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Jul 18, 2011
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

… but that doesn’t mean that it is easy.

I hear from some who do not understand sourcing’s purpose as a separate function within a recruitment organization that it’s “easy — anyone can source!” or that it “doesn’t need to be a separate function… sourcing is the easiest part of the whole process of recruiting.”

Is sourcing simple? Yes. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Unless you’ve been practicing for a while. Let me explain.

Simple: Plain, basic, or uncomplicated in form, nature, or design; used to emphasize the fundamental and straightforward nature of something.

Easy: Achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties; requiring little skill or effort.

Simple means that something is straightforward and understandable in its basic foundations. Basically, simple is the theory statement.

Easy means that a task can be completed without much knowledge, skill, effort, thought, or education. Easy is the execution statement.

We all know that there is a big difference between theory and execution. Just because a person understands something doesn’t mean that he or she is able (or willing) to actually do it. (And do it well!)

There is no action statement in simplicity. You don’t say that something was accomplished with much “simplicity.” You do say though that it was accomplished with great “ease.”

It may seem like I’m being overly pedantic in this explanation, but when it comes to sourcing, knowing about it and actually doing it are night and day. Sourcing can certainly be understood with simple instruction. Simple education. Simple demonstration. But sitting down to a computer, or picking up a telephone, to actually engage in sourcing — that’s anything but easy.

That is, if you expect quality results.

There is the qualifying statement. Sourcing CAN be easy… but only by investing much time and effort into its “simplicity” in order to produce quality results. And I’m sure every last one of you would agree that quality is of the utmost importance when sourcing for candidates to fill your open positions.

Here’s a great example I found showing the difference between simple and easy in everyday life:

Finishing a marathon is simple.

Put one foot in front of the other.

Repeat as necessary – go 26.2 miles.

I wish it were so easy.

Have you ever tried to diet? The idea of it is simple — eat less + exercise more = lose weight. But anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that it isn’t easy! Quitting smoking as well — simple, right? All you have to do is put down that cigarette. How many of you have tried multiple times to do this? It’s one of the hardest things to do.

How much this exemplifies the art and science of sourcing! An opening may seem simple to fill — “All we need is A, B, and C.” But the ease in finding that simple list? Sometimes, you may spend a whole day sourcing for that type of candidate and only find one person. Hiring authoriries, recruiters, and sadly even some of our own managers look at sourcing with this kind of mindset. “All we need is this… why can’t you find it? It’s EASY.” If it were only that easy.

Sourcing is the simplest part of the recruiting process. “Find people for opportunity.” No-brainer for simplicity there. Compared to recruiting (“Sell people on opportunity”) and HR (“Keep people happy/productive in opportunity”) — absolutely, I agree.

But is it easy? No. It takes years of difficult “simple” to produce the illusion of “easy” — training, practice, and a great understanding of proper sourcing for quality results is what will turn simple into easy.

“Many things in life are simple, very few worth doing well are easy.”

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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