The 3 Pillars of Sourcing Innovation via @SuzChadwick

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Mar 5, 2014

You know when you come up with something that communicates exactly what you think in a very succinct and quick way?  Well, sometimes it can take a while to get there, but when putting a presentation together last month for HR Leaders Forum, where I was a speaker, I wanted to close with one slide that communicated in under two minutes what I think the keys to building an innovative and engaging sourcing culture in your business are.

I will write more about the HR Leaders Forum in the near future (I feel like I’m still digesting all of the great content & insights), but there was one quote that has really stuck with me from the two days ~ GREAT LEADERS MAKE THE COMPLEX SIMPLE AND THE SIMPLE COMPELLING – it doesn’t get more simple than that. I’ve decided that this will be my mantra moving forward.

So whilst I think the three pillars are complex at a deeper level, I tried to make them as simple and compelling as possible.



1) Sourcing Innovation & diversification

Knowing your audience in-depth is the only thing that will allow you to build innovation into your sourcing strategy that will target those individuals. If I decide to build huge online campaigns for a warehouse, blue-collar target audience, then the likelihood of it being success will be slim because for 8-9 hours a day, they are nowhere near a computer. Whereas, if I find out what they read, watch, play etc, then my ability to be innovative in the way I attract them is going to be more successful. Many companies assume that everyone is in the same place, doing the same thing; therefore, the sourcing strategies remain the same whether they are trying to attract strategy consultant or warehouse staff. By knowing your audience, you’ll also be able to look at how you can develop different and unique attraction strategies to that of your competitors, in order  to stand out from the crowd and run your own race when it comes to attracting top talent.

2)  Exceptional Recruiters & Sourcers

If you have recruiters who aren’t interested in doing anything other than posting jobs online, the chances of attracting passive candidates is low.  You should have recruiters who are CURIOUS to find better ways of doing things, CAPABLE, and wanting to learn by  researching and teaching themselves and really applying what they learn when at training courses. You should also ensure recruiters are COMMITTED to going the extra mile to find even better candidates than they already have -because they are hunters rather than gatherers.

3) Integrated Employer Brand Messages and Content

Remember, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink!  I can find you the best people in the market, but if you don’t have a clear message reflecting what your organization is about, what you offer, and why they should work for you, the recruiters ability to convert the candidate is going to be a lot harder.



1) Engaged Hiring Manager Community

Do you think about how engaged your hiring managers are? Do you know how your hiring managers are selling the organization in their one on one interviews? Have they been educated and briefed on your employer brand and employer value proposition messages so that they know how to communicate those messages consistently and effectively? Some organisations do this really well, others don’t ever think about it. Many times, there is an assumption that because you’re a manager, you know how to interview as well as engage potential employees. We all know what assuming does…….

So, make sure that your hiring manager community is engaged, educated, and clear on CURRENT messages that you want to get out there. We obviously don’t want messages from 2 years ago when they last had training, or 5 years ago when they joined the company. Update them annually and talk to them about what you’re looking to achieve.

When I worked for a large company many years ago, at the beginning of each year or recruitment drive, the managing director would get all the managers that were responsible for recruiting together and share the targets that they had for recruitment.  He talked to them about the challenges that we were facing and made it very clear what our message to the market was, the updated employer value proposition, and, if they wanted future interview training, how they could get it. When I talk about an engagement hiring manager community; that is what I’m talking about.

2) Engaged Recruiters

Once again, having engaged recruiters that know what they are talking about and have clear messaging will make your ability to connect and engage candidates much easier.

Think about providing your consultants with a handbook of some sort that outline briefly and clearly:

  • how big the organization is
  • what divisions you have
  • what the vision of the organisation is over the next 1-2 years
  • key unique selling points of the business line they are recruiting for (and the other business lines if they are supporting colleagues to recruit)
  • and all the great cultural assets the business has to offer candidates.

Providing your recruiters with clear information helps them be confident in what the are saying – never assume that everyone knows this information. Ensuring that your recruiters are engaged with the overall objectives of what you are trying to achieve, as with anything, will help you meet those goals.

3) Engaged Candidates 

Needless to say, when you have engaged recruiters and hiring managers who are passionate about what they do and what they say, it can be infectious for the candidates that they are speaking to. I’m sure you can think of people who really love what they do, know what they are talking about, and want to really convey that message to you and how you feel when you engage with them – I assume it’s a positive experience.



What will success look like?

What do you need to achieve? How many people in what time frame do you need to hire? Where will they come from and how much money do we have to spend?

Set metrics and measure often

If the hires need to be done in X amount of time, set milestone points of measurement that will quickly tell you if you’re on track to be successful. Personally, I always worked backwards, which meant that 9 times out of 10, I hit my time to hire target.  So, if the person needs to start on the 1st of June with a 4 week notice period, then I need to have X number short listed by this date, schedule in interview slots with the Hiring manager in advance, and then go from there. I know that volume recruitment campaigns work like this and I saw it work very well with senior hires too. It allows recruiters to project manage things more tightly, be more targeted in their approach, and drive the results rather than just sitting and waiting to see what comes to them. By setting time frames, measuring becomes easy.

Fail fast and adjust quickly

If you’re not failing every now and then, then you’re probably not trying anything new. It doesn’t mean that you have to waste a lot of time and money, it’s about setting a (realistic and reasonable) time frame to give something new a go. With a set budget, measure often, and if it fails, learn the lesson and move on.

Allowing your recruiters to fail every now and then, and it being okay, is where building an innovative sourcing culture starts. If people are afraid to try new things or share their ideas then you’ll continue to do the same thing that you’ve always done. Remember the saying about “doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results” – well I’m just reminding you! :)

If you have any other tips on what you think contributes to building an innovative sourcing culture in your business then please feel free to share them in the comments!

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