Thorough Sourcing VIII

She sat quietly adjacent to me at the oblong table we used on the first day of training.

Her six coworkers all seemed to like her.

Her name was Marianne and she was a pretty 20-something and this was her second job after graduating from college.

She mostly didn’t say anything but she did answer willingly when called upon.

I sat down next to her at her desk on the second day of training.

She was scheduled after Max and she seemed organized and efficient when I sat down.

Her job was up on her screen and it was formatted exactly as I had asked the class to do it the day before.

She was quiet and attentive as she had been the day before.

I asked what we were looking for.

She answered that she wanted to work on a job that had been causing her quite a bit of stress.

She needed people involved in the pre-sales activity for a piece of pigging machinery that would be installed onto a food-manufacturing floor.

The client wanted them to live in the Midwest so they could travel around the country more easily than if they lived on one coast or the other.

Sound reasoning.

I asked her if she had found anyone.

She showed me a list of people who had obviously come from online; they had titles like sales managers, sales reps, and sales support with the occasional sales engineer sprinkled in.

It was the sales engineers we were after, I pointed out. It was right in the beginning of the job description.

I know,” she admitted, disconsolately. “They’re just so hard to find!”

What have you done so far?” I asked.

Well, I looked on LinkedIn –– ,” she admitted before I stopped her in her tracks.

You’re not going to find them on LinkedIn,” I stated, bluntly.

How did you know?” she blinked, almost near tears.

Because they’re not on LinkedIn, Marianne. If they ever were, chances are they’ve moved on and are not in the last reported place they listed.”

She continued to listen.

Remember? LinkedIn rode the social media juggernaut and now — well, not so much.”

Look — let’s do a LinkedIn search.”

She reached for her keyboard, and to my surprise LinkedIn flashed immediately up.

She was using it for her home page!

Ignoring that mistake, I told her to put the word “pigging” into the keyword box and the word “sales engineer” into the title box.

Mark it current so we can see who has the title today,” I said.

Now hit ‘search’,” I instructed.

Two results came up.

One — an “Andy V” — hadn’t worked in pigging since 1991, and the other, “Rick P.” listed himself as a designer for pigging products and as an application sales engineer but he had been with the same company for 19 years and was working in Alaska in the oil industry.

He had started his first job in 1975.

We all know what that means.

Come on, we do.

I hate it that LinkedIn isn’t listing last names anymore,” Marianne remarked, seeming to ignore the paucity of resources being offered.

Yeah, well, get used to it. There’s more of that to come,” I warned before telling her to change the title search’s “current” status to “current or past.”

Woo-hoo! Eight came up.

Just think.

Of 100 million “members” now on LinkedIn we can muster out only eight with “pigging” in their profiles.

Now, all of a sudden Rick’s last name came up — Rick Pruett — at the top of the heap.

But we all know what chance he stands.

Next came a John T. who worked for the same company but in Houston. He hadn’t worked in project sales since 2004 and now carried the title “Operations Manager.”

What are the chances he’d want to go back on the road 26 years after graduating from college with a B.S. in Engineering Technology?

Yeah, you guessed it.

Let’s not kid ourselves.

Next came Andy V. again and we all know what use he is to us at this point.

A smiling Chris P. showed up next and listed himself as a Consultant. It seemed he’d been working for himself the last 16 months.

Before that he was a “Global Sales Manager, Product Line Manager (Inspection)” and was also located in Houston.

Oh, but lookie there. He started school in 1971.

That ugly nemesis again — and, oh, he was in the oil business — not food.

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It seemed nobody on the results page was in food.

Moving on, Richard Craig S. was a Corrosion Engineer in San Diego and we could see the connection topigging but it seemed he was also working with fuel lines.

Not likely to be the same thing in the customer’s eyes and besides, who wants to move from San Diego to the Rust Belt?” I asked, deadpan.

She nodded her agreement.

Next up, Jason D. was now an Art Director, Multimedia Specialist, Art Guru in Florida, and what’s the point in even opening him up for inspection?

But let’s do it.

We’re on a wild goose chase anyway.

You tell me: do you see why he came up in the search?

I don’t.

Maybe this is why he came up in our search:

From mingling with celebrities to guinea-pigging weird product or meditating deep in design, I always keep it interesting.”

Rock on Jason, but we’re going to move on.

Or not.

I just don’t have the strength it would take to investigate a “Territory Representative” at a company in Missoula, Montana that develops and markets cleaning, sanitizing, pest control, maintenance and repair products and services for the hospitality, institutional, and industrial industries who doesn’t even have the sense God gave a mule to fill out his profile let alone Peter R., a Business Development Manager at another oilfield services company.

We need someone experienced in the food industry.

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

There are also no butts that I can see in any of the results so far that can put us remotely in the vicinity of what we need.

Marianne is discouraged but I’m not.

Next week we’re going to explore the opportunities LinkedIn did offer and we’re going to build on those few results using Hoover’s and a brief search engine visit to create a robust search that’s going to surprise you.

This week, though, you have a test to complete.

It’s not really so much a test as it is an opportunity for you to strut your stuff.

I want all of you online aficionados (and I know there are many of you!) to tell me what you’d do at this point.

I also want you few telephone sourcers out there to tell me how you’d proceed.

We all look forward to your advice.

This is an ongoing series regarding phone sourcing. Here’s part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI, and part VII.

Here is this Tuesday’s Phone Sourcing Tip/it is also listed in the ASK Maureen group here on ERE. I hope you’ll join and contribute to our discussion!

Phone sourcing is all about attitude.

It’s not what you say but how you say it.

Great phone sourcers say very little.

They know how to elicit the information they seek with the questions they ask.

They think about a sourcing job like a puzzle.

They sketch out the outer rim and then flesh in the interior.

Phone sourcing jobs go faster the further you get into one; just as a puzzle helps to build itself more quickly the more you work it.

“I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.” — Lou Holtz

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!


12 Comments on “Thorough Sourcing VIII

  1. Maureen you are correct, it is getting harder and harder to locate the correct professionals on LinkedIn and Recruiters, Sourcers and Researchers can not rely on it alone. You must pick up the phone and call, Sheila has always said this in her speaking engagements. But first you must locate a telephone number and email to connect to the person.
    You should also looking into SgaLive a new product powered by Talent Filter one site application to organize all your passwords for access to Job Boards, LinkedIn, Free sites etc, searching both passive and active candidates.

  2. I googled “pigging”, figured out it was the same as “pipeline inspection”, did a keyword search on linkedin using “pipeline inspection” and came up with 280 results who currently still work in this industry. And that is just in my network. The internet is a beautiful thing.

    Marianne, if you are reading this, I hope this helps.

  3. I’m sure it’s money well spent – so you’re getting names along with the titles?
    (For the record, I’m getting the same 280 count BUT WITH NO NAMES – NONE – only titles and company affiliations. I do not pay to use LinkedIn.)

    The issue here is that although pigging is related to pipeline inspection it’s not what we’re looking for. Pigging operations include but are not limited to cleaning and inspecting of the pipeline. As much as I’d like to hope/think the client would accept “pipeline inspection” people the reality is they won’t. They want people with specific pigging experience and that’s what we have to drill into – the specific companies that hold those people with that type of experience.

    I’m in the process of writing Marianne’s story for tomorrow.

    Stay tuned and I appreciate you contributing!

  4. Ben, I checked those 280 results again this morning and today I am getting SOME names (the first couple pages) and then it fades to first names/last initials before on the final few pages (10 per page/up to 10 pages for total of 100 results) only giving me titles.

    Maybe LinkedIn had a glitch yesterday that it only gave me titles.

    I don’t know.

    But I can tell you this. I was one of the first to start getting first name/last initial results several months ago when others weren’t.

    Nowadays that seems to be “de rigeur” for free accounts on LinkedIn.

    I wonder if soon the free version is going to go to the title only results I saw yesterday?

  5. Definitley money well spent. My cost is less than 100 dollars per month (much less than Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice) and it is a tool which has netted me a number of hires over the past several years. Matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time I used any other tool to find candidates.

    Though I am by no means an expert on the industry, from what I have been able to research, Pigging is short for PIGs which is an acronym for Pipeline Inspection Guage. Logic would dictate that most Pipeline Inspectors have used this device. Much like a Network Engineer has likely configured a router or pulled cables.

    My average net return on messages to candidates using linkedin is about 10 percent. Typically, I end up placing one of those 10 percent of candidates who respond. If I were to do this search, of the 280 profiles I have identified who are Pipeline Inspectors I would likely send messages to approximatley 100 (which I can do in about 2 hours). Of those 10 who respond, I will schedule phone screens (about 4 hours), 5 will likely be qualified, 3 interviewed, and 1 hired. Though it doesn’t always work out this way, more times than not it does. Though there is some lag in candidates responding to messages you are looking at a total time investment of about 8 hours and a placement has been made.

    Social Media as a viable form of communication is not a fad. It is the newest and most revolutionary form of communication. It isn’t going anywhere, and it will continue to become more prevalent as the most commonly used form of correspondence personally and professionally. Not that it isn’t already. The wheels are in motion, social media is gaining momentum, and nothing can be done to stop it.

    With that, I leave you with a quote from an article published in the New York Times this last Sunday, March 18th:

    “In the last five years, full-fledged adults have seemingly given up the telephone — land line, mobile, voice mail and all. According to Nielsen Media, even on cellphones, voice spending has been trending downward, with text spending expected to surpass it within three years“

  6. Great information!
    That phone thing information sure is fascinating – it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.

    Your argument (about PIGS) is exactly what I would have used years ago to convince a customer to accept less than what they expect to receive.

    Most times it doesn’t work.

    I don’t even try anymore.

  7. I think you misunderstood my argument. Or, perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough. I wouldn’t use this information to convince a client to take less; however, I would consider it useful information while conducting a search.

    I believe the point of the article is that it already has panned out. Times change, and it is in our best interest to change with them.

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