Sourcing: Cost vs. Value

Over the years, the question of how one defines sourcing has been one that never seems to die. It is almost always accompanied with follow-up questions, “How do you pay a sourcer?” and “Why hire someone when I know how to do it myself?” Someone once shared the opinion that ‘simply delivering names and contact info isn’t really worth paying for unless the people are not on LinkedIn/the Internet.’

I think that statement can be true or false depending on whom you’re asking.

Last week, we sent out a link to a Sourcing Salary Survey to capture some information to help answer that first question, and this week I wanted to follow up with some food for thought on why it’s valuable to hire sourcers in the first place.

What Is Your Time Worth?

Consider this question: what is your time worth? Is your time best spent sniffing out these people, tracking down their contact information, and making initial contact, or is it better spent developing those relationships and getting folks hired?

Let’s look at this in the form of a practical, every-day situation.

For those of you who own a home with a yard, you must mow the lawn every now and then or else your neighbors will start to complain and it might be nominated for Blue Collar TV’s Redneck Yard of the Week. Depending on the size of your yard, this task may take you anywhere from an hour to several hours. Some of you may find pleasure in mowing your own lawn, however I would guess that the majority of you would prefer to be doing something else. I would imagine that several of you in the latter group have either contemplated hiring or have actually gone ahead and hired a landscaping service to mow your lawn for you on a regular basis. In doing this, you have weighed the cost of spending your time on a task you are quite capable of doing yourself against the cost of hiring a professional do to it for you. You obviously know how to push or ride a mower around your own yard, but you have decided that you’d rather pay someone else to do it for you and spend your time doing something more productive.

Sound familiar?

Recruiters no doubt can do their own sourcing. But in many instances, it’s more cost-effective to hire someone else do to it for them so that they can use their talents in the most efficient manner. Sourcers are professional people-finders; they are every bit as good and almost always better at it than recruiters.

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Lawn care professionals are no different – they are pros at making people’s yards look nice. They do what you’re perfectly capable of doing, except they’re probably a little better and faster at it than you, and they free up your time to do other things like spend time with your spouse and/or kids, get a little work done, go golfing, take a nap, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I have observed recruiters with whom I’ve worked still at their desks at 7pm doing research for their jobs, much to the dismay of their families who are waiting for them at home.

Very often, people forget that the “cost” of something is not just a dollar amount attached to it. Cost includes many other variables, not the least of which is time that could be spent doing other things.

I am not offering up a dollar figure in response to the original question here — that will come about once we’ve analyzed the results of the Sourcing Salary Survey (make sure you fill it out, too!). I am simply offering something to consider when you are thinking about hiring and compensating a sourcer. What is that time you spend doing your own research worth to you to get back?

image source: Steven Depolo

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter and SourceCon.com with ERE Media. She currently works as Sr. Manager, Technical Talent Sourcing for Walmart eCommerce. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.

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