Essential Sourcing Hacks from the Talent Industry's Top Pros

August 17, 2016 at 12:14 PM by Rob Stevenson


What better way to learn new sourcing strategies than from the leading people in the talent acquisition space?

We recently wrapped up our second annual World’s Greatest Sourcer competition in partnership with The Sourcing Institute. After a hard-fought pentathlon of sourcing and recruiting challenges, we crowned BAE Systems’ Patrick Moran and Wells Fargo’s Katie Gechijian as our top two contenders.

Amongst the points up for grabs in the competition were those at stake in the Hat Tip segment, where participants were tasked with sharing their best sourcing hacks with the talent community. 

WGS competitors had some truly innovative and clever tips here, and we’ve compiled the best ones here. Enjoy and get sourcin’!

Meetup X-Ray by Location

Amazon Sourcer Shashank Goud shares his technique for building an x-ray string in Meetup to find relevant groups in a specific location. He then pairs the string with a Google reverse image search to find the candidate on other social networks:

For example, let’s search for Java Developers in San Francisco: "meetups are scheduled" "san francisco" Java

This gives us public groups in a certain location. When you open the group, you see a section of members. The only glitch here is that you can only view the first name and the first letter of his last name, like Shashank G, so there is a bit subsequent sourcing necessary to find the candidate's name and profile. You'll be lucky to see some sites the candidate is associated to right in the networks section, but if there are no links associated, you can simply "search Google for this image" and try to find the name or profile.

Gender Diversity Sourcing Strategies

ThoughtWorks Talent Scout Natalie Glick chimed in with a handful of excellent strategies for gender diversity sourcing. Here are our favorites:


You can search through the Google+ network for candidates based on gender, location, employer and job title. Plug this search string into Bing: ("works at google" | "employment google" | "employment * google") (engineer | software | developer | programmer | java) ("gender female" | "gender * female")


Many people have referrals on LinkedIn and on their profiles, they include phrases  like "she was" or "her experience". They may also be members of female LinkedIn groups like GirlGeeks or Women Who Code, so I always add in an extra section to my Boolean to include female-related words:

(female OR women OR woman OR she OR her OR girl OR lady OR ladies OR geekette)

Female Names

Narrow down your search by identifying the most popular female names in a particular geography. For example, I'm currently sourcing candidates in Germany, so I went on a website and found the most popular girls names in Germany, then created a list of the first 150. You can then add Boolean logic to this to find who you are looking for.

Image Caption Search

It’s no surprise that our eventual champion, Patrick Moran, had some humdingers for this portion of the competition. This one he picked up from Shally himself:

“I learned this one from Shally at this year's Spring SourceCon. Great way to find professionals who have won awards, attended a conference, or were being recognized without the usual keywords. Just pick your usual keywords for your targeted skillset, and add any location, time, or other modifiers to the string as I did below. It's a great way to find high performers, and market intel on competitors who are making news.”

("engineers" OR "engineering")  (maryland OR baltimore OR "washington dc" OR "northern virginia") ("l. to r." OR "l to r" OR "left to right" OR "r. to l." OR "r to l" OR "right to left" OR "back row:" OR "clockwise from")

Try this string to target students:

cyber* (university OR students OR college OR school*) (maryland OR baltimore OR "washington dc") ("l. to r." OR "l to r" OR "left to right" OR "r. to l." OR "r to l" OR "right to left" OR "back row:" OR "clockwise from")

This tip works great on Million Short as well.

Private LinkedIn Profile Search

Patrick followed up the above tip with another one he gleaned from Johnny Campbell, the founder and CEO of Social Talent. This one comes in handy to uncover private LinkedIn user profiles.

  1. Visit private candidate's profile.

  2. Type ctrl+U or right click and select "View page source".

  3. A pop-up will appear with the lines of code for the page you were on.

  4. Type ctrl+F to find text in the page.

  5. Try any of the following 3 words to isolate the person's name -  “name” OR /in/ OR Member

  6. Voila! The hidden name should be next to one of these words.

WGS contestants contributed dozens more tips, and we’re looking forward to sharing more of them here on the blog. In the meantime, do you have any Hat Tips of your own? Let us know in the comments!

Related articles:
Sourcing Productivity, Multitasking and the Art of Pushback with Shally Steckerl
4 Ways to Make Your Company More Inclusive for Women
Implement Interview Load Balancing and Never Give a Candidate a Bad Interview Again

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