What Do Sourcing Success profiles Look like?

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Nov 27, 2013

Developing a search plan from a job description (JD) or a few words on an email can be difficult, especially if it’s a challenging skill set or one you haven’t sourced for in the past.

A while back, I had a project to source a Corn Seed Scientist, someone who develops drought tolerant corn seeds in a laboratory (actually they wanted more than one). They had to be based in South East Asia (Thailand, India, Philippines etc.).

Now, as if looking for Corn Seed Scientist wasn’t challenging enough, having to find them in South East Asia certainly made this a challenge!

What I’m trying to say is, if you have to search for a Corn Seed Scientist online, don’t rely on a position description or a few words on an email because you will set yourself up for failure.

Build Success Profiles

So what does a success profile give you that a job description or a few words on an email in many cases won’t?

Your Success profile should clearly defines the level and depth of skills and experience to be able to perform the role at the level required. There should be significant evidence that you have sourced online, where you can score the Success profile fit. Agree on a scoring framework with your hiring manager on what success looks like.

Let me give you a real example.

Recently, we ran a sourcing project to go globally to identify a list of potential professors in the digital media space for a leading Australian University.

After meeting with the dean and professors and probing them on what success looks like, we elicited a very clear picture of what was required and agreed upon a scoring framework when validating the profiles. The level and depth of skills and experience we had to match in our sourcing included:

Research Performance & Capability

  • Generated grant research funding in excess of $ 1M
  • Win research via industry partnership
  • Research articles and journals published (e.g. 5 to 6 high quality articles per year)
  • Published high quality books or book chapters (e.g. minimum of 5 books)
  • Undertakes high-level research and consultancy projects with major industry

Content Specialization

  • Contemporary broadcast or Internet media
  • Social media & social convergence


  • International track record (research, leadership of PHD students, graduate teaching)
  • Highly visible public profile
  • Asia research focus

Industry/University Sector

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration (e.g. with colleagues in law, economics, business, education or information technology)
  • Expansion of international joint PhD programs (e.g. standing invitations)
  • Well networked within industry, media (traditional & online) and corporate (e.g. connected with key stakeholder) and/or government

Network Reach

  • Presence on targeted channels and tools for industry groups
  • Must have network following of similar people with common industry interest
  • Seen as thought leader, influence industry discussion trends

The Outcome

This may not sound like a very difficult search, as academics are highly visible online. However, when you are dealing with an educated group of academics who are worried about career suicide, and who are extremely detailed and conservative, you need to paint a very clear picture when presenting a list of potential candidates.

Having a success profile and agreeing on a scoring framework will help you achieve sourcing success.

Happy sourcing!

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