Data and Drive are Paramount in Sourcing and Recruiting

Samurai statue2 by mollydot via creative commons searchThe other day I came across an insightful post on Fistful of Talent by Josh Letourneau in which he addresses the arms race that rages on in the talent acquisition universe – the never-ending attempt of people and companies to achieve some sort of technological advantage over the competition.

Josh would rather have a recruiter “with the “will to fight,” in other words – someone with a never-say-die-because-I-will-make-it-happen Recruiter/Sourcer. If I have that, then I can introduce technology and truly accelerate their success. But if it’s a lazy Recruiter who would rather let their Careers Site do the work, then all the technology in the world would prove wasteful in their hands.”

I could not agree more!

A driven, no-excuses sourcer/recruiter will always out-perform a lazy sourcer/recruiter – no matter how bleeding-edge their technology.

High Tech or Low Tech – Information is the Key

Although Dan Hilbert, a recruiting leader who’s unequivocally proven what technology can do for a Fortune 25 company’s recruiting efforts (read this excellent 5 part series by Dr. John Sullivan: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5) has said that “When the war for talent is waged over the Internet, major corporations will be won and lost over staffing technology,” it certainly doesn’t take sophisticated sourcing applications, the best contact management system, a better branded careers site, or a “bleeding edge” social media strategy to be hugely successful in the war for talent (or the latest term du jour).

However, regardless of high-tech or low-tech (or no-tech!) sourcing and recruiting approach, I will say that today’s level of access to large volumes of information/data at the candidate and corporate level is a game changer.

The ability to filter through the noise and abstract, evaluate and understand relevant information (intel, to stay in Josh’s analogy) and extract value out of it in a timely manner confers an advantage over those who are unable to. The quality, quantity, and timeliness of intel (good, bad, late, none, etc.) can drastically affect the outcome of any staffing and recruiting effort, provided that the person, team, or organization has the capability of effectively leveraging it. 

There’s an unprecedented amount of candidate data out there, both public and private – and interestingly,  it doesn’t take advanced technology (or a great careers site or a social media strategy) to take full advantage of it.  Talent mining via basic Boolean logic and a sound search strategy can yield great results!

Passive vs. Active Sourcers/Recruiters 

Unfortunately, there are a good number of sourcers and recruiters who either knowingly or unknowingly take a primarily passive role in their company’s talent identification efforts. These people are content to let their employer’s brand ( job postings, etc.), employee referral program, social media presence, and/or cutting-edge sourcing applications do the vast majority of the work in identifying/attracting talent.

In many cases, these sourcers and recruiters simply wait until the right person stumbles into their grasp through one of the aforementioned means.  Whenever that fails, they either wait longer, assume that the candidates simply don’t exist, or perhaps turn over the position to a third party recruiter who will produce the right candidates for a fee, although most of the time the third party recruiter won’t actually do anything the corporate recruiter could not do themselves. In fact, most third party recruiters get excellent results leveraging sources of candidate information that most corporate recruiters have access to. 

How wrong is that?   

The best active sourcers and recruiters can and will find a way to get excellent results, regardless of their employer’s brand draw, referral program, social media strategy, job board access, or artificial intelligence/semantic matching engines.

The best sourcers and recruiters are results-oriented and never complain about or make excuses for how challenging a particular position is. Failure is simply not an option for these sourcers and recruiters, and they actually thrill in rising to meet a challenge that others avoid, and to succeed where others fail. These people are (I believe) ultimately competitive control freaks who would never be content to wait for the right candidate to come to them, nor would they willingly give up any position to a third party recruiter.

Active sourcers and recruiters are true hunters – they will go out and find the right candidates, whether the candidates woke up that morning looking for a job (only about 14% of all people) or woke up that morning thinking they have the best job on the planet.

These sourcers and recruiters hunt in the deep end of the candidate pool – specifically targeting and taking advantage of the fact that 66% of all people are either not looking or are passive candidates – this vast majority does not search for job openings on career sites, job boards, or vertical search engines, nor do they “see” targeted ads positioned in the places they frequent online. 

To active sourcers and recruiters, everyone is a candidate – they just don’t know it yet.

Some Questions For You

Are you a problem identifier or a solution identifier?

Do you complain about difficult positions and make excuses as to why you can’t find the right person, or do you put your head down, grit your teeth, and revel in the challenge of solving the difficult hiring challenge? 

Do you sit in the back seat and wait for your employer’s brand, referral program or social media presence bring candidates to you, or do you sit in the driver’s seat and take an active role in finding the best candidates, whether they are looking or not?

A military force using outdated gear and weapons but with abundant and highly accurate intel and the ability to to leverage it has a significant advantage over an opposing force with the latest weapons and gear with low quality or no intel at all.

Similarly, a team of recruiters with the “will to fight” but lacking a big-name employer brand, industry-leading referral program, award-winning social media strategy, and high-tech ATS/CRM has an advantage over lazy recruiters who may do little more than hide behind a strong employer brand, industry-recognized social media efforts, and matching applications, and those who don’t or simply can’t take advantage of the vast amount of human capital data available to them.

Human capital data is the sword of the 21st century sourcer/recruiter.

Is your sword displayed on the wall, or do you spend countless hours practicing with and using it daily in combat in the war for talent?

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About Glen Cathey

Glen Cathey is a sourcing and recruiting thought leader with over 16 years of experience working in large staffing agency and global RPO environments (>1,000 recruiters and nearly 100,000 hires annually). Starting out his career as a top producing recruiter, he quickly advanced into senior management roles and now currently serves as the SVP of Strategic Talent Acquisition and Innovation for Kforce, working out of their renowned National Recruiting Center with over 300 recruiters. Often requested to speak on sourcing and recruiting best practices, trends and strategies, Glen has traveled internationally to present at many talent acquisition conferences (5X LinkedIn Talent Connect - U.S. '10, '11, '12, Toronto '12, London '12, 2X Australasian Talent Conference - Sydney & Melbourne '11, '12, 6X SourceCon, 2X TruLondon, 2X HCI) and is regularly requested to present to companies (e.g., PwC, Deloitte, Intel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Citigroup, etc.). This blog is his personal passion and does not represent the views or opinions of anyone other than himself.

  • http://www.techtrak.com Maureen Sharib

    This is a wonderful piece addressing that little acknowledged piece of the staffing pie – the (active) drive to succeed.

  • http://www.booleanblackbelt.com Boolean Black Belt

    Thanks Maureen! I find that many sourcers and recruiters are excuse-oriented – these folks are the average performers at best. Excuses are essentially a way of quitting/giving up, and “explaining away” the reasons why they can’t find enough of the right people. The real “A” players never make excuses, and failure is not an option – to them, success is very personal. They *WILL* find a way to get great results.

    Excuses and Results are at complete opposite ends of a continuum.

  • http://www.salmanmunir.com Salman Munir

    Technology is an asset when used properly and strategically can help you gain advantage over your competitors in the Talent War. But then at the end of the day is how you use the data and make informed decisions on it.

    Great article! Many thoughtful insights to work on.

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  • Sourcing Samuri

    Great post!

    It’s very easy to allow yourself to get lazy when you Recruit for a large brand name company. Allowing yourself to become transactional, and reactive will only result in a slow but sure departure.

    Former athlete’s, whom were successful in their sport, make great Recruiters (with the proper training). I have found that they have this “no quit” attitude programmed into their DNA.

  • Hurray for Sourcing

    I always say that, at the end of the day, the PEOPLE doing the work make the difference in sourcing. This is a great article – thank you!