High Volume Sourcing Trends: Creating a Pool, Not Sinking

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Oct 14, 2011

Think you have a stressful sourcing job? What if you had two weeks to fill 20 positions, and then were asked to repeat that demand over and over again? These are the tasks that many high volume sourcers tackle on a daily, rigorous schedule. It’s a constant uphill battle to fill positions, meet tight deadlines, fill classes and satisfy hiring managers.

Carl Kutsmode’s presentation on High Volume Sourcing Trends at the SourceCon conference yesterday addressed those key issues and offered insightful tips on how to effectively manage your time and resources and create an attractive pool of talent to more efficiently and effectively fill your high volume positions.

As a former high volume sourcer and recruiter for T-Mobile’s Nashville call center myself, Carl’s presentation hit home. I was consistently under pressure to meet deadlines and fill classes. My results directly impacted our call center’s metric, which tied into our manager’s bonus. If I underperformed or was shy on meeting my numbers, management felt it in their paychecks.

I followed Carl’s definition of a Full Lifecycle Recruiter or the Full Lifecycle Model, meaning that less than 15% of my time was spent on proactively sourcing the best talent. Due to my massive requisition load, it was nearly impossible for me to be an equally effective sourcer and recruiter. My days were spent screening and weeding out applicants. At one point I even considered myself more of a “professional interviewer,” than recruiter, let alone sourcer.

Carl’s recommendation is a Centralized Model. He states that “organizations that conduct high volume recruiting should have a centralized sourcing team and a full lifecycle team that work together to provide support.” This centralized model consists of sourcing experts that spend 100% of their time focused on sourcing and researching new talent pools.

There is a unique advantage of this approach. If a centralized team of sourcers is implemented, there will likely be a redundancy in sourcing time. Resources can be divided and licenses can be reduced. You can segment the market and allocate different sourcers to different areas. With split resources, this should save time and money. Carl also added, “There is only one person contacting candidates about new opportunities – a relationship is created, referrals build over time.”

A Centralized Model will ultimately help build your talent pool and attract more passive candidates into your hiring process. Hiring active candidates is the swiftest approach for high volume sourcers to fill their positions and meet hiring objectives. Typically sourcers of these companies resort to old school methods such as job board postings, email blasts, job fairs, print campaigns, as well as TV and radio advertisements.

Not that there is anything wrong with those practices, but this removes the chase factor. Candidates love to be found. Likewise, there is nothing more satisfying to a sourcer than finding that passive candidate who was content and satisfied in their current position and offering them something even better that they didn’t even know existed. That is win/win for the passive candidate and sourcer. Carl’s statistics state that less than 5% of candidates report that they found a job by clicking on a banner advertisement or job positing link featured on a social network. This means that 95% of candidates are found, referred, or promoted.

If I am relying independently on my job positing and ATS to fill my high volume needs, I’m only attracting 5% of the workforce. Eventually I will run out of resources and hiring will become more difficult. With the need to fill an upwards of 60 CSR positions per month, this was a constant struggle that I experienced.

My failure wasn’t not working hard, it was not working smart. I was not being proactive. I was indeed creative in my approach and always met deadlines, but it was always an uphill battle. I never presented the data to upper management that would have navigated a path to future success. I should have taken two steps back to make that giant leap forward.

Talent Buckets

Carl’s definitive high volume sourcing advice is to create talent communities and engage that talent pool. The three that were identified are:

Strategic: A pool that features candidates from direct competitors, high volume positions, and built relationships. This group needs to be actively tracked and engaged. These could be your future stakeholders.

High Volume: A group that features people that you would offer different resources to that might be a fit for those common positions. These are the ones that you want to target on a regular basis by sending them targeted communication and mass emails that directly relate to both them and your need.

Opportunistic: A list of ideal candidates that are a great cultural fit; however there is currently not a need or opening within your organization.

To initiate these buckets, Carl recommends that you make initial investments in Search Engine Optimization, talent pools, and your corporate web page. One of the brightest insights that Carl offered is to think like a candidate. As sourcers we’ve all conducted peer searches to garner additional names and competitors. As high volume sourcers, we should try a similar technique by searching for our jobs, like a candidate. This will allow us to leverage data that will help us compare our positions and career site to our competitors. Eventually, this will allow candidates to more effectively find our positions and will create a better experience for the candidate.

An important consideration when thinking like a candidate is to set expectations with candidates and hiring managers. Developing a passive talent pool will not happen overnight. Additionally, if you are courting candidates from your opportunistic bucket, expectations should be established with your pool. Consistency in this process is imperative. A proactive relationship approach should be will defined and implemented and data should gathered data upfront.


A simple way to gather data is through an ATS (application tracking systems) or CRM (candidate relationship manager). Your ATS will be ideal when dealing with active candidates, while your CRM will help manage and engage passive candidates. As Carl stated, your active/high volume recruitment efforts will produce high volume “ATS” centric processed results. This is where you can house multiple job board positions, allow for ATS/database mining and a full application process. An important consideration is that 10% of visitors to your corporate site will complete an application. Of that, half will actually complete the application process. A great recommendation from Carl (Nalco was used as an example) is to ask visitors on your site to join your talent community. This is an easy and effective way to build your talent pool and eliminate a lengthy application process for your passive candidate.

Proactive high volume sourcing in conjunction with a CRM sourcing strategy is a great way to build your talent community and have a deep pool of quality candidates. As a ROI, Carl shared some cost reduction percentages:

  • 79% reduction against retained and contingent search compared to internal costs
  • 65% reduction in marketing and advertising including finances spent on job boards
  • 25% drop in time to fill
  • 7% reduction in average age of requisitions
  • 50% less agency use
  • 70% increase in application to interview conversion ratio
  • 40% decrease in interview to hire ratio

All of these suggestions are great proactive strategic suggestions that will help reduce time and money with high volume sourcing. Take it from me; it’s easier to take two steps back than mow through the weeds. Engagement is also key for retention. If you create a great experience for a candidate, they are likely to refer their peers. This will help grow your talent pool and prevent you from sinking.

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