Want to really develop top notch sourcers? Throw’em a curve ball or two.

Kelly Dingee Kelly Dingee, Sourcing

Sometime last week, one of the recent FOT webinar attendees emailed me with a question,

What would you suggest I do to grow my sourcing team’s expertise?

The easy answer is training.  Especially since the writer of said question is from a huge PR firm that can probably pay for it.

But what if you’ve done the training and got the books?  Your team knows the basic tactics?

You can always bring in a guest speaker to jumpstart the team’s thinking.  Maybe send them to a conference or two.  Do those weekly meetings where everyone has to bring some new tactic the table.

But really, it’s time to make your sourcer’s life hard.

I don’t mean in a work 60 hours a week, no tools, grunt laden administrative work.  I mean it’s time to move your sourcer out of their comfort zone.  My boss, whether he’s done it intentionally or not, has helped me grow my skillset 100x by taking on a variety of clients with innumerable diverse searches.  Some people view retained search, 3rd party search, agency search as the “dark side”.  I’ve found it to offer a level of diversity that I really enjoy.  I came to the company 2 years ago with a strong background in sourcing for telecom related companies, and had dabbled in healthcare in my early years (i.e. pre-internet for Gen Y).  I also had that little feather in my cap of developing sourcing training courses.

So have I done any sourcing in that arena since I got here? Nope.

I’ve done everything but telecom.  And in the beginning of my tenure, I did have the luxury of sourcing several similar positions….I really became proficient in sourcing all levels of development (fundraising for you for-profit types) professionals.  Just as I got comfortable, my req’s changed.  Development was off my sourcing list for months.  What came on it? Marketing pros were on it.  And not just any marketing pros -specific niche industry marketing pros.  Public Policy pros.  Java Developers.  Cleared pr’s. C-Suite executives.  Sales.  Heads of School.  Wacky finance types.  Health care research.  Hell, Medical Informatics.  And I was not just sourcing in the land of the non-profit – which is definitely the land I know and love.  I’ve dug into construction, the furniture industry, the print industry, research, education, think tanks, it goes on and on.

So how do you handle changing it up from a corporate perspective? That’s easy – I know how you corporate types work…everyone gets assigned to a business unit and many people stay for years.  They figure out their fishing grounds and work them, tweaking them as the supply runs low.  You need to move the sourcing team around.  If your team has been supporting corporate? Put them on Marketing.  Supporting Sales? Put them on Engineering.  Supporting Engineering? Push them towards Executive hiring.

There will be a learning curve.  The learning makes us better sourcers.  Stay with me here, if every req is easy, complacency sets in.  We never reach for more, never try a different tactic to yield candidates or mine a new source.  Switching up req’s assists sourcers in developing the ability to strategize faster and acknowledge reality as well as achieve understanding of which resources are yield all candidates, and where our niche repositories are.

Kelly Dingee

Kelly is an HR Pro focused on recruiting Temp and Executive Talent in the Hospitality Industry and a 10 year writing veteran on FOT.