(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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My mistake.

I see this is a long and varied string.

I'm sure you acknowledged my question somewhere John so please accept MY APOLOGIES!

SM is getting so confusing...

Jerry, you are right.  Everyone is on the net these days.  When my 5 year old can zip through my Ipad quicker than I can and my 70 year old father is on Facebook nightly, you know stuff can be found on the Net.

I'm certain there are quite a few "non internet" people as well.  Though, as a recruiter, I find no need to drag those people out of the basement only to have them realize they want no part of the greater landscape and are quite happy right where they are.


No need whatsoever to uncover the people who are not engaged enough to at least have some sense of internet basics.


Have at 'em Maureen!

You guys (Will, Jerry) are just as blinded by your opinions as I am.

Now that I count that into the mix, I can find no fault whatsoever in what you WANT to believe.


I'm lovin' these discussions.  The chickens are coming home to roost!

Nearly every profession now requires some degree of technical literacy - and a natural part of that literacy is the internet.  It is use for communication, research, socializing and a host of other things.


Keep on digging up the engineers that haven't put a resume together since '72 Maureen....I'll stick with finding people that live and work in today's world.

I am willing to guess thatthere is at least some link to how hard a person is to find and how difficult they may be to recruit. I don't think there are a substantial number of very viable candiates out there who say: "Oh, you've found me despite all my attempts to make it difficult for you to. You've proven your worthiness- I'd LOVE to work at anything you can present to me".

Fundamentally, I think the problems are not figuring out how to find- or even finding people overall- as John Sumser said a number of years ago (and I think it's truer today than then) "Pretty good sourcing is getting better and better". The real problems are:

1) Having something worthwhile to tell the people that you want- most companies having little to offer but their recruiting & marketing hype.

2) Being willing to hire the kind of people willing to work for them for what they DO have to offer.


Keith keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

I am going to name this the "Zombie thread".  Everytime i think it is dead it rises again and walks amongst us.  Occurs to me that if Maureen is having a banner year or did last year that sourcing is not dead.  If Jerry had a good year last year using the net, the net is producing results.  In my book nothing is dead it just rises in a different form..sorta like this post except this one gets resurrected everytime somebody wants to say sourcing is dead so they find the headline and the Zombie rises.

Keith - hopefully you won't mind, but once this thread dies again I'll let it rest another few months then will copy/paste your reply above as my own.  I would think that after 1 year then it's fair game.  Hopefully I will look as smart then as you do now.


If someone is that hard to find - I don't want to find them. 

Sounds good. Didn't archaeologists find evidence of this discussion originally taking place in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia? (Shortly thereafter, they found evidence of other discussions re: outsourcing the recruiting to the Indus Valley....)


Makes sense.   You always have said the "average" guys were A-OK with you. 

Jerry Albright said:

Keith - hopefully you won't mind, but once this thread dies again I'll let it rest another few months then will copy/paste your reply above as my own.  I would think that after 1 year then it's fair game.  Hopefully I will look as smart then as you do now.


If someone is that hard to find - I don't want to find them. 

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