To read Part 1 click here.

Part 2: How can I start sourcing? 

Sourcing for the first time can feel a bit daunting, especially if you’re already juggling the other responsibilities that come with running a startup. You know you need to find people, but where? And how? Talent sourcing is a bit like detective work. You have to take the time to understand who/what you are searching for, have tools and skills to help you search, and the ability to act effectively on your findings. It’s something that is easy to learn and hard to master. To help you learn how to be an effective sourcer for your startup here are a few tips:

1.Develop a deep understanding of the position you are hiring for

It can be tempting to think you’re just searching for someone who can code in C#, or just someone with online sales experience, but a vacancy is about more than that. Beyond the primary job skill, what are other skills needed for someone to truly thrive in your startup? Take the time to make an inventory of all the skills needed, and rank which ones really matter. Once you’ve listed the key skills start thinking about what kind of person will fit in best with your startup. This is a step you CANNOT afford to miss. Adam Grant, in his book Originals highlighted a study that showed that startups focusing on how well candidates matched the companies’ beliefs and principles were significantly more successful than other companies.

When you have a deep understanding of not only the skillset you are hunting for, but also the personality, you’ll be in a position to more accurately search for candidates. This is key for sourcing. If you want to be able to find great candidates you have to know both who and what you are looking for.

2. Learn Boolean search

Boolean is a logic system you can use to incorporate strings of words into your web searches. This can be used on Google, LinkedIn, and a variety of other websites. Rather than simply type in a generic search you can use AND, OR, NOT, and other search operators to create a search string that will give you more accurate results. For instance, you can use this to include searches for people with skillset X AND Y AND Z NOT A. It will take some practice to get used to working this way, but there are some great resources, like this post from Glen Cathey, that can be quite helpful.

3. Don’t give up!

Searching for candidates requires you to keep coming at things from different angles. Don’t give up if your first search doesn’t yield much. Keep digging! Gordon Lokenberg, founder of People Sourcing Crew once related a story about seeing someone online who looked like a great candidate, but he couldn’t find an email address or a phone number for that person. However, this person did once post something online about a certain charity. Looking further he could see that someone else had posted about their father liking that same charity. The names of the people matched, so it was probably a family member. Looking at this family member’s posts he could see that they also shared something about Dad coaching a local soccer team. Looking up the local soccer team allowed Gordon to find the right location and then find the candidate in the phone book.

If you take the journey of finding a candidate and break it up into small pieces it becomes much easier. Its all about trying to find something one way, then stepping back and coming at it from a different side. Each small step will yield more information which can help you to find and eventually hire the perfect candidate. 

4. Aggregate candidate info

One mistake first-time sourcers and recruiters make is to only take the first bit of candidate information they find, never looking for other details about them. If you can cultivate the habit of looking at multiple social media accounts for a candidate and taking a few minutes to dive into their details you’ll be able to create a detail-rich profile about each person, which will help you not only understand your candidates, but to also see which ones will truly be the best fit for your company.

Shameless Plug: Hello Talent is the perfect sourcing tool for organizing and aggregating candidate details. Create your free account today!

5. Source and recruit together

As a startup you’ll only have a small team. Take advantage of this and have everyone spend a little bit of time sourcing and recruiting candidates. This will lighten the workload for each of you while also helping everyone to have a say in who joins your company, which in turn will lead to a more cohesive culture and better results.

Shameless Plug #2: Hello Talent is also really useful for sharing candidate details and working together.

Talent sourcing is the perfect way to make sure your startup gets the exact people it needs to grow and succeed. It might take a little bit of extra work to get started, but the results that come with making better hires will pay great dividends in the long run.


Sourcing Guide Hello Talent