SourceCon Seattle 2013: An interview with Glenn Gutmacher
While I was at SourceCon in Seattle, I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of the top sourcing professionals in the country, Glenn Gutmacher, to discuss SourceCon, sourcing and more.
Dean: So, Glenn, how do you think SourceCon is going?
Glenn: It’s been a great gathering, surely amazing for all the newbies here. But even for the senior professionals who are familiar with all the major topics, we gained a lot of useful, time-saving tips and enhanced methods at a strategic and tactical level. In addition to those two session tracks, it was great to see the sourcing labs treated as an equal concurrent track, since I first introduced the sourcing labs to ERE and SourceCon a few years ago. Concepts were expressed in a manner that made you think and provided relevant context so they made more sense about how you could apply them to your sourcing work.
Dean: There has been a lot talk about automating sourcing, even to the point of not needing sourcers. What are your thoughts on this?
Glenn: As one of the panelists in the Big Data recruiting vendors session said, just as Marketing automation tools such as Hubspot and Marketo automated a lot of the marketing tasks, so too will these sourcing tools further automate some sourcing functions. However, just as the marketing tools didn't replace any marketers, these tools will not replace sourcers, but rather make them more powerful. In the end, the tools cannot replace a live person’s ability to reason and see things beyond written keywords.
Dean: Where do you see sourcing going? What is the future for sourcers?
Glenn: If all you do is match keywords between reqs and resumes and decide to screen based on that, you’re in trouble. There will always be a need for sourcers but they will morph into different flavors. You might have designated callers, recruitment marketers, sourcing project managers who evaluate tools, and deep researchers who do competitive intelligence. The cost advantages of offshoring more of the front-end sourcing work are too great to ignore. If these teams are properly trained and managed, they can add significant value to the process, and free up the onshore teams to do more complex and high-value individual candidate engagement and closing work. There was a SourceCon session on this, and I've seen it work at my own company. The full desk recruiters who can do the cradle-to-grave process will still be around, but more likely at larger firms will have some behind-the-scenes support who are driving the front end of the candidate funnel.
Summation: In speaking with Glenn, his boundless passion and knowledge of sourcing is obvious. His take on the future of sourcing is interesting: we agree as more and more tools are created, the need for sourcers will remain but perhaps in different roles. It will be easier to find people, but you still need to know how to use the range of available tools well. Of course, no matter how good the tools get, they cannot replace a human’s ability to think outside the box, to see things that are not written in black and white, and to not just match words but see if a candidate truly is what they say.