Last month (all the way back in 2021) I asked my LinkedIn network the question; ‘Is Talent Acquisition / Line Manager paired sourcing a valuable exercise?’. The resounding response (with a landslide 87% of your votes) was ‘Yes’. Paired sourcing has become a valuable exercise in a world where sourcing Tech talent is increasingly competitive. Knowing who to approach and how to approach them has never been more vital. Transparency around the sourcing process also gives our hiring communities valuable insights and creates more understanding around the challenges we face in the market.
Here at Mews, paired sourcing within our TA team is commonplace. Running sessions where recruiters and/or sourcers come together to communally assess talent is a weekly occurrence. It’s important not only for quality assurance but also for more creative and comprehensive searching and as a great team building exercise. I wonder though, how often are we as recruiters or sourcers paired sourcing with our hiring managers?
Since switching agency recruitment for internal talent acquisition, I’ve been running regular hiring manager paired sourcing sessions. Now, I’m not claiming to be some trailblazing expert, I know many of my recruitment peers have been doing the same for a while, but it often surprises me how under-utilised this method of headhunting still is. In the past, the only other touch points between the recruiter and the hiring manager were at the point of profile/CV feedback. In today’s market, that has to change.
In my experience, the closer a TA team works with their stakeholders throughout the hiring process, the better the overall hiring outcomes become. This obviously works both ways, and the mindset should ideally be ‘us’, rather than ‘us and them’. Of course, hiring managers are just as busy as recruiters and having the time isn’t always practical, especially in a fast-paced scale-up like Mews.
So, I’m extremely grateful that we have an abundance of invested Engineering Leads and managers here that make time. To be clear, this isn’t about passing on the responsibility for finding talent, as recruitment professionals, that is very much our job and specialism. However, an Engineering Lead will often have a different perspective and lens for looking at future employees, criteria that we as recruiters may not see. Data also suggest that a message from a potential hiring manager is 56% more likely to be engaged than if it’s sent from me (sad face).
Inspiration: pair programming
A recent success story that springs to mind involves our VP of Engineering – Platform, Josef Starýchfojtů, who was looking for candidates with a niche set of skills from a traditionally small pool of suitable candidates. We implemented a weekly 30-minute sourcing session where we would collectively create searches and approach those with the right skills, background and industry knowledge. Our tech leads are a great source of knowledge, and by using a shared project, we were able to build out our pipelines throughout the week before sharing messaging responsibilities. The latter is important, as we all know that often a recruiter can come across as too ‘salesperson’, whereas a hiring manager speaks in the language a candidate will respond to.
The upshot is that after a few weeks, we had a mixture of active and passive candidates progressing through our interview process. In terms of frequency, I believe the once weekly cadence injects the right amount of collaboration and ownership, whilst not turning in to an arduous task for our hiring managers. Improved communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts have also made the practice highly accessible; meaning I can run a paired sourcing session with any of my hiring managers across our Prague, London and Amsterdam offices.
Don’t take my word for it, here’s what Josef had to say on the matter:
Josef: Pair programming has been known discipline in engineering for quite some time now, no wonder its essence is getting utilized with other sorts of activities, and rightfully so! Shortening the feedback loop as much as possible is always beneficial and pair sourcing is no exception.
I think it’s clear that at Mews we’re fans of this approach, and as we scale our business, I expect lots more hiring manager paired sourcing sessions. However, I’d be interested in hearing how my network is approaching their paired sourcing. Whether it’s in the same format or being conducted completely differently? Am I expecting too much of our hiring communities? Is paired sourcing useful in your organisation? Is there a better way of doing it? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.