priceisrightThere’s never been a clear cut consensus on where, exactly, sourcing ends and recruiting begins in the hiring process. It’s a distinction that data is increasingly rendering more and more moot, no matter whether or not your organization has a dedicated sourcing team or not.

The lines between these often disparate disciplines has always been blurred, but the increasing prevalence of predictive analytics and foundational focus on data throughout talent today may be making this more or less a moot point.

In order for analytics to be actionable, or metrics to be meaningful, they’ve got to tell a story, and every recruiting story starts with sourcing. In the beginning, sourcing required an extensive personal network, an expansive budget and an arsenal of often arcane or esoteric technology tools and tricks.

Part archaeologist and part alchemist, without having the right data – in the forms of facts, probabilities or market clues – no sourcer could really build a sustainable, scaleable system or strategy, much less monitor, measure and optimize their results.

As the old adage goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, and the fact is that in talent today, sourcing the right candidates has become increasingly incumbent on having the right data, as new research conducted by Wanted Analytics suggests. Our research found a significant increase in HR positions that require the integration of critical data into daily workflows, practices and processes as a key for recruiting and retention success. This approach must start with sourcing – which is, after all, where every employee’s employee lifecycle truly begins, too.

Data is the currency of talent acquisition, and utilizing an analytical, data driven approach to sourcing is guaranteed to pay off big time for any recruiting organization or employer. If practice makes perfect, then real results will only come from combining the qualitative candidate research most sourcers are already familiar with together with the talent data research (I know, sounds fun, right) that comes from continually analyzing and optimizing real numbers in real time, all the time.

Come On Down: Sourcing Analytics and the Recruiting Revolution.

Bob-Barker-the-price-is-right-118655_440_330Traditionally, sourcing was seen largely as a reactive function focused primarily on just-in-time candidate identification, screening and slating. While proactive pipeline building has long been a critical core competency within the sourcing function, the truth of the matter is that most sourcing happens only when a position actually opens.

This puts the onus on sourcers to fill positions not with the best candidates on the market, but the best candidates who happen to be on the market at any given moment.

Once the clock starts ticking on time-to-fill, most sourcing strategies tend to look more or less the same, irrespective of the skills or profile required by the requisition itself.

This tendency ignores the fact that an employers’ ability to succeed at direct sourcing and attracting top passive talent is driven not just by the expertise or execution of any individual sourcer or recruiter, but also by bigger market forces that, either explicitly or implicitly, impact their hiring efficacy and efficiency.

Successful sourcing is predicated on knowing – even before a position actually opens – external variables such as candidate supply versus labor market demand, who the competition for the same highly skilled talent is and how much they’re paying, and so forth.

Having the right talent metrics can increase institutional knowledge and individual recruiter understanding of the conditions that may be impacting talent availability, which, in turn, inevitably impact more traditional metrics like time to fill or cost per hire. This, in turn, helps sourcers not only understand, but anticipate and ultimately overcome, many of the challenges and roadblocks that often accompany reactionary recruiting and sourcing for hard-to-fill positions.

By knowing this information in advance, sourcers can not only determine the best approach for identifying potential candidates, but also have the data required to optimize outcomes, improve conversion or offer acceptance rates, and have the requisite subject matter expertise required to more effectively partner with internal and external stakeholders throughout the hiring process.

This market, function or industry specific demand planning becomes even more effective when combined with proprietary company data like succession planning or performance management can help employers build sourcing strategies that address long term organizational needs and anticipate future talent challenges, too.

By aligning traditional HR metrics with recruiting analytics, sourcers will be able to align their efforts with the bigger business and talent picture, using the critical insights this data represents as ammunition for obtaining buy-in, driving hiring decisions and building the kind of credibility needed to transcend their roles as tactical specialists and become true strategic business partners – and trusted advisors, too.

Data democratizes business, and recruiters can finally prove that they’re delivering real ROI – and real results – when it comes to driving the business and bottom line forward. Sourcing, similarly, can not only prove that they’re effective in delivering qualified candidates faster and cheaper, but for the first time, quality of hire; no longer do we have to hope that the people we source work out after the fact, but can use meaningful metrics and actionable analytics to predict and prove we’re sourcing the best candidates before they even become candidates.

The bottom line? While we have commoditized the term “big data” to the point of it being the sort of meaningless buzzword that consultants and corporate lackeys like to use, this is one trending topic that’s actually not only a real thing, but also really important when it comes to determining both sourcing strategies and recruiting success.

The sourcing analytics revolution is here. And this is one opportunity cost where the price is right – and we’ve got the data to prove it.

Disclaimer: Recruiting Daily was compensated by Wanted Analytics for this post. But their insights and information are actually pretty priceless, so in this case, the facts and opinions contained herein do, in fact, represent those of the publisher. Because we’re all about better recruiting through better data, too.

unnamed (8)Meredith Amdur is the President and CEO of WANTED Technologies. She previously held senior leadership and strategy roles at DirecTV, Microsoft, Deloitte, and Informa, where her accomplishments included heading the strategic planning for Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division (Xbox), serving as the General Manager of Strategy for the Bing search engine, leading DirecTV’s Digital Entertainment Products Group and spearheading new initiatives in big data analytics and advanced geospatial visualization tools for Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

Amdur holds an MBA from Cornell University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Follow Meredith on Twitter @BelmontLive or connect with her on LinkedIn.