5 tips to turn a job description into a sourcing strategy

After recently attending my oldest daughter’s high school graduation, now more than ever I find myself thinking back on my own experience in high school. My story isn’t one I’ll share a lot of details on, corporate blog and all, but there’s one really important lesson I do want to share. One that I can point to as a driver of my success in every job I’ve had since then: context clues.

Sounds strange, I’m sure, but hear me out.  

Context clues are some of the most powerful and under utilized pieces of information in the world. They’re what happens the moment between a weird look and a punch in the gut. What happens when a room falls silent and all eyes are on you. When you notice someone for the first time and you can’t take your eyes off of them. There are entire stories lying in the details of our lives and so many people walk through obliviously.

As recruiters, it’s kind of our job to notice context clues to get a candidate’s attention. That’s the information we dig for to start the conversation or to make an email into a close. But so often, I think we put ourselves at a disadvantage by missing one of the biggest context clues available: the job description.

Job Description Sourcing Clues

Sourcing doesn’t always start with a job description, but maybe there’s something there. Maybe there are some strategies to glean from it after all.

There are key criteria in every job ad that can be fundamental to your sourcing strategy:

  1. Search the job title on a site like AnswerThePublic.com. It’ll give you all the associated searches with that job title to discover alternative job titles, interests of people with those job titles, and so much more.
  2. Check out our Search Explorer tool. This link allows you to leverage our neural networks to see related terms. For example, if you’re working on a search for a SIGINT engineer, you can type SIGINT into this site. You’ll then see popular terms related to SIGINT that you could use to build out your search query.
  3. Put your job description into a word cloud tool such as WordClouds.com to identify the most often used words. (They’ll be the big ones, if you’ve never used a word cloud before.)
  4. Pull reviews from sites like Indeed or Glassdoor (they’re linked to your posting, by the way) and use them in sourcing outreach as proof points. For example, “don’t believe me? Read this story from one of our current JOB TITLES.”
  5. Share the job description with other people you’ve placed in the same role and ask them to tell you the top 3 things that stand out to them about it.

As recruiters, utilizing context clues is important: job descriptions can be turned into a sourcing strategy. I may have learned about context clues back in high school, but utilizing them doesn’t have to be a mystery for you.

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