Everyone Wants A Rock Star, But It Takes The Entire Band to Make Music

Who are the talent sourcing rock stars? If we check out SourceCon and other venues, we have made the Boolean Masters the front people for our band. They provide us with the latest tools, tips, and techniques. They are the discoverers of people; the research geeks who seemingly have an endless string of tools that can perform magical tricks with data. As the lead singers, they are the featured speakers, most quoted authors, and most respected in our profession. What about the rest of the band?

If you are going to make music that resonates with a contemporary audience, it is going to take more than a talent sourcing rock star to be successful. You are going to need a keyboard player, a guitar player and a drummer to make certain your song is heard.





In our band, the keyboard player is the most versatile and can play all of the parts. The keyboardist takes a piece of music and explores what genre of music, rock, jazz, country, bluegrass etc. will best showcase a song. The key band member understands the potential audiences for the sound that will be produced as well as, what other bands may be touring in that area. Perhaps more than any other band member, it is the keyboardist that makes the lead singer, the rock star.





In our band, the lead guitar is the one that pulls the audience into the song; they engage people with the song. With riffs, runs and improvisation, the guitar player takes the melody and modifies it with different iterations. The guitar players are the messengers of sound. They showcase the song. They engage our emotions with the melodic variations and then bring us back to the original score.





The drummer is responsible for the nurturing the beat and provides a steady influence on the sound the band produces. The drummer is the pulse of the band. The drummer keeps the audience connected to the song their contribution to the sound. They control the rhythms, the beat and the frequency of the percussion. They support all the other musicians by being the heartbeat of the song from the opening notes to the closing cords.


Putting The Talent Sourcing Band Together

If you are a manager want to put a band of talent sourcers together, there are four aspects of the talent sourcing craft that should be auditioned for their respective roles. While some musicians can play multiple instruments, each of these roles needs to be added to complete the band and make music that sells.



Backstage at the Talent Sourcing Band Metaphor

Let’s step out of the talent sourcing band metaphor and look at the key components of talent sourcers role in this digital age. These are the duties and functions that are key in a strategic talent sourcing operation.



A key role on the team is the person that takes the request and analyzes the talent supply, the competitive landscape, and tells us what makes the target talent tick in terms of motivation, values, and their profession. The chief functions of the explorers are:

  • The Talent Request—the real job
  • The Talent Landscape–competitive intelligence and where the talent currently resides
  • The Talent Persona—what makes the target audience tick



This is the role that creates a roadmap on how to find the specific people that should be targeted for the talent request. They take the raw input/data about the target talent and turn it into a specific list of target talent complete with profiles and contact information. Data is crunched, tools are employed and cyberspace is sleuthed in order to discover the right target audience. The chief functions of the discoverers are:

  • Talent Sourcing Roadmap—the sites that must be visited to ensure that all bases are covered
  • Data Segmentation & Aggregation—bringing together all possible pieces to complete the picture of target talent
  • Target Talent List—the prospects for our initiative



The battle for the inbox and the attention of a target audience is a paramount challenge of business. The “do more with less economy,” supercharged with the latest tech gadgets has created very distracted target audiences that are difficult to engage. The engagers will transform a talent persona into messages that will be read and motivate the target audience to engage. The chief functions of the engagers are:

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  • Talent Engagement Strategy—determine how and when to engage audience
  • Talent Messaging—the type of communication that will gain the attention of the target talent
  • Talent Content—crafting the messages and telling the story of the talent request in terms of the values, motivators, etc. of the target audience



One of the realities of the competitive marketplace for talent is having a well-nurtured pipeline for you key talent segments is a huge advantage. While the target talent may have been initially engaged by a job, it takes a different type of content to keep them engaged and interested over a longer period of time.  The nurturer creates content and conversations that provide a benefit to the target audience. The chief functions of the nurturers are:

  • Talent Pipeline—a screened and partially vetted group of target talent that is iteratively engaged
  • Iterative Engagement Strategy—when and how often to engage an audience is an art, not a science. The key is for a brand to be top of mind with a pipeline member changes jobs
  • Talent Content Messaging—typically this is content that is about the target audiences’ profession or aimed at subjects that are of interest and benefit to them. Remember, it is not about us, it is all about them.


Talent Sourcing in the digital age is a craft that continues to evolve and become more specialized.  The four elements of talent sourcing—explore, discover, engage and nurture have become very important to talent acquisition as the competition for similar talent by dissimilar companies has become acute.  So the focus has shifted from finding the people to the storytellers—the talent sourcers that can communicate a brand’s virtues in terms that will resonate with the target talent audience.  And the beat goes on…

Marvin Smith

Marvin Smith is veteran talent acquisition practitioner who focuses on strategic talent sourcing, talent community building, social recruiting, employment branding, and the use of technology to drive talent identification and engagement strategies. He has been on teams that were at the forefront of resurgence of talent sourcing as a strategic weapon in talent acquisition. These teams piloted groundbreaking programs (ERE-Media-award-winning) work that used business intelligence, data, and technology to segment the target talent audiences and build talent pipelines and communities. His current role is a strategic talent sourcing consultant with Lockheed Martin, where he is responsible for talent pipeline building for critical skills talent; project management of a RMP (recruitment marketing platform); and driving corporate-wide, talent community initiatives. Previously, he served as senior research recruiter on an internal executive recruiting team with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; a strategic sourcing program manager with Blackberry (Research In Motion); and a talent sourcer/program manager for Microsoft. He is a writer and speaker on the topics of talent communities, strategic talent sourcing, Moneyball sourcing, and talent acquisition strategies. You can follow his blog or join a community that he created on talent community development or follow him on Twitter.