Vanessa Raath

Freelance Sourcer & Global Talent Sourcing Trainer | International Keynote Speaker | Budding Wildlife Photographer

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On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to  Vanessa Raath about the need for talent sourcing on a global scale.

Some Conversation Highlights:

So what’s interesting to those sources, or what’s interesting to me about the different levels of talent sources out there is that everyone leaves a training session, whether it’s a joint training session that I’ve done with another sourcing trainer or my own training saying, “Wow, I learned something new.” And that for me is the beauty of talent sourcing, because there’s always something else. And that’s a big reason why I still source. Is that I’m discovering new websites, new ways of doing things, new Chrome extensions. And I think that’s really, really exciting that we never going to know everything. And for me, that’s just amazing because I know I’m never going to be bored as a global talent sourcer or even more as a global talent sourcing trainer.

I’m off to the UK in June to deliver training. And it’s actually quite weird because… It’s wonderful. I lived in the UK for seven years. I look forward to going back. I’m also presenting at a conference while I’m there. But for me, delivering in person training is now where it used to be the norm has become really abnormal. So even locally, I had a company phone me the other day from Cape Town and I’m based in Johannesburg and they said, “Can you come down and train us for a day?” And now that involves like the half past four alarm to be at the airport by half past five, to get on the radar flat at 6:00 and then fly back the same day. And I just turned around to the clients and I just said, “You know what, no, I’m not going to do that. I’m not putting that strain on the environment and carbon emissions. We’re going to do the training online.”

Tune in for the full conversation.

Listening time: 24 minutes

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Music: 00:00 This is Recruiting Daily’s Recruiting Live Podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William: 00:34 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup. And you are listening to the Recruiting Daily Podcast. Today, we have Vanessa on from The Talent Hunter. And our topic today is The Need for Talent Sourcing Training on a global scale. So a bunch to unpack there, and I can’t wait to get into it with Vanessa. So, without any further ado, Vanessa, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and The Talent Hunter?

Vanessa: 00:59 Excellent. Thanks, William.

William: 01:00 Sure.

Vanessa: 01:01 Thanks for having me on your podcast. I love being a guest on people’s podcasts. I was actually going to start my own podcast just before COVID hit. And then I thought, “No, I’m going to leave it. I’m going to do something else.” And I actually regret it. It’s one of those things that I feel you must do. So a little bit about myself. I’m based in Johannesburg in South Africa, 50% of what I do is talent sourcing training, which I love which is why I’m so excited about our topic today. And the other 50% is keeping my talent sourcing skills fresh and up to date. I also work as a global talent sourcer. So I look forward to having a really good conversation about the need for talent sourcing training, because I obviously, this is what my whole business is based around. And I feel that the need is huge.

William: 01:47 So let’s start off with some simple stuff. What do we get, today, what do we get right what do we get wrong about sourcing training?

Vanessa: 01:56 That is so interesting. Well, first of all, what we get right is the companies that book us, talent sourcing trainers, to deliver training and the other companies who don’t. It literally is that black and white. You can see the companies that are investing in their people, investing in their advanced learning when it comes to sourcing or the other companies that turn around and say, “No, this is actually too expensive. I don’t want to invest in this team. This is too much.? And that seems to happen a fair amount. Hasn’t happened to me, thankfully, too many times. But it’s the company that cares enough to not just take that person out of their role, where they’ve been working as a full 360 recruiter for the last three, four, five or six years, and say, “Rut, you’re now going to be a talent sourcer,” and leaving it at that. That’s no good.

William: 02:46 So the things that are the hottest training, I want to say topics, but it’s more than that, right? So I would assume that you have beginner, immediate, advanced. And maybe you probably call them something different, but folks that are new, folks that have done it for a little while, and folks that have done it for a long time, right?

Vanessa: 03:08 Yes.

William: 03:10 If you bifurcate in that way, or if you separate in that way, what’s interesting to those sources today?

Vanessa: 03:22 That’s a very interesting and a very good question. So what’s interesting to those sources, or what’s interesting to me about the different levels of talent sources out there is that everyone leaves a training session, whether it’s a joint training session that I’ve done with another sourcing trainer or my own training saying, “Wow, I learned something new.” And that for me is the beauty of talent sourcing, because there’s always something else. And that’s a big reason why I still source. Is that I’m discovering new websites, new ways of doing things, new Chrome extensions. And I think that’s really, really exciting that we never going to know everything. And for me, that’s just amazing because I know I’m never going to be bored as a global talent sourcer or even more as a global talent sourcing trainer.

William: 04:11 I love that. So the delivery of training, we used to, you and I lived in a world where you’d get in a conference room or in a training area and everybody had rows and everyone sat there. And person was up at the front of the room and they’d be give you a bunch of information. So obviously things have changed and hopefully in a good way. What do you see right now in terms of modality and the way that it works best for train for trainers as well as for the audience and the trainees?

Vanessa: 04:48 Well, it’s actually really super interesting because I’ve got a couple of clients now. So I’m off to the UK in June to deliver training. And it’s actually quite weird because… It’s wonderful. I lived in the UK for seven years. I look forward to going back. I’m also presenting at a conference while I’m there. But for me, delivering in person training is now where it used to be the norm has become really abnormal. So even locally, I had a company phone me the other day from Cape Town and I’m based in Johannesburg and they said, “Can you come down and train us for a day?” And now that involves like the half past four alarm to be at the airport by half past five, to get on the radar flat at 6:00 and then fly back the same day. And I just turned around to the clients and I just said, “You know what, no, I’m not going to do that. I’m not putting that strain on the environment and carbon emissions. We’re going to do the training online.”

And I actually firmly believe that online training is more effective than shooting down there for a day and cramming as much as possible into these people’s brains in eight or nine hours. So I’m putting my foot down now I’m saying, “No, we are going to break the training into bite sized pieces. And that could be two hours, three hours, four hours. And it’s delivered online.” And it’s really weird. A lot of the companies are going for it. I think they realize the power of the online training medium these days.

William: 06:11 I love that. How do you assess or do you, let’s not be assumptive, that the training stuck? Your message got across, they got what you were trying to teach them. You were a teacher, so same question, right?

Vanessa: 06:29 Yeah.

William: 06:31 Nothing’s changed other than the names places.

Vanessa: 06:34 Exactly.

William: 06:35 But how do you know that they got it?

Vanessa: 06:36 Well, no one’s like shooting rubber bands at each other in these classes.

William: 06:39 Good point.

Vanessa: 06:41 I don’t really think that people-

William: 06:41 Well, that you know of.

Vanessa: 06:43 Exactly, exactly. Do you know what I do, is William, I really look for laugh bulb moments. And I have learned to read people incredibly well on a Zoom call. And I’m one of those terrible trainers that insist on having everyone’s videos on because I don’t want people not paying attention or answering emails or… That’s no good for anyone’s or once they’ve paid for my training. So I can read an audience while in person, but I’m actually really happy at where my skills are at reading people online. So for me, I can see if someone’s getting lost. I’ll always try and ask people questions. The ones who don’t put their hand up, that’s an old teacher trick, ask them the questions.

And also, what I really love after I’ve delivered training is people who stay in touch with me and they suddenly randomly, up in my inbox, pops a random Boolean search and they say, “Can’t get this frigging beep, beep, beep Boolean string to work. Can you help me with it?” Because then I know that they are implementing what I’ve trained them. And for me that’s really exciting. And you can see when you’re training the big corporates. Some people they’re in the training because their bosses said you will attend training today. And you can see it’s just almost like a different kind of feel. But I love the enthusiastic people. Often the people who’ve self-funded on my courses because I know that they’re going to walk away with the most.

William: 08:05 So have you ever given thought to certification?

Vanessa: 08:11 So everyone gets a certificate of attendance after attending my training.

William: 08:18 Like testing out, you know what I mean?

Vanessa: 08:20 We do when I run the diversity sourcing workshops with Ballash, we put together a little quiz and then people get a Credly certification for their diversity source and training. It’s not something that I’ve looked at, to be honest, personally. Mainly just because being in South Africa, often the cost of these things can be quite prohibitive. But for me, the best way to test a sourcer, if you’re interviewing a sourcer, is to get them to do some live sourcing for you. And that, for me, will always show whether my training has worked or not. And I always, in my training sessions with a, “Okay, here’s a test for everyone. How would you tackle this?”

William: 08:58 Dumb question alert. Would you do that if you were hiring for a sourcer?

Vanessa: 09:03 Absolutely.

William: 09:05 Would you’d get them to live source in front of you?

Vanessa: 09:09 Oh, absolutely. Let’s do a screen share and tell me how you’d go about this. Because for me I don’t care how people get to their answer when it comes to sourcing or they get to their short list of candidates. I’d just love to see how people’s brains work. And I think that’s fascinating,

William: 09:25 I haven’t heard as much about that. A lot of the screening and skills and assessments and all the stuff, it focuses on other things. And I haven’t heard as much about you know what, it doesn’t matter if they use Sourcewell or SeekOut or Gem or whatever, hireEZ, whatever they use. It’s can they do it and can they do it in front of you with the real pressure of…

Vanessa: 09:55 Exactly.

William: 09:56 Like we’re about to be in battle to find this talent globally, “You say you can do it, looks like you can do it, show me that you can do it.”

Vanessa: 10:09 Yeah, absolutely. And you’ve mentioned all of those tools and they’re fabulous. I’m big fans of hireEZ and Sourcewell and I have access to all these amazing tools including SeekOut, AmazingHiring. It’s just one of the perks of doing what I do and I suppose maybe to get the imposter syndrome kicking in here, but being part of the global sourcing community. But I still love it when people go to Google or they go to Bing and they write me an old school Boolean searching because then I know that whichever company I’m screening them for, or maybe my company, I don’t need to worry about spending a fortune on softwares. They’ve got the basics and they’re just going to make it happen. For me it’s almost like me as a talent sourcing trainer.

And it goes back to my days of being a primary school teacher. Is that you are empowering people to believe that they can do the sourcing without all of these expensive tools. You’re almost unlocking that box that lets their creativity run wild. I always say in my training, “You’re not Ralph. You’re not going to break the internet. Go and do whatever you need to do to find whatever you are looking for.” And I think that is the real key with the sourcers. Is they’re not going to give up, they’re tenacious, they’re curious, and they’re going to do it quicker in a more cheaper, cost effective way than anyone else. And that’s what I would be looking for, to be honest.

William: 11:35 So the expectations that your employers, the corporates have and candidates, or the people that you’re teaching, so we’ll say students and the school. Because you’re coming in and you’re basically managing expectations from both sides. What are realistic expectations for training? So what should they expect? I’m thinking as the backdrop of the talent, the perceived talent shortage that we have. If we think about it globally, there’s really not as talent shortage or it’s less than what we think it is. But I deal with clients all the time and sometimes they have just crazy expectations. Like, “Okay, you’re going to take one course. And then all of a sudden they’ll be able to source on an hour.” Like, “Okay, that’s not going to happen.” Or the opposite. You train somebody and they think, “Okay, now I’ll be able to get another job or a different job, etc. So what are, what are the expectations? What should the expectations be, realistically, for trainers and the expectations for their clients and the, and the folks that they train?

Vanessa: 12:45 That’s a super interesting question, because I sometimes wonder whether I should throw in the towel with the whole talent sourcing training and focus on building a cloning machine. Because you can give your team as much talent sourcing training as you want, or as you can afford but if they’re not going to take it on board and meet you, meet the trainer halfway. That they want to learn, they want to change the way that they do things, the training’s never going to have a good ROI, return on new investment. So then maybe we must just find a good job developer and make 50 of them and a clothing machine. But for me, a good trainer is, and I’ll often say this with other trainers that I talk with. It’s 50% down to your content and it’s 50% down to your delivery.

Because especially online, I finish a four hour training session and I’m exhausted because I feel like I’ve given an Oscar worthy performance because I’m trying to keep everyone’s attention. I’m trying to keep everyone focused and engaged. So the expectation comes in is that, if I’m the best trainer out there, and there’s a lot of good talent sourcing trainers out there. If I’m the best match for your team, but also motivate your team to go and get rid of a LinkedIn recruiter license to, maybe, drop down to less softwares. If you don’t kind of really encourage them and almost maybe incentivize them to do things differently, they’re never going to do it.

So for me, the frustrating thing is that I can see that I deliver training and two months later someone contacts me and says, “Hey, I’m really battling to find a product manager with design experience.” And I’m like, “Where have you looked?” And they turn around and say LinkedIn. And I’m like, “Well, that’s what you were doing before the training. What about all of the other things that are taught you?” So there has to be a willingness from both sides and our firmly believe that training isn’t easy. That trainers are doing their best, but if they’re not being met by the team who want to learn and change and be different and get more creative, it’s always going to be a difficult situation.

William: 14:51 So you mentioned Oscar worthy performance and I love the way that you think there. With keynotes, especially kind of formula historically for great keynotes, this is different from training sometimes.

Vanessa: 15:07 Yes it is. Yeah.

William: 15:09 It’s basically in thirds. It’s inspiration, education, and entertainment.

Vanessa: 15:15 Yeah.

William: 15:15 So in any order and kind of mixed in like soup or gumbo or whatever.

Vanessa: 15:21 Yeah, absolutely.

William: 15:22 What’s the recipe for the Oscar worthy four hour training session?

Vanessa: 15:28 Okay. Well, I do give people breaks. I don’t want anyone to panic that they need to not drink any coffee.

William: 15:35 You don’t need to leave that in there. No, no, it’s four hours. Sit in your chair, get your laptop out. Just kidding.

Vanessa: 15:41 No, no, no. So, so for me, I keep it very interactive. So I use a tool called Slido, which is very similar to Mentimeter. I’m running live polls, I’m asking people’s opinions. I’m asking people questions when they’re going quiet. I’m asking them to come to my training with their most difficult roles that they’re working on, let’s team source them together. I think it’s all about being interactive. One of the biggest things I learned when I was training to be a teacher is that you have the talk and talk approach, which was the old school of the teacher stands up and just talks at the children. But that’s not the best way to learn. It’s people learn when they’re having fun. People learn when they’re interacting. People learn when they’re comfortable. People learn when they’re comfortable enough to ask any questions that they have.

And I love my training sessions. I love what I do. I really, and truly have a good time, have a good laugh. And I think that’s the difference. Is that when people are having fun, it’s not seen as hard work. “Oh my God, we’ve got four hours of training coming up. Kill me now.” That people realize after the first session, “Hey, that was actually a lot of fun and I learned stuff and I’ve got takeaways and I know it’s going to make me better at my job.” And I think that once people realize that, you’ve got them for the rest of your training sessions.

William: 17:02 I love that. Okay. Two questions left. One of them, I want to ask you about training in general and don’t answer until the three things are thrown at you. One is, should training be forced? Two, should training be of privilege? Three, should training be compensated? What should take on any and all of the three?

Vanessa: 17:30 I think they all have their place. I quite like rewarding people who work hard. But the difficulty comes in there is that when you look at sourcing, I always say this in my training. Is that people don’t know what they don’t know. So if you don’t have someone to guide them and show them what sourcing’s all about, show them some new platforms, then they don’t know really what they’re missing out on. They’re just going to stick to their LinkedIn recruiter license and keep plotting along and recruiting how they were in the mid 90s. So William, for me, the thing is that all three are good options. I don’t think people need to be compensated for training. I think people need to actually have the desire to better themselves and realize that training’s actually going to elevate them and their position and their careers

William: 18:18 Do you believe it’s wasted on people that don’t have that passion?

Vanessa: 18:22 Yeah, I do. And I’ve seen it because I’ve had those people sitting in my training sessions.

William: 18:28 Me too.

Vanessa: 18:28 I mean, I’ll be honest with you with him. I’ve had someone fall asleep in my training. They didn’t want to be there that much they fell asleep during my online training and I had to privately message the manager to say, “Please, can you phone this person and wake them up?”

William: 18:43 They don’t want to be there. And if they’re not going to be there, they’re not going to be there. One way or another, they’ll find a way to be staring at their phones or whatever. They’ll find a way to be distracted if they don’t want to be there. But privilege is a bit kind of 80s sounding. It’s almost like, “Okay, the top percent, this very select group,” etc. And it’s not democratized. It’s going backwards.

Vanessa: 19:12 No. And also then what happens is those people are already good sourcers. Then you’re going to give them more training. The gap between the people who are really performing and…

William: 19:20 The rich gets richer.

Vanessa: 19:20 … non performers… I agree with it. It’s not the way we should be doing things.

William: 19:26 Okay. So lastly, as people think about this stuff and we don’t need to get into specific dollars and things like that. And it’s how should people think about the cost of sourcing training when they think about your time, Ballash, any of the great trainers that are out there. Yeah. How should they think about, “How do I estimate? How do I figure out what the budget for something like this is?”

Vanessa: 19:53 Sure. That’s a very good question because I’ve never been the one sitting with the budgets and deciding how to spend it.

William: 19:59 Well, I have and Vanessa, it’s like rolling dice. Like, “What do you think it is? I don’t know. Oh, it’s eight. All right. Well, let’s figure it out.”

Vanessa: 20:11 Yay.

William: 20:13 I mean, seriously. It is that random. So I think some guardrails are useful for people. And again, we don’t need dollars and cents. I’m more trying to think about, you need to think about training as a percentage of whatever. How do they structure it in their minds?

Vanessa: 20:33 No, absolutely 100%. And I think for me, when people say, if I’m setting my independent training and I say, “This is the cost of my training.” And they turn it around and say, “Wow, okay.” And I’m just like, “How much was the value of your last placement?” And they come back with, and I’m not lying here, 10 times the amount. And I’m like, “So you still don’t want to pay for training for yourself. Meanwhile, your average placement fee is a lot higher?” It boils down to the training is going to assist you to make more placements. So for me, it’s a bit of a no brainer. I pay to attend training courses still myself now, because I know it’s going to make me better at what I do. So it’s a bit of a no brainer, especially if it’s affordable. You don’t want to have to go and live on water and bread for the rest of the month, but if you can afford it, why do people quibble over training costs? I don’t get it.

William: 21:33 I don’t think they should because I think it’s shortsighted, right?

Vanessa: 21:34 Yes.

William: 21:34 So I think if you’re thinking about it like that, like, “We’re having these tough positions to fill.” It’s like, “Well, what if we could fill them sooner? What if we actually gave…” So it’s a bit shortsighted. I think some of that comes down to at least, this is my belief, is that they don’t understand. It’s not that they don’t trust training or they don’t believe in training. They don’t know how to cost it. They don’t know how to think of it structurally and like how to pay for it and justify it to the team. So it’s probably work that we have to do to give them more of a business case and give them a better understanding of how to build the business case internally with TA, with HR, with CFO, etc. Like, “Here’s the business case for why we invest in training.” We can take time to fill from 60 days to 30 days,” whatever that is.

Vanessa: 22:30 Oh yes. Give them numbers. So what I always say in my training, “For everything we can trust in God, but for everything else is data.” I think if you can back up anything that you say with data, you are sorted. But I think the other thing that, and it happens to me a lot, is a lot of people will say, “Okay, well then let’s send this team on the training.” Then this team does the training, they love it, they’re flying, they’re making placements. And next thing, I’m training the entire company. And I’m like, “Well, if only you’d believe this woman sitting in South Africa about how everyone needed to do the training in the first place.”

William: 23:00 You’d got there faster.

Vanessa: 23:01 Well, exactly.

William: 23:02 You piloted it, but sometimes a pilot is a way for them to test to make sure.

Vanessa: 23:07 Yeah, absolutely.

William: 23:08 I’m going to do a hundred people. I want them to go through it and then let’s see. And once they see it’s like, “Okay, now I want to turn you loose on the 700 other people that we need to train.” It’s like, “All right. That’s fine.”

Vanessa: 23:18 No, absolutely. And I don’t actually really mind that because, I don’t know, I enjoy the training so much that I would hate to be paid and deliver a really bad course. I’ve even got COVID at the moment and I spent the morning training because I know I could still deliver it because I love it. It’s so much fun.

William: 23:39 Well, Vanessa, this has been absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for carving out time for us.

Vanessa: 23:45 It was an absolute pleasure. Thanks for the chat, William. And if anyone wants to get hold of me, all I can say is I’m not difficult to find online.

William: 23:52 And if you can’t find me, that’s actually a problem, if you’re a sourcer.

Vanessa: 23:56 Yeah, exactly.

William: 23:58 Thanks again. And thanks for everyone listening to the Recruiting Daily Podcast. Until next time

Music: 24:04 You’ve been listening to the Recruiting Live Podcast by Recruiting Daily. Check out the latest industry podcast, webinars, articles, and news at recruit-

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

Authors
William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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