(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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I did but he thinks he was coming on the half hour TalkSourcing segment following your hour-long RecruitingAnimal radio show -I'llsend him an email and ask him if he'll come by an hour earlier - noon EST
646 652 2754 Call in on Wednesday, March 11 to hear Glen Cathey espouse his Boolean Black Belt theories.
It's a mercy thing, Maureen. Imagine that.

See you next year then.

Maureen Sharib said:
Ami, I'll volunteer to count the dead but bayonet the wounded? That always bothered me...
I am always grateful for small mercies.
Maureen Sharib said RA, I'm gonna say this out loud because, after all, it's the 800 pound gorilla in the room that nobody really seems to want to talk about and is at the root of why we're having all this discussion about sourcing being "dead." UNLESS you're willing to invest in yourself to learn the extraordinary online search techniques being espoused by people like Shally and GlenC and GlennG (and a few others) Internet search (as a profession) is going to continue to be decimated (and denigrated because of) board scrapers who put this activity forth as "sourcing". THIS IS NOT SOURCING - THIS IS BOARD SCRAPING. AND UNLESS you're willing to get off and over your fear of the telephone and LEARN TO PHONE SOURCE you will NEVER MAKE a million dollars (and more!) in fees in any one year. You won't even come close and that's a fact, Jack. SORRY to burst your bubbles but this ain't Kansas anymore.

IMO, Maureen is 100% right. Companies only work with me because I find passive candidates over the phone they can't find on the Internet. They get testy with me if I'm competing with them for the same candidates they can find. All my clients have sophisticated Internal Recruiters I compete with. If a company doesn't they'll soon be unable to compete with companies that do.

Re Glen Cathy on The Recruiting Animal Show, noon Wed March 11

Gee whiz, Maureen. I axed you yesterday to arrange it wif him. I would have done it myself but I didn't want to intrude on your "relationship".

But, no, you couldn't drag yourself away from this board for even five minutes. That's what I get for being nice, eh?

Maybe I will let Papa end this discussion. It's getting dangerous.
Maureen, I'm really starting to wonder about your boy. Too hesitant. A bad sign in a guest.

I'm thinking I should cut him loose. Honestly I can replace him with Claudia and see how he manages a half hour with you. What do you think?

He'll be fine.
And he's not my boy.
He's one of the brightest voices in Internet sourcing today.
Yeah but internet sourcers are kind of geeky. They don't really have voices. They speak quietly in monotones.

By the way, what does this mean? Someone wrote it about me on Twitter. I think it's in Spanish.

" El Sr @Animal es un reclutador de Canada. Imaginate que seguidores lo estan molestando a el. "
Thanks again, Maureen. It looks like you typically need to make 6-12 calls to speak to each correctly identified in a fairly large list of properly identified potential candidate.

For the other question: about how many calls are needed to properly identify (with contact info) 100 potential candidates?


For the other question: about how many calls are needed to properly identify (with contact info) 100 potential candidates?
So you are asking how many calls does a phone sourcer make to identify 100 potential candidates? If you are, there is no one answer. This depends on many things:
-what postion/industry is being sourced
-the skill level/sweet spot of the phone sourcer
-how many companies the customer wants the job broken over/betweeen
-location of where the sourcing is required
The first three above are the things that impact most the number of calls needed to ID the field with the fourth requirement adding a ringer to many jobs. An expert phone sourcer can get 100 names on one call (no kidding) and then she can get no names on 100 calls (no kidding). Those are the extremes. There's no pat answer to your question and there's really no answer to the question given that there are no parameters set for the search. But let me give you one:

Number of names required:100
Industry: Electrical Engineering - let's say power construction
Title Required: Electrical Engineer
Number of Companies to source out of: 12 (all involved in power plant construction)
Geographic Requirement: Eastern Half of U.S. - from the Mississippi over
Skill Level of Phone Sourcer: Excellent (5+ yrs experience (on average))
Answer: 12 companies with work done on the front end of each by the phone sourcer to identify names as close as possible inside each company in the electrical engineering groups. 10 of these companies will probably be breechable to the sourcer at this skill level - a couple of these will not have people in the geographically selected area so let's say 7 of the dozen companies will have electrical engineers involved in power plant construction and are located in the eastern half of the U.S. A couple dozen or so calls will have been made into the individual offices of these companies to determine the above information. Once the sourcer has a handle on the approach fields another 2-5 calls will probably be required at each company to ferret out the appropriate groups.
Double those numbers (4-10) times 7 offices for a Moderately Experienced Sourcer (3-5 yrs experience (on average)).
Triple/Quadruple them for a Novice. A novice is likely to only be able to penetrate a couple offices and, in all likelihood, will not be able to reach the 100 names required to finish the job.

This is only an example and is based loosely on my dozen+ yrs of experience. Your mileage may vary.
Really good!

Keith, does this match your experience?

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