Out-of-Work Sourcers

I am getting one or two calls a day and three to five emails a day (on average) from sourcers looking for work. Sourcers who have been “let go” in economic moves by companies who have slashed their HR staffing departments into the bone, as one of my astute sourcing brethren pointed out this past week. Into the bone, mind you.

Two in five major firms will cut HR jobs, according to the Acceleration of Globalization report by consultancy Hackett Group. Hackett’s research of 200 global companies in October and November found that 40% were planning HR staff cuts. A further 12% were planning HR recruitment freezes.

As Dr. John Sullivan pointed out in his October column, freezes lead to “a majority” of internal recruiters being laid off and also severely limit the amount of work going to agencies. However, most freezes are and have been hastily and poorly executed, and rather than saving money, often cause serious damage to companies by leaving key revenue-generating roles either unfilled or under-serviced.

These companies have cut off their noses to spite their faces and have crippled themselves moving forward. I understand that many of you will seek employment elsewhere and in other industries. But there is opportunity afoot — opportunity for those who can go the distance. That’s you, isn’t it?

I’m not going to address the metrics of what recruiters do for companies. God knows it’s enormous. What I am going to address is what you, Sourcer, can do for yourself in these times of opportunity.

You and I both know the huge savings we bring to the recruiting process. At least 75% of ordinary recruiting costs can be done away with using a sourcer who understands how to use the Internet as well as the phone (yes, sourcers, you’re going to have to up your game). Think about it — there is nobody left in many recruiting departments to fulfill the needs (and the needs are arising, still, and will always arise unless the company is out of business!) to source and even develop candidate leads. Many staffing departments (if they’re left at all) are down to bare-bones minimum — maybe one or two persons left out of a normal 70 to 100 person workforce. They need your help more than they ever have, and believe it or not, many of those few remaining don’t know you exist or what help you can be to them! Enlighten them.

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“How do I find this work?” you’re thinking. Put your sourcing skills to work. Like we’re so fond of telling others, make a job out of finding a job. You have a great advantage because you understand how to find the decision-makers in organizations. Find out which companies have killed off their recruiting departments and go at them. Find that one (or two) person(s) left in the fractured organization who can give you work when the need arises.

Try Tech Crunch’s Total Layoffs Since August 27, 2008 report to start. Find out which have decimated their recruiting departments as well.

Here is the 24/7 Wall St. 2008 Report on the 20 largest layoffs by company as well. It includes:

  1. Citigroup
  2. The Bank of America buyout of Merrill Lynch
  3. General Motors
  4. Hewlett-Packard
  5. Lehman Brothers
  6. AT&T
  7. DHL Express
  8. The California Department of Education
  9. Starbucks
  10. Chrysler
  11. Wachovia
  12. Dow Chemical
  13. NASA
  14. The State of California
  15. Sun Microsystems
  16. Bennigan’s
  17. Washington Mutual
  18. Bear Stearns
  19. American Airlines
  20. Merck

It’s going to take some digging but hey, isn’t that what we’re good at?

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!

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