The 4 Things That Helped Me Win The World’s Greatest Sourcer

December 1, 2017 at 1:30 PM by Patrick Moran

wgs_blog_banner.jpgThe 2016 World’s Greatest Sourcer competition was a challenge truly worthy of its name. It tests you in so many different ways that you have to be truly plugged into the pulse of the industry to be in contention. The challenges test your knowledge of the basics, your mastery of tools and methods, and your ability to solve difficult puzzles with little to go from.

When the 2016 competition heated up in the later rounds, the challenges became tougher and tougher, and often required multiple steps to complete. I’d read the challenge and think I had a quick solution, only to find myself in front of the computer 2 hours later, wracking my brain for the right answer. There was plenty of trial and error, a lot of research on past methods and tools I had heard about but forgotten along the way, and even a few lucky guesses here and there. Each week the challenges were mentally exhausting, but also exhilarating to know you had stretched yourself and successfully complete a challenge that just hours earlier seemed impossible. These are the 4 things that helped get me through:


The best sourcers I have met all have one thing in common – endless curiosity. They are never done learning. They constantly scour the web for new tools and methods and are active contributors to and consumers of recruiting blogs, webinars and web-based communities. They celebrate the announcement of every sourcing-related Chrome extension and then lash out in anger when it’s been bought out and shuttered by big corporate meanies. In short, they live and breathe all things sourcing. That’s what makes them the best of the best.


The best sourcers are also highly creative by nature. They see things in a different way and know how to think outside the box. Sure, they use the big boards and social media sites like the rest of us, but where they truly excel is in their use of unconventional talent sources and methodologies. They are fluent in all types of Boolean search and can spout the craziest, longest search strings off the top of their heads. But it’s not at all about the size of the Boolean string. The best sourcers can find people with the simplest strings too. They can easily step into a candidate’s shoes and see the world through the candidate’s eyes. As a habit, they look for patterns in data and use hacking tools and data mining software to go beyond what’s readily available. Many of them even know how to code and create their own sourcing tools if the market is lacking.


Thirdly, every great sourcer is intensely competitive. They may be kind, compassionate, and selfless. They may be vocal members of the sourcing community who constantly post on message boards and social media and appear on stage at events. They could even be shy and quiet as a church mouse. But no matter what package they come in, no matter how decent a person they may be, inside every great sourcer is a vicious competitor. They thrive on solving the toughest recruiting challenges. High volume? Impossible requirements? Cranky hiring manager? Salary half of the market standard? They love solving these kinds of problems. They know they can do what most others cannot and nothing excites them like a good challenge. I remember looking at the leaderboard each of the 6 weeks in 2016 and looking up the leaders online to see what I was up against. I exhaustively researched the creators of the competition to see if I could glean any insights from their past work. I wore out the refresh button on my browser each week to see where I would stack up once results were posted. Seeing my name on the leaderboard each week gave me the resolve to go the extra mile on the tough challenges. The harder the challenge, the happier I was, because I knew only a select few out there shared that same will to win.


The best part of being a sourcer is the community. If you’ve ever attended Sourcecon, Talent 42, SOSU, or any of the other big sourcing and recruitment conferences, you know what I’m talking about. There are so many wonderful human beings in this field. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of the big names in our industry over the years and every single one of them was so approachable, and instantly so invested in whatever little sourcing challenge I had to discuss with them. The best sourcers care as much about advancing the industry and helping out their peers as they do their own careers. And if you can’t make it to a big event? Just check out any of the sourcing groups on social media. They are abuzz with helpful tips and conversations. Even better, there is at least one free webinar just about every day of the year, whose hosts and presenter generouly donate their time and insight.

Ultimately, my favorite part of The World’s Greatest Sourcer competition is the communal aspect fostered by its creators. There is a special page on the challenge website designed for sharing your best recruiting hacks and tips. These “hat tips” help each other learn and grow while also give attribution to the person from who shared the tip. Overall, the volume, depth, and breadth of the tips that were shared was truly amazing and definitely helped me overcome a challenge or two. By the end of the competition, I was regularly corresponding with fellow competitors, sharing best practices, and commiserating on the tougher challenges. I still keep up with many of those people today.

Participation in the World's Greatest Sourcer competition is a must for every sourcer and recruiter. The challenges will highlight your strengths and help you learn more to overcome your weaknesses. With the skills I've listed, hard work, and a little luck you may find yourself on top this year.

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