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Sourcing News and Knowledge – Beyond the Obvious


Editor's Corner

Yes, Sourcing Tools Matter


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Across the street from my place, there is a large park I like to walk through when it is nice. Beside the tall trees, there is also a large, green field. That large, green field requires maintenance in the form of mowing 2-4 times a month.

I’ve mowed my share of lawns and when the landscapers bring out the big mowing machine and start taking out 6 feet swaths of grass in a few seconds time, I’m pretty impressed.

What does this have to do with sourcing?

The sourcing tools you use matter. That’s why landscapers don’t spend all day doing an easy job like mowing a huge lawn and it’s why sourcers continue to explore and master better tools.

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The recruiting tools you use matter

One of the topics that I hear about at conferences or on webinars is about how much the tools you use don’t matter. That it is all about connecting with people, or building relationships, or being aggressive, or simply trying everything under the sun.

I wrote about this a couple of years ago about social recruiting tools and it still rings true today:

  1. Strategy matters – Using social tools has to fit into your overall recruiting strategy. If you are searching for mechanics, it doesn’t make sense to invest a ton of time into using social tools. Good strategy plus good execution is how the game is won.
  2. Reach isn’t about raw numbers – So you have 10,000 followers on Twitter. If none of them can help you build relationships or fill a req (or if they aren’t listening to you), those raw numbers don’t matter. Reach is about relationships plus influence plus a voice that is listened to.

The sourcers I know take pride in their knowledge of specific tools and techniques. That’s not all there is, of course.

Strategizing with knowledge

Sourcers also have to know how to strategize and prioritize to meet their client’s or organization’s needs. That means being able to tell them what is capable and what is not. And to be able to give accurate time estimates or to know the likeliness of success.

All of that comes down to what you know. What you know about the industry, about how your last search went in this area and about how easily people are moving. It comes down to the relationships and communication you make with your partners in the organization. It factors in the techniques and resources at your disposal.

And part of those resources are the tools at your disposal. They may not be a replacement for relationships or for broad industry knowledge but there may not be a replacement for the right tool.

Getting tools right so everything else works

Whether you’re picking up a phone or turning on a computer, having the right tools and knowing how to use them is essential. Nobody is telling a landscaper that his choice of a lawnmower doesn’t matter. After all, you can mow a large lawn with a push lawnmower too.

Lance Haun is an editor at The Starr Conspiracy, a marketing agency focused on the enterprise HCM market. He spent three years as an editor at ERE Media and seven years in the recruiting and HR trenches before joining the agency. You can follow him on Twitter, circle him on Google+, check out his blog or contact him directly at lance@coug.rs.
  • http://www.researchgoddess.com/ ResearchGoddess

    Good thoughts this morning, Lance. Taking a full blown marketing approach to a sourcing strategy will assist with appropriate tool selection and use. Most people put the cart before the horse — that is, they choose a social technology before understanding anything else about the search, simply because it’s ‘where everyone else is sourcing.’ My recommendation is to use a Groundswell quadrant approach: 1) determine who your target audience is; 2) determine what your objective/goal is in reaching them; 3) figure out your strategy for accomplishing that goal; and lastly, 4) choose your tools and resources according to the other information. Using an approach like this will ensure almost every time that you’re putting your precious sourcing efforts in the most appropriate places.

  • Lance Haun

    Agreed. One of the things that is a constant unfortunately is that people are always focused on a shiny new tool instead of thinking, “Okay, that tool looks great but how does it fit in with my overall attraction strategy?”