With today’s digital access to candidate information, the sourcing world is open more than ever before. This has been a great boon to tech-savvy recruiters who specialize in sourcing, a talent management discipline which is focused on finding, assessing, and engaging skilled candidates through proactive recruiting techniques.
It takes a special kind of expertise to uncover talent in the hard to reach places of the web. The ability to find and curate talent on forums, blogs, alumni groups, conference attendee lists, personal home pages, and social networks is necessary skill in this digital age.
In a hiring world that has traditionally revolved around who you know, however, one has to wonder whether it's better to foster relationships or to focus on acquiring these cold leads through the sourcing methods described.
Since the 1950s, recruiters have built their entire industry by nurturing strong relationships with hiring managers and talented candidates. This alone is a valuable skill, which takes innate abilities to be a good storyteller and an understanding how to build and extend personal connections. These skills translate into a variety of avenues, as recruiters are often expected to deal with tasks such as: setting up interviews, vetting candidates, collecting feedback, managing offers, negotiating salaries, etc. While many recruiters excel at these functions, they don’t necessarily have the time or skills to mine the web and manipulate search engines using advanced boolean functions. Nor do they have the time to cold call and craft messages to cold candidates.
So what is a hiring manager to do? By relying solely on strong recruiter relationships, they have to hope that the ideal candidate falls within the recruiter’s personal sphere of influence. There is a good chance that the position was not actively sourced beyond these relationships, meaning the employer could be missing out on world-class candidates. If however, a hiring manager relies solely on sourcing experts without strong relationships, there is a chance that certain information such as company culture and the exact requirements of the job are not properly communicated.
In today’s recruiting climate, it really takes a mixture of great sourcing, relationship management, and intuition to find the right candidate. Independent recruiters without the resources of a large agency need to be able to balance their time sourcing candidates as well as managing account relationships to be successful. The work involved in both overlaps so often, that if you are too weak in one or the other, you risk compromising performance.
Additionally, LinkedIn and other networking tools have helped incorporate sourcing into the cycle of recruiting relationships, so name-generators can walk their candidates all the way through the funnel. Given the tools at their disposal and the expectations of their clients, the sourcer-recruiter hybrid has become the new paradigm in full-cycle recruiting.