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Sourcing Summit 2015: The Best Bits

By July 30, 20154 Comments

Earlier this week witnessed the gathering of the glitterati of the New Zealand recruitment community at the 2015 Sourcing Summit.  Well that might be over egging the pudding slightly, but it was certainly a damn good-looking bunch of recruiters, agency and in-house, a smattering of HR, and edifying in the extreme to see so many new faces coming along to hear about some cutting edge talent sourcing tools, products, stories, ideas, tips, tricks and hacks.

That word “hacks” seems to have taken on a new lease of life since the Technology Age rebranded geeks into hipsters and writing code became something you could admit to doing when meeting new people.  It used to be how I described my particular brand of defending on the football pitch, but now it adds a frisson of cool to the most pedestrian of topics.

A good example of this would be the title given to the excellent presentation from Amy Tea of Sheffield “HACKING PHONE SOURCING TO FIND EXTRAORDINARY TALENT” which was really just a very simple yet eloquent reminder of the power of using the phone to gather referrals and make a compelling approach to your target.  Amy produced the memorable refrain that we recruiters are really all just “traders in gossip” which if you really think about it is bang on, and something we should actually embrace.

Without waxing too lyrical about it all, I have to say that, as a whole, the conference packed a surprising punch, educating even the most advanced of sourcing specialists present, and blowing the minds of everyone else.  It was great.  Well done to Phillip Tusing, MC Matt Bartlett,  and his team for organising a top event.

Here’s some other highlights that stood out for me, and might be of interest to those of you who couldn’t make it:

Best Sourcing Tool

Keynote speaker Johnny Campbell markets himself as a Sourcing Ninja which would usually mean he is a deluded muppet, but in actual fact this guy lives up to the name.  Watching him live-source hard-to-find real life roles at places like Xero was something akin to Tom Cruise on Minority Report (except Johnny can also do a better Irish accent).  He has applied his ridiculously logical and analytical brain towards developing a tool called SourceHub which is brilliant for two reasons.  Firstly, it builds Boolean strings for you that you can then apply straight into LinkedIn searching with the click of a button.  Secondly because it’s free.  Download it now.

Best Worst LinkedIn Title

Other keynote speaker Katrina Collier revealed the LinkedIn profile of an IT Recruiter who described himself in big letters as a “Nerd Herder“, which apparently is disrespectful and upsetting to IT professionals.  However, she said that the name “Geek” is widely accepted, and indeed revered in some quarters, so the suggested alternative piped up by some smart alec in the crowd of “Geek Seeker” might be a better title for those of you seeking to stand out from the crowd.

Best One-Liner

There were many, particularly from the bloke sitting beside me, but my award has to go to Iain MacGibbon of Farrow Jamieson.  While pitching his “un-conference session” to the audience, who had to choose between attending his or one of three alternative sessions running concurrently, he delivered the line “It is customary with un-conference tracks for people to move around from one session to another while they are still ongoing. If anyone leaves my track midway through they are dead to me”  I never did find out if anyone was brave enough to test his mettle, perhaps you could let us know in the comments Iain?

Best Advice

This has to come from the excellent and impassioned presentation from Gavin Buchanan of Fisher & Paykel (Applicances….NOT Healthcare…right?) Read that last bit in a threatening Scottish accent for maximum effect.  Anyway, he reminded and/or informed in-house recruiters that leaving agency due to not enjoying sales was the worst reason to go in-house.  You must still sell in order to persuade top talent to join your company, and to win credibility within the wider business.  In fact he went as far as to say that in-house recruiters would do well to think and behave more like agency recruiters to achieve better outcomes for their hiring managers.  Which was just splendid.

Most Useful Tool

Real simple one here, and another one provided by the ninja-esque Tom Cruise Johnny Campbell of Social Talent.  You know when you are trying to find someone’s email to try and make contact about a vacancy or whatever, and can’t locate it anywhere?  So you find one for someone else at the company and try to guess the email based on the format of the other one?  Well you need to try it out and see if it’s a valid email, before sending.  Simple, but really bloody useful.

Biggest Crowd Pleaser

Saving the best to last here, but the hands down winner of the tool that stirred up the most excitement in the room was originally brought up by Iain MacGibbon, and later again by the keynote speakers.  I’m talking about Crystal Knows Me.

Crystal is an email app that wonderfully markets itself as “The biggest improvement to email since spellcheck”.  And they might just be right.  Crystal creates unique profiles for anyone with a LinkedIn account and somehow manages to deduce the personality, drivers, foibles and idiosyncrasies of individuals to the extent it can advise you on the best tone to adopt to get maximum impact when communicating with that individual.  I can’t show mine yet as I’ve only just signed up and am in a queue, but there’s a good example of it below from Troy Hammond (who also announced his new business Talent Army at the conference too):

troy crystal knows

The uses for this in recruitment are, of course, immense.  Whether it be a sales call, negotiating with a client, head hunting a candidate, or even understanding how best to handle an under-performing consultant, this tool, if it works properly, could be incredible.

To finish, I must say that the overall vibe of the day was excellent, and well-attended by an eclectic mix of people from both sides of the recruitment industry.  The fact that here in New Zealand we have a community where in-house and agency can mix and mingle without aggravation, and share ideas that really set us apart as innovators globally, is something to be immensely proud of.

Happy Friday.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Chris says:

    Thanks Jon, great read as usual and some really interesting tools you have shared to those of us that could not make it.


  • Marc says:

    Great post Jonathan, thanks for sharing. Sounds like it was a superb event.

  • Kieran O'Shaughnessy says:

    Great piece Jon – I was on one of Johnny’s first courses way back when at home in Ireland. Great to see he is is going from strength to strength…

  • Dale says:

    Hey, great blog John. Cool to have an insightful overview of a recruitment event that I didn’t actually make it too. Sounds like some useful stuff. Cheers d