This past March, I had the privilege of attending my first SourceCon conference in Seattle. The word amazing fails to capture my experience! I have been in the talent acquisition arena for some time, and hands down, this was one of the best conferences I have attended. In this post, I will highlight some key components of the conference, share what I learned, and leave you with why I will attend again.
SourceCon is more than a conference. It is a community where talent professionals can share and collaborate to improve their sourcing skills and knowledge regardless of where one falls on the career spectrum. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The conference goes beyond speakers delivering great concepts to focusing on real-life application of practices.
Breakout Sessions: 5 Different Tracks
Image credit: SourceCon
Meaningful breakout sessions were led by talented superstars from the industry. Five different session tracks were available for participants based on their sourcing skill level. Mark Tortorici’s breakout session on sourcing pitfalls and solutions, Sourcing Lessons: Never Stop Learning, provided not one, not two, but several different sourcing strategies that I had never heard of.
Mistakes, Mishaps, and Recoveries in Sourcing, presented by the vibrant Tangie Pettis, took us down her personal journey of growth. She provided insights on the current technology she uses along with some old-school tips. One of those included a direct resource to some favorite search strings.
I could continue on about the other excellent sessions I attended, but I think you get my point. Each breakout session was more than an individual presenting their story. They were hands-on training sessions. After each one, I left with several new tools and/or applicable processes to add to my arsenal.
The Roundtables: Show & Tell
Another highlight was the ability to collarorate with the best of the best doing live talent searches at interactive roundtables. To say these were great would be an understatement. I only had time to attend Facebook Searching, Finding Contact Information, and Dean Da Costa’s epic Sourcing Tools roundtables. Here are three practical takeaways you can start using today.
1. Bing vs. Google: This allows you to do an x-ray search and pulls up side-by-side results from Google and Bing simultaneously.
2. com: This site is amazing! It helps sourcers find tools, apps, and websites all in one place.
3. Dean’s tool: For those who like to go farther down the rabbit hole, take a look at what legendary tool master Dean Da Costa created. Because it can be a little intimidating, he created videos for further instructional use: Video 1 Video 2.
The Networking: An Extrovert’s Dream
As an extrovert, I was not too nervous to attend SourceCon alone, but I would be lying if I said that I did not have a little trepidation. It helped to have a personal shout out from Welcome Wagon member, Tangie Pettis, on the Whova App before I even arrived. The conference is purposely designed to be a social environment. No matter where I went, there was someone that wanted to chat, share, and collaborate. These conversations added value and have inspired me to source differently.
The Hack-a-thon: A Sourcing Competition
A couple years back, I remember reading Susanna Frazier’s article: How I won the 2017 Spring SourceCon Hackathon. Instantly, I was intrigued. I knew I would have to compete whenever the day came because I love puzzles. (And some who know me best might say that I am a bit competitive.) Even though I had 10 hours of conference under my belt for the day, I knew I had to challenge myself by participating. Also, the networking event right before might have added to my courage a bit.
Walking in, my heart was racing, and I had the tremendous fear of failure. What if I bombed? I quickly revisited points from Shannon Kelly’s presentation that afternoon, Down the Rabbit Hole: How I went from Sourcing Newbie to Hackathon Competitor. Focusing my thoughts on the tips given, I prepped my laptop and told myself, “you can’t win if you do not play.” Time started and my journey began. The first couple of questions gave me confidence as I was able to locate the answers. I was in the zone, typing my Boolean strings and x-ray searching like I never had before. I continued on and with every new tab I opened, I was that much closer to an answer. I finished before the end time and there was a sense of relief that came over me when I clicked submit.
It was results time! To my disappointment, I did not make it to the next round. But I knew exactly where I went wrong. I did not double check my answers. As a mom, I felt like a hypocrite because I always tell my kids to double check their answers. As a naturally competitive person, I was frustrated with myself. When we reviewed the answers, I was renewed with affirmation that I knew what I was doing. And of course, there is always next time. Best of all, I was seated between two talented fellow sourcers, Matt Craven and Erin Mathew. As the competition continued on, we were still able to play along. The collective knowledge shared was powerful and provided multiple perspectives on what tricks/tools to use. Once again, I was adding to my bag of tricks. So, remember:
1. You can’t win if you don’t play.
2. There is always something to be learned, even if you get knocked out.
3. Most importantly, always double check your answers.
Image credit: SourceCon
SourceCon: I will be back
My first SourceCon conference did not disappoint. I learned. I laughed. I grew. I walked away with so many new connections, tools and practices, and was embraced by one of the best professional communities. It allowed me to collaborate with the smartest minds and the sourcing industry’s top influencers.
Shannon Pritchett stated it well, “We are more than a community, we are family”. Those who have spent time in this community probably agree with that statement. SourceCon is about sharing, challenging, inquiring, learning, and giving back. The conference itself provided you a front row seat to that. It will forever be one of my best career experiences, not only because it provided me with countless new tricks and tools, but because it solidified the belief that I am exactly where I belong.
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Written By: Stephanie Hamelmann, Talent Engineer
Stephanie is passionate about staffing. “I’ve never seen recruiting as a job but as a way to make a difference in someone’s life.” In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys playing baseball with her two active boys and water skiing. Stephanie’s hero is her Great Grandmother who showed her what it’s like to live a life full of love, laughter, and happiness. Stephanie graduated from Purdue University with a BA in Communications.