Sourcing – No Thanks, I’m a Recruitment Consultant!
Many years ago, as the MD of a growing recruitment business I was accompanying a Recruitment Consultant on a client visit to take a brief for a new role. The meeting went as well as could have been expected. A nice, straightforward role to fill with a great company, the client was fully committed to recruiting and HR would not be involved with the process (sorry HR readers but it often went so much smoother without you!). On the journey back to the office I turned to the Consultant and asked “Who do you have for that role then?” He looked at me and with a confused tone answered “What do you mean, I haven’t sourced it yet”!
This was a defining moment for me – what on earth had this ‘interweb’ thing done to our proud profession? Recruiters had become word search detectives and Boolean string macramé manipulators, if a client wants someone with experience of SAP R3 then we absolutely have to find a CV with SAP R3 written on it as many times as possible!!! Is this good recruitment? Not in my book, either by the client or the recruiter – words on CV’s do not make successful placements.
Gone were the days when recruiters spent their time getting to know their candidate and client community – meeting them at networking events, Interviewing them (in person) and chatting on the phone at 9 o’clock at night, taking the time to build a trusting relationship. I was so committed to this method I even ended up marrying a candidate!!!
Now don’t get me wrong ‘Sourcing’ has its place – some roles in certain fields can be very niche and it is extremely hard to find candidates. I was reminded of this recently when I met several highly skilled Sourcers at TruLondon2 (the social recruiting unconference). People like Katharine Robinson (@theSourceress on Twitter) who recently won a competition proving that she was one of the best at her profession in the world. I have total admiration for these people – they seem to be able to find almost anyone and thrive on difficult, complex puzzles. They are studious, analytical, detail conscious and most definitely NOT Recruitment Consultants!
In most markets 90% of jobs will be filled by individuals who don’t need to be sourced. They won’t have the right words on their CV but they will demonstrate the kind of character that makes the client feel excited when they interview them. A Recruitment Consultants job is all about getting this right and the only way they can do that is by making sure they get to know their candidates and their clients really well – it takes effort, no shortcuts – just lots of activity and plenty of people judgement skill.
One lasting observation from TruLondon was that there seemed to be an awful lot of people sourcing and not very many who focus on building relationships. Social media and particularly LinkedIn give recruiters an ideal opportunity to widen their network and build relationships – yet most still see it as a sourcing tool!
Its time for Recruiters to get back to basics. Social media is a means to an end ………and that ‘end game’ is about relationships.