Don’t Fill Pools, Build Pipelines

Pipelines by Contando Estrelas

Talent pools, talent sourcing, talent pooling…

We (sourcers of the world) all hear these phrases batted around all day every day by our peers and hiring managers. Some more than others, no doubt! But generally all companies, whether start-ups or large corporates, want an immediate supply of top talent screened and ready to go. And why not? We have so many tools available to us that this immediate talent tap should be ever flowing, right? Sadly not! I’m sure in some cases top talent pools do exist, but I would beg to differ.

A pool, by definition:

  • A small body of still water
  • An accumulation of standing liquid; a puddle: a pool of blood.
  • A deep or still place in a stream.

Immediately you will see that “pool” means still, it doesn’t move. So, when you think of the meaning of pool and then associate it with the next generation of talent driving your company, it seems completely barmy!!
Here in the Research team at Sky we build talent communities. These are managed in a way that they could be “named” a talent pool but I would like to elaborate on the differences.

Top talent = a human being! Us humans have a certain something that even sourcers have no control over, their brain. Anyone who has ever worked in recruitment/sourcing will know from experience that people change their minds, and generally change them a lot, usually with no advanced warning or reason. This leads me onto why talent communities (pools, if it pleases you) need to be fluid, not static, as the talent we watch over needs constant attention and nurturing.

From experience, if I have a candidate is prepped and ready to interview then it needs to happen as quickly as possible or the said candidate is likely to do one of 2 things:

  1. Lose interest and look for another role (passive candidates are renowned for this!!)
  2. Find the long winded process tiresome and decide your company is not the dynamic, innovator sold to them by your good self (4 weeks for role sign off!) and withdraw – sound familiar?

I manage a team of sourcers/researchers and we manage our talent sourcing by building communities, these communities are segmented by discipline (using database tags) and managed accordingly by level of interest to us (top talent = highest level of engagement, good candidates = steady comms, and so on…).

We use LinkedIn’s Talent Pipeline tool as our database, managing our communities with tags and using the InMail function as the starting point to keep in touch – then moving onto twitter, Google+, email and (wait for it…) the phone! This level of contact, in all variants, keeps our future candidates engaged with our brand and us as a recruitment function. On a personal level, it also keeps us sourcing professionals, who just want to talk shop, very happy. It makes it super easy for us to reach out to these individuals when we have real requirements, pulling them straight into the recruitment/interview process, as our relationships are solid, current and credible.

This way of keeping in touch with your potential new hires is easy, effective and improves the candidate experience. You have talent to tap into whenever you need it – it’s just old fashioned networking, using today’s tools!

Keep in touch, know your markets and make sure your market knows you.

T.

Image via Elentlr on Flickr.

Do you take sourcing more seriously than your competitors?

half deflated by mr.enigma

I recently went to a conference full of HR and Recruitment Leaders. I felt like I was totally in my element, talking to peers and influencers of our markets and shaking hands with industry heroes etc. During our discussions we inevitably we came to the topic of direct sourcing and began talking about it.

All I can say is I was very surprised, in fact, I was absolutely dumbfounded when I discovered how little recruitment leaders knew about basic Direct Sourcing; never mind the more complex issues that are associated with it.

I had several discussions with different people who explained to me the role of a researcher was to learn the “how to of recruitment” and then to progress to a recruiter level position and begin stakeholder management. Essentially that was their career track. Or, “yes we do direct sourcing through social media” Q: “Like what?” A: “Oh you know, we are on the Professional networks”.

I was fuming and disappointed all at once, I almost felt like a half deflated balloon. But then I began to think about this a little differently. If direct sourcing is not done well, is that a big problem for you and me?

Well, no, in fact it is totally the opposite. It’s a great thing. Let me explain:

I used to work with a team of sourcers and occasionally we would come across a search that was done to death, you know the one, you have placed three or four candidates and the business needs two more. All of our media was over used and the market had not refreshed yet. I was asked to step in (with fresh eyes) and my colleagues explained to me what they had done so far. A few days later I came up with a list of another forty potential candidates. There were looks of awe and disdain all rolled into one. First reaction was: “how did you find these people?”

Now let me make this clear, I am probably a “medium” when it comes to skill level at technical sourcing. But I know that using different information sources and cross referencing with professional networks like LinkedIn, will usually yield you some results that are not keyword searchable on that platform. A lot of professional profiles are just a name, job title and company (if that). Those profiles are unlikely to come up in most keyword searches. I explained this to my colleagues; I think someone called me a “nerd” and took the list to go transact it.

Here is the theory:

If I know my competitor organisations are not taking candidate sourcing absolutely seriously and are adopting half measures approaching this issue; this is great! It means that they are not going to find the people that we are both looking for. This means I get first pick of a pool of passive candidates that no-one really speaks to, and I am going to find candidates that don’t already have 5 offers at any one time.
So when that question comes out in conversation, “so Ralph, what do you do for a living?” I am torn between a few ways of answering it. Should I say that I am a humble researcher (tongue in cheek), or “I’m your biggest competitor that you did not know of”?

Image credit.

3 Things Agency & In-house Sourcers Can learn From Each Other

UK Sourcers meetup - July 2013

I’ll be honest, when I first started writing this post I was pretty sure it was a good opportunity to show the clear divide between agency and in-house sourcing professionals and the very distinct opportunities each party had to learn from the other. As I got writing I became less sure. This was compounded when I went to Katharine’s recent UK Sourcers’ Meetup which had a fair split from each party and, guess what… There was no big divide in the room, just similar challenges and the sharing of ideas.

So, what things are exclusive to the domain of each group that can act as a learning opportunity?

Always Be Learning

If you want to learn, and get better at what you do, you need to understand that good ideas can come from anywhere – so always be open to learning. This holds true for both parties but… Sometimes this is easier for the agency sourcer. Why? Well, a roundtable like a UK Sourcers’ Meetup, an event like a Tru unconference and, I’d wager, the average viewer of a SocialTalent or South African Recruiters’ webinar is more often than not an agency recruiter. Typically they have a little more control over their day than an in-house recruiter!

The Brand – A Mixed Blessing?

This is the biggie, but not in the way that you might be thinking. Typically, when someone talks to me about moving from agency sourcing to in-house, they want a different career structure, one client, and often to work with/for “a brand”. Imagine how much easier life will be with that name behind you? Well I tend to disagree.

There can be a honeymoon period for a sourcer, when you first move in-house, around brand but it tends to be formed by your own confidence in it and in the newly found pride you get from a new role. What I actually find tends to happen, a few months down the line, is that in-house sourcers start talking about their frustration with potential candidates around the brand. This doesn’t hold for all and if your brand is loved congratulations but… If you are seeking, as most are in the current market, experienced professionals from direct competitors (as is everyone else for that matter) they will already have a perception of your brand. If that person has been working for 10-20 years in a direct competitor that perception may well be negative and will certainly not be the same EVP that your brand ambassador demands you take to the market!

So, after a while a great in-house sourcer tends to do one thing well. Create a style of approach (either in writing or over the phone) that is personalised, driven by the opportunity not the employer, and hangs the employer on in the background as an additional benefit but not the be all and end all.

It’s not you, it’s me

So this is the point in sourcing to my mind where things get very different, letting down the candidate and to date this is something that seems to weigh heavily in favour of the agency sourcer or recruiter, so what can the in-house sourcer learn? The “break-up” is a very difficult scenario for those working in-house, after a candidate has been ruled out for a role, there’s no place to go. While corporately there should/might be a talent pool, the reality for all the in-house sourcers and recruiters we train is that they say they have little time or capacity to deal with any genuine aftercare or ongoing communication, yet this is often where the agency sourcer comes into their own. For the agency sourcer there might always be that other opportunity, therefore a reason to keep open the conversation for both parties and to stay in touch.

But is there anything here that the in-house sourcer can learn from their agency counterparts? Well firstly, it’s time dependent (and to a certain extent budget dependent which you may not control/have access to).

Three Lessons Learned

One: First tip for in-house sourcers (and agency if necessary); find time to learn online and research your role!

Typically your working structure can be more prescribed than your agency counter-parts but if you can make time at work, or on your journey, get in front of some good webinars and implement what you can.

Two: First tip for agency recruiters. Do not be put off or believe your candidates will be put off by your agency brand or the lack of employer brand.

You need to create your own style and engagement in an approach that is personal to you and the service that they can expect from you as an individual.

How do you do this?

  • Don’t send a generic InMail – “want a job”, “I’m working this job”, “I want to talk to you about a job”. I know this sounds obvious, but I’ve seen some horrors!
  • Do seek to engage – Explain why you have chosen to make contact, give clear avenues to communicate back at a time that will suit them and play to your strengths. This is the start of your conversation with this potential candidate and you should be looking beyond this single opportunity, something your in-house peer cannot always do.
  • I’m aware these tips should work for both parties, and often approaches are too bland, but I think too often the agency sourcer lacks the confidence to support their approaches appropriately.

Three: Finding a way to stay in touch is important if your role is to build a “talent” pipeline, community or whatever other phrase your firm has come up with and this is where you need to be a bit clever.

For it to work and become a potential source of further candidates beyond your original intro it needs to become about more than jobs and about what the candidate pool delivers.

Here’s some things I’ve heard people doing recently that might work for you;

  • Offering webinars with your business leaders/technical geniuses/brand advocates on a topic of interes
    • While we’re on this point, do avoid the obvious here; for instance suddenly thinking about doing something on D&I to offer directly to D&I potential candidates and show what your business is doing in the field may be futile. It’s something everyone is trying to do and much as with random poorly planned initial approaches if there’s too much of something it becomes spam! Instead maybe think of someone who in your organisation demonstrates the success of D&I but get them to speak about what they do day to day or what makes them brilliant for your firm, that wider engagement will be far more interesting for a far bigger pool than making it a single issue event.
  • Can you offer any kind of check in service?
    • Again this is something we see discussed in theory for recruiters/sourcers and in our training but time is an issue. That said you can sometimes do something relevant, potentially make use of a spare hour for an online Q&A to which you invite former candidates; if you want to think about what might work talk to your colleagues in graduate recruiting, particularly if they have a good alumni network and see what works for them. This is something the US tends to be great at but over here we’ve still got some way to go.

Finally

I’d suggest that the biggest thing any sourcer can learn, wherever they work and whoever their employer is, is to listen and then implement what they think will work for them. Sound basic? Maybe, but too often sourcing is focused on being in the back room and being a transactional service, focused on solving yesterday’s problem of a candidate shortage in-house or in an agency.

Get your head up, watch and listen to people who are good at what they do and then work to personalise and implement that in your own world. Agency and in-house sourcers aren’t so different, most started in one world and ended up in another, what stands out about the good ones is their ability to learn and then take those new founds skills and competencies and put them into a personalised framework of their own.

Tips for Sourcing Newbies

Binoculars portrait by gerlos

I get asked about where to start when you are new to the world of Sourcing all the time. I put together a post last year on that very subject, but it is definitely time for an update.

So, here is my totally refreshed guide to sourcing for those of you just starting out.

Just Do It

By far the best way to learn is to JUST DO IT! Everyone has a different style of sourcing, we’re all sourcing for different kinds of candidates and what works for one person will be useless for another. So just get stuck in, join and try every site and tool!

I learned the most by joining Twitter and it still helps me learn new things most days. It’s a great place ask questions as well as network with people in both the recruitment industry and the niche you are sourcing in. Feel free to follow me if you join. If I don’t follow straight back and welcome you – please bug me!

Follow Other Sourcing Experts

It’s probably a good idea to follow some of the great folks in the sourcing world – they have taught me loads!

Bill Boorman:
Bill is the man behind #Tru and a font of knowledge about all things social recruiting. He’s a pretty good sourcer too! He’s especially good at recommending a tool that’ll do exactly what you need.
Blog: Norton Folgate
Twitter: @BillBoorman

Johnny Campbell:
Johnny is so on the ball it makes my head spin. He goes everywhere and knows about everything! His blog is always up to date with all the latest sourcing info too.
Blog: Social Talent
Twitter: @socialtalent

Glen Cathey:
A sourcing legend from the USA. Glen is particularly skilled in searching LinkedIn – his blog posts are very in depth and thorough. When I grow up, I want to be like Glen.
Blog: Boolean Black Belt
Twitter: @GlenCathey

Martin Lee:
Martin knows all the tricks and all the cool tools. If you get a chance to meet him, take it!
You can meet Martin at our Discover Sourcing event this September.
Linkedin Group: Cool (free) Tools For Recruiting
Twitter: @MrMartinLee

Oscar Mager:
Oscar is really passionate about image search. He always carries a camera too! He is the man to follow if you are committed to finding the absolute best talent possible to fill your role. He’s committed to finding Triple A Talent!
You can meet Oscar at our Discover Sourcing event this September.
Twitter: @OscarMager

Shane McCusker:
Shane is probably best known for his video blog about sourcing, technology and all things recruitment. It’s worth signing up for his email reminders, that way you never miss one of his live Google Hangouts.
You can meet Shane at our Discover Sourcing event this September.
Blog: Shane’s Recruitment Blog
Twitte: @1ntelligence

Irina Shamaeva:
Irina’s knowledge of Boolean search is legendary in the world of Sourcing. She’s on a quest for the ever illusive “Dream Software” that will solve all our people search needs!
Blog: Boolean Strings Blog
LinkedIn Group: Boolean Strings

Jim Stroud:
Jim is a prolific blogger and video maker – he makes fantastic sourcing training resources. You might want to check out his book “Resume Forensics”.
Watch: The Jim Stroud Show
Circle Jim: On Google Plus

Tools and Resources

Our top resources here on the UK Sourcers site include:

The UK Sourcers Search Engine Handbook – Downloadable Document
UK LinkedIn Profile Search – Search Tool
3 Sites You’ve Never Thought About Sourcing From – Blog Post
5 Things Not To Do When You Join Twitter – Blog Post
How To Write Great Job Advertising Copy – Blog Post

Take a look at our full list of Useful Resources . There’s all sorts there, including links to helpful stuff all over the web, not just from UK Sourcers.

I also recommend joining the UK Sourcers LinkedIn Group where the other members and I are happy to answer any sourcing questions you might have.

Sourcing Events

Keep an eye on the information coming out of these events in 2013 and try to attend if you can.

Sourcing Summit Europe – Amsterdam, 12 & 13 September 2013
#SOSU (Sourcing Summit) started in Sydney in 2011. This will be the first time they’ve brought the event to Europe.
Follow on Twitter: @sosuinfo and #sosueu

Discover Sourcing – London, 17 & 18 September 2013
Our very own dedicated Sourcing event for the UK, to be held for the first time in London this September. Whether you are an experienced sourcer, you’d would like to learn more about integrating sourcing into your recruitment activities or you are just starting out, there will be something to discover.
Find out more about: The Event, The Agenda, The Speakers, Tickets
Follow on Twitter: @UKSourcers and #DiscSource

#Tru Events – Global, Throughout 2013 and beyond!
The Recruiting Unconference. You get out of these events what you put in and if you come armed with questions then there will be someone there to answer them. There is always a sourcing track on the bill. #TruLondon will be back in September)
Follow tweets from this event: #TruLondon

SourceCon – Seattle, 2 & 3 October 2013
The original Sourcing conference will be back again in the autumn (sorry… I mean fall), this time in Seattle. Not always accessible to us on our side of the pond, but there is always a healthy stream of tweets from attendees and SourceCon often provide a live-stream of the event so that we can watch online.
Lots of great info on the blog, all from top sourcers: http://sourcecon.com
Follow on Twitter: @SourceCon and #SourceCon

I hope you find this useful. If you have any other questions or you’d like to meet up, then do contact me or leave a comment on this post.

Happy Sourcing! 🙂

Photo by gerlos on Flickr.

What is sourcing? #DiscSource

I put this question to some of the speakers of Discover Sourcing a few weeks ago.

In this video Oscar Mager, Shane McCusker and Ralph Meyer give me their thoughts on the subject;

I think of sourcing as the first phase of the recruitment process. It could refer to any activity that gets a candidate into process. A sourcer might be a brilliant researcher that knows how to interrogate information sources like databases, search engines and social networks. They might have an affinity for advertising and marketing, writing fantastic job ad copy and focusing on employer brand. A sourcer could also be a powerful networker – both online and in-person – focusing on relationships and connections within their industry. Some might even be a blend of all those things.

Everyone seems to have a different take on what souring is and what makes a great sourcer, here’s a few thoughts from other Discover Sourcing experts:

“Sourcing is… opening one door to find a hundred more behind it. It’s also about constantly updating our door opening skills and being interested and curious in what is behind every one of them. It’s not just about clever Boolean strings, hacks and technology it’s about people and the art of matching the right jobs to the right people at the right time.”
Martin Lee, socialmediasearch.co.uk

“To me sourcing is about bringing new candidates into process whether in-house or in an agency. Sourcing as opposed to research goes beyond identification, this is about finding someone new who is unknown to you before, engaging with them directly (ideally speaking with that person) and building enough rapport to have that potential new candidate trust you to consider them for roles in the future with clients or your organisation and be happy to maintain a relationship.”
Andy Mountney, Aspen In-house

“Sourcing is like mining for precious stones. Sometimes you can pick them up off the ground and other times you need to move 500 tonnes of earth to find a single one. Sourcing is very similar to this in the sense that intelligent searching and using the right tools determine how easy or difficult a search is going to be. Once you fully understand what you are looking for it becomes a lot easier to know where to look.”
Ralph Meyer, Ernst & Young

What does sourcing mean to you and what skills make you a great sourcer? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

I look forward to continuing this discussion at Discover Sourcing in September.

Click here to tweet about Discover Sourcing.

8 Characteristics of Great Talent Sourcers

I was sitting and sipping my coffee one morning, as you do, my diary was clear with no meetings that day. A smile came across my face, “Yes! I can do some serious sourcing”.

Then this dawned on me; that this could possibly be the difference between a sourcer and recruiter.

So, in my humble opinion, there are a few things that I feel will make for a successful sourcer.

1. Creativity

I would say this is most likely the Number 1 Skill that I have noticed that good sourcers have, especially if you are in involved with things like Social Media, job advertising, content generation etc. As the sourcing role evolves and we get more and more involved with attraction strategies and other more complex methodologies, our marketing hats will need to evolve as well.

2. Business Dexterity

You have to move with the business to wherever the needs are, I hate to sound so mercenary but most of the time sourcers act as triage nurses working on the most urgent vacancies. Typically you will have to adapt within a matter of hours or days to be familiar with different types of business units, geographic locations cultures etc….In my experience most recruiters usually have the same stakeholder or BUs and are usually working on “samey” type roles. We don’t necessarily have that luxury.

3. You need to like reading, a lot!

This is a unavoidable part of the job; with all the streams of information available to us such as research, reading CV’s, Job descriptions it’s all part of a normal day. Even with the best searches will yield results that will need to be reviewed to ensure that they are in context.

4. Always keen to improve on any medium

What you know today will be redundant tomorrow; in our world new sourcing methods and products become available all the time etc. We have to know this stuff to remain ahead of the proverbial. The worst thing is that there is no one size fits all solution for every market.

5. Technical yet personable

I have come across many different sourcers in my career, some are very technical, some are very personable. You will need a certain charisma especially if you are working for a not so well known organisation to get “buy in” from candidates (don’t forget we do need to sell our companies). Remember you set the tone of what they can expect the interview process and what experience that the can expect to go through. I remember having had a screening call done on me once from a large accountancy practice, the girl on the other side must have been reading from a script, it was possibly the most mechanical screening call I had ever had. I never had the opportunity to display any of my other skills. This in turn set the tone that the company was rigid and that they were looking for a box ticker… But the job description did not reflect that – be mindful of this.

6. Transactional

Job in, job out… it never stops, if you are expecting quiet time as a sourcer, I am afraid that this won’t happen. Sorry; Sourcing time is usually in very high demand so as soon as you built one pipeline the next one will start. As long as your organisation is recruiting you will be busy.

7. Not a glory hunter

Yeah, in terms of stakeholders etc…the Recruiters get the glory. The occasional pat on the back filters back down, but in terms of visibility internally it is usually restricted to the coffee queue.

Sometimes the supported business unit does not even know the vacancy had support from sourcers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, otherwise stakeholders start to play politics with the sourcer and recruiter and that is not what the model is designed to do. So a level of anonymity is attached to the job that transcends outside of the Business Unit

8. Super organised

Excel, Databases, effective email usage…Whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you are organised, especially if you are working on 6 jobs with 4 recruiters and 50 applicants. Things get confusing really quick. Prepare for this.

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.

Letting Recruiters And Sourcers Play To Their Strengths

Ralph MeyerWe have a guest blogger for you today! Ralph Meyer, one of the few sourcers I’ve met that are not expected to “one day grow up and become a real recruiter”, gives us the first in a series of posts from his view at an organisation that sees the value of sourcing as a separate discipline. 

I was having a discussion with Katharine not too long ago, we were discussing a few of the things that I was working on and she kindly asked if I could share some of my thoughts and practices that we have adopted. How could I refuse?

So, here it goes, at the current organisation that I work we have split the recruitment function into 2 main elements; Sourcing and Recruitment.

We recognised that recruiters are talented relationship managers that build trust and confidence in their client groups. Whereas the sourcers differ in skill set; they are more transactional, technical, agile and information hungry.

How does our model work?

Well first step, we operate a direct sourcing model where we approach candidates directly in the market that are of interest to us. I would say about 40% of our hires are generated through this method.

Recruiters still operate the same as in any scenario, they source, have conversations, meet with stakeholders etc…..but the main point is they stay fairly rigid in terms of the business units that they cover. This provides the business unit with a designated contact within recruitment that the stakeholders know and trust.

The sourcers however are more agile in nature; their work load is prioritised according to business needs and is a mixture of difficult to fill roles vs. aging vacancies. They support the recruiters (but don’t report to) in building pipelines etc. The benefits of this have been phenomenal.

Currently we are experiencing:

  • Record low agency usage,
  • Great stakeholder engagement; happy stakeholder’s means happy recruiters.
  • Buy in from other parts of the business that require information that the sourcing function have access to.
  • A Truly agile model where resource can be flexibly allocated to ensure recruitment spikes are dampened; without compromising on stakeholder relationships.
  • Comps and Bens are keen to use some of the sourcer information to assess how well placed we are in the market in terms of you remuneration packages.
  • Quality of hires are going up; contributing to retention and performance of staff.

What is a Sourcer?

Typically within organisations the sourcing position is seen as a training role where you learn how to recruit and then move on to a recruiter’s role. In my opinion this is something that will need to change within the industry as a whole. The reason for this is the Time and Complexity factor.

Recruitment and the recruiter’s roles have become more complex, and this is evident by using things Linkedin, advertising roles, job boards, social media, managing internal ATS systems, headhunting and still finding time to do the relationship piece. This in the future will just not be a viable model as it takes a lot of time and specialties to master any of these.

This is what sourcers do, and they enjoy it. They are familiar with Google Analytics, market mapping, Twitter, LinkedIn and social media. They are creative in discovering different ways of sourcing that untrained users are not used to. This skill set requires constant reflection, tweaking and improvement to ensure that you are on top of you game.

In addition to this, sourcers start to spot trends in the employment market before they are released to the press or are common knowledge. So, if departments are being made redundant at a competitor, the business intelligence department is usually very keen to hear this news.

Sourcers also have to wear a branding and marketing hat; how does you company differ from all the others? What materials do you use? How do you get people to buy into your brand as an employer? This is something that is actively dealt with as part of the day to day for a sourcer.

What does the future of in-house recruitment look like?

I don’t think the model will evolve that much as the essence of the task is a simple one – find and hire good candidates. However, the volume of work that is included in attaining this is on the increase as there are more sources of candidates, direct sourcing is on the rise and organisations will need to really think how are they going to plan their attraction strategies in the war for talent. This is where the model will perhaps shift to more of a attraction model and information.

Any thoughts are welcome.

Wake Up Europe – Sourcing Is A Job In Its Own Right

Today we have a guest post from Martin Lee of Talent Works. Find out more about Martin at the bottom of this post.

I recently saw an advert for a Trainee Resourcer. The role was to identify the “best talent around” using direct sourcing methods, social media, job boards and any other methods available.

The job description finished up with an apparent incentive, saying that if you were successful there was a chance you could be promoted to Trainee Recruitment Consultant. I was shocked! Are we assuming in the UK (and Europe) that the job of Sourcer is at a lower level than that of a Recruiter? A stepping stone only? Why didn’t I see promotion to Sourcer, then Senior Sourcer?

As a general rule (yes there are exceptions) is that the European recruitment market is behind our Northern American friends in thinking. As they would say, we should “wake up and smell the coffee”.

Companies need to invest in the people that find candidates. It is an art form of its own, if done properly. It is backward thinking to expect one person to be great at the entire recruitment process. Wayne Rooney is (sometimes) a great footballer, but he would never be put in goal!

To be a credible Sourcer (or Resourcer as some of us call it) you need to have an exceptional knowledge of social media, all the additional tools and technology available, Boolean strings, search engine capability etc. whilst having an inquisitive nature, technical prowess and to only ever be satisfied with the best match possible.

Time and education are the required investment.

Talent Sourcing Conference Artwork

Oh no – here comes the sell! Well, not really. I aim to bring a number of low cost sourcing events to Europe where people at all levels come to hear experts, ask questions and generally make their way of working more efficient and productive.

The UK’s first ever conference looking purely at Sourcing is coming to London on August 23rd.

Tickets are deliberately low in price to encourage everyone at all levels to come. (Prices do go up in the first week of August though).

Hope you can make it and join the mini revolution.

Show Off Your Internet Sourcing Skills With Smarterer

If you know you’ve got mad Google search skills, or you think you know LinkedIn better than the back of your hand, why not show off with Smarterer’s short tests and funky badges.

You can take tests in all sorts of things from Web Development skills to using Powerpoint. Of most interest to us Sourcers are probably the tests in Google Search and LinkedIn.

I have taken a few tests and here are my results:

You can see even more on my Smarterer profile.

If you take a test, share the link to your profile in the comments and show off!

Thanks must go to Bill Boorman for pointing out this tool 🙂