Marketing And Sourcing: A Marketing Mix Approach To Sourcing

May 2, 2012

When Seven Step RPO sourcing manager Sal Loukos starts on a new requisition, she doesn’t fire up her web browser and go to a search engine, LinkedIn, Twitter or a job board. She also doesn’t pick up her phone and start calling potential candidates.

Instead, she sits down and thinks about the way in which she’ll market that job opening.

“It’s a more academic approach,” she says. “But it is very simple.”

The framework, while more lengthy, is better at attracting high-need positions than the alternatives. And using her background in marketing, Loukos uses her background in marketing and the four P’s to develop a winning strategy.


“Sourcers always worry about what the hiring managers want,” says Loukos. And while that’s important for setting expectations, it isn’t always helpful for creating a great strategy.

There is great information to be had from hiring managers to be certain. But what Loukos recommends is pinging hiring managers for more inside information. What kind of people work in the job, where do they hang out, or what am I forgetting to mention about this job that makes it attractive to the people working in the job currently?

Since the job is the product you are marketing, how much you know about it can help shape your strategy through the rest of the steps in the process. For example, if you know that people in certain positions are hounded through LinkedIn by recruiters, you might find candidates via LinkedIn but try a more unique approach to getting to know them.


That leads you into place, and in this case, where are you advertising or choosing to directly reach out to candidates?

“We try to beat our competitors to the places where candidates can be found,” says Loukos. Researching new resources and ideas is built-in to the requisition load that sourcers are given. In this system, if you are overwhelming them with a maximum workload, they won’t have the resources or time to make that leap to new places.

People trying to find your jobs shouldn’t have to go on a treasure hunt to find the jobs either. So not only does Loukos focus on niche resources that might be ahead of her competitors, she makes sure that people can find their jobs in the places that should be no-brainers based on the job profile.


One of the other aspects of strategy is figuring out where you are in price compared to other people in your industry.

“We have tools to figure out where the pay for a position is relative to others in the industry,” says Loukos. “We’ll even ask candidates to get a sense of whether we are above, below or at market for a particular position.”

If you are going to ask someone to make a lateral move salary-wise, there is going to have to be other factors to take into consideration. For example, it could be a cool, new project that a new hire gets autonomy over or an opportunity to work for a stable, market leader.

No matter the salary, Loukos said it is important to find out what else is going to drive the decision. Benefits, vacation and even benefits that might seem minor are all part of the price decision.


With all of this information in hand, they finally move to promotion—the place where a lot of sourcers might start.

“It’s easy to make assumptions about what will work and what won’t,” she says. “Some people post all of their jobs to one place. Sometimes, I post a job where I know I’ll only get a few candidates but they will all be on target.”

The identification of those niche sites happens earlier in the process so that promotion happens flawlessly in concert with other promotions, including things like direct contact with potential candidates. And since each campaign is customized based on all of the above, it is even more necessary to do have a planned strategy.

Measurement is a huge part of the equation, too. Tracking long-term trends on the effectiveness of sources can help save time and change your promotion strategy as time goes on.

The biggest lesson seems to be simple: while taking a lot more time on the front-end of the hiring process to sort out, taking a more regimented, marketing based approach to sourcing can work, especially for positions where it is particular difficult to find talent.

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