Sourcing disappearing as pitched by Workforce Recruiting? How naive would that be! Sourcing is an integral part of a recruiter’s life, it always has been, whether you’re corporate or third party. How we do it, and the tools we use, have evolved over time, and for some it’s an intrinsic and effortless part of who they are. Certainly companies can be very passive in their recruiting and just hope by posting a job the right candidate will land in their Applicant Tracking System. But a Recruiter that can source will put together a strategy to find that person, not just wait for them to magically appear. In fact, a really good recruiter probably already has a few options that you could tap into before you even post a job. And quite frankly, waiting for the right candidate is a liability. It costs your company.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with job postings. I like them, they’re a part of any recruiting plan. Employee Referral Programs are an excellent tool as well. But, if a critical element to your hiring is to increase diversity in your candidate pool, sourcing has to come into play. You can’t post to a big board and cross your fingers that 25% of your respondents will be Hispanic. You have to investigate and research the potential resources that attract these professionals and become a prominent force there. You need to know how to research schools that have degree programs related to your needs and strong diversity populations. Even if you don’t want new grads, all those programs have alumni.
You also need to know how to incorporate Boolean search into your sourcing process so you’re not passive, but actively locating the diverse talent you need. I would argue that perhaps today there are no longer passive or active candidates, but passive or active recruiters. An active recruiter is going to post the job, but also search for the candidate, too, because the right candidate could be resting in their LinkedIn network, a Google Profile, or a roster from SHPE (Society of Professional Engineers).
But you don’t have time. Your department has been decimated by the downturn and you have triple the work. Believe me, I get that. You need training. And I’m not kidding, while you’re busy saying you’re too busy to take a day to go get trained, your competitors are getting trained. And training can be more than understanding the basics of Boolean or how to “tweet”. Training, at least for recruiting and sourcing professionals, must focus on combining tools and resources so you can find the right people for your jobs – tools like creating Custom Search Engines to save you time and using targeted resources. Tools like iGoogle to create a virtual recruiting desktop filled with resources to organize and streamline your sourcing time online. Training should challenge what you know and give you more knowledge, tools and resources to become an active sourcing force who can not only find talent, but attract it as well. And you need to ask for more, and question how the sourcing tools and techniques you are introduced to will benefit you.
So, after training, there’s no more whining. Whining that you don’t have enough diverse candidates when your population reflects they should be available, because that’s your problem. You have to own it and fix it. Posting a job ad just gets a segment of the job market. And that segment happened to catch your job when it was “fresh”. Even job postings need strategy. Posting to the big boards obviously gets you a high volume of applicants. But if you need diverse engineers, why wouldn’t you make sure you had a strategy that covered sites like NSBE, AISES, SHPE, SWE and more? Post there and their regional chapters too. But excavate information out of the sites as well. And you could also FlipSearch all of these sites for links to social networks, professional networks and more online destinations to find groupings of these potential candidates.
How do I know all of this? I’ve been sourcing for more than 10 years. I’ve worked full life cycle recruiting as well. I know now is the absolute best time to find candidates in an economically responsible manner. I know with the right training to shore up your staff’s shortcomings, you can create recruiting rockstars who don’t source all day, can source for any position, any industry and yet not spend more than an hour or so doing it. There are so many resources for recruiters it boggles my mind that anyone would suggest that sourcing is to be eliminated, especially if they’re telling me at the same time that they’re not getting the candidates they need.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.