Nothing shows better the infancy of a profession (professional field or domain) than the lack of in-depth discussion and argument around its basics. Think about all the new recruiting sciences such as big data, candidate experience or so: thousands of practitioners are echoing each others’ thoughts without providing less than little value and real expertise on the bottom line.
This is of course the case with sourcing, still, today. Too few experts really understand what and what not sourcing is.
A giant though, Glen Cathey, has recently proposed a new universal definition of sourcing, and while sourcing is certainly a big mess in the minds, no one took the time (or got the inspiration?) to argue with that. Is it because we all think Glen is ultimately right? There is nothing to add to that? Does that definition describe what you (yes, you, Sourcer-Reader) do day by day? Are you happy with that? Are you happy with the limitations of that definition? Does that make you successful? You feel good? Nothing else you want to achieve?
Well, I have got a lot to argue with Glen’s post – and I am sure Glen is the one who will love it!
Sourcing nowadays indeed seems to be the science and art of ”passive candidate” generation, and yes, within a pro recruiting environment it does contain candidate engagement. However, I am afraid this definition is not leading to the right direction. Sourcing, I say, should be a much greater, more responsible and diverse profession and if we, black belts, gurus, ninjas or wizards, do not stand out and force to extend the definition into a much wider scope, I promise, we are all set for failure… This case, sourcing will never be a well-received profession and we, sourcing strangers, will ever remain totally misunderstood.
OK, what am I talking about?
I am probably not the only one who is often stretched with the question: why does direct sourcing take only a little portion of the total hiring? Why do we need experienced and expensive sourcers if all the other recruiting channels provide much more, the majority of the hires? Business and talent acquisition leaders quite often try and understand the value of sourcing from a hiring-end perspective. And I think this perspective is valid. These leaders are all customers and wish to get and pay only for the valuable piece.
Customers, from a LEAN perspective, have the right to request for total waste reduction while their product is produced. Their money should be well-spent during the production cycle without having extra charges due to the deffects of the factory. Deffects should be immediately identified and fixed so that customers get 100% value for their money.
So now think about sourcing! As long as we split candidates being either active or passive we generate a deffect within our hiring production. With this non-sense split we make our customers pay extra attention to something that is totally insignificant for them. No any passive candidate has ever been hired – simply, because every candidate will definitely have to turn into an active, an ‘applicant’ mode somewhere during the selection process. And this is what our customers see and care about.
We should be pleased (or even more: grateful) that today’s customers somewhat understand: sourcing exists. They even appreciated it was a new profession. They understood the significance of that. This is the best that could have ever happened with us so that we have to be smart enough to not lose the momentum and start cutting down the tree under us.
Sourcing is nothing else, again, from a customer perspective, than generating a slate of qualified, interested and available high-potential candidates. This is my definition.
If it is a ‘simple’ applicant or the ever-most-hidden talent (found somewhere deep in a Google cached result) does not make any difference. The value of sourcing sits within the expertise of totalistic channel management, sourcing methodology and technology, process efficiency and candidate qualification.
I would challenge ourselves (our very own, hard-core community) to see how many of us would be able to cover and generate the most of all channels? Aren’t t we somehow scared or little under-educated to grab the big piece and be responsible for that? How many of us are feeling equally comfortable and trained to conduct a proper Boolean search AND re-create a job ad based on reading complexity, SEO or direct audience-targeting? I guess not too many…
Sourcing, again, though has to own the entire candidate funnel and although this is new and not really existing today – this is the only definition and vision, I believe, we all should target.
We own the funnel.
We have got the expertise to make the right choice on channels, we know which channel and method can provide and what, and we are accountable for costing so that we contribute to the P&L as well.
This is how sourcing becomes a real and highly-respected profession. This is the only valuable expertise of sourcing I see today. A long-long journey and we are just at the beginning of that, however, the only way to position sourcing to its right level.
Not too late to start but we have to make it.
Glen, others – what are your thoughts?