(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 like your style Sandra! I'm not an expert in many areas either (one being catching walleye from Canada to the Mason Dixon Line) and the other being my uncanny knack for spotting dead stuff. I have no idea what is even being discussed here at this point - but I've got the afternoon free......
Yes, Maureen, I think you're onto something there.

Maureen Sharib said:
Ami, I keep thinking about something Heather Bussing said a few days ago here on RBC about people being fearful (of guns). It seems to me there's a lot of fear (and anger?) being expressed in here about sourcing. I wonder why.
So primitive, so strong, so masculine.

Jerry Albright said:

Ami - the main character there in my picture had NOTHING to do with that horse other than stumbling upon him after the fact and then sizing up the situation.......just for the record.......

Amitai Givertz said:
So primitive, so strong, so masculine.

Jerry Albright said:

So primitive, so strong, so masculine.
Ami, you're an Art Critic and didn't know it!
I couldn't agree more, Paul. I spent 6 years in professional IT services before becoming a recruiter. The "skills" of: 1) having the guts to cold call strangers who may hang up on you AND 2) talking to complete strangers in a way that they will trust you and agree to: a.) meet you b.) give you personal information (i.e. a resume) c.) let you represent them to a third party d.) give you referrals to their friends and network ----will always be transferable to sales (imho)...or many other professions.

I don't plan on leaving this profession, but there seems to be an overall perjorative attitude towards sourcing that I don't totally agree with.

- David

Paul Davenport said:
In a time when our profession is getting hit extremely hard by economic pressures, this type of rhetoric is of absolutely no help to anyone.

Sorry John, I have to strongly disagree with a lot of your sweeping statements. In particular:

"Contemporary sourcing is a dead-end occupation with little in the way of transferrable skills."
Transferrable to what? Couldn't you say the same thing about Recruiting et al? A Recruiter who can't Source (identify, contact and confirm) talent is an HR Admin. However, I completely agree that pure internet sourcing is a dead end as it merely generates data, not leads. A skill-set including a combination of world-class internet search and phone sourcing is absolutely transferrable to just about any Sales/Lead Generation opportunity. The same can't be said about an HR Admin who schedules interviews and completes new hire forms.

"Next generation recruiting is about relating intimately, not about mutual discovery." This has always applied to Recruiting, not just "next generation".

"It's about fidelity and long term value exchange, not one night stands." By the numbers: 1 hire requires approx. 10 interviews (phone and full face-to-face). 10 interviews require 40 profiles (resume, candidate profile completed by Recruiter). 40 profiles require 100 solid "hits" (candidate generation through passive and active search). A typical Recruiter carries 20-25 Reqs at any given time and they are rarely all for the same exact description. However, let's assume for our purposes these req's are identicle. 20 req's times 40 profiles = 800 profiles...people YOU claim are interested in long-term "fidelity". Let's make this easier by cutting everything in half. You still claim that success can only come with intimate, professional relationships with over 400 people. In the ever-changing real world, skills, priorities and hiring targets are constantly moving. How many people do you honestly think a professional can have a true intimate and long-term professional relationship?

"It's about data that updates itself because the relationship is constantly working." Updates itself? How? Who's doing the data entry? There are technical solutions out there that automate contact data (job title, company, phone, email, etc.) for us without picking up the phone or sending emails. The toothpaste is out of tube already with this technology and is available to anyone who takes the time to build a professional network of contacts via LI, Facebook, et al.

Sourcing has and always will be an extremely important aspect of successful recruiting.
I am always a bit shocked when I have corporate recruiter friends tell me that they have to "be careful" when sourcing from the company's competitors. What??!! Cool! This is my value...and why I need to get into Maureen's classes....because I can call in those companies all day long.

If the law is going to get more strict on us, then the corporate recruiter is even more strapped.

- David

Sandra McCartt said:
My prediction....Elvis is dead and i don't feel so good myself. that's a quote from somebody that i don't remember who it was.

I had a wise old uncle who once said, "If i spent my time every morning thinking about, planning for , worrying about and analyzing what might happen in the future. I wouldn't ever get out of bed and wouldn't have time to do the things i have to do and need to do today." "If i spend my time worrying about or trying to find out how much business my competitor down the street has or doesn't have, i won't have as much time to take care of my own business."

Certainly one should not stick their head in the sand and not be informed or give thought to or plan for things or changes that predictably could or might happen but...in my opinon acting and reacting to the Now without getting bogged down in what may happen will make placements today that provide revenue for next month.

If no internet recruiting is available in the future due to privacy contraints it would seem to eliminate a lot of internal recruiting positions. I can't see a situation where the big boards or the niche boards will ever go away so perhaps third party recruiting and trained sourcers will really have a larger % of the people business in the future. After all the internet did not replace the phone book even after a lot of people got unlisted numbers.
Sandra McCartt ROCKS the BIG TIME.

Sandra McCartt said:
Alrighty, since in my opinon stats are interesting reading when i don't have anything else to do, i'll venture an opinion based on 30 years experience as a recruiter. I'm going fishing in about five different ponds to see if there are any fish. :)

Sandra, you said:
But leave the horse alone. There is no telling what direction this horse will run if you don't kill it.

As Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) said, in Seabiscuit:
You don't throw away a whole life just 'cause it's banged up a little. Every horse is good for something.
OK - I followed that whole horse thread thing but I didn't get it and didn't like it! LOL

Maureen Sharib said:
Sandra, you said:
But leave the horse alone. There is no telling what direction this horse will run if you don't kill it.

As Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) said, in Seabiscuit:
You don't throw away a whole life just 'cause it's banged up a little. Every horse is good for something.
Geri:
Think metaphysics.

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