Outsourcing – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Apr 13, 2009

You may or may not have attempted to outsource work in the past. You may or may not have experienced success with it if you did. The fact is, there are thousands of outsourcing companies ready to take work off your hands and hundreds more popping up each month. There are varying levels of quality and not all specialize in every kind of work or task.

We have 30 years experience with recruiting/sourcing and have done it in house as well as off shore. I’d be happy to share more details about specific things that worked and didn’t work in both scenarios. Just shoot me an email and we can schedule some time to talk. (

The most important thing to know about outsourcing is that it’s not just about cutting costs. In fact, outsourcing can increase costs if you don’t have the right partner and the right processes in place. You must do your due diligence in finding out which firms are good at which tasks. If you want to outsource research/sourcing/recruiting tasks, don’t partner with a firm who specializes in help desk calls just because they are big and cheap. Trust me. Find a partner who specializes in what you want done. If you have multiple kinds of tasks to outsource, you may be better off choosing multiple firms. And always, always ask for and check references before you sign that contract.

What is the one thing that can ensure an outsourcing project fails? Lack of communication. It’s just that simple. If you don’t express concerns to your outsourcing partner as they arise, how can they fix the problems? And there will be problems along the way. Just like there would be problems if you hired someone internally to do the work. Nothing is perfect. But if you practice open and honest communication on a regular basis, you’ll see issues get resolved quickly. Don’t be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Offshore agents want to do a good job and they want to feel like they are participating in the success of your business. So if they screw up, let them know and coach them on what they can do better next time.

Be sure there are realistic and measurable goals in place before the project starts. You need to know what the ultimate expected outcome of this work is, then work backwards to set goals. These goals should increase as the project progresses since the agents should constantly be learning and growing and getting better at what they do.

You need to have someone internally who can dedicate some time to “managing the process”. Your outsourcing partner should provide the day to day management of the agents but you need someone internally who is making sure the results are being utilized daily. For our firm, we use someone who did research/sourcing for us internally and has 9+ years experience with it. She manages multiple agents for multiple divisions, makes sure the recruiters are using the data the off shore agents find, and tracking ROI. If the results aren’t being utilized daily, you will never be able to show value or ROI.

Recruiters are usually fans of outsourcing the research/sourcing, database maintenance and administrative functions because that frees up their time to be on the phone and making more money. But how do current researchers/sourcers feel about outsourcing these functions? Usually they feel threatened. There is a sense that by outsourcing these functions they are going to work themselves out of a job. However, these folks should never feel threatened by outsourcing these tasks. In fact, outsourcing these tasks allows these folks to increase ROI for the company they work for, increase productivity for the recruiters they support, and gain valuable training and management skills they may or may not already possess. Someone still needs to manage the process and who better to do that than the experts who know exactly what needs to be done?

In this now global economy, off shoring isn’t going to go away. Don’t fight it. Embrace it and learn how it may be able to help you advance your own career. I did and I couldn’t be happier with that choice.

Amanda Blazo is the Business Analyst for Govig & Associates which is the number 1 office in Management Recruiters International. Amanda manages the two off shore internet research/recruiting firms that support Govig & Associates as well as many other external clients. She supports both voice recruiting and internet research agents in Manila, Philippines and Mumbai, India. Amanda is passionate about her work and strongly believes in professional networking to help build her client’s businesses.

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