Let's Be Direct About Direct Sourcing

Go Direct Over the last two days I connected with 6 long time friends and former colleagues in corporate recruiting. A few of them have been clients and a few others are professionals in the corporate recruiting space that I routinely chat with about various issues, challenges, strategies and tactics. Pretty much these are open discussion sessions where I learn a ton from each of them and I like to think they learn a little from me as well.

Often these conversations turn to various topics related to recruiting metrics and how an organization evaluates the success, results and impact of recruiting. I really need to do a series of posts on that. Anyway, one topic related to metrics that came up continually is how Source Of Hire (SOH) is tracked and what constitutes Direct Sourcing.

To define it in simple terms, Direct Sourcing is using third party recruiting tactics internally within a corporate environment. Essentially it is going after candidates who have not applied or might not apply to your company unless contacted and compelled by a relevent opportunity via phone, email (though I think email is bad form when contacting passive candidates) and other forms of communication by a recruiter in your organization.

In many cases these 6 companies included contacting prospects whose resumes were found in various job board and niche board databases to which these companies subscribe. I completely reject the notion that this is Direct Sourcing.


Any resume posted to a job board database is either an Active or Semi-Active Candidate who, by posting their resume, is expecting your recruiter to find them if they are a match or if the recruiter is interested. It is the dating equivalent of posting a profile on eHarmony or Match.com. The intent, when posting your resume or profile, is for someone to find you and contact you. A recruiter who comes along and finds you and then places a call, or heaven forbid sends an email, is not engaging in Direct Sourcing.

Including those candidates and possible hires who did not apply directly to your opportunity as a result of job board or other advertising in the Direct Sourcing SOH is completely misleading and dangerous. It is dangerous because the inflated number would lead one to believe that Direct Sourcing is producing greater results than the reality. This could lead to allocating more resources, time and money to Direct Sourcing when, in fact, it may not be the right place.

Anyone who knows me is fully aware I am not a job board type of recruiter but I am also practical in that I will use the source that is appropriate for the search, the demographic, the geography, salary etc. Basically, whatever it takes to find the right talent. In some cases job boards and resume databases are the appropriate source for a search.

Often they are not, sometimes they are.

Reporting resume database suspects, prospects, candidates and hires as Direct Sourcing provides poor data for decision making and that poor data will lead to bad decisions.

Only those suspects, prospects, candidates and hires that are the direct result of individual recruiter effort (sourcing, recruiting call, recruiting engagement) should be classfied as Direct Sourcing. Put simply, it can only be called Direct Sourcing if the talent is identified through research, by asking for referrals from other talent (not internal, that is an EE referral program) or centers of influence and then called or contacted by the recruiter with the intent of compelling that talent to consider a change. The effort and results are all directly related to recruiter behavior not the candidates behavior of putting a resume in a database.

How do you define your Source of Hire (SOH) metric?

What does Direct Sourcing mean to you and how do you or your company define it?

Views: 5091

Tags: boards, calls, direct, job, recruiting, sourcing

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