Sourcing without a Job Description
Although I am relatively new to the Talent Acquisition industry, over the past several years, receiving a job title and nothing else from my hiring manager has come to feel second nature to me. But, I do remember the first time I experienced working on a job without a job description and I am glad that I had supportive leaders to help me navigate and learn early on. For those who are looking for a little more guidance on the subject, I wanted to provide a quick read, but I will also be speaking more elaborately on the topic on October 27th at SOSUV.
Coming from a combined sourcing and recruiting background, my first instinct is always to work efficiently, as Mike “Batman” Cohen knows well. If I could, I would immediately reach out to my hiring manager with a fully prepared document of questions to fill out so that I could do my job well. However, over the past half year of working at Wayne Tech, Mike has been working to balance my and my colleagues’ tendencies to reach a healthy medium of efficiency and research. And, there’s a beauty of finding that happy medium.
Rather than jumping to asking for help, I would take time to research a current employee at the client company with the same title as the job I’m working on. I would run a quick google x-ray that would look along these lines, for a Golang Backend Developer for The New York Times:
site:linkedin.com/in ((golang OR go OR backend OR “back-end” OR “back end”) AND (develop* OR engineer*)) AND (“new york times” OR nyt)
From there, I would take a look at the candidate profiles who are currently working in the exact job I will be filling. Or, at least a similar job on a different team.
Sometimes, folks tend to provide the bare minimum on their LinkedIns. They may only say the title, company, and duration they are at their jobs. In that case, I may take note of past companies that my client hires from. From here, it is time to branch out and be more creative.
Back to Google x-ray search! This time, I would consider the past companies of the example profiles I found on my first search. I would replace the New York Times string with the past companies as such:
site:linkedin.com/in ((golang OR go OR backend OR “back-end” OR “back end”) AND (develop* OR engineer*)) AND (microsoft OR apple OR facebook OR google)
I would look over the candidates who are currently, or over the past few years, working as a Golang Backend Developer at those companies. Then, we need to consider what we may learn from each profile.
If you are newer to the type of role, you want to be sure to take notes on any keywords you are not familiar with. Oftentimes, keywords may be a generalization that can be discussed several different ways on a profile. Once you know what tech/keywords you are looking for in your candidate, be sure to circle back and do further research on what you do not understand.
For example, if you are not familiar with “API” or “node,” go ahead and run a quick Google search to learn a little bit more about the tech. This will help you ensure that you are not missing great candidates who are speaking about their experience differently than your sample candidates.
For me, when I do not understand a type of tech, or I think I could be more creative with my search, I will pull up 3-4 different websites explaining the tech to make sure I am covering all my bases.
If you are able to speak to the research you did or keep data to reflect your work, you will be able to come to the table with the hiring manager with your expertise, and learn where you may be off base in the future.
Rather than jumping to an easy (but not always the best) solution, you can take some time to develop your toolset as a sourcer and create a strong relationship with your client by fostering a sense of trust and capability. Taking the time to research will not only save your hiring manager the time of writing up a job description, but will also establish you as a credible expert as a sourcer. You will also be developing strong habits and research skills to further your career. Next time you work on a role without a job description, see it as an opportunity to grow, rather than an inconvenience!