(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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Keith Halperin said: Though this has probably already been said, I believe that the number of people who are hard to find (BY ANY MEANS) will be decreasing, so the paradigm will switch (or has already switched) from "hard to find" to "hard to get".


If people are easier to find it likely means they're more desperate for a job making themselves visible. The Engineers I look for often work long hours tending to love their work and don't seem to have much free time between work, continuing education, and family to have a great deal of time to be on the Internet much.

But the one thing that bothers me most about Internet Recruiting that I just can't escape from is that Major companies have their own internal recruiters. Their job is to source candidates on the Internet. They're getting the same Internet sourcing training I am. Why in Hell will they want to work with me if I'm uncovering the same candidates they are? They aren't going to be happy paying a fee to me when I found the candidate a day or 3 hours before they did, will they? Don't they want me to supplement their efforts rather than compete with them for the same candidates?

The obvious rhetorical question being......aren't they working with me because I'm providing them access to candidates they couldn't readily gain access to on their own?

Or am I just being obtuse about Internet recruiting?
BREAKING NEWS: OSAMA BIN LADEN STILL DEAD

Blowed up in 2002 @ Tora Bora. No proof of life since then. Not gonna be any.

Can't source the dead ya know !



Keith Halperin said:
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-
Sorry Marty, Obama has been seen here in NYC; he's driving a hack, wearing a NY Yankees baseball hat, and talking about conspiracy theories to all who listen. Rumor has it that he's tossing around some yarn about the reason Obama hasn't been captured is that he simply gave up the Taliban cause; says something about not being able to source good help anymore.

Martin H.Snyder said:
BREAKING NEWS: OSAMA BIN LADEN STILL DEAD

Blowed up in 2002 @ Tora Bora. No proof of life since then. Not gonna be any.

Can't source the dead ya know !



Keith Halperin said:
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-
Karen, to add to your early calling, I 'member Steve asking, a long time ago, "Whatcha' gonna do when the Internet goes down?" Or somethin' like that. It's a question I responded to too when I bumped up against an unpleasant spell here.
KarenM: think that Recruiting as it was, the talent and gift of networking and making contacts, being connected will rise above and we will see that the internet search will become a tool of the past.. I say in 5 years.. My prediction.. what is yours? And what will you do to stay above the curve?


If economic/employment times are awful most everyone will be listed on the job boards/Internet rendering 3rd party recruiting/sourcing obsolete.

I keep getting back to what the jobs situation will look like in 5 years. We don't produce many goods here any more. More and more services are developed overseas cheaply and provided at market price here. Will Companies' Corporate offices be here, or relocated to other regions of the world? If there are few jobs and little demand for people, what then?

And if one thinks I'm delusional think back to that robust employment economic recovery we had November 2001 leading to the Bush economy creating ZERO jobs between 2001-2004 in our now infamous "Jobless recovery?"

But I won't bring all this up as it's provocative, controversial, "gloom and doom," and clearly can't happen.

Bill Josephson
Hardly...Mega Millions is up to $212 Million. ;)

KarenM / Hirecentrix.com said:
finding a job on the job boards is like winning the lottery.. maybe the changes are a little bit higher
I hope Karen is right- it would be nice to know there were still such a thing as privacy. However, I think while laws it may slow "advances" and avoid some of the most egregious violations, I fear the "horse has already flown the coop" There's already too much publicly accessible information available right now for most people to hide....

A year or two ago, I had someone google me for the first time (I'm aware of) while I was speaking with them. Imagine if instead of a google (here's mine BTW: http://tinyurl.com/clojez), someone could come up with a complete "Digital Dossier" on an individual based on their name, number, address, or picture. I can also imagine that there might develop a prejudice against people you can't find- "Blanks" they were called in Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future.

While there will always be some valued candidates who will be hard to find (and that's where the money is to be made), most candidates for most positions will be increasingly easy to find one way or another, and it will be relatively easy for anyone (to a degree) "to know everything about everyone," as our former colleagues in the GDR's Stasi used to try and do. Of course, they also showed that knowing the location and details about people aren't enough; they rather blew it re: the impending fall of Communism. Still, it's not hard to imagine bright middle school kids getting the 2015 successor to carefully-tailored tweets from Googlezon or Microhoo praising them for their work and seeing if they'd like to visit the company. My point is :"If you know where people are and what they're doing, you don't have to source them, and if you don't know where they are and what they're doing, you're being sloppy."

Keith “They will seek you out, nowhere to hide” Halperin
I gotta tell you, Sandra, you're particularly right on this one. The death of the job boards (which was the original rallying cry of the nascent sourcing industry) is pretty overstated. Job boards deliver a pretty significant ROI.

Marrying traffic to opportunity is a more sophisticated proposition than using search strings to find people in google and linkedin. They will continue to reach people who are ready and available for work better than any other method.
John Sumser said:
25% (ish) of American workers have college degrees (about 35 Million people). That's exactly the number of people that wikipedia says have linkedin profiles. (I keep hearing 40 Million). I'm certain that the overlap is perfect.>

John, I keep thinking about your sparse data remark. I asked over on LinkedIn if there was a way to discern what proportion of LinkedIn’s membership comes from each country. Three days later, I get an answer from Brian Tietje. He wrote:
Maureen,
Simply type in a country in the people search. The # of results will be listed on top.


So that what’s I did and this is what I found. Remember, LI’s current membership is touted between 35 and 40 million people (March, 2009). What I found was that HALF the total population is in the United States with some surprising representations elsewhere. India’s low number surprised me as did China. Remember, they have, respectively, almost four times (1,147,995,904-India) and almost five times (1,330,044,544 –China) the populations of the United States (303,824,640). Country populations are from July, 2008 estimates.

LinkedIn representations/country by country:
Canada 1,053,353 results
India 1,543,438 results On my second check about 1/2 hour later the number had increased to 1,543,734.
Bangladash 14,961 results
China 185,191 results Same thing on the ½ hr later recheck – an increase in population to 185,205
Hong Kong 92,206 results
Singapore 180,051 results
Cambodia 2,169 results
Indonesia 71,594 results
United States 18,038,205
Mexico 158,911 results
France 696,464 results
United Kingdom 1,886,094 results (I checked this twice!)
Netherlands 1,012,828 results (I checked this twice too!)
Belgium 411,135 results
Denmark 396,152 results
Germany 423,647 results
Ireland 117,641 results
Australia 600,419 results
New Zealand 100,304 results
Japan 106,969 results
Russian Federation 118,097 results
Argentina 208,899 results
Bolivia 5,350 results
Colombia 42,950 results
El Salvador 4,224 results
Barbados 2,425 results
Bahamas 3,457 results
Afghanistan 3,358 results
Bahrain 11,062 results
Israel 164,357 results
Egypt 38,912 results
Central African Republic 153 results

You get the picture and if you want to check your own country you can do so at LinkedIn by doing what Brian suggested above only watch your fields – you want to locate “in or near” and you want to remove any postal code if there is one showing up in your “Postal Code” box. Scroll through the “Country” box for the country you are curious about.

Do any of the above findings surprise any of you?
By the way, I hope this firestorm catches fire over at LinkedIn - here. It looks like it might.
KarenM / Hirecentrix.com said: "Ah bill, it isn't that new jobs are not being created that is the problem, the problem is that we didn't REcreate the old jobs in the first place.. Microsoft for example was one of the worst this last year.. Microsoft was top US-based recipient of H-1B visas in 2008- 1,037 Yet our longterm unemployment was record highs? --- they continue to push the lie of the UnEducated Employees here in America.. i say What? are you kidding me? compared to the Baby Boomers, (remember mom went to school to get the MRS degree) and gen y who have significantly more individuals going to school..see Self-Serving Lies Destroyed the American Dream "http://www.creators.com/opinion/paul-craig-roberts/self-serving-lies-destroyed-the-american-dream.html" http://www.creators.com/opinion/paul-craig-roberts/self-serving-lie... that with the h1-b visa abuse (and the l visa, and all the other employment short term visas) , and the degrading wages that was a problem for the past 7 years.. then perpetuate that with the fact that we have created an imbalance in our employment society with 80+ percent of boomers not being able to retire.. thus hurting the job pool further more..Well, seriously, why NOT discuss this? isn't it by turning the blind eye, and perpetuating the Myth and delusions that there had been a Fabulous "war for talent" and that the system was just Fine and Dandy, and there were plenty of jobs to go around, even when even in the past 4 years, our misery index was Through the roof..It is through the B.S lies of the Self serving individuals who had something to promote, or sell that we continued to hear and believe the resounding Crap that was thrown at us.. The louder they claimed how amazing they were, and as long as they surrounded themselves with others who help promote their wares, we continued to be inundated with the B.S.. and we accepted it as it was.. But at what cost? What did keeping our heads down, our ears closed, and remaining oblivious cost us? Ah, but some good news.. due to India and China Fatigue, more and more companies are coming back home, and bringing some jobs as well.. Some states are seeing unemployment as low as 3Percent.. and they still have low wages as well. North Dakota for example.. Also we are seeing a lot of insourcing happening to our country, where foreign companies are bringing their companies internally for our wonderfully trained talent.. hmm, wonder why the American companies haven't caught on to that yet.. as they continue to attempt to displace our american workers..The jobs Are coming back home, problem is, will the American Worker be obtaining them? Will We the recruiter in the U.S be the ones placing them?"


I agree with some of what you said.

New jobs are being created and the "old" jobs are being re-created, overseas and not here. The Software Developer positions ceased being created here in vast numbers and instead many were created overseas in Bangalore and Hyderabad India for between 20-25% cost of an American. In China it's 10% of an American, but fewer people in China speak English than India. The aftermath of the 2001 Recession ending November, 2001 was a massive acceleration of corporate offshore outsourcing by mid 2002 started by the bleeding edge technology market mover companies and filtering down to everyone else. It began as a way for companies to economically survive tough times. It worked so well it became a new business paradigm staple causing newly created jobs to be overseas--not in the US. This is what I saw first hand in I/T.

You are dead on correct with your synopsis on what we were sold. Big Business claimed we had a shortage of technically qualified people using that as a ruse to increase H-1B caps as well as violate the spirit of the L-1 Intercompany Transfer Laws all of which was to gain access to cheap labor. I could explain how this is done but I'd rather not. They lied to the government. The government (Bush Administration and GOP Congressional majority) either were duped into the lie or wanted to reward their business constituents with cheaper labor for increased profits for their continued campaign support. Bottom line, we had a 750,000 techie shortage in 2000.......and a 2 million techie surplus by 2003. No one can honestly say we didn't have enough qualified educated workers here.

However, with all the outsourcing colleges' schools of Computer Science have seen enrollments drop by upwards of 60%. MIT had 500 graduates in their school of Computer Science in 2000. In 2004 it was 200. Bryant College in RI had 200 Computer Science graduates in 2000. It was 19 in 2006.

So it's really a self-fulfilling prophecy. Business says there aren't enough qualified people. The President and Congress agree. They raise the H-1B caps and don't enforce employment laws for them to be hired, turn a blind eye to corporate L-1 abuse, and encourage offshore outsourcing through the tax code/policies. And in the end we have fewer jobs here in the US because we have fewer Computer Science and Engineering graduates, as why major in those areas if all you see is a shrinking employment market?

Just my five cents....

Bill Josephson
Maureen,
While there are ~18M people US people with a LinkedIn profile, less than 11M people from the US actually visited LinkedIn's site in the enti....

The data could suggest a lot of profiles are out of date, inaccurate, or even "dead" (joined LinkedIn, created bare-bones profile, never came back).

Maureen Sharib said:
John Sumser said:
25% (ish) of American workers have college degrees (about 35 Million people). That's exactly the number of people that wikipedia says have linkedin profiles. (I keep hearing 40 Million). I'm certain that the overlap is perfect.>

John, I keep thinking about your sparse data remark. I asked over on LinkedIn if there was a way to discern what proportion of LinkedIn’s membership comes from each country. Three days later, I get an answer from Brian Tietje. He wrote:
Maureen,
Simply type in a country in the people search. The # of results will be listed on top.


So that what’s I did and this is what I found. Remember, LI’s current membership is touted between 35 and 40 million people (March, 2009). What I found was that HALF the total population is in the United States with some surprising representations elsewhere. India’s low number surprised me as did China. Remember, they have, respectively, almost four times (1,147,995,904-India) and almost five times (1,330,044,544 –China) the populations of the United States (303,824,640). Country populations are from July, 2008 estimates.

LinkedIn representations/country by country:
Canada 1,053,353 results
India 1,543,438 results On my second check about 1/2 hour later the number had increased to 1,543,734.
Bangladash 14,961 results
China 185,191 results Same thing on the ½ hr later recheck – an increase in population to 185,205
Hong Kong 92,206 results
Singapore 180,051 results
Cambodia 2,169 results
Indonesia 71,594 results
United States 18,038,205
Mexico 158,911 results
France 696,464 results
United Kingdom 1,886,094 results (I checked this twice!)
Netherlands 1,012,828 results (I checked this twice too!)
Belgium 411,135 results
Denmark 396,152 results
Germany 423,647 results
Ireland 117,641 results
Australia 600,419 results
New Zealand 100,304 results
Japan 106,969 results
Russian Federation 118,097 results
Argentina 208,899 results
Bolivia 5,350 results
Colombia 42,950 results
El Salvador 4,224 results
Barbados 2,425 results
Bahamas 3,457 results
Afghanistan 3,358 results
Bahrain 11,062 results
Israel 164,357 results
Egypt 38,912 results
Central African Republic 153 results

You get the picture and if you want to check your own country you can do so at LinkedIn by doing what Brian suggested above only watch your fields – you want to locate “in or near” and you want to remove any postal code if there is one showing up in your “Postal Code” box. Scroll through the “Country” box for the country you are curious about.

Do any of the above findings surprise any of you?
By the way, I hope this firestorm catches fire over at LinkedIn - here. It looks like it might.
I thought I clearly debunked the Danny theory of everyone having all the information. Just because a downturn makes more candidates available, it does not mean "all the information" is available. You are observing one thing here and attributing a trend to back up something that is totally unrelated.

paraphrasing Monty Python

"How do you know she's a witch?"

"cause she looks like one!"

"burn her"




Joshua Letourneau said:
For an irony, this is exactly what Danny Cahill said at Sourcecon 2007 - yep, during the peak of Sourcing Kool-Aid. IMHO, it took balls to say it then, not now. Today, the cat is out of the bag - companies like Deloitte, MS, Google, etc. have cut their sourcing programs down to nubs. During the keynote, Danny mentioned something to the tune of, "Pretty soon, nearly all the names will be findable through consolidated tools . . . and once again, history will repeat itself as Recruiting once again returns to its roots as sales, and more importantly, persuasion." That's not verbatim because I can't remember it perfectly, but it's along those lines. As I've said before, you could have heard a pin drop as mouths hit the floor. That wasn't an empty motivational speech - that was a body-blow reality check that has come true.

Strategic Sourcing initiatives are seen as short-term initiatives. It's the 80/20 Pareto Principle at play. If it takes 1 hour and $5 to rake 80% of the leaves in the front yard, there is no point in spending another 4 hours + $100 to rake the remaining 20% of the leaves. That's why we're seeing Strategic Sourcing initiatives (and teams/architectures) going the way of the Dinosaur today. As the 'names' (or better, 'data') becomes outdated and obsolete, then you can revisit and rake the 80% again.

As for Recruiting becoming all about communities, I'm not drinking that Kool-Aid quite yet. The reason is that there are large pockets of individuals who could give two hoots about a social network or community. While we're firing off tweets and debating communities on RBC, they're teaching their little boy to throw a baseball, having dinner with their wife, or helping their daughter with homework. The point is that some people's lives are more about physical proximity than the web. Not everyone I know owns a Crackberry or iPhone. Anyone who says there isn't opportunity cost when your life is more about a social network than your actual real-life circle of friends and family is badly mistaken.

Over time, as Gen-Y ages, we'll see this mentality die off . . . because the Internet has been interwoven into their lives since a very early age. But that day isn't today, and it won't be tomorrow, or even when we begin climbing out of this recession.

What I find funny about the mindset that "The Future of Recruiting is all about the Community" . . . is that it ties back to a revenue stream. The more we speak about 'communities' and 'social networks' at conferences, the more we can build a market, sell new technologies, and offer consulting assistance. As a result, we all make more money by collaboratively telling the same story over and over. I love how history repeats itself as markets creatively destruct and are reborn.

P.S. There are sourcing automation tools beyond Avature's and Broadlook's suites. I'm not saying they're great, but they're out there. At some point, though, somebody has to pick up the phone and talk to another human being - without conversation, a 'relationship' is another overused buzzword used to sell the invisible. I wonder when our market will once again affirm that technology is an enabler . . . but will never replace human interaction when it comes to Recruiting.

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