Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

The Sourcing Golden Goose
May 28, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: Article Reviews, Recruiting, Research

the goose that laid golden eggsI just read an article on Slow Leadership today which talked about the old Aesop’s fable of the goose who laid golden eggs. The story is about a farmer and his wife who had a goose that laid golden eggs – one per day. They were excited about this, but their growing greed caused them to kill the goose in an attempt to get to the source of the golden eggs, and they found nothing. In doing so, they also lost the daily golden egg. In the article the similarity was drawn between allowing for creativity in the workplace, and how putting too much stress on the creative process in an attempt to produce more, faster inevitably ‘kills’ the creativity.

Sourcing could very easily be classified as a ‘golden egg’ in the world of recruiting. According to the article, “Anyone who can produce innovations and fresh approaches to business problems is worth his or her weight in gold to today’s organizations — especially if they can do it on a regular and predictable basis.” I would say that those of us who operate in a research and/or sourcing function have strategic and creative elements in our daily duties. We evaluate, use, and tweak different resources and technologies to help us do our jobs a little easier. We must be creative in our initial outreach so as not to fall into the category of “all the other recruiters out there”. This is not to say that recruiters do not engage in these activities, but my guess is that we were hired as researchers to bring a fresh new approach and creative ideas to finding talent.

So, what happens as our clients and coworkers start seeing the results of our research? It’s exciting to have passive prospects brought in where there may not have been many before. In this excitement, more is demanded. And more, and more and more… I think you get the picture. Many out there in sourcing and research roles can relate to this – clients want more in less time, and the pressure starts getting loaded on. Eventually, researchers end up having more on their plate than they can handle. So, what happens to people when they’re under the gun to meet deadlines? They start taking the path of least resistance in order to meet the demands. And in our world, this may mean reverting back to the old reliable sources like resume boards and such, just to make people happy. When this happens, the innovation and creative approach to bringing in fresh talent get thrown out the window. Why? Because there’s simply no time for it when you’re trying to meet rising demands. New creative approaches are abandoned because they’re a little more time consuming. Small details are laid aside to ‘be done later’ (which we all know means they’ll never get done!). All in all, we end up no better than where we started out, scratching our heads and wondering why nothing’s changed.

How can we take steps to help avoid killing our sourcing golden geese? Here are a couple of things to consider, and I HIGHLY encourage reading the entire article on Slow Leadership (and subscribe to the blog as well…it’s amazing):

  1. Recognize the differences in sourcing and recruiting. Understanding that research and sourcing are NOT the same as recruiting is critical. By believing that they’re one and the same, you are ignoring that while they are similar, they are different functions in the organization and therefore cannot, and should not, be evaluated by the exact same standards.
  2. Educate the organization. By letting your colleagues and clients know about the uniqueness of the sourcing position, you can help them establish realistic expectations from sourcing efforts. Otherwise, the only template they’ll probably relate to you is that from recruiting, and see #1 for my thoughts on that.
  3. Understand that sourcing takes time. It would be nice if we as researchers could just snap our fingers and magically have prospects appear. But it doesn’t work like that. Building a network takes time. Finding appropriate people to contact for a position takes time. Finding out if they’re even interested takes time. Making sure they’re qualified takes time.
  4. Apply pressure in healthy doses. As the article indicates, a small amount of pressure stimulates creative juices. If you have a research team, challenge them to find a more efficient way to gather data from a site, or a more creative approach to generating interest in your company or position. But give them reasonable timeframes in which to accomplish this. I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw awhile ago of an individual who was preparing to be spontaneous, which is a bit of an oxymoron. Sometimes, creativity and innovation just happen. Sometimes, they need a little push. And sometimes, they need a break and no amount of forceful pressure will cause them to happen, and in fact it will have the opposite affect.
  5. Slow down to speed up. ‘Nuff said.

Remember that when your company decided to hire a researcher, the reason was probably to bring a new creative element into the recruiting process. Before you kill the source of that golden egg, consider that it is different and needs to be nurtured differently. This of course is not license for researchers and sourcers to slack off and be lazy in our work. Rather, it is a wake-up call and reminder not to forget what you were looking for when you hired your researcher 🙂


1 Comment so far
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Here here! Never lose theat sourcing creativity!

Comment by Kristin

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