At the top of the list of Dr. John Sullivan’s recruiting challenges is being unprepared for the return of intense recruiting competition. In the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlights May 9, 2014,” the first chart shows how the ratio of unemployed persons per job opening has changed over time since the start of the recession in 2007. It was 2.6 in March 2014, down from a high of 6.2 at the end of the recession in 2009.

Dr. Sullivan says that as the economy improves, it will get more difficult to hire good candidates, and active recruiting techniques just won’t work. The sourcing landscape has changed as the economy has morphed, and employers and hiring managers who don’t recognize the need to fight for the best candidates and assign enough resources to do so will lose out.

The Recruiting Division keeps a close eye on sourcing strategies and trends and looked at the 7th Annual SourceCon in February 2014 in our post “SourceCon 2014.” Here we look at three top recruiting experts and what they have to say about sourcing.

Dr. John Sullivan

Dr. John Sullivan is an HR guru who has been described as “the Michael Jordan of Hiring” and “the Father of HR Metrics.”  He writes books on talent management, teaches at San Francisco State University, and is a corporate advisor to worldwide businesses including Facebook, McDonald’s, Google, Pepsi, and Cisco.

He tackles trending recruiting challenges and develops solutions that work in the modern work environment and hiring landscape. He has a lot to say about sourcing.

In early 2014, he discussed how sourcing has gotten easier with the Internet, employee referrals, recruiting technologies, and social media. The beginning of the recruiting process used to be the most difficult part of finding qualified and available candidates to interview and hire. The recession and evolving economy have produced an abundance of good candidates available to employers in days instead of the weeks or months that recruiting used to require.

Sullivan reports that the focus of recruiting has changed from sourcing, which used to be a much more difficult and time-consuming process than it is now, to selling. He points to the rise of importance of employer branding, candidate experience, and culture fit as proof that selling has surpassed sourcing in the recruiting process.

He also points out that the loss of privacy is evidence that everyone is findable, along with their skills, qualifications, hobbies, and interests. This gives employers and recruiters an advantage when they are looking for specific skills and niche expertise, as well as makes it easy to assess communication skills, knowledge and use of new media, and industry participation, all qualities that are increasingly important to employers.

Dr. Sullivan predicts that there will come a point where sourcing will no longer be done by human recruiters but by Internet web crawlers sifting through candidate profiles and Internet “exhaust” (activity in social media, online forums, and other published material) and employee referrals alone because of the wealth of easily accessible candidate information.

He says this change in the difficulty of sourcing candidates will cause a change of recruiting focus from finding candidates to selling candidates on the company culture, the position, and the career opportunity with the employer.

Shally Steckerl

Shally Steckerl is a veteran in the recruiting and sourcing industry. With 18 years of experience behind him, he is one of the human sourcers that Sullivan predicts will soon not be needed. For now though, Steckerl helps Fortune 500 companies find the hard-to-find talent they need, has written “The Talent Sourcing and Recruitment Handbook,” and teaches at Temple University’s Fox School of business.

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He says most people think of sourcing as downloading resumes, but that’s not what it’s about at all. He defines sourcing as finding prospects that might be a fit for the opportunities at your company, and he doesn’t differentiate between active and passive candidates. It’s proactively going after the people you want and selling them on your opportunities.

Steckerl says employers and recruiters need to understand what sourcing really is and why they should be doing it to be the most effective at it. They need to find out where the candidates are that are not applying through the job boards.

The experienced workers that companies need come from a variety of places including similar companies and industries and direct competitors. These workers are not new graduates or career-changers. Recruiting them today is very different than recruiting experienced workers five or 10 years ago. They require cutting-edge hiring rather than outmoded contemporary hiring, and that comes with challenges.

In “The Talent Sourcing & Recruitment Handbook,” Shekerl describes three challenges of contemporary hiring:

  1. Timing – Shekerl describes timing as critical in recruiting experienced candidates because competition and the time-consuming tasks in sourcing snatch away the window of opportunity when good candidates are available and interested.
  2. Cost – The more people you have looking for and reading resumes, the more expensive the hire will be. It’s a focus that Shekerl says doesn’t result in better candidates or faster hires and should be automated as much as possible.
  3. Quality – Contemporary sourcing has inherent time lags in the process which slows down selection and loses candidates. The longer positions go unfilled, the more employers and hiring managers are willing to compromise on skills and that weakens the candidate pool.

The cutting-edge hiring that’s required to get to the best candidates first includes broad sourcing strategies that keep the recruiting process quick and easy, cutting out redundancies and delays that waste effort and money. Shekerl recommends automating as much of the sourcing and recruiting process as possible with resume databases such as LinkedInTM and CareerBuilder ® to speed up and improve the quality of outcomes.

He says creating a consolidated talent pool filled with easily accessible resumes is important to recruiting success and eliminates waste in sourcing. Stekerl recommends doing this with recruiting technology like TalentHook, infoGISTTM, and DaXtra, something The Recruiting Division has discussed in our blog “4 Creative Sourcing Tools for IT Recruiters.”

Greg Savage

Greg Savage has been in the global recruiting industry for thirty years. He has recruited in Australia and the United Kingdom, founded a $60 million recruiting business, made his mark at Aquent International, blogs about the recruiting industry, and provides consulting and advising around the world.

Savage says recruiters are guilty of “mega-fails” when it comes to their sourcing and recruiting processes, and it costs them money and their jobs. He is another veteran recruiter that says sourcing and recruiting today is much different than it was just five short years ago.

Don’t use these “dinosaur-recruiting” activities that Savage describes in his recent blog:

  • Focusing only on active candidates means sourcing and recruiting failure. Slapping a job posting on an online job board is not effective sourcing. The active candidates that go to online job boards are just a small portion of the total candidates recruiters need to draw from for hiring success. Savage says today’s recruiting requires personal branding, social media community building, and deep Internet search skills.
  • Not understanding how to harness the power of social media for sourcing and recruiting is an epic recruiting fail. This is a big one, and it’s something The Recruiting Division discusses in posts like “Update Your Recruitment and Selection Process with Social Media.” This is where the top candidates spend their time, display their interests, shop, job search, do business, connect with family and friends, and research career opportunities. If you avoid social media or use it ineffectively, you won’t get near the candidates you need.
  • Resisting change is another mega-fail in sourcing and recruiting. Savage cautions employers, hiring managers, and recruiters that they must adapt, adjust, upskill, and respond to the changes in recruiting fueled by a changing economy and hiring environment

The Recruiting Division discusses sourcing in “5 Ways for Recruiters to use Facebook for Candidate Sourcing,” and “How to Incorporate Twitter into Your Candidate Sourcing Strategy.”  You need to think differently about sourcing today and use the most current, effective sourcing practices to get the hiring results you want.

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