Train Your Recruiters with Real-life Sourcing Skills, Or Lose The Talent Competition

A company’s most treasured product is a combination of talent, thoughts, and ideas. And those who replenish and maintain or increase the talent ranks of an organization play an essential role in generating profit.

Consider this, though.  Your recruiters are all performing with almost no training.  No coaching.  And very little mentorship.


The Recruitment Industry is Starved for Knowledge.

HR sister disciplines have specialized degrees from reputable learning programs. Yet, the art and science of staffing is grossly under represented by educators. Recruitment specific training generally does not exist.

This means that Human Resource college students get almost no exposure to recruitment and talent sourcing.  Their curriculum only exists in fragments with no dedicated courses teaching this critical function.

Established HR certifications for Sourcing and Recruiting professionals aren’t much better, either.  Look at their training model, generally scattered piecemeal throughout various organizations.

The fact is, this deficit originates from too few industry leaders willing to share their knowledge.  And among those who do share, an uncomfortable majority does so, while looking down at recruiters from the pulpit.

We cannot define this role as a mentor, coach, or facilitator.

What is the Problem?

The Classroom Model

Classroom knowledge transfer efficiently educates groups of people.  But that requires time and budget, which are both something recruitment organizations can seldom spare.

Instead, recruiters are sent to conferences and ad-hoc webinars to pick up knowledge from…whomever. Or they choose to re-invent the wheel, creating internal training programs offered by, no doubt, a junior staff member.

So what gives?

The thing is, adults learn in order to solve immediate problems.  And busy professionals often lack the patience to absorb lectures. We also want self-direction, especially in a field like recruitment, known for autonomy and a slight tint of rebellion.

Basically, we’re stubborn, pretty darn smart, and used to self-reliance.

The abundance of conference and webinar speakers who take the stage as an opportunity to persuade the audience about a product (or to further a hidden agenda) leaves little wonder why recruiters tend to remain unconvinced about the value of knowledge transfer.


Self-Guided Learning

Instructors using the “guide on the side” model require more of an advisory role.

This method facilitates discovery and steers the student toward resources and directions, but the learner is in charge. The guide(s) assign skill-building projects. And the student meets periodically with the guide(s) for progress checks.

Students will have progressively more intricate and sophisticated questions as they hit intermediate milestones. Which leads to richer discussions and learning.

This is, of course, far more engaging and individualized, but it’s costly.  It can also be messy, disorganized, and lacks the much-needed wisdom and experience of formal instruction.

The downside of this model is that it depends on commitment from both parties. Learning quality often declines with focus or as other projects gain priority, and the relationship loses momentum.

Organizations also may not retain the primary guide long enough to fulfill the potential of the learning. Utilizing internal resources should not be principal educators, but rather secondary guides and facilitators.

However, structure and formalized incentives (and close attention paid to the matchups of learners and guides), can build real mentor-mentee relationships.  In turn, this model of recruitment training has the potential to be very successful.

The Solution

A Cocktail

Is the “guide on the side” a better solution for recruitment training?  Not necessarily.

And good lectures don’t have to boring, demeaning, or formulaic.  They can (believe it or not) be fascinating and stimulate good thinking.

Overall, I lean toward a blend of the two.

The best of both methods employs lectures followed by guided discussions, learning exercises, and hands-on practice.

This is what I’m covering in today’s podcast…plus some.  Listen and let me know what you think.


Playing Time: 

Shally Steckerl

One of the pioneers of the sourcing discipline, Shally is the Founder and former President of The Sourcing Institute, where he has helped numerous F500 and mid-market organizations train and develop their talent sourcing capabilities for nearly 20 years. When it comes to innovative approaches to candidate search, Shally literally wrote the book. He is the author of the industry-standard textbook “The Talent Sourcing and Recruitment Handbook” as well as “The Sourcing Method: Tactics to Find Unfindable Talent.”


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