When I worked in a recruiting agency it was very common to encourage the client to use only our firm on the positions for which we were engaged. Exclusivity was the prime offering, and we spent a lot more time on those positions. Coming from a corporate HR background, I was completely comfortable with this strategy because I knew our firm was going to use every means necessary to identify the best candidate for the job. We had a research team that used various sourcing methods and tried new things (for that time) like LinkedIn and Monster.
But all recruiting firms are not created equal. Many of the firms I have consulted with in the last few years have a very narrow view of the best way to source quality candidates and even how they define “sourcing”. Sourcing many times means only the act of calling in to a company and gathering leads. This is a task that takes serious diligence and is the first thing every rookie learns. I am not denying the validity and importance of this skill at all. Indeed, I cut my teeth in the recruiting industry doing just that. I think I said “Who do you know?” in my sleep for the first year that I worked in Executive Search. Some recruiters believe that lead gathering by phone is the ONLY way to find good candidates. A few of the more aggressive ones have their sweet spots within this medium. They assure me they employ many forms of sourcing:
“I source candidates by calling in to competitor companies.”
“I source candidates by calling a X alumnae list.”
“I source candidates by calling top tier candidates that I have placed in the past.”
All great methods, but they all mean phone sourcing to me. I can’t help but wonder how confident these recruiters’ clients would be to turn over exclusivity on the position to them knowing the methodology employed. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying this could be one reason a client would opt for contingent recruiting. They just don’t trust you to cover the bases they would, especially if you are working with an HR team that has their own in-house recruiter. Additionally, I also have to wonder how many great candidates were never even considered for the positions if these firms managed to get exclusivity.
So my point is this. If your goal is to truly find the best candidate for your open position, in my opinion you have to think BIG when it comes to sourcing. You have to go to places where, frankly, your client does not have the time or resources to go. This does not just mean making phone calls either. It means email campaigns, social networks, and posting, and job distribution, trade shows, networking events live and online. In some areas you may even need to try a trendy new service or product to find the best candidate.
So how does one person actually do this? What if you don’t work for a firm with a big sourcing department and budget? Even if you do, you can’t take forever to find these candidates. Time is money. Clients want them quick. They want them now! Who has time for big-scope sourcing? If you have more candidates, my God, you’ll have to screen more candidates!
Well, screening high volume candidates is a whole other series. Let’s focus on getting too many candidates first. To get more candidates, first you plan. Then you get creative. Most of all, you keep an open mind.
The details are way too much information for one blog post, so here I am again, writing myself into the commitment of a series. OK, I’ll go for it! Over the next 3 weeks I will write on planning, getting creative, and keeping an open mind for big-scope sourcing. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on taking a broader look at your sourcing plan. What sourcing methods work the best for you? Do you incorporate multiple sourcing methods for identifying the best and brightest talent? Would you care to share a creative method with our readers?
Amy McDonald is the President and CEO at REKRUTR. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy participates as a thought leader in Recruiting for BIZCATALYST360° on their BIZEVANGELISTS Panel.