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What Is Account Based Sourcing And Why Should You Care

Blog , Recruiting Blog


What companies do your high performing, culture fitting, star employees come from? What do they have in common?

Account Based Sourcing



 In my opinion, sourcers have a lot in common with SDR’s (Sales Development Reps), and ABSD (account based sales development) is the new buzz word in the world of sales and lead generation. This got me to thinking, what would a sourcing team look like and how would they function using “Account Based Sales” methodology?

What is Account Based Sales Development?

In a nutshell, it’s a way of organizing and approaching B2B prospects by identifying and creating a unique customer journey for each target account.  Typically, you will have multiple-touch campaigns (email and phone calls) created for a target account. As opposed to SDR’s having a region or industry to canvas, SDR’s would be tasked with focusing all outreach efforts on the entire target account company as a whole, rather than just emailing and calling random decision makers.


The more I learn about ABS/M (Account based sales/ Marketing), I think back to my agency days. Each account executive was tasked with coming up with a list of 10-20 target accounts for the upcoming year and was expected to become obsessed with every aspect of these companies (side note, some recruiters would get so close to the target companies, they were often hired by the target company). So why do in-house recruiting departments not organize themselves in a similar way?


Account-based marketing (ABM), also known as key account marketing, is a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization considers and communicates with an individual prospect or customer account as markets of one. Account-based marketing is typically employed in enterprise level sales organizations.


Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) is the coordinated process of developing a qualified pipeline in a Target Addressable Market by running proactive sales development led by multi-touch sequences into target accounts. These coordinated and proactive email sequences make it possible to deliver relevant solutions and use case specific content to a specific buyer persona.



How to Implement “Account Based Sourcing”

Steps to follow:

  1. Identify the Talent Flow – Find out where your company star employees come from.
  • Run a report from your ATS (shame on you if you don’t know how – read the manual)
    • Ask your hiring managers which employees we (talent acquisition) should clone if we could.
    • Create a list of star hires and upload the list into LinkedIn Recruiter so you can let LI Recruiter find some basic similarities with your list (see pic below).
  • I like uploading lists into LI Recruiter for several reasons.  This way I can leverage all the work LinkedIn’s data scientist have done by using the report and analysis LI can do on a group of people.
  • Look for patterns in the group of stars.  Think of yourself as an FBI profiler trying to find something these people have in common.  {schools, degrees, hobbies, open source projects, companies, industries}
    • Get real creepy and see if you can find any common books, YouTube channels, Reddit channels, streaming music lists, video games, etc.  This will help you do some deep sourcing.
      • WARNING – by profiling a group of people and trying to clone them, we run the risk of perpetuating a non-diverse pool of candidates.
  • Create a list of target companies that are “feeders” to your organization.
  • Assign a target company to a sourcer/recruiter.  Imagine all the information we will gather about our feeder companies!

Once all that is done, use these steps to get yourself known at the company you’re interested in.

  1. Org chart the company.
  2. Proactively introduce yourself to every employee in that company and make it a point to follow up with everyone.
  3. Search your ATS and make alerts so that if anyone from your target company applies, you can do the phone screening.  Candidates that apply are more willing to explain the inner workings of the company.  I’m not saying to use them for info. What I am saying is that it makes sense to have someone who is vested in really learning and listening to what the candidate is telling you about their current situation.  Just think of all the information your team gets on phone screens every day. What do we do with that info? Nothing.
  4. In a few months, you will know things about this company like:
    1. Employee review cycles
    2. Bonus structures (or lack thereof), promotion system and timing.
    3. Employee benefits package
    4. Grade system and hierarchy of Job Titles
    5. Internal Politics
    6. Entire tech stack of each dept.
    7. Maintenance and backup schedules, code freezes, upcoming projects
    8. Financial health (Stock price, Layoffs, Cost Cutting, Leadership Changes, Merger and Acquisitions.)
  5. Sourcers can now give monthly (or weekly) updates on the landscape of the feeder companies.

I think you get the picture.  Instead of each recruiter having to figure out the right offer package and the hiring manager trying to figure out if a candidate can handle the pace and workload along with tech stack in the interview process, you will be able to submit a candidate with a wealth of information that will allow your process to speed up. We will be able to proactively engage with potential candidates with the right message at the right time.


Example:  We know Lisa M is ABC’s star android developer (because we have talked to all them and even the ones that left ABC company). We also know that there are rumours that ABC is going to be acquired by CDE.  Also, ABC’s stock is down and they have cancelled the annual company event that ABC is famous for along with a freeze on all new projects (thanks to Google alerts and a few chatty entry level employees who applied to a few positions last week).  You will know most of this before everyone else because you have been tracking ABC company for 8 months and have had coffee with the entire Android team.


What’s the Alternative?

The fire drill that happens at 9:00 a.m. when an executive from your company sends an email out to the Talent Acquisition Manager (CC’s all recruiters) asking us if we knew that CDE has announced layoffs and we should go after all of their developers. You guessed it, some lucky sourcer is going to have to stop everything and blast some spam emails to the entire development group of CDE company (along with 100 other firms). But wait, it gets better. Just after you have hit the SEND button on your little “fire drill 2016 campaign”, you get a few emails.  Since your team doesn’t have a CRM and not all the recruiters have LinkedIn License, you find out that several recruiters have already sent emails to their contacts at CDE company.  As a bonus, three hours later, legal replies to the email chain,  Please DO NOT SOLICIT ANY EMPLOYEES FROM CDE!  We have a non-solicitation agreement in place and doing so could severely impact our company financially.

How To Turn “Likes” and “Comments” Into Candidates

Becoming A Better Recruiter , Blog , Recruiting Blog

Turn Likes and Comments into candidates

In the competitive social landscape, a brand (every recruiter has a brand by the way) will be ignored by users (candidates) if it doesn’t work smart. The fact that you have users who like or comment on your post is a big achievement in itself, considering that a growing number of individuals browse the internet passively.

But the likes or comments won’t help much when you just leave them at that. If you are a recruiter and you want to find ways to turn these into your candidates, here are a few suggestions:

Post often

If your audience responds to your posts, in a way, it indicates that they would like to see this kind of content often. Somewhere at the back of their minds, they keep you in the “good stuff” register.

All feeds from brands under the “good stuff” tag are almost always read. That is why sites like Facebook are now asking users to choose pages whose posts they want to appear on top of their newsfeeds.

It’s easy however for a user to either forget about you or start ignoring you. They will forget about you if you don’t post often. On the other hand, if you start posting irrelevant, overly repeated content, you sooner or later end up in the “ignore list”.

Go to the inbox

You need to post relevant content more often!

No, don’t send a message to people who’ve liked your post telling them to join your talent pool. Focus on building relationships first. For instance, start by suggesting other links from which they can get additional information on the topic they liked. If your website has other blogs with related information, include it in the suggestions.

You must take care though to avoid flooding people’s inboxes with messages. At best, send one message to a user and ask them to inform you if they are not interested in receiving more.

Talk more

Elicit discussions either at the end of your posts or inside comments sections. You can do this by posing a question alongside the main post or by replying to a user’s comment.

Follow popular pages and participate in their posts by commenting through your page’s account and sharing their content. Don’t be too concerned with generating direct leads through the other brand’s pages; rather, encourage users to visit your blog and grasp them from there.

Remember that constant presence online is a strong attractant, but the quality of content is what makes an audience stay.

We are all in the publishing business! Don’t get left behind.

Recruiting Mobile Strategy? It’s My Desktop Strategy – Just Smaller!

Becoming A Better Recruiter , Blog , Recruiting Blog

Mobile recruitment: are we making too many assumptions?


Summary: For recruiters to improve access to the skills they are looking for, they must first understand that not all strategies applied in desktop marketing appeal to mobile users.

More people are using mobile phones than computers to access the internet since 2014. Having known that smartphones and tablets would eventually rule the internet, many websites prepared early enough to accommodate the growing small gadget browser visits.

It however seems that there are misplaced priorities, especially when it comes to designing job application tracking systems. The path that many firms have taken is that of making websites mobile friendly, but without keeping the user in mind.

Simply making a recruitment website accessible to mobile browsers is not enough. People looking for jobs or products have a special mindset that you must synchronize with if you are to achieve meaningful goals.

Take a look at a recent research on behavior of mobile internet users. The study showed that, unlike those who access the internet via desktops, laptops and tablets, the mobile phone user responds differently to advertising. In summary, the report pointed out the following about cellphone owners:

  • While they still prefer mobile friendly websites, users feel that most of them are not informative enough.
  • Emails from popular brands result in purchases 84 percent of the time.
  • Less than half of the correspondents signed up for SMS alerts. 93% of users that opted out of SMS alerts cited either disruptive or lack of meaningful content in them 92% read push notifications.
  • The percentage of smartphone usage is highest during the day but falls at night and on weekends as tablets and computers take over the internet 83 percent of mobile users consider services that are seamless across devices as either important or very important.


Based on the above findings, here are a few suggestions that could improve your mobile recruiting:

Strike at daytime

It appears that most mobile owners prefer to use their devices while busy. This might explain why mobile usage peaks during the day, and falls in the evening and weekends when more people are relaxed.

If you want to make any recruitment campaigns via mobile technology, the best time to strike is during the day.

Go slow on SMS

SMS readership is poor. But there is a way to improve it by making content relevant, precise, and sending it during the daytime.

However, too frequent SMS-ing may put off users; perhaps a good way to avoid annoying your audience is to ask them the maximum number of messages they wish to receive per week.

One is not enough

If you are only using one channel to spread the word, consider incorporating other methods. Push notifications can assist you to pull people to sign up for SMS and email, download apps, and visit your website.

In addition to advertisements, you must simplify the application process. For instance, avoid too much paperwork- especially at the early stages of application. The modern corporate environment has redefined employment. To reach the best of skills, look at recruitment as a marketing venture of its own.

Turn ATS Pain into Gain: How small changes can make a huge difference!

Blog , Recruiting Blog

It’s Not Your ATS that sucks!  How to quickly improve your application process.

Summary: By taking small steps to fix your application process, you can change a frustrating process into a more enjoyable experience. One that builds up your brand, increases conversion rates, allows you to spend more time talking to qualified candidates and less time hunting.

How many recruiters and talent acquisition professionals are proud of their application process and how many of them actually try and do something about it?


“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

― Vincent van Gogh


Taking just one step in the right direction is better than complaining and doing nothing.

The other day, I took a long drive in our RV. I was traveling along 35 North when I passed a young man. He was hitchhiking, but still walking along at brisk pace. While passing him by (as a rule, I don’t pick up hitchhikers) it occurred to me that this guy was walking toward his destination. I mean, who knows how far he was going? At least he was moving, taking steps towards his goal, rather than just sitting there waiting for someone to stop and give him a ride. I was actually inspired.


Now back to your application process. Here are some ideas you can implement:

  • Turn those robot autoresponders into valuable, trust building touchpoints. How? Take action! Have a touchpoint meeting.
  • Have someone on your team apply for one of your jobs.
  • Print screen every step of the process.
  • Create a diverse team (not just recruiters) to review each step.
  • Try reading each screen out loud in a robot voice!
  • Using Mingle or Trello, map every step of the process and share the project with the team. You might also start making and sharing changes for approval with whomever is responsible for giving that approval.
  • Make separate “boards” for each segment that is unique to recruiting. Example:  University Recruiting Process has a unique process and automated emails so they should get their own boards.
  • Start with the easy stuff.  How about that email everyone gets after they apply?  What if your team were to shoot a quick video that thanks them for applying.  Or, you might send them a list of frequently asked questions about the process so they know, up front, what the steps will be and how long they should wait.

Some talent acquisition teams have a mission statement or something close to that. Write whatever yours is on a whiteboard and prominently display it for all to see. This will serve as your compass during this exercise.


Here is a helpful blog post  by  the folks at Trello that will help you get started:

My Guest Appearence: Ep 39: Recruiting Where The Rubber Meets The Road – The Podcast

Blog , Recruiting Blog

I’m so glad Matt Alder invited me to be on his Podcast “Recruiting Future”. Please follow the link below to take a listen.

For the podcast this year I’m committed to searching far and wide for the most interesting stories and ideas in recruiting and HR.  Change is now a constant in our world and the people who are prepared to strike out from the norm and experiment are the ones driving innovation. My guest this week is a brilliant example of what is possible when you think about things differently.

Larry Hernandez is currently a Talent Scout for Thought Works having formerly worked for bothRackspace and Zappos. By working while driving round America in an “RV” he is bringing a whole new meaning to mobile recruiting.

In the interview we discuss:

•    Why Larry choose his unique approach to work life balance

•    What it is like to source and recruit on the road

•    How his alternative lifestyle is helping build connections with candidates

•    His experiences of working in the unique culture at Zappos where his team were the beta test for the much talked about move to holocracy.

Larry also talks about recruiting innovation and his predictions for where things are going (including him and his RV!) in 2016

Source: Ep 39: Recruiting Where The Rubber Meets The Road – The Podcast