I’ve been thinking a lot about sourcing lately. And apparently you have too, because I’m getting questions from everywhere on the topic. I appreciate those who email them in and am very impressed by those who have stalked me to my home phone number. What are people asking when they do get me on the line? Well, let me share…
I want to start a sourcing function. How do I do that?
First determine what you want a sourcer to do. Find someone who sources in your community and pick their brain about potential job structure. Take a look at some of the current postings online and see if your expectations for a sourcer are in line with the competition, pushing the envelope or just out and out unrealistic.
If it were only that easy! To me, there are two ways to handle this situation. The first way is to take someone who knows your company and train them to source. You may need to pair up with a consultant or send them to training because you’ll need to make sure they not only develop sourcing skills, but organization skills as well.
The second way? Hire an experienced sourcer and train them on your company. Either way you’ve got to train and invest time in developing your experienced sourcer as well. There’s no easy answer here, it’s just what works better for your company.
I want to pay $20/hour for my sourcer, know anyone?
Are you kidding? Yeah, in 2000 I did. But typically an experienced sourcer is going to demand more than that. And they should be able to deliver. Metrics are variable per company and the level of responsibility you give them. Remember, a sourcer can be key to providing competitive intelligence as well as candidates. And in this case, you’re going to get what you pay for.
I am sourcing but want to keep up on what’s new and need some magazines to read, any suggestions?
Magazines? To me that’s so beachy and pre-ipad. I do most of my professional reading online, with the exception being the Wall Street Journal. I read blogs, technical publications, the NY Times, HBR, Mashable, SearchEngineJournal, SourceCon, ERE and so on. I also monitor a few Twitter lists where I get gems of information. Because I work in online search, I keep an eye on Librarians, Marketers and Tech folks as well as search peers.
Ugh. I don’t have time to read online, how do you do that?
My browser of choice is Chrome, the extension I like for sifting through my RSS feeds is Feedly. To monitor Twitter lists, I use NutshellMail because it dumps updates into my mailbox. When I was training sourcers, I always marveled at how no one was using readers or RSS feeds. They’re a must for me. I can’t spend an hour reading everything every day but having some tools like Feedly and NutshellMail help me to stay in touch.
Does Twitter really work?
It depends on the search and how you use it. It’s not a job board even though a lot of people use it that way. Think of it as the virtual watercooler it’s often compared to and you’ll find a better way to get to your candidates.
What sites should I be using to source online?
For real – I was asked that just last week. By someone I thought should know better. You use everything. And always look for new sites that house profile type information. Yes, use LinkedIn. But use Plaxo too. Search for other sites as well. Before you start looking for the ideal candidate, do 15 minutes of ground work searching to see if there are any portals that stand out. They’ll vary depending on the type of professional you seek. And look for names. I will take a good list of names any day that I can build out into profiles. And lastly, use more than one search engine. Even if you don’t understand why, test some out to see the difference in your results.
How should I keep my skills fresh?
Well, that’s really very individual – some people need a class – some people can read and test out new ideas on their own. I don’t know about other sourcers, but I like chatting with peers. Quite often what you think is a simple question is, but it gives me a different insight onto a search I’m currently working. So, conversation… that’s hugely important to development and easy to do with all of the online communities available. Consider joining LinkedIn groups like BooleanStrings and frequenting local professional meetings. And gather up as many free resources as you can.
How do I keep track of everything… sites, search strings, etc?
I can’t tell you the right way. I can only tell you that I’m a bookmark queen and have them organized by topic, like resources, directories, custom search engines, search strings. I don’t like to get too detailed in my organizational structure, but I do like to be able to find things and this system works for me. I do download and back up my bookmarks, and once every quarter go in and purge. The only thing I don’t really purge is my file of “Search Strings That Really Work”… I keep those to springboard new searches.
Any others? Hit me with them in the comments below…
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.