The Fallacy of Sourcing

Nov 13, 2014
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

This is an open letter to every CEO in the world. I hope you take the time to read it, as I’m sure you, your shareholders, and your employees, would hate for you to keep pissing money away.

What? Pissing money away, you say?

Yes, every time you pay for external resources to do your sourcing or pay to have your recruiters trained to source, you are wasting every penny you spend.

There is a tremendous disconnect in understanding what the actual challenges are in recruiting. I’ve written before that the issue is not “finding people.” There is literally nothing easier in our profession than finding people. That’s right, nothing. That includes putting my shoes on in the morning.

I’ve been at this game for what amounts to now as the better part of my life. I started recruiting when the Internet was new, and even then you still had to dig deep in file cabinets or spend hours on the phone building org charts of competitors to find candidates. It was time consuming, and something I would have gladly paid someone else to do. However, that is no longer the case, nor has it been the case for at least five years, conservatively speaking.

The amount of information on the Internet coupled with how well it is catalogued makes nearly everyone in the developed world accessible. Scratch that — easily accessible. It does not take more than a few minutes to learn Boolean search, and if that troubles you, then there are ample, inexpensive and free products that can automate that for you. I have recruited for some of the most needle-in-a-haystack searches you can imagine and I’ve never had a problem sourcing candidates on my  own. Not once. Not ever. It is probably a good time to mention that I am by no means a genius, or even really smart for that matter. I do it. My team does it. You can do it.

This brings us to the root issue, the real conundrum, recruiting. If you walk away with one mantra that pertains to recruiting, let it be that “finding people is easy, recruiting people is hard.” Your talent acquisition team and your hiring managers need to know how to assess talent and provide a compelling value proposition to actually “recruit” someone to join your team. So Mrs. and Mr. CEO please understand this as well: You hear, day after day, from your TA/recruiting leaders that they just can’t find people. Fire them. Fire them immediately. You don’t want anyone on your team who cannot be honest with you. What they should be telling you is that they can’t recruit people.

At the end of the day it is a hell of lot harder to teach someone to recruit than it is to source. You are better off hiring a recruiting expert from the outside. To be clear: finding and recruiting are two different problems with two different solutions. So do your stakeholders a favor and start solving for the right problem, and stop pissing away your money on things that can be done easily for free.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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