Recruiting’s Top Secret Asset: Phone Sourcing

Phone sourcing can not only bring you new business, but it also brings competitive intelligence that is often of keen interest to your customers!

Intelligence is at the heart of what telephone sourcers do. Intelligence is the secret information that organizations require to keep them safe and prosperous.

Phone sourcers gather, utilize and deliver intelligence first-hand that is not only unique in many instances, but also fascinating in its interpretation.

Whether working with individual recruiters or whole staffing departments to identify and help fulfill staffing needs, phone sourcers are at the forefront of keeping American companies economically safe, sound and secure.

Economic security is as important to a country as military security when you consider today’s complex system of international trade – characterized by multi-national agreements, mutual inter-dependence and availability of natural resources.

Phone sourcers are the scouts sent out through the deep thickets to ferret out the “low noise” that isn’t sounding yet on the Internet.

The low noise can be just about anything and a phone sourcer hears all kinds of things.

Here are some things I heard cat-pawing for information out in the underbrush:

  • That position is open. We haven’t found a replacement yet.

I hear that multiple times throughout a day while phone sourcing. I heard it three times recently sourcing for a plant manager in 50 food manufacturing plants belonging to 30 different companies.

Sometimes gatekeepers say the damnedest things – it makes me wonder if they even know what the acronyms stand for that they use.

  • Oh! Our plant manager’s been tied up in meetings all week with officials from the USDA. None of the supervisors are available either.

There’s information in (all those) facts.

  • We’re always looking for those. If you hear of any send them our way!

I heard this last year while sourcing boiler technicians. There’s an urgent need for them everywhere in this country and I heard similar remarks repeatedly as I called through boiler manufacturing companies in the Midwest.

  • Let me send you to the CEO’s executive assistant.

I was trying to gather information about a marketing department at one of the large credit card issuers in this country. I was getting a lot of headwind about this particular niche unit’s department until someone directed me to the exec assistant. Once there, I learned the entire marketing department had just been fired and the unit was being shut down come the first of the year. I’ll bet I was one of the first outsiders to know. There was nothing on the Internet about it. A week later the news broke.

Once again, gold in “them thar hills.”

  • The EVP of operations is overseeing plant manufacturing. Our VP of operations died suddenly and we haven’t replaced him yet.

It’s a tragic loss but these things happen and we all know that voids get filled. The way she said the word “yet made all the difference to me understanding that this particular one needed filling and needed filling fast. No press announcement could have conveyed that requirement.

  • Our plant manager is in Houston interviewing. We have a new operation there and he’s going to be there the entire month of November interviewing – he has to hire a lot of people. It’s best to email him. Here’s his email…

This was in response to me asking if he needed help in filling roles. She couldn’t get me to him fast enough.

The obvious observation to (smart) recruiters reading the italicized quotes above is that, “Those are possible job orders!” and they are. But beyond that, there’s more.

There’s the opportunity to take data and new information to different departments and become a conduit – a bridge – of competitive information to those departments.

What a great way to be a “consultative” business partner and deliver that extra that ensures you’re the recruiter your client gives that next job order to.

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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