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Sourcing Passive Candidates – Is It Advanced Calculus?

Posted on November 27, 2006
Filed Under Sourcing Techniques, Sourcing Technologies | 2 Comments

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There’s quite a bit of “Advanced Calculus” in what is commonly referred to as sourcing or research. Some teachers unfortunately will try to complicate it even further in an attempt to make it look harder than it is. But, just like in Math class, the good teachers and old masters like Barbara Ling and Glenn Gutmacher, Judy West, Bill Craib and for those of you around long enough to remember the ones who came before them like Bret Hollander, and even John Sumsner, are the ones who make it simple enough that it can be easily understood and ever more easily applied.

That’s what prompted me to create the original CheatSheet which has since become an underground phenomenon, Its plug and play – just copy and paste, add a couple of keywords and off you go. That works for most recruiters and gets them out of a bind. But even that is not enough for everyone. Recruiters need to be able to use the Internet as a tool, just like they use the phone. So, when I teach and coach recruiters, I show them how to get results in 10 minutes or less. The bottom line is that recruiters need to recruit, and to do that there is no better tool than the phone, but to get to a potential candidate they have to start somewhere.

As recruiters the objective is to get a prospect on the line and sell them on an opportunity which, as Lou Adler or Peter Lefkowitz would say, is potentially better than what they are currently doing. This is “sourcing” and its not an online or phone only activity, its a creative process that uses what ever needs to be used to get through to that first set of leads.

So when I coach and train recruiters I show them how to take a requisition and go online for 10 minutes to get some leads and then get on the phone to close those leads and get referrals. Why? Because its quick and easy. Often they find enough candidates to present after just a few minutes online.

That’s it. No calculus involved. Not at this stage, anyway.

Now, I can tell you that in those 10 minutes there are dozens of tools a recruiter can use, and picking the right tool is part of the learning curve, but so is knowing what tools are available and also knowing how to use them. An artisan, for example, may have hundreds of chisels and kinves from which to choose but the art is not in the tool itself, or in its selection, but in how the artisan chooses to apply the tool for that particular project.

So, the recruiter as a placement artist must choose the right tools and use them quickly to get results. While only the masters may be abele to teach proper tool selection initially, anyone can master a handful of tools that works for them. Working with a master, recruiters can quickly learn which tools work best for them and how to quickly apply them, and they can be on their way applying the 10 minute rule and getting those key submittals and relieving the pressure from hiring managers.

Beyond that point if a recruiting organization needs more leads and more candidates, then you have a higher volume situation. Recruiters must then call upon dedicated researchers either internally (if the company has the funds to build an internal research team like the ones I’ve built) or externally (a contractor, vendor, RPO, research firm, etc.) to support the need because its simply not efficient for a recruiter to try to do it all themselves.

So, what I’m trying to say is that everyone needs to learn the basic tools that allow them to harvest low hanging fruit in their particular orchard, but not everone needs to learn how to master all 287 online and phone methods we researchers use.

I do want to address a common misconception that not eveyone can be found online. This is true, if online is defined as databases like Monster, or even LinkedIn and JigSaw. Lets say about 20 million people may be in these databases, or we can be generous and say there’s 40 million. But online is much more than that. Online is the great big book of practically everything. There are 180 million workers in the US alone, and those databases are not limited to just US based “profiles.” Pieces of information on the internet can lead researchers to as much as 80% of the working population, but just like with the phone, its all up to how much time and energy you devote to the search. Using both the Internet and the phone a good research team can quickly canvas an entire department or organization. But this may be overkill for the average requisition. That’s why spending 10 minutes to get a few leads online is so effective. Its quick, and easily produces results.

Consider a very important question of a client: “What will the candidate be doing?” Answering that question is a big part of understanding which tools to select for the initial 10 minute pass. Like with any kind of seeking, one must first identify where the search is to begin, prior to setting out on our quest.

Besides that 10 minute technique, another big aspect of what I coach and teach is organization. So you know what tools to use to get results in 10 minutes, but now you have to track it so like Jeff says you don’t duplicate your efforts, and so you don’t end up doubling back and going to the same places again. You also need to prioritize which tools to use first, and learn which work best, and keep the OFCCP and the EOC data you need. All that comes from desk management techniques, and regardless of the actual source used this road map is critical.

Recruiters should know how to use the Internet AND the phone, enough to be able to get around to those first few dozen leads, and track their activity. Beyond that, deeper research (be it primary or secondary, internet or phone) is best left to dedicated teams who can spend the time to master all the methods and take the time to apply them. Some have said, “There’s way too much out there.” The “clients” should be self subsistent enough to get that first bit out of the way, but then they go to the experts who can do the specialized work and get the rest of the leads.

Just keep in mind that sourcing can be very simple and effective, don’t be fooled by people who want you to think its harder or more complicated than what it really is. At the end of the day a recruiters job is to get the leads that fill the hiring need. How we get there is going to change dramatically from time to time, but how we track our activity, and how we select our tools, will always be a critical piece of our recruiting desk.



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2 Responses to “Sourcing Passive Candidates – Is It Advanced Calculus?”

  1. Hiring Revolution » Blog Archive » It isn’t Rocket Science. on December 5th, 2006 6:43 pm

    […] Sourcing and networking are two words, we recruiters hear on a daily basis. They are vital in today’s candidate driven market. Most of the candidates out there, either know they are hot or have their nose to the grindstone not even looking for another opportunity. This can be tough for us recruiters, as we have to go out and dig up candidates rather than be flooded with resumes. I found the article below to be very interesting, especially as many people seem to think sourcing is some sort of rocket science.  Enjoy! […]

  2. Susan Strayer on December 8th, 2006 12:24 pm

    I love how advanced technology in recruiting has simply taken over the way we recruit. But I’m left wondering about the face to face connection–you advocate phone and Internet but I wonder as we move more towards technology, are we abandoning face-to-face completely? I’m not a doubting Thomas at all when it comes to technology but I am wondering how you respond to recruiters who are…