The Strategic Role of Sourcers in the Social-driven Economy

The role of sourcers is changing as quickly as the role of marketers and in very similar fashions.

The times when marketers assumed that customers would buy a product because they needed it (or be brainwashed by advertising into believing they did) are rapidly vanishing. Today, as consumers, we expect to build a relationship with a company. We expect an experience – a positive experience, not the “bad” experience that makes us return products and try competitors – as well as vent our disappointment on social networks or other public venues such as Groubal.

In today’s competitive business environment, consumers demand personalized attention before and after any transaction. So do job seekers. They don’t want to be treated as interchangeable pawns, even for lower positions. People are not job-fillers… They are people first – and if they are unhappy, they’ll just look for another opportunity. Let’s keep in mind that the vast majority of people who look for or are open to a new job already have one!

It’s time to start looking at things a little differently. 

Staffing departments, just as all other departments must rewire the way they work to succeed in a world where brands are no longer what companies alone shape up, but are equally what customers/users declare to their friends and peers on social networks as “great” or “poor.” When our friends speak ill of a brand, do we rush to buy from it? No. We look at the competitor.

Candidates are just like customers. In fact they are customers, not wretched creatures who can be talked to condescendingly and should be happy to be offered a job no matter what. If they don’t like your brand, if they don’t gain sincere insight on what it’s really like to work for your company, they’ll go next door. You will lose that top 1% that all sourcers want to find, regardless of what this top 1% represents — whether it is the cool kid who has the potential to be an amazing administrative assistant, or a brilliant, tenured engineer.

A new approach to sourcing

So what can sourcers learn from what the social media groups in marketing and customer service departments are doing? How can they combine their efforts to engrain “social,” engagement, and relationship marketing into the corporate modus operandi? The urgency for such cross-departmental collaboration is all the more obvious as sourcers are in charge of identifying the job candidates who will be the flag-bearers of the “socialized” brand and the representatives of the new corporate behaviors.

Below are examples of conversation starters that sourcers can use to start learning from their social media and marketing counterparts:

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  • How is social media redefining the company’s brand strategy?
  • How can we combine efforts in relationship marketing?
  • How can I/we become a digital leader and empower teams into digital leadership?
  • How is social media impacting key performance indicators?

In truth, sourcers are poised to become critical touch points in the “social” economy, for sourcing is where it all starts. Sourcers must immerse themselves into the engagement culture that will be able to spot and attract the socially connected who in turn will help companies to migrate from the 2000’s to the 2010’s and beyond.

By engaging and remaining connected with candidates, whether or not there is an available position for them at a particular point in time, sourcers have the power to turn potential job seekers into fans, and provide them with a sense of belonging and relevance. And just as marketers, sourcers will have a critical role in building the value and the equity of a brand within social networks, because social is a key differentiator. In the years to come, social capital will become a major indicator of companies’ performance and impact their market cap.

Sourcers and marketers have all the reasons in the world to share insights and collaborate in order to better adapt to a fast-changing business environment. They work for the same company and can only benefit from the success that can be found in combining forces – start the process of cross-company education and start learning from one another!

Marylene Delbourg-Delphis is a Silicon Valley executive and serial entrepreneur. A graduate from l’Ecole Normale Supérieure in France (philosophy), she started her entrepreneurial career in France, as the founder of ACI (now 4th Dimension) and launched the first bestselling relational database (4th Dimension) on the Apple Macintosh in 1986. She was one of the first European women to start a company in the Silicon Valley where she co-founded ACIUS with Guy Kawasaki in 1987. She later became the CEO of Exemplary Software (a spin off from HPLabs), a lean supply chain management system (acquired by Persistent Systems in 2005) and Brixlogic, a platform for the native implementation of XML Schemas (acquired by Diebold in 2006). Throughout her career, Marylene has assisted about thirty young companies as a shadow CEO, board member, investor, advisor, M&A facilitator, or management consultant, including Atomz (acquired by WebSideStory/Omniture), CitizenLogistics (maker of Groundcrew), Lyatiss (a spinoff of INRIA) or Objective Marketer (acquired by EmailVision in 2011) to name of few. Marylene has translated books by Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, and Hugh McLeod into French for French entrepreneurs, as well as written prefaces for these books. She is also a Silicon Valley contributor for Atlantico and has her own blog, Grade A Entrepreneurs.

For more than fifteen years, Sean has been successfully driving sales and marketing strategies for early stage technology companies in emerging markets. Focused on revenue driven results, Sean has helped grow several companies in a variety of industries and market verticals to successful exits including IntelliFit, Magique Golf, Venture Marketing, and Odyssey Sports. Before joining Alumwire and TalentCircles, as Co-Founder and CEO of Donia Marketing he led the development and adoption of Web 2.0 CRM and open source demand generation platforms serving Real Estate & Financial Services.


1 Comment on “The Strategic Role of Sourcers in the Social-driven Economy

  1. This post hits the nail on the head and is already near and dear to my heart :). I am one of the poster children of your examples- I started off as a sourcer (and sourcing is still in my DNA, BTW), then moved on to global online communications and am currently managing the global social media presence for a very important service line of my company, analytics. 

    The way I see it, I AM a brand ambassador, and by being so, am potentially attracting future employees, retaining our current ones, and creating business relationships. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that social media enables competitive intelligence sleuthing as well- something in which leadership is ALWAYS very interested.

    Sourcers and marketers will eventually morph into one entity…baby steps…the future is here and the future is now =]

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