Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Sourcing Isn’t Dying… It’s Evolving (Part I)
November 11, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

I’ve seen the topic “sourcing is dying”, written in a couple of different forms, in a couple of articles over the last year. Without any disrespect to my colleagues who have penned these writings, I must disagree with your sentiments. Here are some of those articles:

Sourcing is not dead; it’s not dying; it’s not even on a respirator. It’s simply evolving.

Where sourcing over the last several years has been about finding the hard-to-find folks by manipulating complex Boolean strings, with the growing popularity of social media technology, finding profiles, resumes, and contact information online has gotten easier. But this absolutely does NOT mean that sourcing is dying. All it simply means is that information availability is changing and the role of sourcing must change with it. This is not unlike any other job function – when certain aspects of a job function become automated or simplified, it means that other aspects of that function grow in importance. Hence, leading to job function evolution.

Sourcing is not just about digging up information, regardless of what some (including myself! yeah I admit it) have said over the years. Any profession that falls under the umbrella of recruiting, talent attraction, talent acquisition, HR, or however you want to classify it, contains an element of human interaction. Thus, communication plays a role, with varying degrees depending on where you stand. With the automation of SOME parts of sourcing, the communication aspect of the role is being amplified. Notice the emphasis on “some”, because you cannot, and SHOULD not in my opinion, automate personal touch.

With social media technologies becoming more mainstream tools in a sourcing toolbelt, the difficulty of finding people is diminished. However, as Glen Cathey states in his article, finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is hard. We’re not just sourcing for a needle in a haystack these days. With the economic downturn and unemployment in the double digits now, we are all of a sudden searching for a needle in ten haystacks. Though finding people in general has been made easier, we still must find that right person.

With that being said, I believe that over the next several years, sourcing will evolve into a new role – retaining of course the technical elements of Boolean search, but to a smaller degree. With tools that can automatically generate complicated Boolean search strings and query multiple search engines or networks at once, much of the technical knowledge needed to be a successful sourcer can be automated. I will stress here that knowing advanced Boolean as a sourcer is still, and I believe always will be, a must. You wouldn’t want a teacher who didn’t know her ABC’s, or a physician who couldn’t pass basic anatomy, would you?

So, what will sourcing evolve into? Well – in the interest of encouraging you to come back and read more, and just because I love the suspense, I’m going to leave you hanging until next Monday 🙂 Stay tuned for part 2 on the Evolution of Sourcing.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Interesting post. I’m not sure what it will evolve into, but I know that it won’t dissovle. Sourcing is such a critical role in any organizations recruitment process and I think the larger big box companies are seeing that now. The trend is a push towrds RPO for the expertise and flexibility that the model offers. It’s an interesting topic. Looking forward to part II.

Comment by Ryan Learu

You make some excellent points in this post! There is little doubt that sourcing will evolve. My biggest concern with this topic is with the sourcing professionals who will not make the skill transition necessary to be successful. Change (OR evolution) is not an easy path for most.

Looking forward to Part II! 😉


Comment by Michael Long (The Red Recruiter)

Thanks Michael, and nice to “meet” you 🙂 I don’t believe we’ve had any interaction up to this point, though we know many of the same people. I understand your concerns. It’s not unlike people in any other profession, when things change there will always be those who choose to ignore or resist and unfortunately they’ll find themselves either left in the dust or needing to find a new opportunity. My hope is that part ii will give some hope to those folks 🙂 Thanks for leaving a comment!

Comment by Amybeth

As Recruiting evoloves Sourcing will move with Recruiting.

Sourcing Professionals will have to keep up with the changes in the business.

I see Sourcing evolving where people can be “followed” or be seen on the internet, socila media sites and mobile apps.

I see Sourcers being able to have instant communication with these candidates and knowing their exact location (if candidates allow it).

Sourcing will actually grow bigger.

Comment by Michael Glenn

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