If you’ve ever wondered what happens at a RecruitingDaily #HRTX event, well get ready because we’re about to give you a first-hand account. Picture it. New York City. The year 2019. The month, November. In a second-floor conference room, more than 100 like-minded professionals gathered together for a full-day workshop about recruiting.

Emcee and presenter Brian Fink kicked things off, before turning to sourcing legend Shally Steckerl, who was ready to host an in-depth look at natural language search and showcase a series of tricks that reveal candidates otherwise hidden in the depths of the internet. Steckerl provided general rules of thumb about refining Google searches to a clickable number (under 500) and samples for event-specific strings such as (member OR roster OR attendee OR chapter OR board OR conference) COMPANY NAME. Consider those two a gift, but you’ll have to attend an #HRTX or harass Shally for more.

Ronnie Bratcher took the stage next, expanding the audience’s knowledge of search engine strategy, i.e., sourcing beyond Google. Have you ever heard of eTools? No? Bratcher explains that this Google alternative searches 15 other engines, allowing you to set languages and preferences as they go. This one also highlights the keywords, letting sourcers zero in on results. He also turns a spotlight on options designed with visual learners in mind like Carrot2 and Peekier.com. So much for AskJeeves. But knowing these engines exist is only half the battle cautions Brachter, you also have to know the right syntax to use them, something he covers in detail.

Just before lunch, Tangie Pettis dove deep into “How to Be More Productive When Sourcing,” starting with the Pomodoro Technique. For those not familiar, “pomodoro” means “tomato” in Italian. In sourcing, it means that we can only source for so long before we need a break. After 27 minutes or so, we start to zone out and need a refresh, even something as simple as standing up, shaking out the old limps, and sitting back down. Pettis introduces a series of tools that support this method, including a Chrome extension that blocks the website you’re on once the timer goes off. She also offers up similar methods for uncovering information about unknown phone numbers, locations, and more while staying super organization.

After that, Steckerl returned to explore the corners of the deep web – not the dark web, nothing sinister happening here. Instead, this is the information that’s off the beaten path and harder to find, meaning unlinked or private websites, dynamic or non-HTML content, for starters. These are web pages that Google and search engines can’t index. Ever try sourcing through peer-reviewed journals to close a particularly niche req? What about the Wayback Machine? With Steckerl’s guidance, you can. And that’s just scratching the Shally surface because he also got into custom search engines, which by building it yourself opens up even more avenues.

Taking a break from his other duties, Fink hopped up again to shed light on the current state of “social recruiting” – and what that means in the age of Amazon and Instagram. By the end of the day, it became pretty clear that if you can’t find candidates, you’re not looking hard enough (or don’t have the right tools in place!).

GEM Recruiting AI

Interspersed in between these sessions, a few solution providers shared what they’re working on at the moment.

The folks from Oracle spoke on “3 Keys to Win the War for Talent,” which no surprise including sourcing, candidate experience, and internal talent. GR8 People examined the relationship between recruiters and technology, with automation in mind, reassuring attendees that AI supports but doesn’t supplant real-life humans. Symphony Talent, fresh off the SmashFly announcement, covered recruitment advertising and how programmatic strategies serve to target candidates and improve outcomes. Skill Scout put video front and center to bring humanity into job descriptions, providing a primer to get started without a whole film crew.

Do you see what we’re getting at?

#HRTX is a full day of hands-on, useful information from industry folks doing the research and development needed to make recruiting easier and more effective. Can’t argue with that. And if you’re in Los Angeles, you’re in luck – there’s one more event on the schedule for 2019, and it’s in your hood. If you can’t make it, fear not – 2020 dates are coming soon.

Katie Achille

Katie Achille is a contributing writer for RecruitingDaily and PR professional, marketer, and serial freelancer with 15 years of experience supporting organizations from startups to Fortune 500 corporations, specializing in HR and recruiting technology. Her career highlights include launching a massive employer brand project at Verizon, writing a book with a former presidential cabinet member, promoting top lecturers such as Fareed Zakaria and Thomas Friedman, penning entries in an encyclopedia of military science, and teaching Pilates. Over the years, her work has appeared in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Venture Beat, Business Insider, Human Resource Executive, Workspan, and many more. She holds a BA in Journalism and Media Studies from Rutgers University and an MA in Historical Studies from The New School. You can read her latest musings at katieachille.com or connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn