The smart templates method
September 21, 2017
#SOSUEU17 day two
October 12, 2017

#SOSUEU17 day one

It’s always amazing when so many souring people gather in one place, especially if you’re a sourcing geek like me. So obviously day one of #sosueu was very exciting! I met some people face to face for the first time that I have been following or chatting to for a while now, bumped into some “old friends” as well and talked about sourcing A LOT.

Since I’m surrounded by all of this sourcing awesomeness, I decided to share some of the highlights of my day with you as well! I’m sure you’ll find plenty of things and bits of information on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but hopefully this little summary will help you make even more sense of presentations that you weren’t able to attend.



Building a roadmap for sourcing – Shally Steckerl


Many sourcers find that they struggle to find the right candidates because they didn’t really find the time to think about the sourcing process in the first place. They arrive at a briefing with a Hiring Manager, write down the order, then arrive at their desk and try to use keywords for sourcing that make little sense to them. You need to take the time to pause for a while to figure out your sourcing plan before you start a search, in fact before you even meet with the Hiring Manager to discuss the requirements for the role.

Start by doing some research – if you arrive at an intake meeting unprepared, you end up taking an order (that quite often you won’t be able to live up to). Instead, do your research:

  • look at the profiles of candidates previously considered for a similar role,
  • write down a list of companies you think you could source from,
  • run a search on any keyword that comes up you don’t understand

After your intake meeting, write down a short summary of what you discussed, the sourcing plan you will implement and include a sample candidate profile. Ask your HM to confirm the profile matches their requirements – this way you’ll avoid finding it out after you spent a week on finding and contacting candidates!

Then once you start sourcing, make sure to take breaks. Research shows you can’t maintain the required level of attention for over 27 minutes, regardless of how well rested you are. So try taking 25 minutes to source and then taking a 5 minute break, then repeating that one more time. After that, you can take a longer break from sourcing and start contacting candidates, for a bit of variety. Compare your results to when you source continually for longer periods of time and decide for yourself what works best 🙂



Boolean search – Vince Szymczak 


Now I know Vince Szymczak ran a session on Boolean Search but unfortunately I missed it! I have no excuse… well except for the fact I was running a workshop myself 😉

The good news is you can check out some of the thoughts gathered in the session here:



The art of effective approach – my own presentation 😉


I came prepared, but my slides were mostly empty! The idea was to get the entire room talking and sharing. And guess what – it worked! We talked about what influences response rate, so what determines how many people reply to your messages.

It’s not just the message, but also:

  • who you send that message to (if you didn’t manage to find the right candidate in the first place, chances are they’ll just disregard the message as it’s not relevant to them)
  • Communication channel / method (some people are more responsive if you pick up the phone, others prefer written messages, maybe on LinkedIn, email or even Facebook)
  • Context of the message (so what your candidate can find out about you and about the company you work for)

When your response rates are low, you need to look at all of those factors!


What can you share about yourself to convince a candidate to reply?

Research shows (or so I heard in a TV show…) that it’s harder for people to hurt or reject us if they know a lot of personal facts about us. This is why sharing a little about yourself isn’t a choice, it’s necessary! “Be more human” is great advice but here’s what you can actually do:

  • Tell people where you’re from or where you grew up,
  • Tell people how you landed in recruitment – that must be a good story, right? 😉
  • Tell people what you like to do after work (cooking? Travelling? It may be best to pick something everyone can relate to)

You don’t necessarily need to use words – maybe you can use an interesting profile picture instead like Adriaan – I hope you’re OK with me using you as an example 😉 


What can you share about your company?

Remember you’re competing for attention with recruiters who work for similar companies, maybe even your colleagues. Just think about Big4 – does it really matter for a candidate which one of the companies you’re actually from? You have to make them care, and you’re more likely to do this if you refer to the particular project they will work about, the team they’ll end up in, the office they’ll be sitting in. If you work for a huge company and employer branding is important, you’ll probably have a team of marketers who look after what you share about the company. That’s fine, but make sure to add to the standard company blurb.


What can you do about the message?

First of all, you can try using smart templates – it doesn’t make sense to write every single message from scratch! Save the bits you type in often and copy and paste when you need them. Not the entire message, just the bit you need at that point. You can read more about the idea of smart templates here 🙂

The smart templates help you personalise messages beyond simply using the candidate’s name. What really matters is:

  • Proving to your candidate you’re human to make it harder for them to reject you 😉
  • Convincing the candidate that you understand their profile and career journey and aspirations well enough to represent them well in a recruitment process

Sounds easy enough right? 😉

The truth is it’s not very complicated as long as you are well prepared. When you can present the role you’re looking to fill, you need to do it from the perspective of your candidate. Say you’re looking for a Lead Developer – you want to describe it differently to someone who’s already a Lead Developer and differently to a Developer (in this case it might be easier as it’s a step up).

Another tips I had for the audience was to use mirroring & matching. You want to make a candidate feel like they know you and can trust you. If there are several synonyms to refer to something (like for example: “recruitment”, “talent acquisition” etc.), try replacing the word you used in your smart template with what the candidate uses. Technically the meaning doesn’t change, but it will help convince the candidate you read their profile and understand what they do.



Sourcing hackathon and networking


After that the time came for the sourcing hackathon. Guillaume Alexandre, Mark Tortorici and Jan Bernhart had a couple of challenges prepared to get in the right mindset, after which the hackathon started with several stages.

Here are some of the  challenges they used:

1. You are looking for a sales manager for entreprise sales in Israel but you don’t speak Hebrew. How do you source them? Suggest a step by step process.

2. You are looking for a marketing manager for a luxury brand  – they need to have experience starting a luxury brand from scratch. How do you source them? Suggest a step by step process.

3. You have to identify a driver for both Uber and Lyft in a specific location in Texas. How do you source them? Suggest a step by step process.


I’m afraid I won’t be sharing any answers here, try to answer them yourselves 🙂 There are many options to go about every challenge, of course.

After that the actual hackathon came – those who didn’t hack it had some time to catch up with other attendees before we had drinks. I met some interesting people and had some nice and informative conversations, but I will keep the details of those for myself 🙂

Also check out my thoughts after day 2 and day 3 of the Sourcing Summit Europe – and consider joining it next time!


Kasia Borowicz
Kasia Borowicz
Social Recruiting geek turned trainer; Recruitment Open Community manager; blogger. I enjoy coffee, reading and yes, recruitment :)


  1. Vanessa Raath says:

    This is Golden – thanks for sharing 🙂

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