(Feb 27, 2009) Sourcing, as currently practiced, is a short term phenomenon. There is money to be made in the field today because the techniques required to find people are arcane and confusing. Additionally, with the strong exception of Avature and Broadlook's products, there are no useful tools for the automation of the process.

Meanwhile people are getting easier and easier to find.

The next waves of innovation in social networks will be all about making the membership accessible to each other. Right now, finding additional network nodes, new friends or interesting potential connections is a black art. You've got to be a Boolean Black Belt. You need a guru. There's an entire consulting industry built on specialized knowledge.


You may rest assured that this situation will not last.


The web is best when it tears down the friction that separates information from the people who need it. The folks who work hard mining data manually today will be flipping burgers in the near future. The skills required to move forward are unlike the ones being taught. Contemporary sourcing is a dead-end occupation with little in the way of transferrable skills.


Next generation recruiting is about relating intimately, not about mutual discovery. It's about fidelity and long term value exchange, not one night stands. It's about data that updates itself because the relationship is constantly working. Finding each other? Easy. Building an enduring relationship? Hard.


For a while, sourcing will be a high dollar, easy pickings income source. But, in the relatively short term, the need for the expertise will evaporate. Former sourcing luminaries will be familiarizing themselves with the alarm on the French fry machine and the relative difference between Rare, Medium and Well done.


Evaporate, as in "What air freshener scent would you like with your car wash?"


So, what do you do if you're a sourcer (or any kind of Recruiter, for that matter)?


  • Get really good at being a productive member of an online community. Join stuff, volunteer, get experience.
  • Develop repeatable methods for discovering new communities and joining them.
  • Develop community management skills (Jason Davis is a good role model).
  • Stop acting like an email address is a relationship or a list is a community.

 


I'm on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendfeed. Catch up with me.

 

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Glen Cathey's piece is really interesting and well argued. Thank goodness Michael had the presence of mind to book him on the next RA Show. More or Less, Cathey's view is "Finding People = Easy —– Finding the Right People = Hard".

(That should probably be a part of good manners in these things...summarize the view of the other side before you take it apart.)

He's right. Finding the right people will always be hard. Jeez, most recruiters only get it right some of the time. Finding the right people is very hard work.

At 230 calls from nothing to filled position (that's the statistic that Danny Cahill uses), it's unlikely that "the right" person is being found. It's almost always someone who is 'good enough'.

That part of recruiting is permanent. What is less permanent is the time and energy invested in getting to know complex early stage tools. There is nothing about finding the right person that inherently requires Boolean search strings. Conflating the two just confuses the question.

Boolean tools and search strings are artifacts of an overly difficult search process. As it gets less mysterious and magical, more people will do it. As more people do it (it becomes a part of the recruiter's job again), fewer people will be employed to do it.
"...even with your numbers, the numbers became stagnant within the last couple of years - we saw tremendous growth as would be anticipated in the beginning, then it slowed considerably, till the last couple of years, to which it has been in Single digits each year."

From the Pew data - and I'm reading from the spreadsheet I posted earlier, "Used Internet Yesterday"

60% - 55% - 52% - 50% - 56% - 59% - 56% - 51% - 61% - 60% - 59% - 57% - 53% - 58% - 57% - 57% - 56% - 59% - 55% - 52% - 54% - 55% - 53% - 58% - 57% - 60% - 65% - 63% - 66% - 66% - 64% - 65% - 69% - 68% - 72% - 70% - 72% - 72% - 72%

If we had looked at earlier periods, we also see stagnation - quite a few years when it was single digit growth - but as more data was collected, we saw the trends. Your statement makes no sense when looking at the data.

"it is also interesting to Compare the pew research over the past couple of years, and determine the usage of the demographics, which to me was more interesting based upon Subjective and objective information, rather than the computation of data.. unfortunately that will never take precedence or disclose the solid info as to What people are Doing and WHY they are doing it on the internet.. which as a recruiter I care about.. Which then brings one to this article which I brought to the attention earlier.. but noone addressed but again, helps define the Point I was trying to bring about re the Pew Article."

Let me ask you a question Internet user...We know that you're looking at job boards but why are you doing this?

Karen, if you look here at Page 5, you'll see what people report doing on the Internet.

As far as the article you cited, for some reason you neglected to add more from the article:

This year's Internet subscription figures are actually better than last year's, according to Parks' Director of Research John Barrett. "This time around, 29 percent said they don't have it and they're not interested," he told TechNewsWorld. "The previous year, that was about 34 percent."

So Internet subscriptions are actually getting better and your point was a line that was used out of context. In fact, considering the upward spiral of mobile phones - let's go to the Pew for this one - would indicate that in the near future many more will be connected to the Internet via their mobile phone.

Saints be praised! The Internet is everywhere! Source, source, source to your hearts content! If you can't source, complain!

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Boray pur-ree ha-Sumser!
@Vin Dieselevey Let's make this the longest never ending recruiting dialogue in existence.
Summy's gonna need a larger hat after this one...

Recruiting Animal said:
@Vin Dieselevey Let's make this the longest never ending recruiting dialogue in existence.
Thank you John.

I just want to point out that all sources of data must have a method of data retrieval - an information system is worthless if users can't actually get the information they want and need. It is critical to understand that pretty much all information systems containing human capital data "speak" Boolean to some extent. That includes applicant tracking systems, the Internet, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. If a system does not support full Boolean logic, users are severely handicapped in their ability to run queries precise enough to produce highly relevant results. There is no "magic button" on any system that produces all of the right people, or the best people, or even the pretty good people available in the system.

It's not all about the Booleans - if you are in a sourcing or recruiting role and do not know how to leverage information systems for talent identification (run queries), you are at a competitive disadvantage that will worsen over time.

The most comprehensive, controllable, and configurable way of retrieving human capital data from information systems is through Boolean queries. In sourcing, basic Boolean logic is limited to 3 operators (AND, OR, NOT) and a few symbols (*, " ", etc.) - it is not intrinsically complex or difficult to learn and use.

The aspect of leveraging information systems for talent identification that takes training and practice is the application of search tactics and strageties - the "what" or "how" are easy - it's the "why" that has a little bit of a learning curve. But even that's not very steep.

Until people can plug their brains into information systems and think about what they want to get it, people will have to query systems for data/information.

There is no arguing that if a recruiter is very proficient at sourcing human capital data, depending on their workload and the information sources they have access to, they may not have a need for a dedicated sourcer because they are very capable of quickly and precisely leveraging systems for talent identification themselves.


John Sumser said:
Glen Cathey's piece is really interesting and well argued. Thank goodness Michael had the presence of mind to book him on the next RA Show. More or Less, Cathey's view is "Finding People = Easy —– Finding the Right People = Hard".

(That should probably be a part of good manners in these things...summarize the view of the other side before you take it apart.)

He's right. Finding the right people will always be hard. Jeez, most recruiters only get it right some of the time. Finding the right people is very hard work.

At 230 calls from nothing to filled position (that's the statistic that Danny Cahill uses), it's unlikely that "the right" person is being found. It's almost always someone who is 'good enough'.

That part of recruiting is permanent. What is less permanent is the time and energy invested in getting to know complex early stage tools. There is nothing about finding the right person that inherently requires Boolean search strings. Conflating the two just confuses the question.

Boolean tools and search strings are artifacts of an overly difficult search process. As it gets less mysterious and magical, more people will do it. As more people do it (it becomes a part of the recruiter's job again), fewer people will be employed to do it.
John, how many years have we been writing about finding people isn't the same as finding the right people? Are we simply broken records?
Glen, do you think this will ever happen? I do.
Until people can plug their brains into information systems and think about what they want to get it, people will have to query systems for data/information.
Uh, Karen, I wasn't asking you; I was asking the "Internet user" surveyed by Pew...

As far as "72-72-72" are you saying the rest of the series is unimportant as far as trending? What if I had pulled out "61% - 60% - 59% - 57% - 53%" in the middle of the series? Downward, no? Actually NO when taking the series in total.

72-72-72? Do you realize that a number could be the same as the previous year but there are still more people on the Internet?

Mark my words? Do you also play the Lottery?

KarenM / Hirecentrix.com said:
72, 72, 72, is stagnant no?

You know that I am looking at job boards? now that is total B.S - I don't A) look at job boards, nor do I have a job board membership - ask your friends at CareerBuilder or Monster, and they will tell you that i have even turned Down free access.. Thanks... so, your question is not applicable

and again, my comments is based upon the Percentage of growth - which demonstrates that No, the comments based upon the fact that EVERYONE can be found on the internet is fallible and inconclusive
and that one day EVERYONE will be on the internet, or found in regards to Recruiting/Sourcing..

Because my comments isn't just based Upon the NUMBERS, but ALSO based upon the Numbers AND demographics AND what individuals are doing on the internet.

You take them each apart and separate, you will obtain the Information What you want to find and dissect Steve, but if you look at them ALL with Logical COMMON SENSE you will see a trend.. the internet will soon Not be the save all for sourcing and recruiting and good old fashioned recruiting will be the saving grace for tpr's -- Individuals are demanding Privacy, respect for their privacy, and they are also shutting down with regards to having information out for the world to see

Soon the interenet will be Only a resource for information, as more and more privacy is respected.. A perfect example of this can be found here Advertiser tracking (Behavioral advertising) of Web surfing brings suits based upon Privacy concerns http://twurl.nl/xmjbwq

Again, please look at the Message not the LITERAL Context -- that the Interenet Will Not be the Recruiting Tool of the future as it is today!

I guarantee this.. and mark my words this 3/2/2009 - that you will see this occur w/in the next 5 years


Steve Levy said:
"...even with your numbers, the numbers became stagnant within the last couple of years - we saw tremendous growth as would be anticipated in the beginning, then it slowed considerably, till the last couple of years, to which it has been in Single digits each year."
From the Pew data - and I'm reading from the spreadsheet I posted earlier, "Used Internet Yesterday" 60% - 55% - 52% - 50% - 56% - 59% - 56% - 51% - 61% - 60% - 59% - 57% - 53% - 58% - 57% - 57% - 56% - 59% - 55% - 52% - 54% - 55% - 53% - 58% - 57% - 60% - 65% - 63% - 66% - 66% - 64% - 65% - 69% - 68% - 72% - 70% - 72% - 72% - 72% If we had looked at earlier periods, we also see stagnation - quite a few years when it was single digit growth - but as more data was collected, we saw the trends. Your statement makes no sense when looking at the data.
Hello Everyone,

I checked out the beginning-and-end score or so of responses, but haven't checked the middle 80- if I'm repeating a comment, please excuse me. I have been making similar comments to John's over on ERE for awhile: Sourcing is becoming a needed skill like word processing, but not one which will translate into a useful profession, with some exceptions. At the same time, there will continue to be a need for a few, world-class sourcers (both telephone and internet) to perform the "Osama in a Cave" type searches. However, these are becoming fewer and fewer- based on a recent report (http://www.ere.net/2009/02/23/internal-transfers-growing-as-leading...):
Third party recruiters and agencies as a source of hires have been in decline since their zenith in 2005 when the survey indicated 5.2 percent of hires came from there. In 2008 that number had fallen to 2.7 percent, a decline exacerbated by the overall drop in hiring.
“Don’t place your bet on this side of the market having much of an upside when the economic climate reverses. It won’t,” the report says.

So, ISTM that there is a great deal of fuss over a decreasing slice of the pie. Let's put it this way:
There will be a continuing decrease in the sourcing work which can't be eliminated, automated, or outsourced at not much more than $1250 per month for internet sourcing or $3500 per month for telephone sourcing. Sourcers can NOTexpect to make a continuing good livelihood based on the ignorance of clients/employers about these effective, low-cost alternatives.

So, if you like what you're doing and want to continue with it: upgrade your skills and fill a specialized niche.

Cheers,

Keith Halperin keithsrj@sbcglobal.net 415.586.8265
I would never limit defining recruiting, let alone sourcing, to just Boolean strings. I just happen to be passionate about, and very good at, Talent Mining.

If anyone in a sourcing or recruiting role wants to effectively leverage the unprecedented volume of human capital data that is now available to many sourcers and recruiters, they will have to learn how to search those systems.

There are definitely many people who are not online and cannot be found on the Internet. However, with each passing day, more people ARE becoming findable SOMEWHERE in an information system - the Internet, social media, external or internal resume databases, etc. This trend will NEVER be one of decline.

It must be also recognized that Executive Search is by no means typically a high volume, fast-turnaround hiring scenario. Corporate recruiters at large companies often have massive workloads and do not have the luxury of the time it takes to hunt and track down candidates that are not in some sort of information system, hence why companies still pay Executive Search fees. Comparing Executive search to corporate recruiting is an apples to oranges scenario.

KarenM / Hirecentrix.com said:
John,
my concern is that one is limiting the define talent of recruiting to "boolean strings" and the internet. True Recruiting, the Lost Art to many who have recently come into this industry is really not just going to services like LinkedIn, or finding talent from Myspace, facebook or Twitter.. That in the sense of sourcing is cherry picking.. (MHO) that is what My clients can do easily and effectively..

What my clients want me to do, to earn the BIG bucks, is to go where No Man dares to go.. the Secret passes, where are the Road Less Traveled.. the candidates that are NOT on the internet, the Millions that are Lost.. in the Ozone.. not to be found by the Masses..

THAT is how a RECRUITER brands themselves by RECRUITING through Networking.. defining the Where do I find and locate these individuals, the ones who are not spending their Work hours online, but instead are actually Knocking on Doors, or taking the time to Work, and earn their $$ for the companies.. and when they come home, are spending quality time with friends, family, or brushing up their skills...

Interesting fact.. the Majority of the candidates I find are NOT on the internet - and due to this, the candidates placed also Generally have a longer Tenure, and lower turnover than those who are from the internet... Reason -- there are hundreds of recruiters always calling them to move them to a "better" position -- ERE mentioned a survey that Sumser You had blogged about about 2 years ago, about internet / job board candidates versus Passive candidates.. Do you remember that.. was too lazy to look for the string, maybe someone else can remember it? - it was done by a survey by Taleo or Bullhorn, can't remember exactly who at this time.. it was a while back.. anyone.. bueller.. bueller???

Karen


John Sumser said:
Glen Cathey's piece is really interesting and well argued. Thank goodness Michael had the presence of mind to book him on the next RA Show. More or Less, Cathey's view is "Finding People = Easy —– Finding the Right People = Hard".
(That should probably be a part of good manners in these things...summarize the view of the other side before you take it apart.) He's right. Finding the right people will always be hard. Jeez, most recruiters only get it right some of the time. Finding the right people is very hard work.

At 230 calls from nothing to filled position (that's the statistic that Danny Cahill uses), it's unlikely that "the right" person is being found. It's almost always someone who is 'good enough'.

That part of recruiting is permanent. What is less permanent is the time and energy invested in getting to know complex early stage tools. There is nothing about finding the right person that inherently requires Boolean search strings. Conflating the two just confuses the question.

Boolean tools and search strings are artifacts of an overly difficult search process. As it gets less mysterious and magical, more people will do it. As more people do it (it becomes a part of the recruiter's job again), fewer people will be employed to do it.
I hope so, a-la The Matrix. However, not likely in my lifetime. :-(

Maureen Sharib said:
Glen, do you think this will ever happen? I do.
Until people can plug their brains into information systems and think about what they want to get it, people will have to query systems for data/information.
There will be a continuing decrease in the sourcing work which can't be eliminated, automated, or outsourced at not much more than $1250 per month for internet sourcing or $3500 per month for telephone sourcing. Sourcers can NOTexpect to make a continuing good livelihood based on the ignorance of clients/employers about these effective, low-cost alternatives.
Keith, I asked this before and MAYBE I missed the answer but can you tell us what one gets - what one is guaranteed to receive - for the dollar amounts you talk about above? I have seen you post these remarks many, many times and only thought to ask you about them once.

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