Big corporations are virtually always hiring. They have no other option, because people are promoted, leave jobs, retire–simply they come and go, which is completely normal in any place, including the most popular employers in the world. Sourcing specialists play a key role when it comes to finding new talent, and approaching perceptive candidates for both entry level and managerial roles in the company. You will earn a nice income having this job, but before it happens, you’ll have to pass a competitive interview, because HR jobs are popular and it is not unheard of to compete with twenty other applicants for a lone vacancy. Ready? Let’s have a look at what will happen on the big day.
Hiring managers will typically start with easier questions about your motivation, expectations on the job, HR experience. Once they get a basic grasp of who you are, and what you expect from the job, they will proceed to more tricky behavioral interview questions, inquiring about various situations from your former jobs (if you had any), or about the way you’d address some hypothetical situations. Think about a conflict with an employee, facing a tight deadline, struggling to get enough candidates for the position, and so on. Bearing the competition, you’ll have to come up with a decent answer to each question, in order to have any chance of getting this job. Let’s have a look at them, one by one.
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Why do you want to work as a talent sourcing specialist?
Focus on the value you can bring onboard the company. Said in other words, not what you want to get from the job, but what you want to give. Perhaps you have experience in HR, advertising job offers, evaluating job applications, interviewing candidates. You know the field, have experience with a variety of sourcing methods, and also posses some new ideas you can bring onboard. You believe to be able to find excellent candidates for the majority of positions, and that’s why you believe this is the right job for you.
Another alternative is referring to your skills that are relevant for the job. Perhaps you are very strong with social media (especially LinkedIn), have excellent communication skills, know how to make people interested in something (for example a job offer). And you will enjoy this type of work. Considering everything, the job seems a great match for both your skills and personality, and that’s why you decided to apply.
Can you tell us more about your experience in HR?
Easy one when you have experience, and tough one when you don’t. However, remember that once they invited you for an interview, it means you have a chance to get a job–regardless of your level of HR experience.
Talking about your former roles in the field, focus primarily on duties related to sourcing. That means anything from posting attractive and unique job ads, to reaching out to suitable candidates on a variety of platforms (job boards, social network, resume databases, personal online profiles of people, etc).
If you have a successful story, share it. Perhaps you were assigned a difficult recruitment task. Didn’t have a big budget, and didn’t work for a corporation with a big name. Yet you managed to come up with a great way of presenting the offer, and found a way to approach fitting candidates. Working against the odds, you eventually managed to reach your goals, and found the new employee(s).
How do you imagine a typical day in your work of a sourcing specialist?
The key is to show a realistic idea of the job. Regardless of how fancy this job title sounds, you will spend the vast majority of your time in front of a computer screen (surprise, surprise :)), browsing candidate profiles on a variety of platforms, and reaching out to them (typically by email).
Now I do not want to say it is a bad job (definitely much better than flipping burgers in a fast food place), but you should avoid showing some fancy expectations, such as that you imagine leading interviewing panels or dining in Michelin restaurants with prospective job candidates, while trying to convince them to interview with the company. Because that’s not going to happen…
One thing I want to stress out here is that the exact duties of a sourcing specialist depend a lot on the organization of the HR department. In some cases you may be responsible for a variety of duties, including creating job ads and evaluating job applications, whereas in other cases your sole duty will be to source candidates, and the rest will be left for other specialists from the HR department. Make sure you read the job description carefully, and try to show realistic expectations on the job.
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We aren’t a famous company, and cannot offer our employees the same benefits as some of our competitors can. Bearing this in mind, how do you plan to attract quality talent?
Once you are named Google or Amazon or Tesla, getting new talent onboard isn’t that difficult. Managers and engineers dream of working for you, and with the billions you make in profits every year, you can offer them salary and benefits that are hard to match… But such companies do not really need talent sourcing specialists, and it is unlikely you apply for a job with one. Hence your situation will be more difficult, and hiring managers want to hear your ideas on handling it.
Speaking frankly, remuneration is still the no.1 deciding factor for job seekers, especially those talented with degrees from Ivy league universities. But you should come up with some ideas. One of them is hunting for talent early, while people are still studying at the university, offering paid internships, building your brand in the right circles. Another one is branding your offer in a special way, focusing on things like having an impact or the technology the job seekers will get a chance to work with once in the company.
Personal approach–perhaps even traveling to job fairs, hiring events, and colleges, and talking to people face to face, is another way of getting the attention. It can definitely yield better results than simply sending messages on LinkedIn. And, of course, you can also talk about discovering rough diamonds, that means people who perhaps do not have such a stellar academic record or resume, but have high intelligence and right attitude, and with a bit of work and luck, they can turn into real assets for the company… Of course, different things may work in different markets, and all I can do here is to give you some ideas to work with once you face this difficult question.
What recruitment tools and websites do you have experience with?
There are countless tools nowadays, to help you find, filter, and approach the right candidates for the job you advertise. Obviously I do not want to promote any particular name here, simply because I do not work with the tools actively anymore, but you should do your research, and come up with at least three to four names.
You can also try to play it old school, saying that you rely on LinkedIn only, but the thing is that we live in 21st century, and there are so many sites and tools, some of them niche specific (for example only for IT recruitment), and to broaden your possibilities as a sourcing specialist, and to make your work more effective, you should probably apply them in your work.
I also suggest you to at least briefly elaborate on each tool (how it helps you in your work), or confirm with the hiring managers that they know what you are talking about. Because there are really many tools out there, and your interviewers do not necessarily have an experience with each one.
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Imagine that you are recruiting for a job with specific requirements. You find only two possible candidates in the area, but neither of them replies to your messages. What will you do?
Once again, such a scenario can realistically happen in your work, and you should at least come up with some ideas. Do not be afraid to think out load, and explain your reasoning.
You can start by saying that you will try to make the contact with the two candidates more personal. They aren’t answering your messages? Fine, you will use your network of connections to find their number and call them. No reply either? You will track them down in front of their present employer to have a chat… You simply won’t give up easily.
They may still refuse, however, or simply show no interest, regardless of your offer. Then you have to come up with new ideas. Maybe you will broaden the search area. An applicant can always relocate–if the offer is good enough for them to consider such a move. Or you may try to lessen the job requirements, to broaden your pool of potential candidates. One way or another, you won’t give up, but on the contrary you will continue trying until you source the right person…
Other questions you may face in your Sourcing Specialist job interview
- Tell us about a time when you were under pressure at work.
- Describe the most difficult decision you’ve ever made.
- Tell us about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma.
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone (for example a prospective job candidate).
- Have you ever worked on a recruitment project that was a failure?
- Describe a situation when you had to meet a tight deadline.
- Tell us about a time when you were overwhelmed with work.
- What are your future plans and career goals?
- What tasks do you not enjoy doing when it comes to HR and recruitment?
- Tell us something about you that we won’t know from your resume.
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the many other candidates who apply for this position?
Final thoughts, great answers to the questions
Just like almost any other position in HR with low entry requirements, Sourcing Specialist job offer typically attracts many applicants. That alone makes your interview rather difficult, simply because instead of just answering the questions well, you have to stand out with your answers. What’s more, you will face some tough behavioral (scenario-based) questions, and will have to demonstrate your readiness for the challenges of this job.
But luck favors the prepared mind. Read the questions once again (including my hints), and try to write down meaningful answer to each one of them. And if you struggle to figure it out, or experience interview anxiety, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will help you streamline your interview preparation, outclass your competitors, and eventually get this great job.
I hope you will manage to prepare, and wish you good luck in this difficult interview!
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