What the Future of Sourcing Should Look Like

“It’s all up to you, kid. The dinosaurs are dying out. Become a Bird…”
Scott Snyder

Evolution happens in every industry, sometimes it helps and creates a flourishing environment, and sometimes it unravels to total disrepair like Enron going down in flames. We are now at the summit of the mountain in my opinion when it comes to the sourcing community and the path I am starting to see it going down. Like Martin’s treatises, I am tacking this post to the to the door of the HR office to challenge what I believe sourcing should start doing now to remain relevant and have an even more continued purpose. For the last 20 years, I have worn many hats in this industry. During those 20 years, I am honored to have sat at the feet of so many sourcing legends, many of them you know, some of them you don’t, but that doesn’t matter. This is a culmination of what I have seen in part to the evolution of what we were, to what we have become, and where we are going. Now, this is my opinion, and you know that I have opinions, and like always if the fancy strikes you, please add something in the notation section below.

Let us begin, heavenly Father please forgive us for candidates know not what we do, and neither do the people that we seemingly try to support. The sheer dynamic of finding information as well as a resume, contact numbers, etc. makes even the newest sourcer intrigued at the wonders that can be accessed through a variety of tools and Boolean strings bringing together a symphony of knowledge. However, in my opinion, we are shorting ourselves on what we, as a group, can bring to the table. I am writing a piece on the ROI (return on the investment) for recruiters, which actually can be proven pretty easily with stats and numbers, however, sourcing causes me to pause since the skill is harder to monetize with numbers. Sourcing is an unusual power that brings much more than just candidates; it can bring something even more valuable, intelligence.

The NSA, mostly after September 11th, intensified its information gathering and increased its techniques to assimilate and quantitate data of all kinds to know everything about everything. Something similar to what Google’s mission statement is, “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” however, the NSA is not much into sharing. That is what I like about Google. As arrogant as they can be at times, they are willing to share with us information, for free. FREE. All we have to do is figure out how to get it. I think we are doing a pretty good job of that now after attending many SourceCons and watching how far we have progressed over the years.

We seem to be slicing a small of a sliver of our proverbial pie by shackling ourselves to the desk and not soaring into other verticals that could help within business development, contract negotiation, on top of staffing. We have the ear to the pulse of our respective industries, but only if you are listening. Have you ever been sourcing for a skill set only to see resumes coming out a certain repository or company before? It should make you pause and think that said institution could be losing market share or a major contract, therefore, giving you information within your industry to take to other departments. This is strategic thinking in companies and information can be drilled down to determine verticals that could be exposed and mined for future consideration for future business or raiding of staff.

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I once learned, after uncovering the fact, through one of my business partners that a customer had given us the heads up that they were not going to maintain a partnership on a contract with a vendor because they were unhappy with management and cost. They did however like the people that were on the contract, just not the management. I leaped to action and did my research and found multiple people on the contract and proceeded to email them. We did not have the cool tools like Engage Talent, Prophet, or Hiretual like we have now to get phone numbers for calling the prospects. My email was simple, and I stated that I had, on good authority, the knowledge that they were going to be out of a job since their company had no shot at winning the re-compete with the current company. I explained that if they gave me their resume to come work with us, they would not only maintain their role but I could make sure that they did not take a pay cut. It worked, and we won the contract. I even got an award for helping win that contract all by sourcing for BI.

Listen, caterpillars are cool, and all but what they have the ability to blossom into is incredible and beautiful. We are there now; we are evolving into the butterflies, let those wings expand and open the verticals out there to show you are more than just a resume producer but an Oracle producing knowledge machine that is indispensable to the company.  #truestory

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing in the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliance. Currently, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions for Engage Talent. He has experience with both third-party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland area. Now, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage.


4 Comments on “What the Future of Sourcing Should Look Like

  1. Excellent piece Derek. I believe you are about to set off a race for a developer to make and ATS tool that bubbles up information to the marketing, BD, sales, and strategy teams.

    1. There is a tool out there right now called Engage Talent that does automate this to a point. Very cool tool.

      1. Not what I was talking about. I mean a way to share my intel with John the candidate who just left a division at IBM because something bad happened. I want to share that with Marketing and Sales if we are in that business sector. They can use my intel to do stuff. Lorne

        1. Got it, yeah there is a fluid conversation that I have with my teams in the bi weekly meetings we have about the goings on here in Portland. I get leads from my managers as well as my people interviewing

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