The Power of Automation in Sourcing: Interview with Anna Kalinikova, Tech Sourcing Lead


In today’s fast-paced and competitive talent landscape, sourcing professionals must constantly evolve and adapt to find the best candidates. 

In this interview with Anna Kalinikova, Tech Sourcing Lead at Matchr, we delve into the power of automation in the sourcing world. With her extensive experience and hands-on approach, Anna shares her insights on how automation has revolutionized the sourcing process, helping professionals save time and increase productivity. 

We’ll explore the latest tools and techniques shaping this essential field’s future while also discussing the importance of striking the perfect balance between personalization and efficiency. Continue reading to discover invaluable tips and strategies for successful sourcing in the era of automation.

“A good sourcer isn’t a person who is using 100 tools at the same time but one who uses fewer tools but in the most productive and smart way.”

Anna Kalinikova, Tech Sourcing Lead at Matchr

You have been a sourcer for 8 years; tell us your story. Why did you become a sourcer, and what makes you enjoy this profession?

I became a sourcer accidentally. I started working part-time as a GitHub data miner while studying sociology at university. As a naturally curious person with a research mindset and a passion for working with spreadsheets, I was offered a full-time role as a talent sourcer, and I found out that this was what I liked and wanted to develop in.

What I like most about sourcing is the investigative aspect. I also enjoy working with tables and data; it might sound boring to some people, but I genuinely enjoy it. Sourcing allows me to communicate with candidates via emails and LinkedIn, which is enough for me as a relatively introverted person. I also really enjoyed seeing how sourcing has developed since I started working in the industry, how important and valuable a part of the recruitment process it has become, and how the attitude that a Sourcer (Researcher at the time I started my career) is a “Junior Recruiter” has grown into a separate career path with its growth ladder in various directions, from individual contributor to Manager/Lead Sourcer/Head of Sourcing.

What are your responsibilities as a Sourcer at Matchr?

As a Tech Sourcing Lead, my responsibilities consist of sourcing for clients and people management. As a People Manager, I manage a fantastic team of three sourcers, hold weekly 1-1s, conduct training and shadowing sessions, share my experience, and help them grow within the Matchr team.

At the same time, I work for clients and prefer to be a hands-on sourcing manager. My primary responsibilities as a sourcer for clients include market mapping and building sourcing strategies, participating in intake calls and calls with clients and Hiring Managers, sourcing passive candidates on various platforms like LinkedIn, GitHub, Meetup, StackOverflow, etc., communicating with them via LinkedIn or email using suitable tools, creating weekly/monthly reports for clients and data analysis, and maintaining constant cooperation with recruiters.

As a Sourcer in the Matchr team, I also participate in creating learning content for our blog (check my articles about cultural diversity sourcing and sourcing female engineers) and training sessions for the Matchr team. I was responsible for creating the sourcing part of our internal document, “Effective Recruitment Guide,” where I described all the processes the Matchr team follows in our work.

In your opinion, what makes a good sourcer?

Structure in work is essential to understand and envision a step-by-step plan for your daily and weekly tasks, especially when working with multiple roles simultaneously. You need to know what to do first, second, and third, understand which tool to use and why, and how to automate some processes to be faster and more productive. You need to keep many things in your head, like the specifics of each role to avoid mixing candidates and roles, whom and when to send a follow-up, and whom to ping and remind to respond to, etc.

Attention to detail is crucial for every specialist. For a sourcer, it’s about spotting interesting details in candidates’ profiles, first to understand whether a candidate is relevant or not, and second, if there is any information you can use to personalize your message to the candidate. And, of course, don’t make mistakes in your boolean searches! 🙂

You need the persistence to keep working and not give up, even when dealing with difficult searches and markets, low reply and interest rates, and strict requirements from Hiring Managers.

Creativity is needed to change your sourcing strategy if it’s not working or if you’ve exhausted your previous search, to update your outreach to improve open and reply rates, to describe the role and company in the most attractive way to increase the interest rate, to work with candidate objections, and to find more resources and methods to locate relevant candidates or email addresses when tools can’t help.

Understanding the market and roles is necessary to know where to go for relevant candidates, which companies are the top ones to source candidates from, and how to read candidates’ profiles to understand whether they are suitable or not for the role and not miss a hidden star just because the profile isn’t well described. Here, you need to train your “inner feeling” of whether the candidate has potential, even if there’s a lack of information. You’ll never find a 100% match between the profile and the job description you received from the client or Hiring Manager.

Analytical thinking is an important skill for creating reports, understanding what data to track and why, what insights you have from your searches, and how you can use them in your work or to convince clients to change their strategy/market/requirements, etc.

Automation has also appeared in the sourcing industry; how long have you been using these automation tools?

I’ve been using automation tools for a while. When I started, I did a lot of manual work because there were no automation tools on the market, and sourcing had just started to develop. There were many repetitive manual tasks, no budget for tools, copy-pasting, and .patch as the most powerful hack to find emails on GitHub (funny, but it still works and is still a game-changer for some people).

But each year, more and more tools and techniques appear on the market, and now sourcers can allocate more time to creating better messages and screening profiles more accurately. In terms of timeframes, I’ve been using automation tools for over 6 years.

Do you think you can have more effective work with automation?

Of course! But you need to use it in a smart way. It’s not just about having all the tools and extensions in your toolbox but truly understanding why you need them and what works best for your needs and tasks. The best thing all these tools can do is save your time and reduce repetitive jobs.

Can you explain how these tools can make your tasks easier?/ Can you tell us how you use automation tools in your workflow?

My favorite automation tools that I use the most are the following:

  • SalesQL for email searching and scraping candidates. I’ve been using it for 4 years already.
  • Magical. I’ve been using it to make my communications faster for 2 years. Before that, I stored all my templates in Google Sheets and copy-pasted them all the time. It takes just a few seconds with Magical, and I’m delighted with this tool.
  • PhantomBuster is great for scraping data. I don’t use it as often as SalesQL, but it helps with scraping Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Instant Data Scraper is an easy and relatively old tool that I use for scraping MeetUp, top company lists, and university lists when I need them for reports or to make company or university searches.

For outreach automation, I started with an outreach Google extension, a fairly old one. After that, I used MixMax about 6 years ago, and later, I tried Trinsly, Lemlist, and Gem.

DuxSoup and Waalaxy are good for sending LinkedIn invites and scheduling conversations in regular LinkedIn (Waalaxy).

Many more tools are on the market, and some have similar ideas, functions, and purposes. You just need to try and choose the most useful ones for you. A good sourcer isn’t someone who uses 100 tools simultaneously but uses fewer tools in the most productive and smart way.

Learn more about sourcing tools:

Top 40 Best Sourcing Tools 2023 [Free and Paid]

What parts of your work can you automate?

There are several aspects of my work that I can automate to improve efficiency and productivity. For instance, I can automate outreach using tools like MixMax and Lemlist, which help schedule initial messages and follow-ups. Additionally, I use Magical to expedite communication by responding quickly to common questions or requests from candidates.

Another aspect I automate is candidate scraping, generating lists, and searching for email addresses. Tools like SalesQL, PhantomBuster, and Instant Data Scraper are handy for these tasks. Finally, I enhance LinkedIn communication by using Waalaxy and Piwaa, which allow me to schedule notifications and follow-ups within the LinkedIn messaging platform. This way, I can optimize my workflow and focus on more strategic tasks within the sourcing process.

It is important to keep personalization. How do you send personalized messages to candidates when using automation?

Usually, when using an outreach automation tool, you need to have a list of candidates in a CSV file containing all the necessary variables like {{FirstName}}, {{CompanyName}}, {{Email}}, etc. You can also add a column with the variable {{Personalization}}. However, be attentive to the structure of your message, ensuring that the sentence with {{Personalization}} looks natural.

Some tools allow adding more variables and personalization points than others. For example, Lemlist allows you to create personalized images for candidates using variables from their LinkedIn profiles, but these will be pretty generic, like {{FirstName}}, {{CompanyName}}, or LinkedIn page screenshots. Suppose you want to create something special and add a personalized sentence or overview of a candidate’s profile. In that case, you’ll need to spend more time and, as mentioned, add all this data to a separate column in your list of candidates for email outreach.

You can use AI tools like ChatGPT or Magical to make this process faster. Simply add a summary of the candidate’s LinkedIn profile and ask the AI to create personalized sentences based on this information for the outreach message. The AI tool will then generate personalization ideas or suggest how to do it. Add this info to a column in your spreadsheet or CSV and send it via the outreach automation tool. If you want to add personalization to a LinkedIn message, use Magical and apply the results directly on the LinkedIn page.

Here are some ideas and resources for personalization:


  • Utilize specific information found in the summary sections.
  • Mention participation in challenges, hackathons, or honors & awards.
  • Highlight exact certificates that match job requirements.
  • Point out skills, technologies, or methodologies that align with job requirements.
  • Note the industry of current or previous companies that match your client’s industry.
  • Emphasize volunteering, coaching, or speaker experience.
  • Discuss projects or publications mentioned on LinkedIn.


  • Mention an exact repository and explain why it attracted you, especially if the company uses the same technology or the repository has many forks.
  • Comment on the candidate’s number of stars, followers, or contributions on GitHub.


  • Indicate the candidate’s ranking (e.g., top _%) on StackOverflow.
  • Mention the candidate’s reputation.
  • Discuss the number of answers/questions the candidate has provided/asked on StackOverflow and the topics they cover.


  • Extract relevant information from a personal blog.
  • Share hobby info, travels, interests, etc.

Additionally, you can personalize the images you send to candidates using tools like Canva or Lemlist, which allow you to create and send personalized video or picture outreach.

We have been talking about the advantages of these different tools and platforms. However, have you experienced any disadvantages?

I use all automation tools very carefully and still double-check the results. However, I remember a few cases from my own experience. For example, DuxSoup previously sent the first item before the space that a candidate mentioned in the name section. Even though DuxSoup allowed you to change names in the CSV, it still used information from LinkedIn directly, not from the updated CSV. As a result, some candidates received emojis, “Dr.”, or names in another language as their {{First Name}}. This may have changed since then, but it’s still worth noting.

Also, for some Outreach Automation tools I’ve used, it was impossible to stop a campaign. Due to my inattention early in my career, candidates received emails with their last name instead of their first name. Another issue that can surprise you is broken formatting in messages, so it’s essential always to send a test email to yourself or a colleague to see how your email truly appears in the inbox, not just within the program you’re using.

What are your tips for success with automation for people who never automated anything in their sourcing workflow yet?

First, you need to think about what tasks you want to automate. Start with something simple to use and give it a try. Don’t overcomplicate things, and don’t start using all tools at once. Try one tool per week and practice with it; if it doesn’t work for you, try another one for the same task and experiment. You can read about the tools other sourcers are using, connect on LinkedIn and ask for recommendations, or watch webinars on this topic.

I would recommend starting with Magical to make answering messages faster. Use SalesQl to find emails and scrape profiles individually to add them in batches to your spreadsheet or ATS with all the necessary data. After that, you can try to scrape all search results and filter candidates within the spreadsheet. Also, practice automating your email campaigns; most tools offer a free trial and allow you to send a few test campaigns to see which option is most suitable for you.

Do you want to learn more about how Matchr can help you deliver on your hiring plans by providing embedded sourcers and recruiters? Contact us, and we’ll suggest the optimal solution depending on your hiring needs and budget.

Article by:
Inhouse Senior Recruitment Specialist at Matchr
Inhouse Senior Recruitment Specialist at Matchr
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