How do you define Sourcing? Is it dark-web Boolean searches? A virtual career fair? Is it a social media post? A monthly call or connection? Or is it research? Yes, yes, and yes.
Search for a definition of talent acquisition sourcing and you will find explanations like Wikipedia that note Sourcing to be the identification, assessment, and engagement of skilled workers.
I don’t disagree with that meaning. However, what needs defining are the behaviors and actions that make up a Sourcers daily workload.
I am a relationship Sourcer. While the hunt for leads is enjoyable, it is the long-term lure that excites me.
I would have made a great fisherman. Patiently waiting and tempting the fish till it bites.
Anglers know that there is bait fishing, fly fishing, bait casting, spinning, and trolling. There is no one-size-fits-all.
Like fishing, there are many ways to go about a passive candidate search.
Old School Conversations
Yep, we still need to pick up the phone. Honestly, I am right there with you. I can barely leave a voicemail anymore that doesn’t mirror the rambling of a preteen.
But practice makes perfect. Although the first few connections can be text or email or socials, the candidate will eventually want to speak to you “live” for the best experience. Try doing a “Talking Tuesday” where once a week you commit to the telephone.
Hit the Pavement
I hope you have your Covid vaccine. If you do, it’s time to get out there! We call these Community Sourcers. But you don’t have to be labeled a Community Sourcer to get out in the world with your actual legs.
In healthcare, we have dietary and environment services roles that are best filled being out in the community, shaking hands, and kissing babies.
This is for those Sourcers that are fighting to learn or use Boolean and think “I’m doing fine without it”. You simply can’t uncover 100% of the labor pool without it. If you have had a few bad teachers, shake it off and find another.
You need to understand the language of the internet to use the internet for sourcing.
Don’t try to fight me on this. Let Recruiters take the handfuls of resumes back to the office for candidates who are an immediate fit. But the Sourcers must lay claim to all the candidates that refused to stop by the booth, declined, or just simply were unimpressed.
The Sourcer does the follow-up and works the magic with repetitive cadence and reach outs to win the person over. That takes the skill, attention, and commitment that a Sourcer can provide.
Put ten Sourcers in a room and maybe one has a marketing background. It’s not our forte. However, I urge Sourcers to make the effort to get famous on at least one social media platform and grow followers organically.
Candidates are consumers. They will research you. And a “famous” Sourcer with a reputable social media presence gives candidates confidence. Not to mention it keeps you relevant to a candidate till they are ready to take on a job search.
Shout out to Nancy Nelson, Sourcer at UT Southwestern who told me she was in pre-search on a role, waiting for a report to come back on trends for ideal candidates on a certain role. A Sourcer who looks for trends in schools, degrees, and competitors is to be celebrated.
If you don’t spend time knowing your competitors, you will never know what to leverage.
This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. Whatever tactics you use—that are legal, moral, and ethical—to find potential passive leads can be called Sourcing.
Don’t try to fit the mold. Carve out your own space. It’s not stupid if it works.
Christine is a Doctor of Business Administration candidate researching talent sourcing strategies in healthcare. This is Christine's 29th year in Talent Acquisition, with the last 9 years focusing on sourcing and recruitment marketing.
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