SourceCon Spotlight: Up and Coming Sourcers – Stephen Carlson

14 04 2009

carlson-stephen-photoThe SourceCon spotlight for April 2009 goes to Stephen Carlson, Sourcing Specialist with Johnson Controls in Milwaukee, WI.

Stephen was in the US Air Force, and the last year of his time in the Air Force he was working in the back office doing background checks on people who wanted to visit the bases.  After doing that for about a year he told his boss they needed to hire more administrative people to do that work moving forward. Stephen’s boss put him in charge of sourcing and recruiting these administrative people. Now with Johnson Controls, Stephen has been working in a sourcing role for about 1 ½ years. He supports 12 corporate recruiters nation-wide and provides the sourcing for the positions they need to fill. He also work on positions outside the United States from time to time.

Stephen is one of those sourcers who uses a combination of internet and phone to conduct research.  He uses internet research as a first step in his sourcing efforts, but he prefers to use the phone for the deeper sourcing. He also relies heavily on people who are entrepreneurs and have recently started their own businesses.  They usually like to tell their story of how they got there and what their goals/visions are and also like to refer other people to him.

Being able to provide techniques and sourcing advice to colleagues and co-workers has definitely motivated Stephen to continuing learning. He says, “You can learn so much from networking and sharing knowledge with each other. There is always someone out there that knows more than you and I always pick their brain to increase my knowledge and try to pass that along as well to others.”

Stephen spends a lot of his time on LinkedIn; he is always open to new connections. He says it is a great tool to ask questions, research sourcing tools and build pipelines. It is as necessary to him as a job board is to traditional recruiters. He is also a big proponent of tracking information and being able to show your results. Stephen’s current company does a great job of tracking data and showing value. He is a fan of creating spreadsheets, pivot tables and charts to track candidates contacted, sources being utilized and turnaround time between initial contact and phone screens. 

carlson-stephen-photo-2Another tool that Stephen believes in is cold calling. Cold calling, he says, is always his suggestion to other sourcers and recruiters. He says it is hands down the tool that everyone sourcer and recruiter should be using. There is a large fear of cold calling, but Stephen thinks with the right training, coaching and motivation it can be an enjoyable task. He is always open to holding cold calling listening sessions with his team so they can have their questions answered or deal with their reservations/fears head on.

Like many of us, one of Stephen’s biggest frustrations is bad data on the internet. The internet has such a wide array of resources that it is inevitable that you are going to stumble upon bad email address and bad phone numbers. But he says that by having a large amount of tools to use to validate information, you can definitely reduce your frustration. He uses Mail Testers online to validate email address or just pick up the phone and call to see who answers the phone. Going back to cold calling it is the best way to get up to date information and immediate results.

Outside of work, Stephen enjoys cooking with his wife. He loves tackling the difficult recipes for a great dinner at home with family or friends. He says it helps to get him away from the phone and away from the email for a while.

Connect with Stephen Carlson on LinkedIn.


SourceCon Spotlight: Up and Coming Sourcers – Sophie Beaudoin

13 03 2009

beaudoin-sophie-photoSophie Beaudoin, Sourcing Specialist at The Mindfield Group in Vancouver, BC, Is our SourceCon Spotlight for the month of March.

Sophie is a graduate of BCIT (a technology school) with a Marketing Diploma. While there, the CEO of Mindfield was a speaker to a group she belonged to called SIFE.  He spoke to her at length about his company and HR/recruiting in general and she became more and more interested in it.  She didn’t realize in the beginning that she would be able to use her education in marketing in this role, but as she has to market the positions to the candidates, it’s an added bonus.

Mindfield is an RPO, meaning that they become their clients’ outsourced recruitment department and advertise the open role under their brand. Industries they focus in are Consumer Goods and Services, Finance and Banking, Government and Public Sector, Aviation, Healthcare, Retail and Software and Technology. Having been in her role with The Mindfield Group now for about 7 months, Sophie’s role is to provide all the sourcing for their clients’ salaried positions. She supports 2 recruiters and works with one other sourcer who provides the sourcing for all of the hourly positions they work on.  She has supported up to 5 recruiters in the past.  Sophie sources for positions from Customer Service Reps to PHP Programmers and Senior Accountants.

In order to be successful in her position, Sophie enjoys using social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook together. She believes that if you can find someone on both of these sites you likely have accurate information to go on. Other favorites include User Groups (Google, Yahoo) for more technical/software roles. She finds qualified candidates through these avenues, especially if access to the user group mailing list is available.

Like others are starting to see as well, Sophie realizes how much marketing is involved in sourcing and having to market open roles to candidates to attract their interest. The advertising for the role has to be specific to the target candidates you want to attract to the role. Sophie always wanted to be involved in corporate side of marketing a business, but she is finding that marketing from the candidate side is even more interesting because the message always changes. She says, “You always have to think on your toes to change the message to different industries and target groups.”

In the short amount of time that Sophie has been with Mindfield, she has contributed greatly to the streamlining of the sourcing process. Before she joined the company, there was no solid way of tracking sourcing for each role, what has been completed, what needs to be reposted, where passive candidates can be found, if these places have been looked into, etc. Sophie started out tracking her sourcing efforts in an excel spreadsheet, moved to what she calls sourcing guides that track each place she posts, when, how often, how much it costs, etc. She also created alerts for herself so she knows when anything needs to be reposted. Basically, she created organization around the process for sourcing for a new role and how all the information is collected and tracked.

With any position come some challenges. Sophie finds receiving applications or inquiries from interested candidates that haven’t clearly read the job description to be frustrating. She overcomes this frustration by taking the time to think about how she can give them constructive advice for future job applications and correspondence, and then responding to them. She also finds it frustrating working on a difficult role and not being able to the find the right candidates or the right places to find quality people with whom to network.  The way she has been able to overcome this on a daily basis is to reach out to the recruiters and managers with whom she works at MindField Group for their insight, as well as resources like ERE, utilizing its many Groups and Forums for ideas and places she never would have thought to look.

A best practice that Sophie sticks to is ensuring every candidate that either comes into the system or into her mailbox for any reason (applying for a job, sending a general resume, inquiries, etc) ALWAYS receives a personalized reply. She realizes that if she were on the other end she would not appreciate feeling like a number or wondering if she was emailing a real person or not. It’s fairly simple: treat people the way you would want to be treated.

Outside of work, Sophie enjoys snowboarding, reading, and writing/poetry.

Sophie encourages everyone to check out The MindField Group’s ReThink Recruiting Blog, written by Mindfield’s CEO, Cameron Laker, which provides some really interesting articles and insight on the recruiting industry.


Connect with Sophie Beaudoin:

SourceCon Spotlight: Up and Coming Sourcers – Lacy Harmon

14 01 2009

Our first Spotlight of 2009 belongs to Lacy Harmon, Recruitment Sourcer for C2HM HILL in Boulder, Colorado. There, Lacy supports the Civil Infrastructure part of the business in looking for hard to find skill sets related to water and transportation engineering.

Lacy has been in a research role for just about two years. In 2004, she started her career with CH2M HILL in the Human Resources group as a generalist. In 2006 CH2M HILL restructured its Human Resources group to include a Talent Acquisition Center in response to the tight labor market in the engineering field, and she decided to take on a sourcing position at that time.

According to Lacy, she feels privileged to work with an excellent group of recruiters and sourcers, all of whom she has been able to learn a great deal from. Her sourcing group in particular works together very well and shares new knowledge amongst one another on a daily basis. Attending SourceCon 2008 was a very eye opening experience for Lacy. She tells us that it was amazing to talk to other sourcers and learn about the technologies they are using successfully and hear about how their teams are structured and how they work with the recruiting team. She came away from the conference with a new outlook on sourcing and saw the need for sourcing at CH2M HILL to become more proactive and strategic.

Upon returning from SourceCon Lacy and her co-workers were able to take a new look at how sourcing at CH2M HILL could become more strategic and proactive. This motivated them to propose a new centralized/strategic sourcing group within the firm. They are currently implementing this new group and are all very excited about what lies ahead – so if anyone has any knowledge of how to successfully run a centralized sourcing team, I’m sure she’d be thrilled to talk!

A unique tool that Lacy has created for herself as well as her team is a “sourcing roadmap”, where she lists out all of the resources she has available and tracks her success with them in order to get more focused on searches and determine the most successful resources. This has been incredibly helpful in overcoming some of the biggest obstacles she faces, one of which is quite simply the areas in which she researches. Lacy says that some of the skill sets she looks for are hard to find. She works through this by not only referencing the sourcing roadmap, but also reaching out to her co-workers for brainstorming sessions.

In her spare time, Lacy has recently gone back to school to earn her Masters Degree. She has also recently gotten engaged, so the next several months are going to be consumed with studying and wedding planning for her.

Connect with Lacy Harmon:

SourceCon Spotlight: Up and Coming Sourcers – Susan Kang Nam

9 12 2008

susan-kang-namDecember’s Spotlight goes to Susan Kang Nam, nick-named ‘Shuffer Greene’ (from her sister Jenna – it means fast going, always moving, loving green). Susan is currently a researcher with her other sister Grace’s boutique called “Pink Olive Boutique”, and she resides in Northshore, MA with family.

As a researcher, Susan’s responsibilities include engaging in conversations with customers and potential hires via various social media tools. As with many researchers’ job duties, her position varies every day, so she does pretty much anything needed to help out with her sister’s boutique. The current industries in which they operate include retail and education. Susan plans to look for a recruiting/sourcing opportunity in a corporate site full-time in early 2009.

With around 2 years of experience currently under her belt, Susan first got into recruitment sourcing at Harvard University Central Administration HR corporate employment office. Her mentor/adviser at the time, Mary Cronin, Director of HR, advised her to reach out to the HR community. After putting together a SHRM event at Bentley with Mary Cronin as a guest speaker, Susan followed up with a job opening at the Central HR employment office and applied for an entry level recruiting position. After Susan accepted the position, she began taking Mary’s advice and kept up with and reached out to the internet recruiting community utilizing all possible resources available. During that year, Susan was able to establish an ad-hoc internet recruiting advisory committee where all 10 Harvard schools participated in putting together a grant proposal to submit to the special proposal committee at Central HR. With help from her manager, she was able to hire graduate work-study students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to put Harvard on the map throughout all recruiting portals or sites and placed all hard-to-fill reqs in Administration, Research and IT. Susan also met with vendors from various sites to assist her manager in delivering information, negotiating, and providing them to the rest of the Harvard recruiting community. Susan continued to engage in conversations with potential hires via pre-screening and inviting them to Harvard site to facilitate the recruiting procedure for the Central HR employment office.

Susan credits her approach of the Harvard employment office recruiting team with her efforts to revamp the internet recruiting manual as having the greatest impact on her career thus far. That task encouraged her to further explore, prioritize, and audit all sites out there for the Harvard recruiting community to utilize and share. The task entailed interviewing, citing, further researching different recruiting vendors out there to facilitate all information available for Harvard.

For Pink Olive Inc, Susan has reached out to Ladies Who Launch to get Publicist information for the organization and soon to follow a press release for one of first celebrities to visit Pink Olive’s east village location. This has also given her the opportunity to network with other female entrepreneurs around the US.

Susan’s favorite sourcing resources at this point in time are Twitter and Craigslist, with LinkedIn following closely behind. Of course, utilizing Boolean strings over various search sites/meta search sites helps, and ‘Cloud Recruiting’ tools are definitely the future of it all. She is looking forward to exploring other creative sourcing options. When asked about the future of sourcing, Susan believes that best practices in sourcing have to include utilizing social media tools. Without them, it will be harder to find the best talent out there.

Susan’s first love is classical piano. She hopes to use this talent to raise funds for various charity and non-profit organizations. She is also an active supporter and gives back to the community by reaching out to public schools to assist with their needs. Susan supports and follows up with various nonprofit works via Harvard Club of Andover Inc., a couple of alumni organizations/clubs as well as promotions via various fashion-related projects. She also aspires to race cars one day — that would be the ultimate goal!

Connect with Susan Kang Nam:


SourceCon Spotlight: Up and Coming Sourcers – Lisa Offutt

12 11 2008

offutt-lisa-picOur November Spotlight is Lisa Offutt, Internet Researcher and Recruiter at BizWerks in Mossville, IL.

Lisa has been with BizWerks, a small agency in Madison, WI, for a year. The company, owned by Julia Stone, employs four people and works primarily on technology positions – software developers and the like.

Lisa got into sourcing because Julia thought she would be good at it. She met Julia and her husband Brad through a community effort they were all involved in when they were living in Peoria. As part of that effort, they worked together on researching and putting together a document of evidence, and she believes that may have been the beginning of it all.

Initially, Lisa’s work was almost exclusively sourcing. She has been encouraged steadily to broaden her involvement and extend herself. According to Lisa, she is not naturally gregarious, so calling passive candidates on the phone was a huge step for her. She thought she would get chewed out or hung up on at least once, but instead she had a number of interesting and pleasant conversations. Lately, she has been doing more recruiting work, in particular using sites like BountyJobs and TalentMaze. Recently she placed two candidates, having taken them through the process pretty much independently for the first time.

Considering that Lisa had never thought about internet research as something one would be paid to do until she broached the subject, meeting Julia is one of the most impactful events Lisa notes that has affected her research career. Lisa had been a stay-at-home mom for several years at that point, and she worried that any paying work that would really fit into her life would be something boring and minimum-wage, or involve inviting friends to her house to buy things. She is thrilled to have work that’s interesting, rewarding, and that continues to challenge her.

Having worked in some larger organizations in the past, Lisa says that in those settings oftentimes it was hard to feel like what she was doing was terribly important to the organization. She likes the fact that with BizWerks she knows that when she does well, it’s felt and it really makes a difference; it’s very motivating.

When it comes to sourcing tools, Lisa mainly uses Google, LinkedIn, and the Broadlook tools. Lately she has been using Shally’s LinkedIn hacks a lot. She has also used Twitter searches to find people from time to time. What she uses depends a lot on whom she is looking for, of course.

Lisa is one of the lucky folks who gets to work remotely. She says that she loves it; the flexibility makes it perfect for her right now. She did say that it’s a bit isolating, though, and sometimes she thinks her learning curve would be a bit steeper if she were around other sourcers more. It helps a lot to have online communities like SourceCon, Recruiting Blogs and Sourcer’s Guild, so she tries to make time to check them out regularly.

On a personal note, Lisa has two sons, a 4th-grader and a 7th-grader, and she volunteers at their school. She is also very active in her church, particularly with children’s religious education and social outreach activities like cooking for the homeless. In addition, Lisa is active in Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste, an organization working to prevent the expansion of a hazardous waste landfill on the outskirts of Peoria. Just for fun, she reads a lot (maybe too much), likes to hike in the nearby Illinois River bluffs, and every Tuesday evening she goes listen to live jazz at one of her favorite hangouts, Panache.

Connect with Lisa Offutt: