In today’s episode of Sourcing School, Ronnie Bratcher takes Ryan & Brian on a deep dive into The Fifth Dimension of Sourcing. What is the fifth dimension of sourcing, you ask?  That’s a great question – and it’s what you’re here to learn. For now, we’ll just call it a place filled with cosmic nuggets you can’t find anywhere on planet LinkedIn.

Ronnie is currently a principal contract sourcer/senior technical sourcer & recruiter with a demonstrated history of working within the information technology sector. Not only is he passionate about the process (as you’ll soon learn if you don’t know him already), he is leadership and specialist certified, focused in sourcing, recruiting and social media from The Sourcing Institute.

In Today’s Podcast

We discuss some ideas that you could test and implement to incorporate into 5% of your sourcing process to help find data and profiles that you are potentially missing in your normal sourcing routine.  Plus a little travel through the confines of time and space.  Who could say no to that?

Listening time: 14 minutes

GEM Recruiting AI

More Ronnie Coming Up.

He’ll be with us again in September for #HRTX Virtual: Hardcore Sourcing to take us in-depth on The Fifth Dimension of Sourcing.


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Ronnie Bratcher
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Brian:  00:35
Hello, hello, hello, Ryan Leary. What’s going on?

Ryan:  00:37
What up my man? I’m in the Fifth Dimension. Where are you?

Brian:  00:42
Fifth Dimension, New Galaxy. I messed up the lyrics to Beastie Boys Intergalactic Interplanetary.

Ryan:  00:50
Intergalactic. All right, so we got Mr. Ronnie Bratcher on the call today. Ronnie, what’s up my man?

Ronnie:  00:59
How’s it going? Good, good.

Ryan:  01:01
We’re all good. Hey, all right. So we’re talking about the Fifth Dimension, right? So way back when-

Brian:  01:07
What is the fifth dimension?

Ryan:  01:08
I was about to say way back, we had Web 2.0, right? StarTrack, which I think you’re a fan of, Fink’s got TikTok, but seriously, what is the Fifth Dimension man? Break it down.

Ronnie:  01:17
Sure man. So if you’ve known me for a while, usually my talks are about stuff that we would do, what I call the fifth percentile of your day or your week of your daily duties. Stuff that you can touch, but don’t spend all day on because it’s a time-suck. Sort of things that you can do that will probably produce some kind of small nuggets, that you probably normally wouldn’t find in your normal every day LinkedIn routine. So I call it the Fifth Dimension of sourcing.

Brian:  01:47
Got it. Ronnie, one of the things that I believe is that when you have these types of talks about these nuggets, these 5%, that you are tapping into an area that very few people are going into, like for instance, I remember when you did the Pin Tester presentation previously, where do you come up with the idea to do this?

Ronnie:  02:14
So I like to follow really white hacker kind of people, just to see what they’re doing and then say, “Hey, why can’t we go there and try that in sourcing.” Right? One thing I’ll cover in this presentation would be, everybody’s so, “OSIT is such a great new thing that’s so cool to know it.” Actually, if you’ve been in this business, as long as I have, we’ve been doing OSIT, we just didn’t call it back then. We probably were doing OSIT before investigators were. So we’ve been doing this heavy duty research on people and companies and locations and ideas for a long time. So I just try to come up with things. Another thing is just if somebody mentions it, I like to try to alter it. So if I learned something from Ryan or Brian, I’ll go out, probably try what you’ve learned, then I’ll try to alter into the way I like to do it. Does that make sense?

Ryan:  03:14
First off, you’re not going to learn anything from me. Right? Let’s get that straight. I’m going to be learning from you.

Ronnie:  03:20
Well, I learned a lot from you. That’s good.

Ryan:  03:24
So a couple of things you said there that kind of triggered some curiosity for me. You follow white hackers, right? So let’s explain-

Brian:  03:32
White hat hackers.

Ronnie:  03:33
The people who are legal. I’m not looking for passwords to get into your bank account or anything of that nature. I just want to find data on you. We were talking earlier, my daughter’s boyfriend, when he first came into this scene, he’s a remote guy-

Ryan:  03:53
Do you really want to go there?

Ronnie:  03:55
I’m going there. So I did. I researched this guy. I went and found him. I found him on his Twitter. I found him on his Instagram, Snapchat, and all the things that my daughter talked about, about him, all the profiles matched. So I felt a little bit more comfortable knowing that he likes the same things, like The Weekend, which is that place, wherever he plays music. So that’s their big thing. Right? And all the different things he used, like he has a Weekend name or something like that. So yeah, I’m not looking to get into his checking account, but I wanted to find out more about his family, where he’s from, and make sure he’s a real person and not a 51 year-old man stalking my daughter.

Ryan:  04:42
That would be awkward, but I am right with you, man. I’ve got three girls and Fink, I see the face and you’ve got one coming up, and so you’re right behind us my man.

Ronnie:  04:52
Start them at five. But anyway, yeah, that’s kind of what I mean by from the white hacker standpoint. I’m not looking into illegal activities.

Ryan:  05:02
At least not on air, right? So give us a few tips, a few things that you’ve picked up from hackers that can be translated to recruiting that people just really don’t think about.

Ronnie:  05:17
Yeah, like Instagram. Everybody thinks that you can search Instagram, and when people do Instagram searching, it’s like they came up with all these different photos or things that are not relatable. One thing I’ve found and I’ll probably show in the presentation is how to find just the bio without the pictures.

Brian:  05:38
Yeah, that’s…

Ronnie:  05:39
I don’t need to see pictures, I just want to get bios. So if I’m looking for a nurse in California, let’s just say something easy. I just want to find somebody that says, they’re a nurse in California. I don’t care about what the pictures or what conference they were at or anything like that. That’s a different type of search. But that’s one thing I’ve kind of picked up.

Ronnie:  05:59
The other thing that I’ve learned over the last 13 years I’ve talked about is search engines, right? White hackers do not use Google or Bing. They’re always using other search engines because they do not want to be tracked. So that’s one thing that I’ve always learned and you guys have heard me talk about that talk a million times, is that there’s so many different search engines out there right now. I’m in the middle of a case study of browsers right now, too. So I’m testing browsers and seeing what kind of different results you get on different search engines and things like that. So that’s kind of [crosstalk 00:06:28]-

Brian:  06:28
Ronnie, I meant to bring this up the other night. So for those of you don’t know, Ronnie and I, we met up, we had drinks the other night. We played trivia. It was great. We came in fifth. Ronnie, I meant to ask you, there’s a lot of publicity, particularly in the blogosphere about Neeva, about the Neeva search engine, it’s being developed as an ad-free search alternative by ex-Googlers. It is a pay to play search engine, meaning that you, the searcher, that you pay to use it because it’s not ad-supported. I think it’s like $5 a month. Have you used Neeva? Does it like… You’re shaking your head?

Ronnie:  07:07
No, I have not used it. I question the viability of people going to be paying money to use a search engine, to be honest with you. It’s a hard call, right? Maybe a professional researcher that’s getting paid from a company and the company pays that bill. I would say me as an independent consultant, I don’t see myself viable paying for something like that when there’s other alternatives possibly, and that’s being such a new thing.

Brian:  07:38
Okay. So also, as we’re talking about search engines, do you feel that search is fragmented between like Google and DuckDuckGo and Exalead and I’m naming mainstream ones that I think everybody knows. Do you think it’s fragmented there or do you think they’re better engines that people should be using? Helped me to understand that.

Ronnie:  07:59
Yeah, I think there’s better ones. I think the majority of the more popular alternative search engines are still pulling from Google Index. There are a few search engines that you can actually toggle that off, but I think I’ve talked about that in the past. You can actually turn Google off. So that search engine does not pull from the Google Index, so you’re going to pull from other places and not pull from that Google Index. But I would say there’s most search engines will definitely pull from Google and other things as well. But if you get into more of a private search engine, I think you’re going to find more results that are not at the top end of the Google search. They’re pulling from deeper inside Google into that search engine, because actually, the way I phrase it is Google tells you what they want you to see and not what you’re trying to pull in my opinion.

Brian:  08:48
Okay. Does Google work the same way in YouTube? I’m just wondering like…

Ronnie:  08:55
Yeah, I’ve never used Google to search YouTube. I usually use something like Dogpile, that has a good video search. It still uses the Google Index, but it definitely, for me, it does a better search. I would try using videos search engines. If you look up on Wikipedia, you could probably find a gazillion of those. Dogpile has been around since I was born in sourcing. It’s still a great search engine overall.

Brian:  09:26
Let me ask one more search engine question is that, Pinterest has introduced visual search as well and a reverse image search kind of setting itself up as something that’s different from Google? Have you used Pinterest for any reverse image searches?

Ronnie:  09:43
You know, I haven’t. You don’t hear much about the general population talking about Pinterest. I mean, at least in my world. Maybe you guys have, I haven’t. I always hear Snapchat, I hear TikTok, I hear Discord. Those are the roles I’m hearing now. I don’t hear a lot of people doing Pinterest. There was about 10 years ago or eight years ago, a lot of flub about it. I haven’t found it to be monumental in my sourcing efforts, unless you guys have, but I haven’t personally.

Ryan:  10:15
I’m interested how you go about making a decision on what browser to use. So you mentioned getting more, getting better results with a private browser rather than using Google, or if you’re using a private browser, checking off or toggling off Google. Talk about that a bit.

Ronnie:  10:35
Yeah, so I’m sure there’s probably people who have already done this study, I’m doing it on my own right now. So I’m pretty much taking… Chrome has been admired go to forever, right? I think everybody uses Chrome. But there’s Brave, there’s Tor, things of that nature. I just now started this study so I can’t be too inclusive about it, but what I’m trying to do is take maybe a sample of six different search engines and go try their browsers and see what kind of results I get. And is it really pulling data that I want to see? Or is it still like ad-infused, driven by my search history. So I’m still in the middle of that study and I’ll probably have it done in about two months or so, and bring that up somewhere. I’m not sure where I’m going to talk about it, but yeah, I think it’s worthy to do other browsers that are more private for yourself.

Ronnie:  11:42
Got it. All right, so let’s go back real quick into studying the white hats. And give me a couple of really solid takeaways for the listeners here. Maybe three. Give us three things that you found over the years that are easily translatable into recruiting that people just really should know about.

Ronnie:  12:06
I think learning how to do searches, not on Google, I think that’s a good one. I think keeping, not even tactically, but in your mind, is taking your mindset and thinking, alternatively, where can you go find somebody? I think our instinct has been trained since 2005, that LinkedIn is this amazing thing. And it is an amazing tool and I have nothing against it, but I’m just saying that we’re so technology driven nowadays, that you can find people in other places and track them down, back to other popular sites.

Ronnie:  12:47
The third thing would probably just continue to continue to learn and talk and listen. Our community, the sourcing and recruiting community, there are so many smart people. Everybody has their niche. And I think it’s great that we all kind of just intwine that circle and make it full. And we’re sharing that big pile of data and helping each other. And I think if everybody can contribute to that, our community will continue to stay growing and stay positive and not be a battle between each other, which we should not be. I think the sourcing community should be.

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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