Recruiting Sustainability

The product is names sourcing, a subject that some people equate with pulling resumes off the job boards and searching the Internet with brilliant Boolean to discover those tantalizing names contained within a search engine.

Some call it Internet research because most participants engage it in only this form. In its most productive form, a few cipher it out as “telephone names sourcing.”

Some people have experience with the “sourcing” model, but typically it hasn’t been a happy experience. ZoomInfo offers a product that is the result of constant searching of the Web by their software that uses sophisticated algorithms to deliver a mix of names, and sometimes, titles, attached to specific companies. Sometimes ZoomInfo gets it exactly right and, depending upon when it was scooped up, the name’s usefulness can be mighty.

But more often than not, the name’s utility is dampened by the fact that there are thousands feeding frothily at this frenzy. Often, the name has aged, is no longer there, or is no longer in that position. In the very worst insult, the name was never there or did not carry that title in the first place when the search engine’s math got it so terribly wrong! It’s a whole lot of science mixed with some reasoning. It can be embarrassing.

Another modern entry into the fray is the more useful LinkedIn (a compendium of information that users input, understanding the far-reaching ramifications of making themselves easily accessible).

The personal stock of individuals has never had such a driver. Some people get this, and their profiles on LinkedIn read like well-rounded resumes. The organization’s website claims eight million members, and its membership is beginning to advance virally.

However, both LinkedIn and ZoomInfo suffer from weariness. Again, it’s a feeding frenzy as more and more people discover its utility in hiring. I see the benefit of these names as “names to use to get in” to get other names. The best way to do that is over the telephone. Keep that in mind.

There are a few other contenders in this space (i.e., Spoke, Alwayson, and Jigsaw), but it’s unlikely they will be competing in the long haul. I could be wrong.

Alongside this easily findable stuff sits the Boolean Masters. The Internet is still a powerful medium to deliver the goods and it is those that can deep-dive down below the more simple results delivered by the Boolean strings of a service like ZoomInfo that bring more value to the table.

Is It Enough?

Given that more and more people are becoming AIRS certified (trained on Internet search), is it enough? It remains to be seen, but I depend on folks like Barbara Ling, Glen Gutmacher, and Jim Stroud to be the industry drivers who show us a better way. Their lights shine brightly.

In the same space, and cohabiting peacefully these last two decades with the other service providers, have been the telephone names sourcers. Telephone names sourcing has been delivering what is coming to be the requested norm in the industry: strong, unwavering results that push the envelope in recruiting and provide people who custom fit into the open job requisitions of America today.

Telephone sourcers emit another kind of bright light but many of them do it in the diminished-light environs of their own home offices. All across America (and I suspect the world) there are people like me who work in their pajamas and fuzzy slippers each day, headsets on, with their working documents before them and the Internet running in the background.

They are tasked these days with way more work than they can probably handle, and some of them are reaching out to each other via groups like the popular sourcing groups here on ERE and over on Yahoo!

You’re beginning to see their sass on the boards when they wondrously ask why you don’t look under the roofs of your competitors for the people you need. They encourage you to think out of the box and ask for information.

They want you to make your own calls behind the brick and mortar walls of other companies, but only if you dare. However, they know most of you don’t.

Others tell you how to do it. All of them know many of you won’t listen, so they go on about their daily business, telephone sourcing, happy as clams to be doing it and more than satisfied with the results.

Telephone-names sourcing hasn’t changed very much from the early days, but it can be daunting to the average user. It’s not for everyone. Which begs the question, “Why not?”

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Why does the familiar telephone fill us with such dread at the thought of using it for business? What have we lost in our communications ability that we shudder and tremble at the thought of using the telephone?

Is it reasonable to ask that this abhorrence of the phone I sense all across America is symptomatic of a deeper problem and that problem might be abdication of responsibility?

Could it be that our fear of the phone has, at its root cause, a fear of being blamed for something? Has the current shifted so far off its normal course in business that risk has become a dirty word?

Have we so completely lost the spirit of entrepreneurship our fathers and forefathers embraced that defined this country and made it great? I see a tantalizing advantage in knowing the answers to these questions.

Low Risk Equals Low Reward

Entrepreneurial thinking is out of fashion in today’s corporate hallways. Turn this decline around by stopping risk-averse, tentative, and fearful attitudes toward using the telephone and sourcing other companies.

I know I’m beginning to unravel here. I see it in myself, this craziness to spread the word, this propensity to offend those less bold. I apologize in advance, but I’m a voice crying in the dark for change in recruiting today. I’m a voice on the other end of your gatekeeper’s phone, that same gatekeeper who is telling me who the valuable people are in your organization.

I am going to sell these names that I have obtained over the telephone because I had the audacity to ask for them, for good money, to your competitors. If that doesn’t get your attention and make you a believer, I don’t know what will.

It is just this sort of behavior that is creating recruiting sustainability in some enlightened recruiting departments across America.

They have an advantage because they are conquering their recruiting problems through competition and you aren’t. They are ahead of you on the bell curve because they are acting ambitiously and proactively on your own results. Figure that one out and try not to lose sleep over it.

Can you afford to let them get so ahead of you? No, you can’t. If you do not shoot back with the same firepower, you will be defeated. The competitive cost advantage to a recruiting department with someone who aggressively telephone names sources for them on their behalf is substantial.

Pick up the Phone

Your telephone is right in front of you, on your desk, so pick it up! Doing what I suggest is going to fill your company’s pipelines with rocket-fuel that will jettison your company through the coming decades. That’s recruiting sustainability! It makes you giddy to think about it.

So far, telephone names sourcing is a niche product. Most companies just haven’t bought into it. There are a variety of reasons and the biggest one is that most companies don’t yet know about it. Now you do. You have no more excuses. You’ve been given an advantage. Make recruiting part of your company’s sustainability initiative. Use your advantage.

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, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!