Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Sourcing – Cost Vs. Value
December 29, 2007, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Research

Ah, once again the question that will never die (defining sourcing) has been brought up, in the guise of a question presented through LinkedIn wanting to know what to pay a sourcer. The most interesting part of this question is in the clarification section where the statement is made that ‘simply delivering names and contact info isn’t really worth paying for unless the people are not on LinkedIn/the Internet’.

I think that statement can be true or false depending on whom you’re asking.

Yes, I think that research and/or sourcing should not stop at LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn, but it seems to be becoming the new Monster in that it’s being picked clean by recruiters everywhere, and now everyone thinks they can be a recruiter because they just need to go to LinkedIn to find people. So simply searching LinkedIn is not good enough any more to be a good sourcer/researcher.

When you hire a researcher, you are in essence breaking away a piece of your recruiting process to be done separately from the other elements. You’re giving your recruiter a break from having to conduct a lot of their upfront research and allowing them to do what they’re best at – build relationships. Therefore, when you hire or contract a sourcer/researcher, you are hiring someone who is going beyond the resources that everyone else has sifted through and bringing to the surface those people who are off the radar. Also, the sourcer/researcher is targeting quality people based on the job description and not just sending out bulk messages to all their networked contacts like so many so-called ‘sourcers’ do.

Now, consider this: what is your time worth? Is your time best spent sniffing out these people and then tracking down their contact information, or is it better spent developing those relationships and getting folks hired?

Let’s look at this from a practical, every-day situation.

For those of you who own a home with a yard, you must mow the lawn every now and then or else your neighbors will start to complain and it might be nominated for Blue Collar TV’s Redneck Yard of the Week. Depending on the size of your yard, this task may take you anywhere from an hour to several hours. Some of you may find pleasure in mowing your own lawn, however I would guess that the majority of you would prefer to be doing something else. I would imagine that several of you in the latter group have either contemplated hiring or have actually gone ahead and hired a landscaping service to mow your lawn for you on a regular basis. In doing this, you have weighed the cost of spending your time on a task you are quite capable of doing yourself vs. the cost of hiring a professional do to it for you. You obviously know how to push or ride a mower around your own yard, but you have decided that you’d rather pay someone else to do it for you and spend your time doing something more productive.

Sound familiar?

Recruiters no doubt can do their own sourcing. But in many instances, it’s more cost-effective to hire someone else do to it for them so that they can use their talents in the most efficient manner. Sourcers are professional people-finders; they are every bit as good and almost always better at it than recruiters.

Lawn care professionals are no different – they are pros at making people’s yards look nice. They do what you’re perfectly capable of doing, except they’re probably a little better and faster at it than you, and they free up your time to do other things like spend time with your spouse and/or kids, get a little work done, go golfing, take a nap, etc.

Very often, people forget that the “cost” of something is not just a dollar amount attached to it. Cost includes many other variables, not the least of which is time that could be spent doing other things.

I am not offering up a dollar figure in response to the original question here. I am simply offering something to consider when you are thinking about hiring and compensating a sourcer. What is that time you spend doing your own research worth to you to get back?


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
December 21, 2007, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

As I will be taking next week off to spend time with my family for Christmas, I would like to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best wishes as we all move foward in 2008!

For those who are interested, I was inspired a couple weeks ago to make a Christmas video on the reason for the season, so please feel free to view it here if you wish.

See you all next year!

Don’t forget to vote!
December 21, 2007, 6:00 am
Filed under: Blogging, Contests

Today is the last day for you to cast your vote for your favorite recruiting/research/HR blogs – don’t miss your opportunity to make your vote count! 🙂 2007 Best Recruiting Blog Awards

Cool Tool Alert: Mvolve
December 19, 2007, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, Networking/Social Media

New social network, targeting the telecommunications industry – Mvolve. Before you roll your eyes and say “not another social network!”, check this one out. There is a huge company directory available, complete with contact information. In addition to that, you don’t have to be someone’s “friend” or “direct connection” in order to view their email and phone number. There is also an area where job seekers can identify themselves and share what type of work they desire. Lots of international contacts as well.

It’s worth taking a look at – only a matter of time before someone notices that contact information is readily available and wants to start charging for access (like Doostang recently did)!

It’s Personal
December 16, 2007, 9:00 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Thoughts

Recently I felt compelled to revisit a post I did almost a year ago on why I blog. I looked at some of the items I listed under things I like to write about and saw of course research and social networking which are my favorite topics, but I also saw ‘personal agenda’. For a blog that is geared toward reaching a professional audience, one might mistakenly think that this would be inappropriate material to include. After all, how dare someone who is writing a blog (commonly defined as a publication of personal thoughts, experiences, and web links) post things about themselves! For shame…

Then, I started thinking about the nature of what I do as a researcher in the recruiting world. Now, you can define research or sourcing however you please, but I think a good way to describe what I do, regardless of how it is labeled, is initiating and facilitating relationships. I look at different public relations resources, scan them for potential contacts, and tap those people to see if they’d like to check out my company. I have found that when I do this, it is most effective when I personalize my approach because people will be more compelled to listen to me when they feel some warm-fuzzies rather than if I just rattle off some boring note on how I ‘came across their information this morning’ and that I want to talk to them about this awesome job I have.
Case in point: remember that post I did awhile ago on my trip to San Francisco? Some of you may have groaned over that post about how I just talked about my ‘vacation’ and the tourist stuff that I did and how that simply had nothing to do with research. But what you don’t know is that the 19 people I got contact information from at the ATA conference I attended got an email from me upon my return. I told them my story about how I had come to be in attendance at their conference and why I was reaching out to them in search of a Translation Manager. Out of those 19 emails sent, I received 19 responses (that’s a 100% response rate for you math majors) – most of which contained some variation of ‘Wow, that’s really neat how you came to be at our conference’. By sharing a neat story, it created a connection, and thus a greater willingness to help me in my search. We currently have two of those individuals interviewing for the position.

How does this apply to my blog, and to a lot of the recruiting and research bloggers in general? Simple: I’ll bet you’re more interested in reading what we have to say when you feel a little more connected to us. Look at Joel Cheesman for example – he’s always putting his personality into his blog; whether it’s ripping Jason Goldberg a new one, impersonating K-Fed, or showing off the cat on video for Cheezhead Fridays, we feel like we know the guy a little on a personal level. Or take a look at Paul DeBettignies. What person who reads his blog wasn’t a little concerned about him when that bridge collapsed in Minnesota? We become more interested in people, and what they write, when we feel some level of personal connection with them.

We do of course write about things that are relevant to our industries, but every so often, we’ll throw in something that shows off our personality – call it a ‘piece of flair’, to reference one of the most awesome movies ever made, Office Space. We put pieces of flair on our blogs to express ourselves and frankly, to make you chuckle, gasp, and cry, because you’ll keep coming back in anticipation of what’s going to get posted next.

I’m not a ‘shock jock’ blogger like the Recruiting Animal, or Penelope Trunk, but I like to put stuff up that’s fun for the people who read my blog. So yeah, once in awhile I’ll put up a dumb video, or a survey to help me pick a good picture, or something about the Florida Gators, or reference the fact that I can bake a gingerbread cake (why I am still single is beyond me…I mean, I can COOK for goodness’ sake). However, I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS post things about internet research, social media, cool recruiting technology, etc. first and foremost because that’s the purpose of my blog. But my writing style is conversational, and I think that’s part of why you enjoy reading what I write. I’m not trying to be something I’m not, and in being real I think I get my thoughts across more effectively.

I know there are some out there who think I only write about myself. I know this because someone actually told me that. It stung a little, so out of curiosity I went back and counted up the number of posts on my blog that had no relevance whatsoever to research, recruiting or networking, and I only found 13 out of 166. That’s about 8% of all my posts. And by the way, three of those posts were birthday wishes to other researchers, but I counted them as irrelevant posts.

In the words of Golden Girl Bette Davis, “If everybody likes you, you’re doing your job wrong!” So, I will continue to bore you with my travel tales, my cooking experiences, and my stupid videos because it seems like I meet interesting people and have cool stuff happen to me everywhere I go, and if I learn something new about networking or research along the way and share it here, and one person gets a nugget out of it, then I’ve done something worthwhile in my book. If you don’t like my writing style, then you don’t have to read my blog. That’s your choice and you are more than entitled to it. There are plenty of folks who like my style, as evidenced by the fact that my blog has been nominated for two different award categories on the 2007 Best Recruiting Blog Awards. I don’t think that would have happened unless there were some people out there who like the personal touch I put on the things I write. So thanks for the love, and I’m glad I can make you smile!

Article Review: Signs you’re a workaholic
December 12, 2007, 1:24 am
Filed under: Article Reviews

I recently had a conversation with my manager and admitted that I was frustrated with the fact that I’ve been working at my new job for a whole three months and have not seen anyone I sourced hired yet. Yep – a WHOLE three months (hint of sarcasm!) After my manager told me that she believed I was being way too hard on myself, I had to pause and consider what made me feel this way. I read an article this evening by Carmine Coyote titled Time to lighten up and forget those macho urges: The dangers of getting too intense at work. Perhaps I should have read this article before my conversation!

I’ve come to find that this time of the year simultaneously brings out the best and the worst in people. Some people throw themselves 100% into family, festivity, and fun, while others put their nose to the grindstone and ‘pick up the slack of all the others who are going to their parties and family gatherings instead of getting their work done’. This article discusses the individual who is a workaholic and presents some interesting insights on how this person combats their growing tension. My favorite quote from the article has to do with the fact that may workaholics try to solve their problems by driving themselves even harder and thus compromising the quality of their work:
“Quantity of output is all that productivity measures, but quality is what the customer pays for. No one will accept shoddy work with the excuse that you’re turning out more of it every day.”

And in a feeble attempt to tie this post back to sourcing, let’s think about this from a sourcing metrics perspective: throwing 100 UNqualified researched contacts at a recruiter isn’t going to make their job any easier – in fact it probably makes it harder because it’s more junk to sift through than if you threw 10 qualified researched contacts at them.
And recruiters must consider this as well – sometimes you’re better off with the researcher who sends you fewer, better people than the guy who throws contact after contact at you, hoping something will stick. The one who pumps out more product isn’t always the better employee.

Back to this article – I think it’s worth taking the time to read, and it is very timely for this season. In Miracle on 34th St., Kris Kringle says, “Seems we’re all so busy trying to beat the other fellow in making things go faster and look shinier and cost less that Christmas and I are sort of getting lost in the shuffle.” Try not to work too hard during the holidays, but don’t neglect your work either. Find a happy medium, lest you become that workaholic! I took a step in that direction myself and baked a gingerbread cake tonight (and it was delicious!)

I highly recommend subscribing to the Slow Leadership Blog – you can do so via RSS here.

Hot Blog
December 11, 2007, 3:41 am
Filed under: Blogging, Recruiting

Hey, according to Recruiting Watch, I have one! (spiresearch) Check out some of the other hotties here….