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The Merger of Sourcing and Assessment Technology and its Impact On Sourcers


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In a historic 1903 building in downtown Palo Alto, California, the owner of the building is a respected but low key lawyer/investor in Silicon Valley who tells a story:

“One skinny and the other rotund gentleman asked me for legal help. They had to return the following week to pay the legal fees as they were broke at the time. He asked them what they wanted to name their company. The skinny one responded: “Apple”.

He took shares in the company early and prospered and is on top of many business trends but his passion is in Recruiting & HCM technology. He’s hosted meetings recently of investors and start-up companies in the Recruiting/HCM technologies space and believes the merger between effective ‘social media’ sourcing and ‘big data’ assessment technology wrapped in a service delivery model offers value to both big and small companies.

In 2013, I personally had 7conversations with different hedge fund/private equity folks on this exact subject. Big money is looking to invest in this space and already has in some cases.

Why merge sourcing & assessment technology?

Perception among senior HR leaders is that it drives the best quality of hire. The gap between the top end of the funnel and the most qualified requires more filtering and screening which is an ongoing headache both with data overload and time spent.

The other reason there’s an opportunity is that the big technology players like Oracle/Taleo & Success Factors have not focused on optimizing this area and no one knows what their plan will be.

Another point is ROI – yes, Return On Investment and the assessment players do a good job of selling their business case. For a major Fortune 100 firm, data from the Shaker group showed 58% improvement in 90 day turnover; 36% increased productivity. Biggest deal was customer service satisfaction increased over 20% and SALES increased 22%

The marriage hasn’t been quite consummated but is in early experimental stages. Companies like Gild, Entelo, Find.ly and others are working on parts but it’s not yet at a scalable optimized level. We’re seeing pilots pop up like Yesgraph (social referrals) and others too.

What is the impact on Sourcers and our profession?

Will driverless cars impact transportation professionals? Probably.

There is a comic stand-up robot called Data. The robot has jokes programmed in it with the helps of famous comedians like Louis CK, Mark Maron and others. Currently, there Data knows about 200 jokes and can measure audience response and adjust accordingly. There’s a reflective self-awareness on how the jokes are landing.

Now, will Data the comic robot replace actual comedians? Likely not, but its an amazing yet pricey party trick.

I think sourcers are in the middle between being eradicated and being enhanced with technology. It likely will not spell our demise. We are not bots. However, there’ll be fewer sourcing opportunities because technology can be scalable and it has cost saving potential.

On the other side, sourcing & recruiting involves relationships, non-intuitive research and understanding nuances that involve human emotions and motivations. While these don’t require a psychology degree, advanced algorithms can’t figure this out yet. Great sourcers can sell their company and articulate its culture. They are relentless hunters. Robots can do this up to a point, but it’s the nuances which make the difference between mediocre and masterful in hiring

Technology that identifies qualified labor through collective intelligence (like social media/peer reviews); data mining for better sourcing (education, experience) with big data that will incorporate job assessment technology (with a SAAS) will impact our profession. That is clear.

How does one succeed as a sourcer in this changing environment?

Embrace capitalism (for yourself).

  • Form alliances with recruitment firms to help them land business where there is no conflict. I know a company with a sales referral program for contract Sourcers where Sourcers are creating their own businesses leveraging the tools of this company. Some have made between $80-$150/hr
  • Partner with recruitment firms that ensure you get access to tools (like LinkedIn, etc.)
  • If you’re an in-house sourcer, don’t resist working for a RPO (or MSP that offers RPO services) – bring your skills to a new environment. They are not the enemy and they may end up being an employer or contract one day.

Be the best sourcer.

  • Learn the business you’re in, speak it’s language, articulate selling points of the company and keep abreast of changing trends in how to source more effectively
  • Get some global experience if possible
  • Speak the language of business when presenting your value
    • Metrics that matter to your client would include: Quality of Slate; Comp trends of top candidates in pipeline(not in application process); Regression analysis to show timely hiring impacts revenue positively so thus, sourcing efforts matter.

We’ll need to be more creative and I believe, entrepreneurial to deal with the next evolutions of technology.

Like Data the comedy robot, we have to keep evolving.

robot image is from bigstockphoto.com

Shanil Kaderali is a strategic talent acquisition leader, having managed recruitment and sourcing functions at companies like Cisco Systems, Symantec, WellPoint, and at a major RPO. He's currently the EVP of Strategy at Pierpoint focused on talent acquisition strategy, process optimization, and RPO with clients like Symantec, Cable & Wireless, Juniper Networks, Red Bull and others. He's involved in educational charities with his wife. They have a beautiful 8 mos old son and wish they could get some sleep. They live in Los Angeles. To see more of Shanil’s videos, please visit : http://www.pierpoint.com/interviews/#.UtlsjIfTljo
  • Gustavo Romano

    I’m curious as to what new job roles this merger will create. Just like in a factory, when a robot arm replaces workers in the assembly line those jobs are lost. HOWEVER, it is also creating opportunity for more specialized workers: Mechanics/Engineers to maintain that arm, Process Improvement Experts to maximize it’s efficiency, etc. I can imagine a near future where big data and social media change the talent hunting market, and for those of us who are willing to evolve… it’s going to be a great opportunity!

  • http://www.recruiting-online.com/ Glenn Gutmacher

    @gustavoromano:disqus – agreed that some new kinds of roles will emerge for sourcers. These were described in another SourceCon post several months ago: http://www.sourcecon.com/news/2013/10/07/computerizations-effect-on-sourcing-and-the-future-of-employment/