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A lot of people ask me about making their Internet search efforts more strategic. It is so easy to access information online that it can be tempting to start sourcing for candidates without much focus, get some results but never really maximize your activity.

Too much process can be limiting when sourcing – part of the skill is to be able to follow a trail of breadcrumbs and find something worthwhile that you didn’t already know was there. That requires a large spoonful of flexibility in the way you work. With that in mind, I try to make my activities fit into one of these three layers to help keep sourcing manageable and relevant:

1) Mapping

It is important to map out your talent landscape before you go out looking for candidates or leads. You might want to map information about:

  • useful sites to search for people profiles – like job board CV databases, social media platforms and existing communities.
  • target/competitor companies.
  • industry networking events and conferences.
  • news sites, journalists and blogs relevant to your niche.
  • influential social media users in your industry
  • plus much more…

2) Searching

This is the fun part! Using the information that you gathered while mapping, you can see where your talent might be found and start some systematic searching.

The people you identify through searching will add to your mapping efforts and give you more to explore later.

3) Monitoring

So that you don’t have to repeat the same work in the search phase, use monitoring tools to bring new information to you. You could:

  • sign up to email newsletters.
  • use Google Alerts to have new search results sent straight to your inbox or RSS reader.
  • subscribe to blogs.
  • use social search sites like Social Mention to get alerts just from Social Media sites.
  • follow people and companies on social media sites.

If you suffer from email overload, you might want to consider setting up an RSS reader. I use Google Reader. An RSS reader allows you to subscribe to feeds (news, blogs, Google Alerts) and have all that information brought to one place.

Then…begin again.

Each phase above can inform the one before, as you search and monitor you will be continually presented with information to add to your mapping. Your monitoring may not continue to be relevant – you may need to go back, adjust searches and cancel subscriptions that do not yield helpful insights.

How do you keep your research and sourcing efforts on track?


About Katharine Robinson

Katharine Robinson is an Internet talent sourcer, trainer & social media addict. She started her career in Executive Search and has also worked as part of in-house recruitment teams. Katharine now runs Sourcing Hat Ltd and is putting on the Discover Sourcing event in September 2013. For more about sourcing from Katharine, see the UK Sourcers blog.

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