Choking On the Firehose

Jul 8, 2011

When I first started names sourcing I used to think to myself, “I wish there was a database of names with titles.”

In fact, I used to do wistful dogpile and altavista searches that looked something like this:

“Hewlett Packard” “employee list”

or this:

“Hewlett Packard” employees

You get the idea.

That was back in 1996.

Once in a great while I’d get lucky and something would come up but not usually.

I’d search for something — anything — that could get me inside of a company and then I’d call and bounce around until I got the information I was tasked to find.

It’s pretty much what I do (still) today.

Someone called me a “dying breed” on the Recruiting Animal show the other day because I use the telephone.

I’m okay with that.

In fact, I’m glad to be recognized as such because in this dying I am experiencing a rebirth.

More of that in a bit — let’s get back to the late 90s in this industry.

I’d lie awake nights (and keep my long-suffering husband Bob awake) thinking and kvetching at him why we didn’t build our own database.

“These are people out there in the workforce who aren’t going away, Bob. They might move to other companies but establishing their presence, right now — right here — has tremendous value!” I’d wail.

“Do you know how much work that is?” seemed to be the main outcry from him, but what it really addressed was that neither one of us had the know-how to put the thing together.

Then social networking evolved and sites like MySpace appeared. Memberships in that graduated into Facebook and a whole host of imitators.

LinkedIn recognized the value in establishing a workforce database and it arose on the horizon.

Today, every sourcer’s dream is realized of having a database — a list — of names to draw from.

Never mind that the “lists” still represent only a fraction of what’s out there. It’s enough of a dream realized that the ordinarily discerning are willing to be undiscerning.

They’ll be able to go on with the blankets pulled up over their heads until — well, until they won’t be able to any longer, and that time is fast approaching.

I got an email recently from a software vendor that said, “The initial outreach to a candidate has the largest drop-off in the whole recruiting process.

The email, touting a webinar that would teach you how to not waste the opportunity in that critical first-touch to a potential candidate (found online), was really a clever marketing campaign to obtain more customers for the company’s product.


This vendor recognizes that no matter the number of “names” available online, if you can’t handle the rush you can’t handle the results.

That’s where many recruiting departments are today.

They’re glutted on “names” they find on LinkedIn but they don’t know what to do with them.

They don’t know how to approach them.

They’re drowning in frustration.

I wrote a 5-part series in May here on ERE about How to Connect With People. Part V is here and there are links to the previous four parts at the bottom of that page.

I hope you enjoy it and can use it in your organizations.

Getting back to my “rebirth”: We’re very busy these days “profiling” candidates. Companies need manpower that knows how to talk to people and who can engage the “name” in discussion regarding opportunities.

Many recruiting departments and organizations don’t know how to approach someone who is not really “looking” for a job — someone who has not sent their resume in over the transom.

They don’t know how to read between the lines of a 100% filled-out LinkedIn profile or they don’t recognize the signs of an online contributor who lists everything about himself including his name, title, email, and number!

Organizations are filled with people who are afraid of rejection.

Social media is evolving again and where it’s going will only take you if you know how to talk to people — in real time.

The bus is leaving. Are you on it?

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