Online Team Sourcing Sessions: Tips & Tricks with Alla Pavlova

In today’s episode of Sourcing School, Alla Pavlova takes Ryan Leary and Brian Fink to virtual class, sharing tips and tricks for online team sourcing sessions. As a bonus, Brian performs his personal rendition of (what we think is) a Peabo Bryson song while Ryan attempts to contain him. Then, in a shocking turn of events, Brian distracts Ryan with fishing before Alla rings the bell and reels them in.

Take a breath and prepare for a great show because you are going to learn. A lot.

Alla is an interim tech sourcer & recruiter based in Amsterdam. She’s worked with companies like Miro, Dott, My.Games, Blendle, Relive and GameHouse Journeys, and she’s currently building tech teams at Riot Games (HKSG Studio).

She’s basically a fun as heck person. Visit her website here:

In Today’s Podcast

How to prepare and plan it for team sourcing? Which tools should you use, and what will work best for an online setup?  How can you diversify your sessions to make it easier for everyone to contribute?

A few tips we’ll cover:

  1. Immersing yourself into the trade
  2. Openly communicate challenges and points of curiosity
  3. Sourcing on Twitch, YouTube, Slack, and TikTok

Listening Time: 22 minutes

More Alla Coming Up

She’ll be with us again in September for #HRTX Virtual: Hardcore Sourcing to take us in-depth on Online team Sourcing Sessions: Tips & Tricks.

Enjoy the Podcast?

Check out episodes you might have missed right here on RecruitingDaily.

Alla Pavlova
Tech & Art Talent Sourcing Riot Games

Alla has previously worked with Miro, Dott, My.Games, Blendle, Relive, GameHouse journeys. Currently building tech teams at Riot Games (HKSG Studio). Leading Slack Community in Amsterdam, conducting remote weekly WAN-parties for Tech Sourcers. Alla loves creating and testing sourcing tools, pair-sourcing, programming on Scratch, and playing computer games.
Visit her website at

Follow Follow

Brian:  00:36
If ever I’m in your arms again. Ladies and gentlemen, boys, and girls, welcome to Sourcing School with your host, the Ryan Leary followed by the Bryan Fink.

Ryan:  00:44

Brian:  00:44
Ryan Leary, what’s going on today? How are you, sir?

Ryan:  00:47
What is up, my man? Nothing much is going on here. I’m just sitting here staring at your beautiful face while I hide myself from video today because I didn’t do my hair.

Brian:  00:57
Ryan got a bad haircut, so he’s not on video today as we’re having this conversation.

Ryan:  01:02
What’s been going on with you, man? I feel like it’s been a couple of days since we talked.

Brian:  01:07
Yeah. Things are good. People are back to school and we’re getting ready for a big movie night, so to speak. So-

Ryan:  01:18
Free guy.

Brian:  01:19
Things are good things. Free guy, yeah. So excited about that. How are things with you and all of your fishing excursions?

Ryan:  01:28
Oh. Fishing is great. Not enough of it, but we’re doing well. We’re landing them. And we’ve got a trip coming up on the 15th of September. We’re going out to Thousand Island. So for those of you not in the states, it is in New York. We’ll be up there, but we’re camping because cabins are sold out. So we are camping and it is going to be cold. And I’m not a camper. I like my showers. So we’ll see how that goes.

Brian:  01:57
Well, I was going to make a segue and say, another person who really likes international… I mean, for the international audience, we are joined today by one of the preeminent sourcing and recruiting, or I certainly think that we’re joined by one of the preeminent sourcing and recruiting experts in the field. Really somebody who understands how to not only teach recruiters, but how to reach great talent and engage them. Somebody who’s internationally known to rock the microphone. Alla Pavlova, I’m excited to have you on the program with us. What is going on?

Alla:  02:32
Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. Exciting times for sourcers, and you probably noticed that recently I changed a little bit the market. So I’m focused in Singapore and Hong Kong. To be honest, this is the biggest shift that I ever made in terms of the market, in terms of the focus. Happy to share.

Brian:  02:52
Well, I’m excited about that. That actually is one of the questions that I’ve got is that you are, like I make the joke, but you are internationally known. You recruit across borders. If you’re recruiting right now in Southeast Asia, how is that different than working with sourcing teams across Europe or candidates across Europe? What’s that like?

Alla:  03:17
First thing that I was very surprised is that recruiters and sourcers are super welcome. I have never seen any messages from LinkedIn profiles, “I hate her greeters. I don’t want to talk to recruiters. I don’t like sourcers, please don’t contact me.” People are so welcome. So they think that you’re going to bring them something good. So that was the first impression, that the market is very welcoming. And the second one was that all the job titles and all the keywords that I knew from here, I need to forget them and I need to use the new ones.

Brian:  03:50
Okay. So that just opened up a can of worms here. Like my head just exploded. How do you bridge the nomenclature? How do you discover that new terminology?

Alla:  04:04
There are different ways. Of course, I start with tools. So I Google different articles and tools that provide you with abbreviations that are used. Then it went through some online, even Wikipedia pages with the names of the people, the names of technologies. And in the first week, I think I started to ask other sourcers in Asia.

So I joined Facebook and Slack groups where the technical sourcers from Singapore, for example are sharing the knowledge. And I was asking them, “Hey, I’m not new to the industry, but I’m very new to the market. So can you advise me on this is that?” And as we all know certain communities, one of the communities that likes to share things. And so, yeah, I got pretty good advice. A little bit [inaudible 00:04:54]

Brian:  04:55
Awesome. Awesome. There’s also, you talk about advice. You put together quizzes for recruiters to learn how to be-

Alla:  05:03
I love that.

Brian:  05:03
Better recruiters, right? So what goes into building those types of exercises to make people like me and people like Ryan, who Ryan dabbles in sourcing. He’s coming up in it. But what is it that goes into creating that type of quiz, that gamification?

Alla:  05:22
Because if you ask any sourcer who spends like six or eight hours every day sourcing, it is hard. So you have to make it fun. So you either choose to use different tools, such as switch between walls, or you have a pair [inaudible 00:05:38] sensations. You just grab your colleague and you do it together. So maybe as one of the topics that I would love to share is you get to the group of other sourcers and you start sourcers together. So you just try to find the ways how you can make it interactive.

Alla:  05:56
And I find that quizzes are helpful and they could be a little bit more technical. So they’re going to show you a little bit to where are you right now? Where’s your level? Because I try to think as a developer. Of course, I’m not a developer myself. But I’m thinking, okay, if I do take income sourcing, I do need to understand this area, otherwise I’m going to be more than outsider. So I’m going to receive probably a lot of negative feedback and responses.

So taking a quiz is a nice way to show technical sourcers where are you right now, how you can learn new things. Even showing them the pictures of Bill Gates, Joel Spolsky and asking them, “Hey, do you know this guy? Did that he created Trello then [inaudible 00:06:40] and that his book is awesome?”

Alla:  06:43
So yeah, it’s entertaining, but learning for sure.

Brian:  06:48
That’s awesome. That’s incredible. You mentioned earlier about sourcing with strangers and that. So guys, for anybody who’s listening, we have got a little bit of a pre-conversation and then we start rolling the tape. That’s to let you do in behind the magic. And we were talking about sourcing with strangers with Alla. And I was wondering, I was like, how do you source with strangers? What is that like?

Alla:  07:15
Yeah. We do know that COVID changed our lives in different ways, right? So last year, and that was 2020, I was at home and I was a little bit bored of the sourcing. And what I did, I posted a Zoom link online, on LinkedIn and I asked anyone who would like, just jump in. I’m going to source, this is the 30 minutes, every Friday at 12, I’m just sourcing online.

You can join in and look at what I do. At the beginning, my hiring managers joined. This is how I came up with the idea. So I need to show my hiring managers how I’m sourcing, and then they’re going to give me tons of feedback. And then other people just started to join and introduce themselves, say, “Hey, I’m from Portugal.” “Hey, I’m from Berlin.” “Hey, I’m from there, from there.”

Alla:  07:59
So I got people from all over the world just sourcing with me because they were also bored at home. I called it [inaudible 00:08:06] parties, like remote parties. And yeah, it’s still going on. So I missed only one since April, 2020. So every Friday I do that. And to be honest, you’re making yourself a little bit vulnerable. So you show things how you do. And sometimes you have some feedback, “Hey, it’s inefficient. You have to use this and that.” And this is super great because this makes you improve yourself all the time. Yeah. This is about sourcing with strangers.

Brian:  08:36
Okay. So you talk about improving yourself all the time. Alla, I look to you and you teach me things when I either watch you, so full disclosure, I came in and watched her source last year. It’s [inaudible 00:08:50]. It was really impressed. I mean, it’s [inaudible 00:08:54]. Yeah. Last year, right? So that’s kind of where our relationship started. Who do you look to to teach you new things? Because you’re constantly pushing the envelope. Who do you look to?

Alla:  09:09
Many people, let’s say. I mean, [inaudible 00:09:11] of course one of the first men who inspires me in some particular topic, like how to create your custom search engines, I would say Mike. He is one of those [inaudible 00:09:21] so everyone knows him. So I think he just raised the bar for me a little bit higher in terms of the use of Excel sheets.

So I thought I’m okay with that, so definitely not. So I’m going to really improve it. Of course Clement. I’m just afraid that I’m not going to mention everyone that I really think that they’ve given a lot of the tools and things that I can learn. Yeah. Like [inaudible 00:09:49] newsletters. There’s just the-

Brian:  09:51
Oh, [inaudible 00:09:51] newsletter’s amazing.

Alla:  09:51

Brian:  09:51
Brainfood is great.

Alla:  09:56
Yeah. But did you know that he has also a tool to search on his database of all the articles? And so you can find tons of information that you can go through and you can learn. Of course, SourceCon was always for many years the source of how to source on [inaudible 00:10:13], how to source on there. So this is the Google search that I always put in. The first thing I find is SourceCon articles. Just to make sure that I have mentioned everyone, but yeah. It’s so many great sourcers and you just can’t stop learning.

Brian:  10:29
Okay. Cool.

Ryan:  10:31
So Alla, I’ve got a question for you. So I think one of the challenges we were always hearing is how recruiters build relationships with hiring managers and some of the horror stories that we hear there. How do you get hiring managers to source along with you?

Alla:  10:49
Yeah. That’s a good question. I usually start with, “Hey, I’m sure you have an amazing network and let’s look at this together.” So I try to find the session when they can have a look at a hiring manager network, and just to give him or her some hints where I’m sourcing for the specialist that this client might just need.

And slowly, I’m explaining which is the market situation. I’m sharing some data. “Hey, did you know this particular role in this particular region, it’s only 2000 people. Let me show you.” And then I share my screen and I start pulling things as I do. Usually, for example, I look at [inaudible 00:11:30] search it for all the keywords.

Alla:  11:31
And then the hiring managers, the magic has happened. I don’t know how it works, but the magic is that they became so involved and they said, “Oh, look at this one.” “Oh, did you know about this conference?” “Oh, by the way, I don’t think you’re going to find anyone relevant. Here’s this, here’s the keywords. Look there.”

So they become like partners to you. And they also see sourcing sometimes as a black box. So they don’t know what we do? And they don’t know how many profiles they’re going to see, how many people. Actually, profiles mean nothing to them. So they want to see the actual interviews.

Brian:  12:03

Alla:  12:05
Yeah. Well, whatever I say, I went through 700 profiles. And they selected only 20 and said, “Yeah, the voting was big, but the results are small.” So I felt like what they do care is how many people actually passing the screening. And then he will also upgrade a little bit to this data because hold the old hiring manager says, I work with technical people and they want to see data.

They want to see concrete things and the concrete stops. And I always tell them, what is my next step? Like, I’m going to look up all the communities [inaudible 00:12:43]. And I’m going to look into all the hackathons, conferences everywhere.

Alla:  12:47
And if I’m running out of ideas, I actually booked a sourcing session with a CTO and he came. So it was on a 15 minutes, but he came.

Brian:  12:55

Alla:  12:56
I called it brainstorming. Yeah. He was intrigued and he came and he also shared a little bit of the groups that he’s part of and invited me to some Slack communities that are close to recruiters. And I think this is also cool that they can… Sometimes you can encourage them to source for you and they can go themselves and select communities and get some nice profiles for you.

Ryan:  13:23
So I think the burning question is going to be, what is the tech stack that Alla Pavlova uses?

Alla:  13:30
The tech stack?

Ryan:  13:32
Yep. What are you using day to day?

Alla:  13:35
The tools. Yeah. Oh, because yeah, when you said, I was like, I’m not a developer. So I don’t have any tech stacks. Sorry. Sorry. Yeah.

Ryan:  13:48
No, what tools are you using? What tools? What tools?

Alla:  13:49
Sorry. I had to double check with you. Yeah. So the tool list is big. So I like to build all my social strategies in NeuroPort because it’s endless. So I can put everything in there. Of course, amazing hiring, of course, quantum [inaudible 00:14:05] data scraper, abbreviation finder, text finder. I do a lot of hashtag sourcing on Twitter. Love it.

So I recently support it, so that you can also source on Twitch because my audience is cultural developers, but in gaming. So I need to find the ways where I can find them. I’m still looking into some extra in some nice places like YouTube, like email, like others, like our station. So all the things where I can find the relevant roles. But I will be transparent with you that 70% of my sourcing is done by X-ray and Google.

Brian:  14:46
Awesome. Awesome.

Alla:  14:47
It’s true. So I’m not going to pretend. X-ray is still pulling strings and X-ray is still my Swiss knives.

Brian:  14:56
Yeah. That’s kind of where, Alla, I don’t want to cast shade. But Ryan knows I cast plenty of shade, is that I think that there’s a group of junior recruiters and junior sourcers out there that don’t know how to X-ray. They don’t know how to use Boolean to get at the results that are not quote, unquote deep web.

But sometimes they’re super easy to find. Like, oh, here, I’m looking for a real-time storage engineer and here are 50 resumes of real-time storage engineers through using Boolean. How do you teach, or two questions, how do you reach junior works, recruiters and sourcers? And then how do you teach them to do things like Boolean search, which is harder than using something like AmazingHiring?

Alla:  15:46
Yeah, agreed. So there are two ways. If we hire someone junior, so in any company at work, we set up the training. So every week for example, I will sit down and source together. I will start with basics explaining what the operators mean and how they could be mixed, how you use them.

And then I will give some homework for the person to try to build this, pull strings for himself or herself. It’s starting with super basics. Of course, there’s tons of information again, available online. But I will probably choose one that will be easy to understand. For example, like this pizza toppings. It’s one of the most popular, exactly online. You know this one, right?

Brian:  16:26
Yeah, yeah.

Alla:  16:27
Yeah. You will find a way. And I think also we do have some very experienced sourcers on the market who are expert in this field. So I will try to show some things that [inaudible 00:16:44] posted, so that people can see some basic Boolean search that they can do. But yeah. So first of all, trainings, of course internal, customizing and preparing probably the list of tools that the person can start. And usually juniors, they’re actually going to the conferences, and so listen to us everywhere we are, and so learning from us. So that’s, I think the way.

Brian:  17:15
Yeah. Awesome.

Ryan:  17:15
So I’ve got a question here and I know, Fink, you’re going to want to probably jump in here and geek out on it. But Alla, how are you sourcing on Twitch?

Alla:  17:27
So I do the X-ray search. So it’s going to be the site. Twitch and in URL and developer, and then I’m going to get the results.

Brian:  17:38
I’m trying this right now.

Alla:  17:39
[crosstalk 00:17:39] on the audio. I’m thinking, how can I show it?

Ryan:  17:45
You can’t show it. You’ve got to talk it. I know, it’s tough.

Alla:  17:51
Exactly. I mean, this is so strange then for the software developers. We need to show the code, right? So if you go to Twitch itself, so you will not have good results, but if you do the X-ray now with in title developer, it should work. It should give you like 700 results minimum. I’m doing it right now myself.

Brian:  18:13
You’re doing it too? Okay. I’m like, is it site colon, in title developer? Let me just see if I can get this to X-ray Twitch. Okay. I’ve got Twitch developing. Oh. Oh, whoa. Oh. Oh.

Alla:  18:30
Does it work?

Brian:  18:32
So what I’m doing is, is I’m peeling back the URL and I’m looking… It’s really funny. Like there’s an ad at the top that’s telling me I should try the Google Search Console on my results, that I should build a CSE for this. I’m not going to do that this weekend. In URL engineer. I don’t have anything for in URL engineer. I’m using Google [crosstalk 00:19:00].

Alla:  19:01
In title?

Brian:  19:02
In title, okay.

Alla:  19:02
In title. Yeah. If you use in title developer. Yeah. The great thing was I saw Glenn’s presentation recently. He’s one of the most experienced people and some tools were not working. And seeing him troubleshooting straight away, it just makes you feel like, okay. They all sometimes screw the tools and they’re not working and it’s normal. It’s okay. It’s going to be fixed. Let me try it again myself and share it with you on the chat.

Brian:  19:32
Okay. That’s cool because I was trying it and Bing, and I was trying it in… The only one I haven’t tried is DuckDuckGo. Yeah.

Ryan:  19:38
So this might be a first, sourcing visually on a podcast.

Brian:  19:44

Ryan:  19:45
That’s like I’ve got a face for radio.

Alla:  19:51
No. I can’t imagine doing that, to be honest. And yeah, developers doing coding online. So yeah, I can imagine. Some of the interviews are so not designed for developers, but that’s another topic. I can imagine we can talk about it. Like what are the interviews that are great for developers, that setting up them for fail.

Brian:  20:13
Yeah. All right. So Alla, real quick, we’ve been at this for awhile. Like we’ve been having a great conversation and I want to thank you again for making this happen. Usually Ryan, and I’m going to steal this from Ryan, Ryan usually asks, unless you want to steal it from me. Ryan usually ask what are three takeaways? What are three things that you would impart to the sourcing community? Three tips that you would give them on how to be the next Alla, because that’s what we’re looking for, right?

Alla:  20:48
I want them to be better. So I would say the first, please try to build a solid technical base for yourself. I would say that you need to be a software developer, but really try to get into the subject because that’s going to help you to talk to people you’re looking for. Secondary, never give up.

If you get stuck, try different things, ask other people, reach out, be open about, let’s say challenges you have. And one of the things that probably I’ve heard about myself, I get really curious about what I do. So if it’s hard, I’m interested to solve it. So I really [inaudible 00:21:35] who was thinking about the sourcing career, you’re like a spy. You’re really finding some ways to get these things, like to find the developers who are hard to find.

Alla:  21:50
And you get so much satisfaction when you do that. And your job is so important. You’re constantly reminded how sourcers are influencing the whole strategy of hiring. So you’re the first person to meet the candidates, actually and make the first impression by your amazing [inaudible 00:22:06] that’s super personal and that is super relevant. Yeah. So that’s probably five.

Brian:  22:13
That’s great.

Alla:  22:13
I squeezed in three.

Brian:  22:14
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I usually ask that as kind of the last question or Ryan does, but you talked about sourcing on Twitch, talked about sourcing on YouTube. You and I have talked about sourcing on Slack. Have you started playing around with TikTok yet?

Alla:  22:35
Good question. Great question, actually. For a long time, is a good resourcer, I was thinking it’s not the place. And I’m still not there because I do think that it will be, I’m going to procrastinate there a lot. So just to be very transparent. So when I source on the social media that has a lot of content that I can get myself into a team for the whole day, I will probably be very careful with that. It’s one thing.

Alla:  23:05
But another one, I just don’t think that it’s a good place for me for the level of engineers I’m looking for. I do think they’re going to have their profile in depth, but I think it’s going to be easier for me to find them in a technical newsletter, is in the conferences and the hackathons, in Twitter rather than in TikTok. And to be fully transparent, I do think I’m going to procrastinate there.

Brian:  23:30

Alla:  23:30
So that’s the main reason.

Brian:  23:33
Awesome. Well, I appreciate you being with us. I can’t wait to see where you’re going to be at next. Alla, thank you so much for making time for us today. This has been a great conversation.

Sourcing School Podcast

Brian Fink

As a Talent Acquisition Partner at McAfee, Brian Fink enjoys bringing people together to solve complex problems, build great products, and get things done. In his recent book, Talk Tech to Me, Fink takes on the stress and strain of complex technology concepts and simplifies them for the modern recruiter to help you find, engage, and partner with professionals.

Ryan Leary

Ryan Leary helps create the processes, ideas and innovation that drives RecruitingDaily. He’s our in-house expert for anything related to sourcing, tools or technology. A lead generation and brand buzz building machine, he has built superior funnel systems for some of the industries top HR Tech and Recruitment brands. He is a veteran to the online community and a partner here at RecruitingDaily.


1 thought on “Online Team Sourcing Sessions: Tips & Tricks with Alla Pavlova”

Please log in to post comments.