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Show Your Sourcer the Love (and by Love, I mean Money!)

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Feb 1, 2012

Sourcers are highly specialized, experienced, and on-demand professionals — yet compensation doesn’t seem to follow along.

Here’s something I don’t get: take a look at the average sourcer job description, and what do you see? The average sourcer is expected to have:

  • 3 to 5 years of prior experience in recruiting and/or sourcing
  • Specialized knowledge of a specific Industry (software, healthcare, financial, etc), combined with the knowledge of how resources of those industries are located across different geographies.
  • Deep and continuously updated knowledge of searching techniques (online and offline)
  • Innate ability to develop strategic approaches to develop candidate pipelines
  • Working knowledge of Applicant Tracking systems and collaboration tools in use by other areas of HR and business at large
  • Wonderful written and verbal communication skills
  • An uncanny ability to apply all of this at lightning speed, as it is typical that sourcing is a timing game and the first to find and submit a candidate is the one that wins.
  • Costly certifications that give an official stamp of approval to all of the above.

And the demand the profession is commanding: it is not about two or three openings out there. A quick search across aggregators throws back 300+ openings for sourcers across the nation (at least as of mid-January 2012).

So, as the subtitle of this article clearly states:

Sourcers are highly specialized, experienced, and on-demand professionals…

If that is the case, can someone explain to me why would it be justified to expect to pay a professional of this caliber who is in such a high demand $20-30 dollars an hour? Or even worse, $6.25 an hour with offshore resources in countries with much different labor conditions than ours?

The problem here is education: few people (even among us) truly understand what a sourcer must be capable of doing. This isn’t about keyword matching (which is surely what you are going to get with $6.25 an hour). There are automated tools that do that today and will do it even better in the near future. Look at the list of qualifications above: a sourcer goes well beyond keyword matching. She has such an in-depth knowledge of the industry and target candidate being sought that includes even looking for skill matching that goes well beyond the job description. She gets to understand the organization where this candidate will work and can look for cultural fit. She has such excellent communication skills that your candidate will be positively impressed to have her/him as the first line of communication representing your company. She has such great collaboration skills that instead of wasting time making you sort through hundreds of improperly matched resumes will weed out and deliver the 100%-qualified candidate (or as close to that as possible) …

I have had a long and blessed professional career. Across the years I worked at multinational companies that span the world and touch millions of end users. I also worked for slim startups that had to make every single dollar and opportunity count. Regardless of the differences, I always enjoyed the feeling that comes with helping the right person converge with the right opportunity within the right organization. The  sourcing profession brings a pleasure that is equivalent to what is experienced by the culinary artist when she combines the right flavors, textures, and colors, or the graphic artist who brings together color, shape, and depth. However, it should and it must also bring us the deserved monetary compensation for the value it delivers to our employers and as retribution for the considerable investment we have had to make ourselves to be at the professional level that is expected of us.

This is a call to my peers in the sourcing profession as well as those who seek our help. To the former I say: educate people about the value of our craft and science, and demand to be compensated for the effort you had to invest to reach the proper qualifications. To the later I warn: be careful, as you get what you pay for, if you want quality and experience you should be willing to compensate accordingly.

Editor’s Note: next week, we will be releasing the results of our Sourcing Salary Survey. Stay tuned!

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