LinkedIn Sourcing Challenge – Ruby

During my SourceCon NYC session, I gave an example of a sourcing challenge that can verify one’s “capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations, independent of acquired knowledge. It is the ability to analyze novel problems, identify patterns and relationships that underpin these problems and the extrapolation of these using logic.”

This capacity is otherwise know as fluid intelligence or fluid reasoning .

The LinkedIn Sourcing Challenge

If you and/or your team are up for a test of your fluid reasoning and sourcing capability, try solving this challenge:

  • Find a LinkedIn profile of someone who has Ruby on Rails experience, but does not mention Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Rails, or RoR in their profile, and show with a link or other evidence exactly how you are certain they have Ruby experience.

There is no single correct answer – there are many different approaches to solving this challenge.

I’m going to recognize Jeremy Langhans once again for being able to solve that challenge in about 15 minutes before I even finished my presentation, using only his iPhone. To this date, no one else has even tried to take a crack at it.

The gauntlet has been thrown down. I hope at least a few people are up to the challenge!

Do You Have Strong Fluid Reasoning?

People who will develop into the best sourcers will definitely be those with fluid reasoning capability. The ability to solve problems in novel situations – those a person has never previously been exposed to and not resembling something formerly known or used – is essential to a world-class sourcer.

In contrast, crystallized intelligence is the “ability to use acquired skills, knowledge, and experience.” People with strong crystallized intelligence are able to repeat what others have shown them, but have a difficult time with scenarios they haven’t previously encountered and with thinking outside of the box when their standard approach doesn’t yield the enough (or any!) relevant results or leads.

The great thing about challenges like this one is that they don’t focus on someone’s ability to repeat something that someone else showed them. Instead, they verify a person’s ability to think creatively and solve a problem and give you insight into their abilities – far beyond being able to answer a multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank question.

In many ways, exercises like this are no different than those used by software engineering companies who ask developers to write code on a whiteboard or on a computer during an interview to solve a problem or accomplish something specific. Doing so can clearly demonstrate to a hiring manager or team lead how a person thinks, and how they go about solving a novel problem.

In other words, this kind of exercise evaluates a person’s critical thinking ability. Which is, you guessed it – critical.

Bragging Rights and Benefits

This is an excellent opportunity to show the world what you and/or your team can do.

For those who might be afraid to even try – please don’t be intimidated by the sourcing challenge. There is no single answer, so you can’t get it “wrong” unless your approach doesn’t clearly show how you know for certain that the person whose LinkedIn profile makes no mention of any variation of Ruby on Rails actually has Ruby on Rails experience.

Provided enough people share their solutions, the global sourcing community will benefit from seeing how many different ways such a problem can be solved.

What’s the Point?

I’m glad you asked.

Other than applying some game theory by offering thousands of sourcers and recruiters around the world with the ability to take a crack at an interesting sourcing challenge and build upon the approaches of others (isn’t that point enough?!?!), I will be writing a post in the near future to demonstrate exactly why it is very important for you to be able to find people with skills and experience they don’t mention – especially on LinkedIn.

There will be more challenges in the future – stay tuned!