. I am loving to be more involved in the sourcing process and methodology angles. You know, technology is just like a gun… if you do not know how to shoot with that it will not work.
In ‘old Europe’ the technology challenge is dual: most of the super-new and well-populated initiatives are kind of mirroring some of the US concepts with little added ‘European value’ while on the other hand it is quite challenging to find the very local technology providers that may have a radical solution in place, however, have no fame, recognition and budget to promote their product within a more entire audience.
In our Centre we use app. 25-30 different sourcing tools on a daily basis (such as click rate measurement, image search engines, email verification tools and extractors, twitter and other social media plug-ins just to name a few) but I have to admit that job board database searching is still one of the most powerful channels.
Q 4. You are going to address the challenges of sourcing across EMEA at #SOUEU, what are some of the major challenges organizations face when sourcing across borders?
From an outsider point of view Europe may seem to be quite homogeneous, culturally, economical-wise… In reality though, we are the exact and clear example of total diversity. We have got 163 different countries in the region with quite different languages, cultures, histories, governmental and economical and labor work situations – and one’s life would never be long enough to learn all of it.
Before you enter into a new country in the EMEA region, and this is my topic for #SOSUEU, you have to already be aware what and how will work while sourcing for candidates. Again, not only the technology angle! Technology is certainly a massive piece in it as you have to find the channels where your candidates are present and the tools you will want to leverage but also think about process and the others.
How can you prepare yourself to the best engage with candidates in Dubai, Milan or Kecskemét? Is there any difference among these locations? What is the ideal conversion rate in Germany or in Russia? How can you learn and map a new market, a brand new business segment in Turkey and within a few hours? What is the way of communication, your style and wording local candidates may the most appreciate? What can and cannot you say and post in France or in the UK and how can you figure it out on your own?…
It is not only a cultural question but a holistic one, and in short: what do you have to change in and how do you have to adapt your sourcing strategy, process, methodology and toolkit to reach the highest productivity within an brand new, un-known European market?
Balazs will be speaking at #SOSUEU on 12-13 Sep. More details here www.sosueurope.com
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Balazs’ presentation at #sosueu