Adding a Dash of Marketing to your Sourcing Workflow with Erin Mathew

On today’s episode of Sourcing School, Erin Mathew combines her chef valor and recruitment prowess to teach us all about adding a dash of marketing to our sourcing workflow.  

Erin is the Strategic Talent Sourcing Manager at Maxar Technologies where she manages a team of 3 strategic talent sourcers.  She is also a SourceCon Academy Graduate and has presented at over a dozen sourcing & recruiting training events, including RecruitingDaily’s HRTX (hint: she’s ba-a-a-a-ack and we are so happy).


In Today’s Podcast

Sourcing isn’t only a game of searching and outreach. All too often many shy away from integrating any kind of marketing or content creation into their workflow. You don’t need a marketing degree to generate engaging materials that will catch the eye of job seekers. There are a few simple methods and free tools to take the plunge at getting creative in attracting talent.

A few questions we’ll answer:

  1. Why do recruiters shy away from marketing?
  2. Why it’s important to embrace your creative nature if you want to kick ass.
  3. Three things to add to the recruiting workflow for successful marketing.

And more…of course.  But you have to listen to learn.

Drop your thoughts in the comments!

Listening time: 28 minutes


More Erin Coming Up.

She’ll be with us again in September for #HRTX Virtual: Hardcore Sourcing to take us in-depth on Adding a Dash of Marketing to your Sourcing Workflow.


Enjoy the Podcast?

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


Brian:   00:35
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends of all ages. Guess who is back on the show. Well, besides Ryan Leary, hello Ryan. You’ve got the awesome ever present, Sorceress Supreme, that’s what I think I’m going to, the Sorceress Supreme. Is that a good nickname for Erin Mathew. Erin Mathew, what’s going on.

Erin:   00:56
Sorceress Supreme kind of sounds like whatever new menu item that got going on at Taco Bell or something.

Brian:   01:02
Okay, I was thinking about Marvel and I was thinking about Dr. Strange, not to compare you to Dr. Strange, because certainly that is. I am taking whole inserting foot heavily on and I, that is..

Erin:   01:19
Let’s stick with taco bell. Let’s stick with that.

Brian:   01:23
Today’s podcast brought to you by Taco Bell.

Ryan:   01:26
Taco Bell is not bad, so don’t knock it. It’s the best Mexican food out there. Right? I know Erin’s about to jump through the microphone here to get me.

Erin:   01:37

Ryan:   01:37
So before we kick off about like workflows and marketing and all this stuff we’re going to talk about. Talk to me about this food, or you keep posting online because every time I see it, it is ridiculous.

Erin:   01:54
I’ve been cooking since I was about eight years old. And a lot of what I’ve learned is purely just through osmosis and watching too much food network. And it’s becomes second nature to me over time. And anybody who knows me knows that nothing drives me more crazy than when I post something that I made. And I get the recipe question mark, and I’m like, don’t do this to me please. I haven’t used recipes in the longest time and I don’t know, it’s almost like muscle memory for me at this point when I throw things together and I don’t know what to tell people when they want to know how to make it. So I try to post things merely as inspiration, more than instruction.

Ryan:   02:38
It’s inspiration for me to eat. So I’m down with that. So think transitioned that into marketing, it’s all you.

Brian:   02:44
I’m going to transition that into marketing is that we were having a conversation or just before we hit the record button. So welcome to you, the fourth person in this conversation, our listener, we’re glad that you’re here. Welcome back. We were having a conversation with Erin about how to put on that marketing hat and leverage. I don’t really think we said the words, employee branding, but like, you do a good job of that on LinkedIn man. Like you do a real good job of that. So Erin, tell us about the magnet of marketing and how that’s attracting the right candidates, the right opportunity at the right time.

Erin:   03:20
Yeah, and I’ve kind of haphazardly fallen into the marketing function a little bit in every job that I’ve had in the last couple of years. And a lot of that was due to the fact that we didn’t really have anyone doing recruitment marketing on the team. So I just kind of stepped in and did little things that got candidates interested, whether it was making videos that were really hilarious. Like one time I made a fake infomercial when I was working at FTD, that’s still floating around YouTube somewhere, and it’s pretty funny. But most recently I do a lot of video job advertisements for the positions that I source for at Maxar Technologies. And the reason that I do that is because it’s a lot easier to grab the attention of someone on the newsfeed with a quick video than it is to have an entirely text-based.

Erin:   04:09
So really that visual aspect is really helpful to what we do. And I don’t think that a lot of people realize that creating video content is a lot easier and it’s a lot cheaper than you think that it might be, just about everything that I use is free or as I call it freemium. So paid version, if you want to go up a little bit higher, but it’s definitely served me well in the long-term to be able to quickly turn out creative content, rather than having to wait on a marketing department to produce it every time.

Brian:   04:43
All right. So for those of you who don’t know, Erin is putting objects into space. She’s not putting billionaires into space. That’s another recruiter that we love. How do you reach that audience? Because I just think who you’re looking for is so niche, is that the wrong perception?

Erin:   05:07
It is very niche. And a lot of times it just really depends. Some of the people that we’re looking for are already in that space. So you really have to be able to sell them on your company’s unique culture. And for us at Maxor, we are a government contractor, but we really don’t feel like one compared to the other big names that you might recognize, like a Raytheon or a Lockheed Martin. We feel much more like a tech company. So essentially that’s kind of the story that we have to share. I kind of went into Maxar expecting a culture that was very buttoned up because obviously when you’re working on government contracts, there’s a lot of compliance and regulations that you have to adhere by. But I walked into office in DC, a couple of years ago with pink hair and I’m like, oh, I didn’t have time to get this covered up. Are they going to think I’m a big weirdo? No, nobody batted an eye. And then I saw people walking through the halls with full sleeves and it was a very laid back culture that I was not expecting.

Brian:   06:17
How do you convey, do you think the pink hair conveys that to other individuals?

Erin:   06:24
Oh yeah, definitely. I’ve had all kinds of weird hair colors in my LinkedIn pictures before.

Brian:   06:31
Actually. I think that when I met you, you were like strawberry blonde with a strip

Erin:   06:36
Purple, yeah.

Brian:   06:36
Yeah, cool. The other question I would ask is how do you make sure that you attract the right people and kind of gate keep out those individuals that are not the right candidate you’re looking for?

Erin:   06:52
I think that’s a tough question because you don’t necessarily want to gate keep too much when you’re a talent sourcer. I mean, obviously, especially in the government space, sometimes you do have to be very open that unfortunately, if you’re a candidate that requires sponsorship, it’s just not something that we’re able to do due to regulations and constraints. So that’s really the only kind of gatekeeping that we really have to do. But other than that, you’re attracting talent, you may not be able to find them a place within your specific organization, but as sourcers we’re well networked with each other. And we just might happen to know somebody that has something that’s relevant for them at another company. And when you network like that, it’s always bound to come back to you too. So that’s just something that I kind of keep in mind. So I guess I’m not too big on the whole gatekeeping thing to begin with.

Brian:   07:54
That’s awesome to hear that. I actually was reading an article that Knoll road on a recruiting daily, it’s from about a year or so ago, that was about candidate experience and not creating disillusionment, not creating that warm environment and actually screening people in as opposed to screening people out. Do you think that more recruiters screen candidates in or screen candidates out.

Erin:   08:23
I’d say they probably screen them out more than anything and there’s definitely things that you can do that will often make candidates self-select out, if they’re not the right fit. For example, we host a lot of virtual recruiting events and most often we are looking for mid to senior level people for these positions, but because we’re putting ourselves out there as accessible to the general market, we’re going to get the new grads that register anyways and more power to them because they’re being ambitious in marketing. And I always tell my hiring managers, don’t brush them off when they come to talk to you in the booths, let them know like, “Hey, yes we are looking for mid to senior level here, but I’m going to introduce you to this person over in our Talent Acquisition booth. They’re going to tell you a little bit more about our intern program. They’re going to tell you about opportunities for new college grads. Unfortunately, it’s just not our team at this time.” And I’m sure that a lot of companies screen out new college grads, but that doesn’t bode well for your longterm strategy.

Ryan:   09:31
I couldn’t agree more. So I was going to ask why.

Erin:   09:32

Brian:   09:32
Why does that not bode well for your longterm strategy?

Erin:   09:40
Think about it, people have long memories.

Brian:   09:43
Actually I think people have short memories. I look at all these people who suddenly start. Political comment by Brian, I’m looking at all these people who have stopped wearing masks and had decided that 30% of the population being vaccinated is good enough. And they’ve forgotten about COVID, in grant.

Erin:   10:01
That’s true. However, I have had a lot of, new college grads that I’ve interacted with in the past and helped with their resume because they’ve attended events at Maxar. And then a couple months down the road, they happen to have six months of experience now and they’re just qualified enough to apply to something. And then I didn’t get that hire six months ago, but now I’ve got myself six months ago to thank for that. So..

Ryan:   10:30
So, I want to bring it back to content real quick. So why do you think recruiters shy. You may mention all this, but why do you think recruiters shy away from integrating marketing or content creation into their actual workflow?

Erin:   10:44
Because they’ve convinced themselves that they have no creativity. But that’s not true. Everybody can be creative in some way or another, but I think that sometimes it may take the help of another person to pull it out of them. And I’ve seen that a lot in helping newer sourcers come up with presentations for example, we have a lot of new speakers this year and they’re like, I don’t know how to put together content. I don’t know how to put together a cool looking slide deck. A lot of times, if you just sit there with them for about 30 minutes and ask them a series of questions, then you pull those ideas out of their heads with just a little bit of help. And I think that that’s a big barrier is people don’t know where to start when it comes to creativity, If it doesn’t come to you naturally. It’s just like any other skill that maybe you’re not naturally inclined to. Everybody can stretch that rubber band a little bit further. And I guess, work on the skills that don’t come naturally to them. I have to do it every day. I’m not the most organized person. I’m not the most structured person, but I’ve had to learn to become way because I’ve moved from a individual contributor to a manager role. It hasn’t been easy, but I think that you can realize that you’re capable of a lot more if you just try.

Ryan:   12:05
So what are some examples of content that recruiters should consider?

Erin:   12:10
So I do this weekly post that a lot of people really like, I unfortunately didn’t have time to do one this week, but I call it Space Fact Friday. Now this is not a Maxar endorsed type of content, but because I am in that industry, it’s great content to attract people to my profile. So every Friday I just look up a random fact about space. I put like a stock image in the back of it. And then people are like, oh my God, I had no idea that a space suit weighs 250 pounds and takes four hours to put on. It’s just cool content that make people go, “huh?” And then they see my profile and they’re like, “Oh, she sources for an Aerospace company. That’s really cool.” So just little things like that are really simple to do. It doesn’t take a whole lot of creativity to look up a cool fact and just put a cool graphic behind it.

Ryan:   13:08
Does it really take four hours to put a space suit on?

Erin:   13:11
It sure does.

Ryan:   13:15
I don’t know where to go with that one, but that’s a long time.

Brian:   13:19
I know where to go with that one. Erin, how do you like, okay, so like you put this post together that Space Fact Friday, how much time, like I know how much time I put together to build a presentation. I know that it takes me about an hour to write an article. How much time are you taking to put Space Fact Friday together? I want people to understand how easy it is. Yeah, I want people to understand how easy it is.

Erin:   13:45
Yeah, so I use a Canva account for that, which is one of those freemium tools. And they have like thousands and thousands of royalty free images that you can use. And a lot of cool space ones, which is why I like it. But what I’ll usually do is I’ll take half an hour, 45 minutes and I’ll do four at a time. And then I’m done for the month. And then I set it up in my Buffer account and then Space Fact Friday goes out every Friday. And Buffer by the way, is a scheduling tool, that’s a Chrome extension that you can use to schedule your social media posts.

Brian:   14:18
Okay, and how much is buffer cost?

Erin:   14:21
Nothing, it’s free.

Brian:   14:23
My favorite four letter word.

Ryan:   14:24
And, I think it’s even give a good point. So many people that I’ve spoken with over the years and especially most recently in some of the projects we’ve taken on is simply because companies are just, one, they don’t feel like they have the creativity, but two, there’s just a sense of laziness. They don’t want to take the two or three hours a week to put together decent content to then share. I know it takes more than two or three hours, but they don’t want to take a block of time to set themselves up for success for the entire month. And I just don’t get it. And I think there’s probably, and maybe this is something Erin that you can answer for us. What’s a good, I guess, how should a recruiter set themselves up for success? What are two or three things that they can put into playing their own workflow, to make sure they have time for creation, have time to schedule content and things like that.

Erin:   15:21
I think you can always set up an RSS feed to get things like industry news that you think your followers would find interesting. And take that news as inspiration for your content. I do that all the time. I have a feed for just different space content so that I can always create my Space Fact Fridays if I’m stuck and don’t know what to write that week. So it’s really easy, just to pull a lot of content from different places and get inspired by that. Take a look at what other companies are doing too, within your industry. It’s very easy to get ideas and then make them your own for the most part, without plagiarizing, obviously. But I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from other companies like Lockheed or Raytheon. They all generate some really great content as well. So it’s being able to take things around you and make them very much your own.

Brian:   16:15
Love that and you talk about making it your own. Erin, you’ve put considerable marks on recruiting. Like I remember when I first met you, you ramped up very quickly to being quote-unquote known as the Reddit recruiter. Now you’re talking about marketing and things that you’re doing there. And I remember what you did for Star Wars. When you were an FTD. I’m a Star Wars fan, I’m not ashamed. Erin what’s the next big thing that you’re chasing? Is it marketing or is it some other combination? What’s the next big thing that you’re after?

Erin:   16:48
I guess there isn’t really a next big thing. I’m just, at this point trying to keep my head above water and still learning to be a good manager.

Brian:   16:56
Actually I want to ask you about that and let me start by asking you, how are we doing on top?

Erin:   17:03
How are we doing what?

Brian:   17:04
How are we doing on Time? Are you going on Time?

Erin:   17:06
Oh yeah, I’m good on time.

Brian:   17:07
All right, so I know that we were going to talk about marketing, but you are somebody who has made the jump from individual contributor to manager, leading a team. What advice would you give to somebody if they were like, “Hey Erin, great talk. I’m thinking I want to become a manager.” What advice would you give.

Erin:   17:26
You have to understand that if you’re going to make the jump from individual contributor to manager, very often you’re going to have to go from your coworkers being your peers to being responsible for their performance, which can be a really tough transition to make. Especially if those people that you’re now managing, you once considered friends. It doesn’t make having those difficult conversations with them any easier, but at the end of the day they still have to happen. And it’s a very delicate balance to be able to manage that.

Brian:   17:59
All right, so when people have approached me about management, my pushback is I don’t want to pull reports.

Erin:   18:05

Brian:   18:06
Yeah, so let me ask you, what does the data tell you and why to managers pull reports? I’m just super curious about this.

Erin:   18:13
Well, I think that as a manager, you have to know where the bottlenecks are because there’s always going to be one. Everybody that I’ve worked with, they work their asses off, pardon my French there. But at sometimes the metrics don’t seem to reflect that. So it’s being able to take a look at where that bottleneck is. And I’m like, is it response rates, at what point are the candidates getting stuck and that’s where you have to be able to make those analysis as a manager, in that situation. And then once you figured out where it is, you have to know how to help that person get to where they need to be. You got to ask a series of questions like, “oh, your response rate is only 5%. Why is that? What are you sending is outreach? Can I take a look at it? Can I look for anything that stands out? Are you following up with a text? Are you following up with a call? How many times are you reaching out.” And digging into those questions. Oftentimes I’m sure it can feel like micromanagement but the purpose is really only to help them. And that’s where the data comes in, at that point.

Brian:   19:26
Sure, and we did talk about response rates. Do you think that the marketing that you do that creates brand awareness also increases the rate of response that you get?

Erin:   19:36
Absolutely, it’s all about finding that selling point. And for me crafting the right message is so essential. And oftentimes I’ve looked at people’s outreach when they said, “I’m just not getting responses. I’m just not getting responses.” The first thing I ask is, show me the email you’re sending. And nine times out of 10, I’m like, that’s it, that’s the issue right there. It reads like spam. You’re using the wrong subject line. It’s not personal. So that’s why the marketing aspect of that is so important. Everything from the subject line to giving them the look and feel of what it’s going to be like to work where you work. There’s just so many simple things that are tied to marketing and selling a job.

Ryan:   20:23
How are you making recommendations to the recruiters to make their emails more personal? Just anybody in general, they’re getting hundreds of emails a day. How do they stand out?

Erin:   20:33
So what I always try to do, is I take a look at the job description and as I’m reading it, I say, okay, what is the thing that makes this job special. A lot of times I look for the phrase that says in this role will blank. And usually that phrase tends to pack a lot of punch with whatever follows that. And the reason being is a lot of people will not apply to a job if they don’t know what it’s going to be like, if they can’t visualize themselves in the role. So if I can find a job description that says, “in this role, you will blank.” That’s usually the best phrasing to include within my outreach. Next, I like to feature the hiring manager and all of my outreach. I like to say, “You’ll be joining a growth minded and dynamic team led by this person.” And then I hyperlink to their LinkedIn profile. So that alone, giving them a face to the name to connect with, I think really stands out. And then also, and I totally stole this from Mike Roman on my team, but it’s a great thing to see. I always put at the end of the email, I appreciate even a no thanks. And I get a lot of no thanks just because of that, and that ups my responses.

Brian:   21:50
So I like that you have the, what’s in it for me, R-W-I-I-I-F-M. I’ve got to give credit to the lovely and talented Amy over at Amazon. ‘Cause she kind of taught me to make sure that you’re writing those emails about, what’s in it for me, me being the candidate, with that call for action. So I would also ask, are there any other important elements that need to be put into an email that tie it back to the marketing that you’re putting out? Like, do you include links? Challis says not to include links. I wonder about that sometimes.

Erin:   22:26
I mean, I do all the time and it works just fine. A lot of people will disagree with me on that, but I do put a lot of links within my outreach.

Ryan:   22:36
I’ve always had better luck and I’m curious to get your thoughts on for, I guess, from both of you since you’re both still recruiting. Shorter emails over longer. So not even mentioning anything really about the job, really keeping it more about the candidate. So something like, “I was asked to reach out to you regarding your background in APC, are you open to having a conversation.” And that’s it. But not getting into the job, the job title, or who you’ll be working with, just literally a two or three sentence. Hey John, it’s Ryan from so-and-so. I was asked to reach out to you specifically about your background in ABC, are you open to having a call about next Tuesday or whatever the date, and then just sign off and be done.

Brian:   23:21
Do you know what, actually, I’m going to jump on that, is that I don’t ever say I was asked by somebody to reach out to you, I was asked by hiring. I think that makes the hiring manager look lazy. If the hiring manager is interested, I tell the hiring manager, that’s great. You reach out to them. And if they push back on me, they don’t get love, that’s it like, I hate to be a dick about it, but that’s it, that’s one. Two, the only time that I bring a hiring managers into it is when I do quote unquote, my first sourcing effort is that, like Georgia Tech is here in Atlanta, there are a lot of Georgia Tech grads that leave Atlanta and go to other places. And I will put as the subject line go jackets, open parentheses, even though I went to Georgia, close parentheses to send out to them so that if they look at the hiring manager for the role after we’ve had our conversation, they’re going to realize that that person also went to Georgia Tech and they migrated away from the city.

Brian:   24:20
So like I would put that in there. About the title of the job, I think the titles are fungible. I think that you should be, I agree with Erin wholeheartedly, that you should be telling a candidate more about what they’re going to be doing. Like for instance, there’s an email that I’m sending out right now that says we’re working on some new confidential initiatives that might be interesting to explore together. One of those includes replatforming or moving our platform from Mesa to Kubernetes. This is going to be huge. This replatforming might be interesting to explore together. However, more importantly, the work I do is driven by you and what you want to do next. Would you be open to a quick call to explore what we’re building and how you can be a part of it question mark.

Erin:   25:04
Yeah, I think you really have to sell the mission to be honest. And I’ve heard of a lot of people that use outreach that just say like, “Oh, I want to talk about your background in this. Are you open to a conversation?” To be honest, if I received that email, it would go straight to my delete bin because when something is so non-specific like that, I’m like, okay, it’s probably a recruiter that’s trying to pitch me for multiple roles at multiple companies. And I just don’t, I don’t have time-

Brian:   25:30
Agency state.

Erin:   25:30
Yeah. I mean, I want to know specifically about it. I don’t want you to hide the company name. I want to know immediately, why I should care.

Brian:   25:46
Is it worth 10 minutes of your time. Because that’s what’s going to take place in the conversation. They’re like, I don’t care what anybody says. The first call between a recruiter and a candidate is a cell call. And it’s about, there is a fair amount of control that needs to take place in that conversation. And if somebody doesn’t come to the conversation with that buy-in immediately, it’s going to be more difficult to control. And it’s going to be more difficult to control in terms of closing that candidate. The further you go down the line.

Ryan:   26:15
I think that’s a conversation we should have another time and do a full show on that one. How to control your first conversation because I think you’re right. I think there’s an element that, of that call that needs to be controlled. Expectations need to be set by the recruiter. That’s great topic. So Erin, let’s wrap this sucker up. Give us your two or three takeaways that everybody needs to know about adding a dash of marketing to your sourcing workflow.

Erin:   26:41
There are a lot more tools out there that are free and very affordable. If you want to pay any money towards them, I’ll be talking about that in my HRTX presentation in September. Don’t be afraid to be creative and learn how to sell your jobs. It really is a sales minded tactic. When you want talent to come to you.

Brian:   27:06
Okay, so just real quick, I’m going to invite my friend, Erin Mathew to the next Atlanta Happy Hour for Recruiters on September 1st. I’d love to have you there. I’ll send you some invites. No, I don’t want you to show up as the speaker. I want you to be my guest. If you’re listening in the Atlanta area, please go to the recruit ATL page and you’ll find out some more details there. But since Erin has moved to the south and she’s like two hours from Atlanta, I can’t wait to see her.

Erin:   27:31
I would love to come, but my parents are visiting Asheville for the first time that day.

Brian:   27:35

Ryan:   27:36
All is an excuse. She just stood you up.

Erin:   27:39
I know, I’m sorry. I totally want to come down and see everyone though. I haven’t seen any of my Sourcing family in person since the pandemic and it’s killing me.

Brian:   27:48
All right, well maybe I’ll grab Barbara Marks and we’ll take a road trip to see you and stuff.

Erin:   27:52
Please do.

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.


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