The End of Sourcing Is Near … is a post by Dr. John Sullivan on ERE that is drawing lots of attention. I am not going to argue with this point. Let's just try to read the article carefully.

Dr. John Sullivan writes: "Finding top talent among professionals is now becoming painless to the point where almost any firm can do it successfully." The posts says that the only reason there still may be some minor need in sourcing ["phone" sourcing, perhaps?? - IS], is not everyone being online yet.

Let me present the same logic applied to a slightly different field: mining precious metals. Please read carefully:

[1] [Fact.] By now there's a variety of machinery that can identify, whether there are precious metals underneath the ground below any specific point (longitude, latitude), anywhere in Alaska.

[2] [Conclusion.] Because of [1], locating precious metals in Alaska is a simple matter of using this machinery. Anybody can do this.

[3] [Final Conclusion.] The only remaining problem is how to use those metals in manufacturing.

That's the same logic. Does it work? There seems to be a logical gap somewhere there.

What about a practical example?

Dear Dr. John Sullivan:

I would challenge you to demonstrate how the wealth of social info makes sourcing easy, specifically in application to this sourcing task posted on another ERE-owned site, SourceCon. I know for a fact, that, using your words, "everyone [in this task - IS] can be found through their “footprint” on some combination of electronic sites." 

Let me know what you find!

Thanks; Irina Shamaeva

I agree that the selling side of recruiting needs improvement, stressed in the article, but that's not the point.

The large number of re-tweets and shares of the "the Death of Sourcing" article makes me wonder why the death of sourcing  is such a welcome message - while nothing can be further away from the reality. I'd be curious to hear everyone's thoughts.

Views: 897

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 14, 2013 at 11:14am
Sullivan in my opinion is a Pompous professor, aka windbag who has been flopping junk like that out there for years. All anybody has to do to get some attention is write that something is dead. If I took Sullivan seriously I would have been on antidepressants, sitting in a corner, sucking my thumb years ago.
Comment by Irina Shamaeva on February 14, 2013 at 11:48am

Sandra, thanks for the comment! I actually don't mean to criticize Dr. Sullivan. He has the right to have opinions as does everyone else. However the number of reactions (hundreds!) seem to be higher, than even including that "something" is Dead or that Dr Sullivan't reputation would justify. I am really curious why...what is it behind such a wide celebration of the Dead Sourcing? 

Comment by Amber on February 14, 2013 at 12:38pm

Irina - what is it behind such a wide celebration of the Dead Sourcing? Probably the same reason that some people get all worked up about sourcer v. recruiter, internal v. external recruiters, etc. Some are very insistent about how different these roles are and why one is better then the other when the truth is that those who are good at what they do (whatever that may be) don't need to denigrate or worry about the others. 


Comment by Elise Reynolds on February 14, 2013 at 2:50pm

I have been recruiting for over 15 years and the tools we use and how we use them have indeed changed.  For one we really did not have the internet as fleshed out as it is now when I started.  People are using the telephones differently than before.    Basically there have been a lot of changes some small and some big but it seems to me every few years someone is saying or implying that this is the end of the recruiting profession.  Life seems to go on.  Top talent is as hard to find as ever.  Go figure.

Comment by bill josephson on February 14, 2013 at 3:14pm


There have been many arguments over the years regarding the state of recruiting, which would automatically include sourcing.

Having been a long time Third Party Recruiter mostly recruiting for large Fortune 500 type companies I've found over the last several years large companies don't seem to, at least, need my services very much.  No jobs, no problem finding people on their own, and they have a stable of inside recruiters able to find practically anyone.  I'll get the flawed impossible to find job open for 9-15 months.

Smaller companies without an HR department is different needing us more--you might get paid in installments from checks from 3 different banks, but they need us more.

I believe if you have a client(s) and are billing, you see it as things are fine and others have problems of their own making seeing recruiting through the prism of one's own experience.  If you have 20 clients and none are hiring from you trying with difficulty to generate new clients you see it as more a paradigm shift being made more obsolete.

There are a few hot sectors like Energy and with Obama discouraging perm hiring contracting has ramped up.  But it seems there are far fewer "invisible" candidates I can access companies can't, and the "passive" candidates seem to be found through technology/social media.

Just my take......I'm prepared to take the stones thrown.

Comment by Amy McDonald on February 14, 2013 at 3:16pm

I think that the definition of sourcing is what really differentiates whether Dr. Sullivan's views have merit. My opinion of "sourcing" is a lot broader than some, certainly than his. I think when you look at "sourcing" with a narrow view of what it is, say only targeted phone calls in to a company to obtain names/info, he could be right. I can't imagine someone spending time doing that when they can just check out LinkedIn, Hoovers, Zoominfo, or any of the other professional listing sites. That being said, my opinion is that sourcing as I see it incorporates all possible avenues to obtain a qualified candidate, and let's face it, that will never die. It may change though!  Early in my career from a corporate setting, print media, aka the old newspaper ad, is how most HR departments defined sourcing. I didn't accept that then, and I don't accept phone sourcing as being all inclusive now.

Comment by Jennifer M Green on February 14, 2013 at 4:52pm

Amber I agree, "sourcer v. recruiter, internal v. external recruiters".  We aren't doing a segmental resection or understanding the earth from the standpoints of electromagnetic, seismic, and radioactive phenomena.  We are finding people, talking to them and determining fit, skill and culture.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 14, 2013 at 5:15pm

Irina, those who are failing or struggling always make a lot of noise when anybody writes something about something being dead.  Bill has been posting his same pitiful story for over a year about how he is not needed anymore and does it everytime somebody mentions anything being difficult.  Out industry has always been a fluid evolving one with new stuff and old stuff coming back around.  Pick up a lot of local newpapers, click on the classifieds and about half the time you are taken to monster or career builder.

If anybody believes that everybody on the planet is on linkedin, facebook or social media they are living in a bubble.  I can promise that 90% of physicians, engineers, CPAs. research scientists and most professionals who are not actively looking for a job are not on social media sites.

that being said, we just got two interviews set up for candidates in Houston whom company had the resume in their database but did not have the information that we provided so had passed on them.  Being sane they honored our referral and acknowledged that they would not have looked at either one without our input.

Comment by Irina Shamaeva on February 14, 2013 at 5:17pm

You have a good client, Sandra! :)

Comment by Irina Shamaeva on February 14, 2013 at 5:30pm

The death of sourcing is actually old news. I did have a feeling that I had heard about it before. So I just Googled the death of sourcing - and, indeed, John Sumser declared it dead back in 2009, several years before Dr. John Sullivan did!


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