Monday, April 11, 2011

Managing the Sourcing Function

Improving the effectiveness of your sourcing organization
The following are some learnings around how to make your sourcing more effective, especially if varying levels of experience exist within the team.

Understanding the fit: You may be reading this and go "no kidding", but the reality is this step is commonly skipped over in the process. Understanding the fit has to do with a solid working knowledge of the industry, the business group supported and how the role fits into what that leader is trying to accomplish. Where this usually breaks down is in one of the following areas:

If the sourcer is working through the recruiter, there is an expectation that the recruiter will ask all of the right questions when meeting with the hiring manager.
If the sourcer/ recruiter meets with the hiring manager and there is a lack of preparation coming into the meeting. This includes the sourcer / recruiter not presenting industry knowledge and using the meeting time to validate assumptions around expectations.
If the Recruiter is the Sourcer, the focus is more on the skills, versus the business goals the hiring manager is trying to accomplish. As a result, the recruiter finds the right skilled person, but the applications of the skills are misaligned.
Solutions: The key is planning, planning and communication. Assume nothing and talk about everything. can be a super tool when seeking to understand an industry, a position, a skill set. Interestingly enough, wikipedia if leveraged appropriately provides some good data points that can be used during a hiring manager discussion.

Secondly, have all of your recruiters / sourcers go in prepared to a hiring manager discussion. Again you might say no kidding, but 9 times out of 10 it does not happen, unless it is an Executive Search. Prepared means one or more of the following: Understand the industry; Have a prior discussion with the HR Gen of that business unit to understand any nuances that may positively / negatively impact the search efforts; Look on Linkedin, Spoke and your own ATS system to bring some profiles to calibrate against. People are visual, if you give them something to look at and respond to, you are more likely to get closer to the desired outcome at the very beginning of the search effort.
Duplication of Effort: Recruiters workloads are not getting any lighter, so therefore it is easy for individuals to go to the path of least resistance. However this path, especially if multiple people or vendors are assisting can be costly and unproductive. At SourceCon, Rob McIntosh presented a sourcing channel checklist. He broke this checklist into roles and activities. I took this channel sheet back to my organization, as well as peers, and began to ask questions, here is what I found:
Recruiting and sourcing teams that do not work from a plan perform duplicate work efforts. This lack of planning typically results in overlap when searching resume databases, contacting the same resources or networking through the various social networking sites
Continue to manage from the plan. Use the plan as a management tool to understand how the recruiting team is using each of the sources.
Don't pay sourcing vendors to do the same work performed internally. Face it, recruiters like the job boards. If you are using a resume mining and screening vendor, so do they. Pick one..
Not all sources generate results, so stop using the source and move on. Time is not a commodity in the recruiting business. Leverage your ATS data to begin understanding how your organization fills a particular type of role best and build from there.
Solutions: I truly believe that duplication of effort is something that requires constant monitoring. Now with that being said, I would also recommend the following:

Create the channel plan.
Create a channel plan that supports the sourcing strategy. A high volume, low complexity, localized plan will look very different from a high complexity, low volume, national search. Know what it takes to execute both and build a quick project plan to maximize time and resources.
Keyword Sets: Create sets of keywords that can also be divided by channel.
Manage to the sourcing plan. Conduct a review with the team on their activities and the results generated. Immediately seize activities on sources that are not generating the desired results and get the team to move on.
Prioritization: Not all sources generate results. Not all of the easiest sources will generate the results for the position that is being searched for. The concept of What source will generate the best results first requires sourcing knowledge, industry experience and reviewing the metrics to better understand what works inside your organization Activity for activity sake, still does not result in a hire. This only causes ill will, especially if there is segmentation between the recruiters and the sourcing team.

High Volume / Low Complexity: These are processing related sourcing plans. This requires activities that may leverage recruitment marketing, resume mining, job posting, radio advertisement, creative employee referral campaigns and drip market efforts leveraging contacts within the ATS. This plan may require the assistance of a resume mining vendor, an experienced sourcer/ recruiter as well as some good recruiting administrators. Each have there own role in getting the desired outcome accomplished. Know what works to execute a plan.

Low Volume / High Complexity: These are more strategic sourcing plans. This will include market research, competitive intelligence, employee referrals, cold calling and industry networking. Depending upon the type of role will determine which of these activities goes first.

The reality is, prioritization of a sourcing strategy may require someone who can serve as the organization's sourcing strategist. This person must be able to turn around a project execution plan quickly and articulate clear directions to multiple stakeholders in the process. This person must be a data jockey, who can pull reports from the ATS and leverage data to identify those activities which have a higher possibility of generating results first and baking this into the plan.