Sourcing - Still Recruiting & Staffing's Core Strength

It's wizardry in action, it's the core staffing inner fight, it's the need that comes when a recruiter finds their desk swamped with 40+ Requisitions, as I find my desk these days.  

It's when you have delivered everything you have and then some, only to be side-stepped by the reality that, individuals, free choice, managerial intent, senior executives, and others will put forth the perfect storm of staffing inundation.  It is then the recruiter pulls out a wand, puts on a sorcerer's hat, and voila, the people & contacts needed to make the offer push a reality again happen.  

We find ourselves so often in a temporary mindset, when everything we are striving to accomplish is brought to bear on a truly remarkable fact, in spite of planning, forecasting, and other matters.  NO ONE - can predict the staffing cycle.  It is connected to so many macro levels, and micro environmental factors, that when a recruiter brushes off their sourcing plan and path suddenly there is NO STOPPING them from achieving recruiting's ultimate bastion of success.  

Nothing thrills me more than writing the boolean string that uncovers hidden talent.  It is when you have done all you can and then some, using employee referrels, the latest job boards, posted and gone after the active pool of talent, that suddenly you find your self at the utmost interesting of parallels, the question - "Do I source this?" And "HOW DO I SOURCE THIS?" 

It's a pertinent question.  I pondered just this past Friday when my req load burgeoned with 20 reqs opening all at once, and my offers prior had put me near the point I have been trying to get to for some 4 months under 20 reqs.  At 15 I was thrilled to see how I could get there.  Suddenly, the project I had come to be a back-up on, had turned up it's hiring flow so much that - I was no longer the back-up recruiter helping until a spot was filled, no - I became THE RECRUITER to manage the flow of the hiring for that particular group.

Queue Sourcing.  Sorcery was an act of magic written about in ancient contexts and stories, a work of fiction in many cases.  But it's parallels to wizardry and bringing about some staffing sundry outcomes that enable you to find "THE ONE" and the core staffing hire that is the Rock Star every manager seeks.

I will turn to my passive and active sourcing tools - job boards, and social media, but some options bring me great success.  LinkedIn Recruiter for one.  So how do I get the market intelligence to know which amazing competitor target to use as a keyword in my string?  What technologies, job functions, and key words will uncover the GOLDEN candidate in the rough?  How does one do so? Many times just something as simple as this works for me:

1. Think of the target industry, the players, and do some analysis.  First Google your company.  Intimate yourself with the industry players, read the news on what is happening.  Gather analytics that tell the sourcing story that will help you find that Golden candidate.  I love to use: Yahoo Business News, The Local Business Journal, but most of all I head to LinkedIn's Company Pages, and then see what companies people are searching for:

A. Go to LinkedIn

B. Go to Interests Drop Down.

C. Select Companies

D. I then type in company name - for example: Brocade - A Dealer in Solutions for the Storage Networking Industry yields these types of competitors that I can see from their company page under: "People Also Viewed" at left. Some companies people viewed were: Cisco/Juniper/EMC/F5/VMware and Netapp - I could then click on those company pages to see what other common companies may be industry competitors I may wish to try and target.  Chances are someone with a similar job title at the same company is a person I'd want to talk to and that my manager would find interesting.

As you start to view the competitors, read their blogs, comprehend the new technologies those competitors are working on, and through this detective work then create a string that captures the names of these companies and their products, you will start to see a pattern emerge and your candidate profiles will shift to a new dynamic.  By so tailoring your staffing approach - the searches you are engaged upon will take on new life, the managers you serve will see the light and their industry excitement will be enhanced as you witness the true evolution of the talent cycle to one of vibrant proportions.

It is this one area, the sourcing and strategic talent finding research that are at the core to any successful staffing venture.  Then once you have the pool the true test emerges, what about the culture fit?  What about the team fit?  Those matters will be resolved when the hiring authority sees competitor candidates parading before them.

Then you need the carrot - the benefits package, the vital disclosure about the job, and when needed candidate coaching to prepare the golden high potential candidates for their interview, so they can represent themselves well in order to secure the potential that is there.  It is here that you may have to train your managers, train others whom get bogged down into the overall work flow stream into a new day of needed engagement.  It is here that staffing's value proposition soars.

I cannot express how many times when I put my sourcing hat on and take control of a search that those 40 requirement propositions staring at me can be conquered.  Sometimes we truly are hunters, and finders.  The detective work of the sourcing discipline will never be fully ejected from staffing.  All the wonderful gizmos, gadgets and high tech wonders, improved processes, Talent Acquisition workstreams, and other approaches to analyzing talent optimization only need to look to one goal - eliminating barriers to a robust and technical as well scalable staffing sourcing/finding machine.  

The great heart of the staffing function IS SOURCING.  There can be no way around it.  Organizations that do not realize this will be caught scratching their heads when the wizards, the sourcing recruiters of organizations win the war for talent by going to the well and digging, finding, qualifying, in short NOT giving up in the tough searches.  

When your internal database has been scoured, your employee referrels reviewed, and your internal talent base found wanting ONLY SOURCING will make the key difference in the search at times.  Organizations that enable recruiting workloads to be scalable and have enough support will cherish the strategic sourcing power of the hunting recruiter.

NOTHING STANDS THE STAFFING TEST OF TIME, and this goes to show that a HUMAN, and internal recruiter vs. an external one is the key to unlocking that winning bet in the war on talent.  Again on target sourcing allows recruiters to reinvent the search and come to the success needed in the exchange.  It is that right there - SOURCING that clearly sets one staffing function apart from another.  And that is as it should be.  

Any organization whom sees sourcing as a luxury to be cut when the going get's rough is doing themselves a disservice.  Sourcers/Recruiters are interchangeable, and each skill directly connected to the other.  The thrill of the hunt and making an offer to a candidate the recruiter sourced still has to be one of the most invigorating staffing motivators a recruiting/staffing professional can find.  

So glad I have had access to some powerful sourcing tools.  I still do cherish them to this day in my career, especially when the 40+ req mark arises in a very quick period of time.  THANK GOODNESS SOURCING AND STAFFING are JOINED AT THE HIP, as it should be!

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Comment by Keith Halperin on May 6, 2014 at 2:10pm

Thanks, Mike.  I've been alternating between A-Z recruiting and being a sourcing for nigh on 20 years, and while I'm not in the world class of Matt, Neil and some of the folks out there in RBC Land, I'm not too bad (have done a Boolean or cold call or two). Based on my experience, it's getting easier and easier to find more and more quality people. Most folks can be easily found with the $1.25/resume board-scrapers/internet sourcers, and those that can't be found can be done by the world-class Matt, Neil-types, much more efficiently than most of us can. BOTTOM LINE: It's not the FINDING that's that hard part, it's the GETTING THEM TO TALK TO YOU that is, particularly if your clueless and arrogant hiring managers think they're entitled to get far better people than is reasonable for their has-been, also,-ran, wannabe company with its 2nd- or 3rd-rate  jobs.



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