• 09 July 2018
  • Life at HJ

5 things you missed from #SOSUUK

Seven months since I started at Harvey John, what better time to try my hand at my first recruitment conference and what better place to start than at the inaugural UK meeting of Sourcing Summit. One of the leading events in the recruitment industry, #SOSUUK promised to give my fellow sourcers and I some valuable insights from the key thought leaders in the sector from all over the world. Thank you to David for allowing his sourcing team to traipse up to London for a couple of days to attend the first ever event held in the UK - it would be rude not to right?! After two days of inspirational speakers, intriguing lab sessions and the occasional late train (commuting? No thanks!), I wanted to pick out my top 5 personal highlights from the conference. 


5. @StevieBuckley from Honest Work gave a refreshing perspective on the recruitment industry and a more positive outlook from a sourcing perspective than many of the other discussions over the two days. Many were proclaiming that the ‘end is nigh’ for sourcing as we know and love, with our jobs being taken over by the abundance of technology being developed. However Stevie insists that these will not be able to replace the humanistic skills that are a key part of our jobs and in the DNA of a recruiter (more on this next from Tim Sackett). Stevie summed up his point with a great example of how tech can go wrong in a live conversation with a chatbot. As soon as he asked a difficult question the response was “that I what his phone number please”, much to the hilarity of the audience!

4. @Tim Sackett, author of “The Talent Fix” kicked off day 2 in style, talking through the key characteristics that make up the natural DNA of sourcers. Whilst the basics can be taught, the 7 key traits of a good resourcer can’t be. Gut feel, personality, ability to interact and empathise with others and showing innovation are just some of the characteristics that make a natural recruiter and most certainly can’t be replicated by a piece of technology, no matter how advanced! Funny that the first two speakers I mention are both proving against the tech revolution but they certainly bucked the trend of the majority of talks which was refreshing. 

3. @JosefKadlec, founder of Goodcall was certainly one of the most “out there” talks you’re likely to come across. Labelled as a former ‘ethical’ hacker, he wowed the delegates with his borderline methods of talent sourcing. Using a fake wifi hub, he proved just how much personal information people are willing to give away in the pursuit of free wifi - myself included! Whilst interesting, he did warn against using methods like this in our day to day sourcing. Not sure some of his techniques would stand up against GDPR but it was fascinating to see what is out there and available to people nonetheless! 

2. @JohnnyCampbell one of the biggest names in recruitment and the talk we’d all been waiting for! For the Harvey John sourcers and I, Johnny and his team at Social Talent have been an integral part of our journey to becoming ‘sourcing ninjas’ since starting out in recruitment so it was great to see him in the flesh! His talk focussed on the rise of non-routine jobs, where complex scenarios are not yet able to be processed by technology. Tying this into recruitment and sourcing, he spoke of a ‘new frontier’ where automation will replace some of the more repetitive parts of our job, leaving us to spend more time on the exciting bits! The future, according to Johnny, needs sourcers to sustain their knowledge of their specific markets, channel technology effectively and to maintain our strong social eminence and presence. The future definitely looks exciting from a sourcing perspective, as Johnny put it - “recruiting redesigned”.

1. And finally, the best of the lot was @henkvaness, ironically the first speaker of the entire event! His presentation focussed on finding the perfect candidate and the hidden clues we can take from pictures. Using one profile picture, he was able to use the various clues in the image to pinpoint the exact date, time and geographical location (to the millimeter!) where the picture was taken - incredible! He certainly had us double checking our own online pictures on the train home, scary but fascinating! His work has had amazing real world consequences, using his skills to track down ISIS terrorists who uploaded pictures across Europe. He was able to track down the exact locations where they were taken, resulting in the arrests of all 25 terrorists who uploaded the images! It was so interesting to see the crossover and impact that the complex tricks and tools of sourcing can have on other sectors and industries, although I don’t think Harvey John will be taking it that far!

So two days of great talks, it was so hard to narrow them down to 5! Myself and the sourcing team had a brilliant time and have our eyes set on #SOSUEU in Amsterdam in October...you know you want to David! Pleasingly, the main take away that I had from the 2 days is that Harvey John is up there at the front of modern sourcing and recruitment. There were no massive surprises where we thought, how are we not doing that?! The key for the future will clearly be to find the balance between new and old, of technology and human interaction but I feel confident that the team and I are already invested in this way of working. Bring on next year!


Alex Baxter Smith is a Senior Consultant in the Accountancy Division at Harvey John.

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