Why Sourcing?

Regular Contributor post from Kristen Fife


I recently had a phone conversation with someone I’ve crossed paths with in the local Seattle recruiting community but  have never met personally.

This is a question a good sourcer gets asked fairly frequently. My skill set, which like any good recruiter includes agency/corporate full lifecycle recruiting, has a strong Sourcing component. And by sourcing, I’m not talking about a junior recruiter doing a keyword search based on a profile or generic job description.

A good Sourcer enjoys research, marketing, and building long-term relationships with people. As I said in my conversation earlier this week, Sourcing as a separate specialty in Recruiting is a fairly recent “job title” as a senior recruiting role. Before the advent of major Applicant Tracking Systems, almost *all* recruiters had to be strong in both sourcing and account management. My Mom was a nurse recruiter back in the 80’s and her eyes glaze over when I talk about Boolean search strings and the various ATS’s I’ve mastered over the years. It’s only when I talk about posting a job or attending a live networking event that she actually has a frame of reference. For her it was about picking up the phone, reaching out to her professional colleagues for referrals and recommendations, and meeting with both campus and industry candidates.

In the 90’s, technology took much of the human element *out* of recruiting, while streamlining the recruiting process and allowing recruiters to handle much higher requisition loads in the process. I believe that search technology (thank you Google) has brought about the advent of “Sourcing”. Now that we can run targeted searches on large numbers of candidates, “sourcing” has become even more valued as a skill.

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puzzle-lgBut Sourcing is more than just being able to run a Boolean search query. Much, much more. Sourcing is also about employment branding. As the first line in a *proactive* recruiting process, we are the initial representative of our organization. A large part of our success depends on creating long-term relationships, keeping them warm, and building trust and reliability. On top of that, we need to know the state of the industry both locally and nationally so we are aware of employment trends. Strong research and analytic skills are key to our profession.

And of course there is the very real human element. Like any good recruiter, we must be comfortable picking up the phone and talking to people. One of the best parts about being a senior sourcing professional, for me, is the luxury of forming strong professional relationships and gaining a reputation as someone to “send” trusted friends and colleagues to.

And last but not least, as the forerunner of the recruiting arm of an organization, candidates and potential candidates are almost *always* happy to hear from me.  I am calling them to talk to them about their professional expertise. To get to know them, what motivates them, and to make them feel valuable and to be interested in their careers. Who doesn’t like that?

Kristen Fife is a senior technical recruiter in the greater Seattle area. She has been in recruiting since 2004, starting as contract Researcher for the Microsoft Strategic Recruiting Group before moving into full lifecycle agency recruiting for Volt Technical Services. Her move into corporate recruiting started with both sourcing and full lifecycle contract roles at Microsoft (including MSFT Research, Legal, and various product groups). In addition to Microsoft, Kristen worked for 3 years for RealNetworks/GameHouse as the Senior Technical Recruiter and Sourcing Specialist; at the University of Washington/Harborview Medical Centers as a Sourcer, as well as smaller companies such as Varolii (now part of Nuance Communications), Covestic, and bSquare. Currently she is an RPO Senior Technical Recruiter, she sits on the Leadership Team for Sourcing7, and is a regular presenter, trainer, panelist, and speaker in the Seattle area for recruiting forums and job seekers. She has been a regular contributor to the Seattle Times, including an employment topic column, regular blog, and the NWJobs Hire Wire newsletter for the local recruiting industry. Her blog for job seekers receives several thousand hits a week. She has been quoted in several publications including ABCNews, AOL, the Seattle Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

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