On March 12, 2008, in All, Industry Analysis, John Sumser,, Sourcing, by John Sumser

There are a number of converging elements that make up the current inflection point. They include

  • The Redefinition of the Sourcing Function
  • The Explosion in Information Sources (Blogs, Podcasts and VBlogs))
  • The Continued Growth of Job Boards, Niche Job Boards in Particular
  • The Emergence of Regional Recruiting Phenomenon
  • The Free Fall In The Pricing of Storage, Video and Still Images
  • The Rapid Multiplication of Social Software Tools and Environments
  • The Generational Power Shift In The Industry (and In the Workplace)

In this series, we’re going to look at them all in some detail.

Sourcing used to be a back office function known as search research. It included the development (or theft) of organizational phone books, org charts and inbound direct phone calls. In small third party shops, the recruiter was the sourcer. In larger shops, sourcing became a discretely managed function. HR Departments rarely had sourcing teams.

The internet changed all of that.

First it was job boards and a limited amount of Internet Research. AIRS developed a curriculum that made it clear that some people would work the data and some people would work the candidates. Soon, Recruiting teams routinely included someone in charge of data.

Sourcing has matured.

These days, it’s common to hear people talking about sourcing as if it were a well understood profession. There is a wide variety of opinion about the meaning of sourcing. Some “sourcers” characterize job board usage as “post and pray” recruiting. Mostly, that reflects the ignorance of the source.

It’s clear that sourcing is “any activity that brings candidates to an opportunity”. Sourcing techniques include:

  • Referral Networks
  • Internal Postings
  • Employment Branding
  • Job Board Utilization
  • Internet Research
  • Contract Recruiting
  • Temp to Perm
  • Third Party Search

For the sourcing process to be truly effective, the organization must know, in detail, its hiring requirements and the state of the local labor market. These two elements, market awareness and workforce planning are the elements of a long term sourcing success.

Great sourcing starts with requirements and budget. Then, the appropriate tactic is chosen. No one technique works cost effectively for all positions.

The inflection point is caused, in part, because sourcing now needs to be defined with some rigor.

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