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From Parameters to Possibility to Placement, a Sourcing Perspective

I’m not an artist. In fact, when I draw someone it’s not easy to tell much of anything. If you’re visualizing a few lines with a circle on top, you get the idea.

This is the mental sketch I start with as a sourcer about to do an intake for a new position. As my team talks with the client, details such as salary, industry, geography, seniority and responsibilities begin to add flesh to the drawing. 

Next, my team strategizes. We discuss what has worked in similar searches and brainstorm what’s needed for the nuances of this particular role. A more definitive outline begins to appear as some of the lines on the sketch darken and take shape. The drawing, however, is nowhere near complete. Knowing the PARAMETERS of a search may provide boundaries, but parameters can only take me so far. The key to stand-out sourcing is making sure my research plan leaves room for interpretation and discovery, and opens the way to POSSIBILITY

It is at this point that my sourcing begins. My personal method is to start small to go big. Initially I take all the client’s haves—the must-haves, the nice-to-haves, and the extremely-obscure-but-wow-if you-can-find-it-that’d-be-a-bonus-to-have—and make them ALL must-haves. On LinkedIn, this demanding of a search most likely will produce a small return. That’s OK. This is a tight list of potentially the best of the best. Of those in the mix, there might be some who in addition to having everything I’m looking for, have a title and salary far too high for this position. I don’t discount them. These people have a lot to teach, both as potential networking connections and in what they wrote on their LinkedIn page. And, if their profiles are filled out well, they’re gold. Then I go deep. I want to/need to/must notice every detail. Such as:

  • What are they involved in?
  • What/whom do they follow?
  • What and where did they study?
  • What titles lead them to this one? Would they have been a fit a title or two ago? Who has these previous titles now? 
  • Who are their referrals? These might be people who are a step behind them, learned under them, or who clue me into a related company. 
  • Did they always work in this industry? If not, what do I think the transition was like and was their previous industry experience a benefit? 
  • What skills early in their career hinted at the skills they would later develop? How will I spot those, or hints of those, on greener profiles? 
  • What about the people under Similar Profiles? What can I learn from them?

With these ideal candidates in mind, I have a better understanding of what will make someone successful in my client’s role. Branching out, I follow the various leads garnered from each of these profiles. The possibilities are numerous.

The satisfying part for me is seeing how many interpretations exist of that initial sketch. My goal is to end the search with several fully drawn, unique possibilities, all being able to succeed in my client’s role. When my mind is open to follow the twists and turns of candidate career paths, my list becomes rich, thorough and diverse. A rich list provides shading and texture and is definitely outside the lines of a standard search. From there, the recruiter chisels and sculpts the list until a PLACEMENT emerges, which artfully adds to the company and team architecture.

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