Sourcing is a Capital Investment


A Great read from Shally Steckler, President of The Sourcing Institute on the diminishing role of broadcast recruiting, the growing sophistication of potential candidates and the ways and means necessary to engage them via Sourcing!

Rumor has it that job boards are diminishing in relevance and becoming less effective hiring tools with each passing day. Experts love flogging this subject to draw attention to themselves; some going as far as predicting job boards will soon be obsolete, others touting panaceas promising to be the final answer to everyone’s recruitment woes. Check it out:

These claims could not be further from the truth.

As seen from the front lines of recruitment and sourcing, by those who toil in the business of recruiting and hiring on a daily basis, job boards are more useful than ever.

Why such a claim amidst all the doubt surrounding the viability of job boards? Because as the Internet population grows swiftly in both size and sophistication, job seekers become more difficult to find and engage. People are seeking to connect, not just be “talked at.” Candidates, or at least the right kind of candidates, won’t click on job postings unless they garner their attention. Once they have clicked and applied, great talent expects to be recruited. Good candidates will move on and not apply for a job if the posting isn’t interesting to them, or if the employer doesn’t “engage” (i.e., RECRUIT) them. Many recruitment leaders are dissatisfied with their job board performance because they use them merely as advertising platforms.

Job boards are more than just job postings.

They are also searchable databases. Finding talented candidates is fast becoming more important than attracting them. Simpleminded “enter keyword and find matching resumes” approaches miss talent hidden in plain sight. People describe what they do using language different from what hiring managers use to describe their requirements. Relevant job seeker content is moving towards being more conversational, less about boilerplate resumes; therefore it seldom contains the same language found in job descriptions. This means good prospects go unnoticed. It is the role of sourcing and recruiting to bridge the gap, but leaders who won’t invest in the professional development of their recruiters prevent it.

In the old days, recruiters waited for candidates to arrive after jobs were posted, then proceeded with filtering, selecting, reviewing, and screening, all of which served to slow down the hiring process while quality candidates fled to more nimble employers. The result was hiring managers were forced to lower expectations and compromise. The ways of old led to weaker candidate pools. Modern recruiting is about going directly to top talent, and this is called sourcing. The modern recruiter motto should be “Good candidates come to those who wait but pass by those who source too late.”

Companies who have figured out that those conventional recruiting tactics are insufficient in attracting top talent turn to proactively sourcing candidate resumes directly from the major job boards. In this way, they are gaining access to a wider pool of talent. These are candidates who may never have heard of the company, are uninterested in jumping through all the “old school” hoops, or are never hearing back from employers.

Boolean search has become ineffective.

Tired “Boolean search” methods fail to uncover talent right under recruiters’ noses in resume databases like Monster, Beyond, CareerBuilder and LinkedIn. Progressive recruitment techniques beat conventional ones because they incorporate elements of natural language and peer regression sourcing techniques. Rather than merely scraping the surface of mainstream resume databases, educated recruiters dig much deeper, expanding their searches to include the over 40,000 niche job boards and micro communities that serve the needs of specialized workers in a way the broad databases cannot, thus accessing talent that has not been combed over by thousands of recruiters, exhausted by repetitive template emails or mindless cold calls from ineffectual, unprepared recruiters, and dazzled with multiple offers. Great recruiters learn to search fields like city, state, postal code and phone number, and use search terms beyond jargon such as area codes, email patterns, names of educational programs, location names, interests, and group names, just to name a few.

Sourcing is the best way to improve quality of hire.

Quality of hire has become a very important subject amidst the turmoil and uncertainty in today’s talent marketplace. Proactive sourcing is the top solutions to improving quality of hire. Knowing how to use the right keywords to find top talent concealed by vast volumes of irrelevant resumes, and deliberately approaching them and directly engaging with them before they go elsewhere makes all the difference between hiring great candidates and settling for what’s available.

Sourcing also includes proactively pursuing referrals and references, data very often found in resume databases. This technique also leads to increased quality of hire, and serves purposes such as reducing recruitment costs and supporting diversity hiring efforts.

Recruiting is sunk cost, sourcing is a capital investment.

Perhaps a final blow to rumors of the early demise of job boards is the compelling argument that sourcing has moved from sunk cost to discrete capital investment. Today’s successful business leaders do not instantly become visionaries upon attaining an executive title. By whichever path taken, they grow into the role. Conventional search using obvious commonalities like industry, job title, degree, skill specific jargon and similar benchmarks fails to uncover hidden talent because as everyone struggles with becoming a recognizable signal amidst the deafening noise of social media, they seek ways to differentiate and describe themselves in more and more distinct ways. This results in fewer accurate keyword matches and more “false positive” search results.

Modern sourcing operates under the assumption that less apparent macro commonalities lead to the discovery of previously hidden talent. Macro commonalities are critical to hiring talent with high future potential because they reveal individuals with atypical skill sets and experience. These macro commonalities also reveal organizational and cultural fit. Together all these factors lead to greater contributions and longer retention of new hires. Sourcing, therefore, is a discrete capital investment that makes it possible to identify future ideal candidates who can be hired earlier and grow to become extremely valuable contributors.

Shally Steckler


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