What The Music You Listen to While Sourcing Says About You

May 4, 2017 at 12:00 PM by William Clarke

SourcingMusicHeader.pngStop me if you’ve heard this one before, but true multitasking is a myth. Really, study after study confirms this. Trying to multitask can reduce your productivity by 40 percent.

But keeping your focus these days can get complicated. Between ubiquitous messaging apps, open offices, and smartphones, your day can feel like one endless deluge of notifications, the vast majority of which are not actually important.

So when it comes to hunkering down and getting work done, a good pair of headphones and the perfect playlist are worth their weight in gold.

The question is: what music allows you to source at your absolute best? Much like your favorite cocktail, Marvel superhero or breed of dog, the music you listen to at crunch time says a lot about you.

Maybe you’re a headbanger who loves finding sales engineers to the furious thrash of guitar solos. Or you’re an opera buff who uncovers data scientists while being serenaded by the world's finest Rigolettos. Or maybe belting out "Jesse's Girl" is what really powers you through a candidate list building marathon. To each their own! 



Did you wear a lot of black in high school? Do you hunch down at your desk and unconsciously nod your head to Swedish lyrics about death and Norse gods? Do you love ceaseless noise that you can actively not listen to as you find dozens upon dozens of highly talented data scientists who live within 45 minutes of your office? Then you probably listen to heavy metal while you source. And why wouldn’t you? You’re a sucker for thrashing guitars and energetic, non-stop drums that power you through epic sourcing sessions with more energy than a five year old on a sugar high. You are Iron Wo(men). So own it, and just be careful not to headbang too hard at the office.

Good places to start for the uninitiated: Mastodon, Motorhead, Slayer



Are you perpetually waiting for the drop? Then you probably love the steady, heart thumping basslines of electronic dance music (EDM). Since the genre first blew up around ten years ago on this side of the pond, it’s become the music du jour for millions of millennials. But you don’t have to be 25 and under to appreciate the almost scientific appeal of dubstep’s impeccably timed peaks, crescendos, and choruses. If anything, the formulaic and dependable structure of modern EDM means it’s the kind of music that lulls you into an intense focus, letting you dial-in like the talent shark you are. Sure, you might be a decade older than every famous EDM DJ, but, as they say, age ain’t nothing but a number, and you don’t stop being an early adopter just because you’ve turned 30. So you keep on doing you. One day your niece or nephew will be super impressed that you know who Skrillex is.

Good places to start for the unitiated: Bassnectar, Swedish House Mafia, Major Lazer

Classical Aficionados


From Opera to Baroque, Concertos and everything in between, classical music almost defies categorization. Sure, you were probably aband geek growing up, but an appreciation of art and culture has never not been a valuable attribute, or at least that’s what your parents told you when you wanted to quit piano lessons, right? Sure, listening to classical music  won’t actually make you smarter like everyone used to claim, but it is incredibly relaxing and edifying. There’s a reason people still get married to Vivaldi and Pachebel and Bocherini , after all. From intricate arrangements of a string quartet to the muscular crescendos of symphonies, there’s classical music perfect for every occasion, including sourcing. And more power to you that you found a way to productively translate your love for one of the world’s great art forms into your work. Should we all be so lucky.

Good places to start for the uninitiated: Carmen by Georges Bizet, La Travietta by Guiseppe Verdi, Cello Suites by Bach

Hip-Hop Heads


Most people probably assume rap and hip-hop is less than ideal music to work to, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Hip-hop heads will know there are a few things better than bumping along to Ice Cube’s “It was a Good Day” while you source sales pros like there’s no tomorrow. Whether you groove to Kendrick Lamar, The Fugees, or Grandmaster Flash, you know it ain’t hard to tell when you’re working it. And when you’re cranking on a particularly tough search, you need as much energy as you can muster to push it to the limit, and few genres of music keep it 100 like hip-hop. So, maybe your office's business casual dress code means your hip-hop head is purely internal, but when you’re blasting the hotness through your headphones, deep down inside you know you got soul.

Good places to start for the uninitiated: Tribe Called Quest, Outkast, Jay-Z 

Karaoke Pop Stars

You’re probably the kind of person who screams “we are never, ever, ever getting back together” or “Since U been gonnnnnneee” at the top of your lungs while you’re driving to the grocery store. And why not. Few things are more enjoyable than a solid T-Swift singalong. The infectious hooks, catchy choruses, and instant recognition when it comes on the radio is like seeing an old friend on the street you haven’t seen for a while. There is something to be said for familiarity. And a happy sourcer is a productive sourcer. So if the buzziest, sunniest jams are what keep you rolling along the deep talent web, then by all means, blast those pop songs. Once you graduate from college, no one cares whether or not you know who the most recent, obscure band from Reykjavik is. After all, when it comes to sourcing, you only get what you give.

Good places to start for the uninitiated: Third Eye Blind, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Jackson

Everything Else

I know what you’re thinking: He totally forgot me and my jams! My sourcing soundtrack is nothing like any of those! I go for bluegrass or indie rock or classic soul. I was bumping Al Green when I found the Enterprise Sales Rep to end all Enterprise Sales Reps. Indeed, the best thing about what music you source to, is that depending on your mood or the time of the day, it can always change.

Sure, Bulgarian Neo-Folk Music might be what you love this week, but what about next week or the week after that? Remember, in this day and age, it’s never been easier to find new, incredible music that could be perfect for the task at hand. The lesson, as always, is that what fits now is going to be different from what fits tomorrow or the day after, and a little flexibility goes a long way.

So, if you’ve got your own tips or favorites, or you think I missed out on the best sourcing music genre ever, tell me about it in the comments. Otherwise, source on, my friends, and happy hunting.

Related Articles:
How to Fix Technical Interviewing
These Five Seth Godin Insights Will Help You Recruit Better
Embrace Talent Diversity in Your Sourcing Strategies 


 New Call-to-action