Q&A: Sourcing Trends, with Shannon Pritchett
The SourceCon editor discusses sourcing trends that will change recruitment and shares how employers can incorporate candidate-finding tools into their hiring process.
Shannon Pritchett is the editor at SourceCon, a daily blog and twice-yearly conference aimed at providing tools and information about sourcing to the recruitment community. We hopped on a call to talk about what employers and recruiters need to know about the state of sourcing right now, evolving trends, and why newbie sourcers should attend SourceCon.
“As sourcers, we’ll use whatever methods we can—we will go through extreme measures to get in touch with someone.”
What are the biggest challenges in sourcing, right now?
One of the biggest challenges we’re seeing is the changing dynamics within the sourcers themselves. We’re seeing a clash in the industry between senior sources who have grown up in this industry, and the new wave of sourcers.
The older generation is more interested in candidate experience, personalization, competitive intelligence, market research, etc., while the younger generation is more into automation and not as keen to pick up the phone and talk to candidates. I don’t know if proper training is the cure for this, or if this is just the direction the industry is headed, but this is a huge obstacle that many of us are trying to overcome.
That and lack of talent analytics: many large organizations don’t measure what they’re doing and I think that’s going to create a huge challenge as we continue to evolve with technology.
What do you think is causing the gap between the different generations of sourcers?
There’s a lack of long-term training. Training is meant to make people better at what they do, but there’s often no accountability to that training. It’s a band-aid—a quick-fix solution to a deeper problem. You can take an eight-hour course, learn a bunch of new skills, but people forget the skills that aren’t relevant to what they do, so a lot of the learning isn’t actually utilized in the workplace.
What are some of the “hottest” sourcing tools right now?
We’ve been using the same types of tools for such a long time. I don’t think there’s any new tool that’s really changing the game this year. As sourcers, we shouldn’t make the mistake of relying on a certain tool too heavily—whether that’s an ATS, a CRM, LinkedIn or a Google Chrome extension. But there are three trends I see changing the industry in the future: automation, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. This could be in the form of automated sourcing, or artificial intelligence during the recruiting process: there are so many companies that claim that they have the technology and it’s only a matter of time before we start adopting it.
How far is too far when it comes to finding and snooping peoples’ personal information?
If you’re going to make the information publicly available, then it’s fair game. As sourcers, we’ll use whatever methods we can—an old phone number or email address, any mutual connections—we will go through extreme measures to get in touch with someone. That is, as long as it’s legal: I don’t think there are many sourcers that classify themselves as hackers, but if the information is publicly available on the internet, a good sourcer will use that to their advantage.
“At the end of the day, everyone’s first priority should be the candidate and candidate experience.”
Should recruiter and sourcer be split into separate roles, or should recruiters be doing both?
It’s okay to separate the two in terms of classifications or responsibilities, but ultimately it has to be a happy partnership between the sourcer and the recruiter. When you go through the entire separation of the process and refuse to support one another or learn the techniques that the other uses, well, that’s when a relationship goes sour.
At the end of the day, everyone’s first priority should be the candidate and candidate experience. When we separate the sourcer and recruiter completely, the candidate and the hiring manager are the people who suffer.
Many employers continue to rely exclusively on job boards and applicants. Why should they start looking at adopting sourcing techniques in their recruitment process?
First, an employer should measure how much money it costs to bring in an applicant, and how much money they are losing when they have one or more positions open. If the organization is spending heavily on attracting applicants, and roles are sitting empty as they wait for the right ones, they might want to consider if sourcing will be a cheaper route. It’s all about measuring where your money is going and what the most effective route is. Especially in high-risk fields where you don’t have time to wait for a candidate to find you, it might be more beneficial to use your money to source best-fit candidates.
What’s the first thing employers should do if they want to start relying less on “post and pray” – waiting for people to apply?
The first thing you should do is go through a tech analysis. Look at all the sourcing tools available, the strong players out there and see which ones are a best fit for your organization. After your team becomes accustomed to the new tech, I recommend bringing in some outside support. You have to look at your recruitment analytics and re-structure the KPI’s and metrics you have in place to hold yourself accountable and you have to keep looking at what’s working and what’s not—you can’t just purchase a tool and say you’re done. If an organization wants to improve they should invest at least 14-16 months to the process.
“Ultimately it has to be a happy partnership between the sourcer and the recruiter.”
How is SourceCon different from other recruiting conferences? Should sourcing beginners attend?
SourceCon is the only recruiting event where you can actually change and implement your new sourcing strategies the following Monday. You’re surrounded by a passionate group of people who love to share information.
The majority of people that attend SourceCon are new to the industry and have never attended, and only 40 percent are sourcers. The rest are marketers, leaders, recruiters, etc., so it’s a very diverse group of people. There is opportunity to learn from some of the smartest minds within the sourcing industry. It’s really a conference where there’s something for everyone.
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About the author
Christian De Pape is Head of Marketing and Content at Recruiting Social. Connect with him on LinkedIn.