The Spigot and The Waterfall

To recruiters who have never substantively sourced for people (sorry, but sending out InMauls one at a time or in quantities so large that a Bill of Lading is required, is not sourcing) – and to the hiring managers these recruiters support, Sourcing is not a spigot.

I know you asked for Sourcing’s assistance 24 hours ago but this doesn’t mean that we simply turn on a spigot and out comes a waterfall of people who want to interview with you.

Sourcing is the first date, perhaps days or weeks of missed texts and calls, unreturned emails, a second date, a hiking trip, several coffees – all before the extended foreplay begins. And perhaps more – although you never know…

Sourcing is typically called in after the misery of inbound Post & Pray activity produces a 90% or more rejection rate, driving the hiring manager to their boss who then calls up HR to complain. With Sourcing now “engaged”, Sourcing then asks for an intake meeting (the one that really should have been held in the first place) with the recruiter and the hiring manager to procure the information needed to get down and dirty into the lairs where the Golden Children live. You know what info I’m alluding to – forums, newsletters, websites, associations, conferences, ad infinitum. We use these as jumping off points into the nooks and crannies of people’s lives in search of their digital crumbs that when mixed together with a soupçon of badass engagement produces conversations – first dates.

“Another meeting?” exasperates the hiring manager. “Everything you need is in the job description.” Of course, that is simply untrue.

[actually sourcing happens in secret even before the sourcing, recruiting, hiring manager hook-up but this for another post]

Sourcing intake makes everyday recruiting intake look like child’s play. Sourcers are like Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam – reaching out to people they do not know so there’s special knowledge that’s required to instigate the outreach.

We’re Sourcers, Purveyors of the Spigot and Waterfall. So we source. And 24 hours go by and no one has been sent to the recruiter! The resultant exclamation from the hiring manager, “What are we paying you people for?” stings like a slap to a fresh sunburn. At the end of this chain of command, Sourcing often finds itself at the ugly end of a snide remark uttered by a recruiter. Failures.

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Like Hell we are.

Sourcing doesn’t exist to make recruiting look good – nor are Sourcers subservient to Recruiters (see the previous paragraph and extrapolate from “snide remark”). I could toss in the word Partners but that implies the presence of a Service Level Agreement that places sourced people and employee referrals in the same category. Frankly, I believe Sourcing serves at the pleasure of the CEO – think of it as Sourcing Team 6 – to identify people and competitive intelligence that enable the organization’s driver to make split-second changes to the road map.

Yes, Sourcing should be this special.

This post first appeared on Recruiting Inferno 

Steve Levy is the VP of Customer Success at Within the SourceCon community, he serves on the Conference/Community, Hackathon, Grandmaster, and Welcome Wagon Advisory committees. His email is steve


5 Comments on “The Spigot and The Waterfall

    1. JK, glad you liked it. Know what gets me even more torqued up? When Sourcers are told that part of their compensation will be based on a specific number of people hired per month/quarter – events that are out of their control. Now there are those who will say, “Well, then the Sourcers will just have to manage their customers [recruiters and hiring managers]”; the answer to this will be left for another day, another post which I’m tentatively titling, “The Chicken or The Egg: Do Sourced People Come First?”

  1. As usual on point. Except for one word that had me dashing for the keyboard. Sourcing serves. I want to read sarcasm, irony or indignation into the comment but was not quite sure which one.

    1. Rob, I meant that with all good intentions; if we’re doing our job the way we privately talk about when out among ourselves, we’re uncovering competitive intelligence that can be used by the senior leadership team to make critical decisions.

  2. Sourcing is that special, Steve. I’ve come to think of it as a special unit that triangulates from the CEO’s office along with the CFO (some say marketing/some say operations) to another triangle that includes competitive intelligence, talent identification/management and research and development and another that includes two of the three that were left out of the first one along with – a third? What would that be?

    We don’t do nearly enough talking in our space of the different units in companies and how they interact with one another. There’s fascinating discussion there. As a phone sourcer, I often go to one department to get information about another and for good reason. Maybe that’s why. There’s not enough people doing it?

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