The Sourcing Function – A Journey

Ralph MeyerThis week we have another guest post from Ralph Meyer for you.

As an experienced Sourcer there are a few recurring topics that seem to keep coming up when meeting with senior leaders and stakeholders who are not familiar with the intricacies of the role. Let me take you through a journey of what a new sourcing function in an organisation can expect to encounter. I speak from professional experiences and observations and hope that some of this sounds familiar and that you can identify with it.

Day 1: The ‘I’m not an administrator “sell”.’

Typically in the world of recruiting you start as a Resourcer/Researcher and begin to learn the “How To”s of a particular industry. Generally you are at the beck and call of a Recruiter ordering and demanding certain amounts of CV’s and pieces of research……sound familiar?

With an in-house sourcing function some of the above may apply, however it does not really take advantage of the benefits that a sourcing function can offer. As a Sourcer your first challenge is to convince management and colleagues that your skills are equal to that of the recruiter; and that your knowledge and methodologies are sound and effective. The way we went about it was to demonstrate methodology and understanding of the different markets that we operate in.

Recruiters in general are not interested in complex searches as it is time consuming and they are unable to invest the time required to learn the complexities of these searches. Sourcers can therefore prove their worth by working on these types of positions and generate good candidates for difficult roles. Usually this “wow” factor speaks volumes as it makes the recruiter and stakeholders happy when they get a filled position.

We developed a guide model by which we can calculate the probability of a hire by understanding from a workflow point of view how much resource needs to be allocated to it.

Example:

For 1 Hire we need 3 final interviews, 6 Hiring Manger interviews, 12 recruiter interviews, and we need to approach 200 candidates in order to get 20 interested parties. (200 * 10% = 20 candidates).

We found that this education and demonstration of skills took about 4 – 6 months to digest and make a real impact on leaders and stakeholders.

Month 6: What’s next? Value Added Information for your Stakeholders

How do we add value to the process? This is an easy one, there are a number of key areas where Sourcers can help organisations attract the right type of talent. Once we had the production model in place and working to a degree of consistency we moved focus on additional benefits that we could control.

Brand Management
Sourcers are your brand ambassadors, so we needed to get our communications right. Job Descriptions were redesigned to reflect the company branding. Literature was tidied up to comply with the Brand and also to ensure that from a Social Media point of view we could begin to build an image that spoke and added value to our candidate populations by making the organisation accessible and easy to talk to. Don’t forget, Sourcers are constantly sending messages so the better it looks, the better the candidate expectations and experience.

Market Intelligence – Salary information, competitor intelligence, benchmarking.
We took a conscience decision to record these as we were speaking to hundreds of different potential candidates monthly and it seemed wasteful that we were not collating this and putting it into a useful format.

Talent Pooling
Get to know the movers and shakers in your market. Companies always say that they want to hire the “best”, but often they don’t know who the best is and how much they cost. This activity gives your leadership a reality check in terms of who and what you are recruiting versus what the reality is.

Talent Mapping
If you are going fishing, make sure you go to a pond with fish. Sounds obvious, but many organisations don’t know where the talent actually is or cultivated (trained and developed). We had a situation where we needed a Consultant who had to have all the bells and whistles, but could only find consultants with the wrong skills. This usually means that we are fishing in the wrong pond. Get to know where to find the right candidates.

Year 1: Measurement – now the fun starts!

I am not a fan of this; however I recognise the necessity of evaluation for management. So from a measurement point of view how do you make sure the sourcers are doing their jobs? And how do you know who is doing their job better than the rest? And what actually makes a good Sourcer?

So, here are a few things that we experimented with:

CV pass-through rates (ie. 10 candidate generated per week for the recruiters)
The results varied widely, some could produce only 6 and others could do 15. We reshuffled the sourcers with the effect that their productivity reflected the role and territory that they were working on. So this is a no runner really.

Hiring manager (HM) pass-through rates
This is the relationship between how many candidates were passed to the recruiters and then in turn passed to the HM. We came out with the ratio of 2:3, ie: 60% as a guide.

This seems to have fared better, because at this point we could see how “tuned” the Sourcer’s eye was for finding the right talent and matching the profile. Also this saved the recruiter a whole bunch of time as they were speaking to relevant and qualified candidates that had a healthy chance of getting hired.

A conscious decision was made not to include Hired candidates into the sourcing metrics.
As they only have a small touch point in the recruitment process, this is outweighed by about 80% to the rest of the process.

Month 18: How do we develop Sourcers and what curriculuum do we offer them?

This is a very difficult topic to broach. Sourcers differ from Recruiters in the way that they operate on a more transactional and technical basis. They don’t necessarily commit to relationships in the same way that recruiters do, where they have a fairly consistent stakeholder network.

Secondly, what skills do you develop in a sourcer? Here are a few ideas:

LinkedIn – Sourcers REALLY need to know this tool, LinkedIn offers training videos etc so use them. This is currently the best tool for sourcers.

Advanced Boolean Search – Yes, we can all Google stuff. What I am talking about is the next level. So things like Website X-Raying, Timeline searches, manipulating results on Search engines, Webcrawlers and so on.

Social Media – This is not solely a Sourcers initiative, however from a talent acquisition point of view it is usually led by them as they get instant benefits from pouring energy into this. So invest in your sourcers by allowing them to interact with social medias as well as allowing them to experiment and use these channels. Social media is still a disruptive technology and is in its infancy so there is a lot of trial and error attached, especially if you want to be ahead of the pack.

Business Intelligence – Leadership are always keen to have current information to ensure that they can effectively plan initiatives etc. Those that form the sourcing function are privy to a wealth of market and competitor info that, if collated and managed correctly, can arm leaders with really powerful information that may contradict more general information in the market.

This is my experience so far and I guess a few ideas that we have had to try and implement. I am happy to have a chat or discussion with anyone that has any questions on how we overcame certain issues and I would love to find out if this was a similar experience to other sourcing functions.

You might also like to read Letting Recruiters And Sourcers Play To Their Strengths by Ralph.

About Ralph Meyer

Ralph Meyer has written 6 post(s) for this blog.

Ralph has Over 8 years sourcing experience attained from both an agency and an in-house recruitment background. Having studied Marketing, Ralph quickly realized the correlation between marketing and recruitment. Seeking out specific candidates (target market) and approaching them in a bespoke and value added manner is paramount to success of any recruitment strategy. Using this knowledge he is currently a sourcing specialist that specializes in attracting executives and difficult to find skills set in the EMEA region. Colleagues would describe Ralph as “a bonkers sourcer whom is extremely creative and has an ability to spot and identify inroads into any market”

Ralph has Over 8 years sourcing experience attained from both an agency and an in-house recruitment background. Having studied Marketing, Ralph quickly realized the correlation between marketing and recruitment. Seeking out specific candidates (target market) and approaching them in a bespoke and value added manner is paramount to success of any recruitment strategy. Using this knowledge he is currently a sourcing specialist that specializes in attracting executives and difficult to find skills set in the EMEA region. Colleagues would describe Ralph as “a bonkers sourcer whom is extremely creative and has an ability to spot and identify inroads into any market”