January 6, 2022

Sourcing for Diversity: Sourcing Outside the Box


Episode Highlights

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Ryan and Robyn expand on “sourcing outside of the box.” They go over how to use conferences to find professional social media presences of candidates while learning new things at the same time. Robyn starts by demonstrating how to discover different conferences within the space that you’d like to look into, then how to find the attendees without going through all the hassle of trying to find a conference list.

They also discuss the importance of respecting boundaries on social media. If you happen upon a candidate’s Twitter and they keep a separate professional twitter, only reach out to them via the professional Twitter. The same could be said of any social media platform.

The important thing to remember is that while this seems time-intensive the quality of the candidates you find will be high as they’re candidates who engage with the space. You also might learn something along the way! 

Episode Transcript

Alright everybody, welcome to the third episode of sourcing for diversity: sourcing outside of the box. In our first episode, we explored how to get started when sourcing for diversity, where we covered topics like defining diversity, avoiding tokenism,

and creating an inclusive environment. Then in our second episode, we covered tips and tricks for hands-on sourcing for diversity, with expanding Boolean search strings and creative ways to create more inclusive searches. But today we want to cover thinking outside of the box and exploring things outside of those traditional sourcing methods.

So let’s get started. Robyn, what the heck is sourcing outside of the box and why is it important? So when we think of sourcing inside the box, we’re thinking of using like very typical, like using your ATS to resurface past candidates, we’re using LinkedIn to surface candidates that might be new or find people who are interesting to you based on like their profile.

Sourcing outside of the box is kind of taking it a step further and saying like okay, all those sort of things that I referenced last time about where do people meet in real life, trying to think about that aspect of sourcing versus, okay can I find their resume online? So this is more figuring out where people who have the technical skills or the background that you want for a new role that you’re working on, where they might learn or grow or network

within the real world or in the virtual world- given how everything has moved online, off and on for the last couple of years. And so that way you can kind of find people who might not have a LinkedIn, might not have the best LinkedIn, or maybe they just haven’t really put the resume up onto any of the job boards like Indeed or Monster.

So it’s just going to give you a different avenue of looking at profiles and also it can help you with natural language searching, which is something that we’ve talked about in the past and like expanding your understanding of- I’m going to be using technical examples because that’s just what I source for.

So like, and I’ll help you understand further the roles that you’re sourcing for. If you understand kind of where everybody talks about what they do. Yeah, I love that. I know that like there’s some searches that I have worked on in the past where like, there’s just not a ton of people on those traditional sourcing methods that I typically use, where I’ve had to think creatively to think outside of the box and connect with people in a different way.

So what are some of the ways that you’re going to show us today in terms of thinking outside of the box? So the main thing that I’m going to do today is show in depth what I talked about last time, which is how to find hashtags for conferences and that can lead you to people who are you using their social media for their professional presence?

Make sure that when you are trying to source for people using their Twitter or Facebook it’s people who are using their Twitter or Facebook for professional things, not just straight creeping on the internet. Yeah I mean, you can find a really great, dot net developer and they will not want to talk to you because you found they’re like Finsta or something.

Yes. So trying to find people who are using their social media presence as part of their professional presence on the internet. Right. And so kind of like the gateway to that, and then how you might take that a step further. And we’ll start with the real concrete example. And then I will just throw out some suggestions based on that which you can utilize for your own searches.

Awesome. Well, let’s get started. Do you have anything you want to share with us? Sure. I’m going to be using ChickTech, as an example today. So here is ChickTech Chicago. This is just a screenshot of the website that I’ve been using. What you might be thinking about doing is like,

if you’re looking to improve diversity within your company, you might be thinking like, okay, so what are some conferences that specifically serve aspects of diversity that are important to us? Say for example, that you have a very male dominated office and you want to make sure that you have more women in the candidate pipeline who have a chance of joining your team.

Something that would be great to do is look at the events that specifically cater to women. For this example, ChickTech is a national conference. They have like a two-pronged approach. So they work with students trying to get more younger women interested in technology, getting them into the STEM fields.

And they also have conferences for people who are already in professional fields, allowing them to kind of network and find peers that they would like to work with. ChickTech Chicago specifically, I use this as an example just because I know ChickTech, Chicago, they’re a really great company.

I’ve been to a lot of their networking events in the past. So I was just like, okay, let’s use ChickTech Chicago as an example here. What you would do is you’d say, okay, this is a really great organization. I would want to talk to people who maybe attend events. What you would start by doing is looking up what events they’re advertising on their website.

So for example here, I looked under “for adults” because if you’re trying to find people who are more junior entry level like new employees who are just getting into the STEM fields, I would highly recommend finding a bootcamp to partner with and then partnering with that boot camp to like really grow out junior candidates.

So if you wanted to do that, that’s a completely different way of sourcing but it’s fairly straightforward. You could just find a bootcamp that you would like to work with and then reach out to somebody at the bootcamp to start up a partnership. So that way you can grow out based on like what you’re looking for.

So I focused on the “for adults” part, and looked up what conferences they have. So they have the ACT-W conference, which was in 2021.

Then once I looked at ACT-W, I took a look at the website, kind of made sure that it was the kind of thing that I was actually looking for. But you want to make sure that if you’re trying to use a conference to help build out your sourcing, that you are using the correct conference. I have definitely in the past,

and like, oh, this conference looks amazing. And then once I started looking at all the candidates, I was like all these candidates while they’re truly great in their field, are in the incorrect fields. And then I realized the conference was actually for like manufacturing versus whatever I thought it was.

Got it. So you want to take a look at maybe the sponsors, the partners. Take a look at the different panels they might’ve had and make sure that it’s people that you want to work with, have the correct tech staff or a correct background for like what you’re looking for. So while I was on the ACT-W website, I clicked around and tried to find any hashtags, informations that they might have. Then when I wasn’t sure if there was anything that was like the correct thing,

what I simply did was I opened Twitter and I typed in hashtag ACT-W 2021. And that pulled up the hashtag for the conference. Now, this pulls up anybody who might have spoken at the conference, which is the example here. The first tweet that pops up is somebody who’s excited to speak. It will pop up with people who are attending the conference and live tweeting while attending the conference, which is always really fun because it’s really interesting to see kind of people engaging with lectures by quoting them or saying like, this argument that so-and-so has is really insightful.

And from here I would go through the entire hashtag and just see kind of who’s liking tweets, who’s commenting, who’s posting. You would want to find more people who are on the side of interacting with posts and creating posts about listening to lecturers versus lecturers themselves because the lectures themselves are probably too senior for what you might be looking for

unless you’re looking for a role that’s like a C-level or a director level, right. So you would want to gauge how people are interacting on Twitter based on what you’re looking for in terms of levels. So that’s kind of the main way. So after looking at the hashtag, what I would do is then find if there’s a meetup that mirrors groups.

So for example, I don’t think there’s a ChickTech example, but for source con, which is where the sourcers go. There’s a conference that is held twice a year, but there’s also groups in various cities that meet up once a month. Chicago has one. So you would want to go on to meet up and see if, whatever conference you’re looking for has a meetup group of people who have been to the conference or really want to go to the conference and can’t go for whatever reason and just meet up to talk, network or host events, depending on the group.

Yeah. This has been really helpful and insightful information. Thanks so much for sharing all of this Robyn. I think, you know, initially hearing it I’m like, gosh, that kind of sounds like a lot of work to go outside of the box and think more creatively about this. But once you show the ways that we do this and kind of break it down for everybody, it seems to me like it’s probably just as time consuming as maybe sourcing for folks on LinkedIn and having to

change and your Boolean searches and do different things like that to really find the right folks. But this is an awesome way if you’re not finding the right people through those more traditional avenues to use these types of solutions that you’ve mentioned. Yeah. I mean, it’s a really great way.

It’s definitely something that I think is really hard when you’re first starting to have to change your mindset about it because it can be very easy to be like I’m going to type out this Boolean string and then contact this number of candidates that make sense based on like their profiles or whatever.

So this is a lot more in depth. So you could work for an hour and only find like one candidate who’s worth reaching out to via Twitter or via LinkedIn, but you would find a lot more- you would have a lot more knowledge about the subject at the end of the search than you would otherwise, which could be a really great way to learn while working. And also

it can be just really interesting to see the different topics that are being discussed in the field. Like, I always want to know what people are talking about, even if I can’t really understand it because I don’t have a comp side degree. I hear ya on that. As you were sharing this, I was thinking because you had mentioned obviously like there’s boundaries between reaching out to

folks on their personal social media platforms versus platforms that they maybe used in conjunction with their professional network too. Do you think it’s maybe helpful for folks that are doing sourcing to create a professional Twitter let’s say, or Instagram or things like that, that they could use then as ways to source outside of the box?

Yes. If you’ll notice, I wasn’t logged in to Twitter when I was searching on Twitter, because my personal Twitter is very much a mix of just like whatever I’m thinking about at any time, there’s a lot of comic books stuff on there. So I wouldn’t necessarily- like I have in the past, reached out to candidates via Twitter for very specific situations where it was

this person is talking about on their Twitter about how they want a new job and I happened to be working on a job that’s in their fields and I see it and I’m like, well, okay, let me reach out to this person, right? But it’s, I think it’s best that if you are somebody who is trying to look into setting up a professional, like looking more through Twitter or through different social media websites, have a professional profile that you’re using.

I mean, some people are like more than happy to be their like whole self and just like have their comic book opinions right next to their work opinions. But sometimes it can be a little more helpful to have a more polished, like here’s my work Twitter versus here’s my fan theory, Twitter. Here’s my stream of consciousness, Twitter.

Here’s my, I’m tweeting about my cats in the middle of the night, which again is my Twitter. Right. That is your personal Twitter. Yeah, that is my personal Twitter. I have a lot of friends who do a lot through Facebook, who will source through Facebook. I personally try to avoid Facebook.

There are a lot of really great ways to find people who are active on Facebook and interested in new roles. But when you are sourcing on Facebook, I’m like, you’re going to see college photos from like 2009, you know? Like no, I just can’t. I’m too embarrassed I even brought it up. That’s too funny.

Well, this has been super helpful Robyn. I really appreciate all of your insights and for helping me think creatively and about new ways to source outside of those traditional methods. So thanks so much for sharing all of this insight. Well today, you know, we covered a ton and basically talked about various avenues like conference lists and networking groups, and even hashtags that you can use to source outside of the box.

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