My Key Takeaway from the 2022 Hackathon

I recently participated in the SourceCon Hackathon, where I competed against over 100 sourcers and recruiters from around the world.
A Sourcing Hackathon is like an online scavenger hunt, where participants hunt for hard-to-find pieces of information. The October SourceCon was hosted at the Seattle Art Museum, and many of the questions were art-themed, which I found to be a creative concept.


While I did not win the Hackathon, I did learn a valuable lesson that I believe all talent sourcers can benefit from.

The Hackathon question that tripped me up involved finding the most expensive item in the museum’s online gift shop, identifying the artist, and finding out where the artist met their spouse. Here’s where I made a mistake that sent me down the wrong path. I did not filter the gift shop’s items correctly on the website, causing me to start my search with the most expensive item from the filter I used, but not the most expensive in the gift shop. When I clicked on the SAM Exclusives category on the gift shop website, I saw that the “browse by” tab was set to “all.” Thinking it was all of the items in the gift shop, I began my search, but it was actually all of the SAM Exclusives, leading me down a deep rabbit hole for what felt like 40 minutes with no end in sight. A lot of times in sourcing, digging deeper into the material that you are searching on leads to more clues and leads that get you closer to the answer, but that can’t be the case if you are starting from the wrong starting point.


The gift shop item that I was originally looking at was based on an Australian artist from the 20th century named Emily Kame Kngwarreye. I learned that Emily had an arranged marriage. So, I thought that could be a useful piece of information, but I had a hard time narrowing down who the husband was and the story behind the marriage. After that, I tried to look for more clues, and found that Emily was an Aboriginal Australian, which only has a certain number of designated islands. After being denied guesses on all of the Aboriginal Australian islands, I was at a complete standstill.


Eventually, I decided to take things back to square one. I reread the question and returned to the gift shop website to see if there was something else that was needed in my search. Once I did that, I realized that I did not filter the shop’s website correctly to provide an exhaustive list of items. Once I was able to do that, I found the correct artist behind the item. After digging through a couple of websites, I found that the artist met her husband in Tucson, Arizona. The search ended up being really simple, but I made it more difficult on myself than it needed to be.


This experience illustrates a valuable lesson in sourcing, and that is once you feel like you are out of answers on a search, it can be useful to retrace your steps. Do you have the correct starting point? What assumptions are you making, and are those assumptions based on complete information? Sourcing deals with a great amount of uncertainties, and this Hackathon was a good lesson that sometimes you need to take a step back, look at the big picture, and make sure you are not making things more complicated for yourself!


Salesforce Sourcing Consultant, Daniel Ashe, is a leading sourcing specialist at Talution Group. In his 1.5 years of working here, Daniel has assisted many leading organizations across multiple industries, helping to augment their hiring teams with sourcing solutions.

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