It happens in an instant. You get an email from your boss asking you to join a pipeline meeting. You come with your laptop and a cup of coffee expecting to hear new details on an open req or potentially talk about a new intake. You sit down and notice one, two…several, grim faces. Before you have a chance to take a sip of joe they bluntly ask “What is sourcing doing?”
You freeze. What am I doing? I know I’ve been building projects and reaching out, following up, but…well then where are all those candidates? I could have sworn I had some resumes lined up somewhere but…where?
Oftentimes when confronted with our own productivity, we hesitate. Not because we have been spending our days with tabs full of every social media besides LinkedIn, but because sourcing can become a grind if left un-managed. If you don’t track and organize your process you’ll end up filling out your time card with “did my job” rather than what you actually accomplished.
Thankfully, it’s not that hard to right the ship. I break up the sourcing function into distinct, easy-to-measure parts: Reach Out, Hand-off, and Tracking. Within these three you can track metrics and candidates a bit differently, but the end result is an overview of your pipeline function and the ability to pinpoint when and how your success is happening.
You know this! A “Reach Out” is any message you’re sending to a candidate. This is ultimately the top of funnel metrics your company cares about: initial reach outs, follow ups, cold calls, comments on LinkedIn posts, or DMs for social sourcing. Reach outs are often covered through some combination of LinkedIn and your Applicant Tracking System (ATS). However, because this is the least subjective part of the sourcing workflow, it’s imperative you have a handle on your number of total reach outs and connection rate. For our purposes, “connection rate” is the ratio of messages sent to responses received, even if it’s a declined InMail or a hang-up on a cold call. The goal is to understand which messages are being received by a candidate and those that are “unread”.
Depending on your personal cadence of messaging and data entry you might have a different source of truth, but I recommend tracking the previously mentioned metrics in an ATS. Not only does it allow the organization to look at Sourcing productivity with pre-built reports, but you can also take comfort in the fact that your system has backups and can’t be erased, deleted, or corrupted (unless something very very bad happens to your ATS provider).
At a bare minimum these metrics provide a sense of the effort needed to get a candidate into the interview process and shows the hiring manager the tangible steps you’re taking to identify and qualify candidates. Even better, automatically generating reports is part of most ATS repertoires, which can save you time and provide a nice “data driven decision-making” bullet point opportunity on your resume.
“Hand-Off” might be broad depending on how your specific team operates, but ultimately this is where your candidate transitions from “who are you how did you get this number” to “yes I’d like to interview next week and here is my resume”. Whether you’re fully vetting candidates or just gathering information and sending along, the goal is to ensure candidates have a good experience and none are lost in the transition. Obviously we want these candidates to sail through the interview process and land the gig, but in order to do that the introduction has to be thorough and documented.
Processes may differ, but I fully vet candidates prior to sharing with a hiring team. I record my connections, phone screens, and submissions in this step. Connections (any response to my message good or bad) are tracked in my ATS with some context (“looking to move next month”, “waiting on visa processing”, or “setting up a Phone Screen”).
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For those that are interested in pursuing openings with my teams I create calendar event with their full name, LinkedIn profile, and ATS reference link). I take phone screen notes on a page in Microsoft OneNote. This creates a time stamp of my conversation and a place to add my notes in one easy to search location.
After I’ve qualified a candidate and received their resume, I update their ATS record with my phone screen notes and submit their profile to my team. After a quick introduction email they’ll move into the “Tracking” phase, but I can now competently speak about any of my candidates in play thanks to robust notes and a paper trail of their activity up to this point.
Tracking is the simplest and most forgotten step in Sourcing. If you learn about a placement you’ve made because you see them at a new employee orientation, then you’ve made a mistake. After the Hand-Off you need a consistent way to see how far candidates are going during the interview process and when they reach the offer stage.
This allows you to be more strategic overall. You can bring up concerns around interviews that are shredding all of your candidates and work to improve them. You can add support during the offer process and ease some of the work of your recruiting partners. Most importantly it allows you to congratulate your candidates on receiving and accepting offers, keeping the human aspect of recruiting at the forefront (rather than the number of reach outs or other robotic percentages).
I use a Salesforce tool called Quip to keep track of candidates within the process. This allows me to see in real time my pipeline conversion through interviews, sources for placements, and which teams have healthy pipeline. I use contextual formatting so I have a visual cue for candidates that are no longer in process or have issues I need to follow up on (I’m looking at you, rescheduling interviews). With this simple tool I have a holistic view of candidates that have formally interviewed with my teams and a source of truth that is immune to even the worst ATS outages.
At some point as a Sourcer someone will ask what you’ve been doing. If you take note of your initial reach outs, have a consistent process for handing off candidates to recruiting partners, and can accurately describe where your candidates are in process you have ample data to answer that question. Sourcing is not spamming messages with the title “GR8 OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH!!” to everyone with the right title in your Boolean search; it’s telling the story of how we find talent in the market and get them into seats at our company. Pay attention to your efforts so that the story can be told elegantly and with data.