• Guillaume Alexandre

Is ADHD the “Ultimate” Sourcing Superpower?

Sometimes, Writing articles are the spark for something else. I wrote this article back in the summer of 2019 about ADHD and I have, since then, worked a lot on a presentation I'll give at Sourcecon Seattle in March 2020.


I'll be the first ever French speaker to give a keynote at Sourcecon US, exciting time ahead!



This article was originally published on the sourcecon blog


I have a confession to make. In the last year, I was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder).


What is ADHD?


ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control.”


It came as a little shock to me, but I realized that all the small techniques I had put in place over the years to keep focused, the fact that I get over-excited about new projects, and continuously have new ideas does not seem to come as a standard feature for everyone.

I have developed strategies to control it well, and I have come to terms in the facts that I am just “wired” in a slightly different way than others.


To my astonishment, pretty much everyone who knew me said: “yes, right, of course, it makes sense, and you definitely have it!” My significant discovery was a total non-event for others.


But then I started how thinking about how I fell into recruitment after business school. I knew I couldn’t do the same job over and over again. I couldn’t only do marketing or only controlling and that with recruitment, I would discover new people and new jobs all the time, expand my thirst for discovery.


Then, I fell into sourcing because it had everything I liked. Sourcing is continually changing, there is a need to analyze and adapt to others, and it was brand new: no predefined routes to take and the wilderness in front.


And why do I get along so well, so fast with sourcers much more than with recruiters?


I still remember my first Europe sourcing conference in 2013, where I felt surrounded, for the first time in my professional career, by likeminded people. Was it because I just discovered a passion or something more profound than this?


Is ADHD the ultimate competitive advantage for sourcers?


As I was sitting at SourceCon Seattle listening to Susanna Frazier mentioning her ADHD, it suddenly stroke me… Is AHDH the ultimate sourcing superpower?

Does ADHD enable to jump between hundreds of internet tabs, joining dots from bits of information better than others?

Would it be something that could give an advantage far over exceeding the struggles that come with ADHD?


Do many “high-end” Sourcers have ADHD?


I started bouncing ideas with a few other conference speakers and began to ask questions around.

In Seattle, I counted at least nine speakers out of 32 (28%) had some ADD (attention deficit) or ADHD. That is a VERY high number compared to the standard of the population. This is based on a small sample. Keep in mind; I only asked the people I knew (as it could be a sensitive subject). I ended up with nine people, far above the average US population rate of 4.4%.


“4.4 percent of the adult US population has ADHD, but less than 20 percent of these individuals seek help for it. 41.3% of adult ADHD cases are considered severe. During their lifetimes, 12.9 percent of men will be diagnosed with ADHD, compared to 4.9 percent of women” (source: https://www.additudemag.com/statistics-of-adhd/)


And this brings many other questions


Here are the questions I have in mind:


Are there more ADD/ADHD people in recruiting than in other professions?Are ADD/ADHD people leaning towards sourcing more than recruiting because it fits them better?Are ADHD people choosing sourcing as a profession, or does it happen that amongst the sourcing population, people with ADHD tend to end up on stage at conferences?In sourcing “developing” some ADD/ADHD characteristics and therefore experienced sourcers tend to increase their symptoms?


Why could it matter?


If it turned out that ADHD is a real neurodiversity competitive advantage in our profession, could we actually “target” some symptoms in our internal recruitments?

When we hire junior sourcers with no experience, could we use psychometric tests and try to detect some ADD/ADHD and consider it as a “plus”?

After all, some tech companies have adopted some of their recruitment processes to include people in the autism spectrum.



Do you want to be part of a study? (please say yes 😊 )


Sourcers being data nerds, shall we conduct the first-ever survey around ADD/ADHD in the sourcing world together?


Here is a simple/free 5 minutes test for adults to know whether you might show ADHD symptoms (don’t worry, it does not hurt 😉 )


https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-symptoms-test-adults/


(Question 27 made me laugh as it is, to me, the main characteristic of any good sourcer)

I have designed a quick survey to gather these results. Of course, it will not have any scientific value as (unfortunately) not everyone reading this article will complete it. However, it could give some useful insights for further studies. I will make the (anonymous) results public in a following up article.


Link to survey: bit.ly/ADHDSourcecon


Thank you very much, I tried to keep this as short as possible in case the results are positive 😉


Feel free to connect with me www.linkedin.com/in/guillaumelaexandre



PS: I showed this article to my friend Vanessa Raath from South Africa who, I know, has ADHD and she sent me the following message. Please comment with your personal experience; it would be great to gather testimonials 😊



“I feel that my severe ADHD helps me to be a better Sourcer than my Peers. It allows me to think differently when it comes to the Sourcing of candidates. I am always able to find those ‘hard to find’ candidates. I will not stop until I have looked under every rock and follow up on every lead that I uncover. ADHD also gives me that ‘natural curiosity’ that people will have a less active and busy brain lack. For me, having ADHD, or ADD in High Definition, as I like to call it, had a strong influence in me leaving my job as a recruiter and moving into a sourcing role. The mundaneness of running background checks and guiding candidates through several interviews was just too dull and repetitive for me. Like you, I am also happy to chat with others who are battling with ADHD, or have just been diagnosed, etc. The more we talk about this, the more the stigma will fall away!”

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