10 common reasons why your sourcing team is not successful.
As some of you may know, I made my way from Talent Acquisition to Sourcing functions, first of all as an individual contributor and then as a manager. The hardest part for me (a.k.a. the main learnings) was to understand why the methodologies that I was using when sourcing directly were not efficient enough when scaling.
Here, we will not only be talking about tooling and methodologies but also about vision and politics. This list isn’t exhaustive, there are a thousand reasons why a team isn’t at peak performance. We will just focus on the most common ones!
- Sourcing Partners are seen as junior recruiters.
And it’s your role to make it 100% clear within your team, organization, processes… According to me, the main difference between those 2 roles relies on the assessment phase: recruiters are there to assess real skills, when sourcing partners responsibility is just to find clues that someone may be skilled :)
So Sourcing Partners rely on both declarative and public data when it comes to finding skills; Recruiters need to check the trueness and the accuracy of the skills displayed on a resume.
If you expect your sourcing partners to be running interviews in order to assess, you’re setting them for failure!
- Your sourcing Partners don’t chat with candidates.
Right above I said that your Sourcing Partners should not be assessing candidates. Does it mean that they shouldn’t chat with them? Absolutely not!
The great Guillaume Alexandre once again understood it before anyone else: a sourcing partner brain is made of 2 sides: the left side is for geeky stuff, detective spirit, etc… when the right one is about marketing, selling, convincing.
Please let your sourcing partners use both sides of their brains :)
Moreover, having sourcers speak with candidates is a great way to have them stay aware of market changes. Could you imagine a marketing profesional having no contact with his market?
- Sourcing is seen as a quick fix.
When there’s a leak, don’t mop the floor, fix the leak first! It was one of the mottos of SonarSource, one of my previous employers, who was using it for managing code quality. Sourcing isn’t a patch for some broken hiring processes, or hiring managers’ immaturity. You can bring many great people to the front door, they might not reach the 27th floor where your office is located if the elevator is broken :)
If you are in charge of a sourcing team, one of the biggest criteria for success will be juggling between long-term projects and daily routine. If you only focus on the last part, your sourcing team will never be able to get up to speed.
- Timing: Sourcing partners act when it is too late.
As a Sourcing team lead, your role is to define priorities and to know when to involve your workforce. Basically, every hiring manager will come to your desk trying to convince you that their role is a top priority, that it is business-critical, that the CEO has great expectations, etc...
This is where you need to protect your team from the noise. My own rule is simple: don’t contact us for positions that are open for 6 months. If you didn’t manage to close them, there might be a good reason behind and sourcing will likely not be able to close it as well. Sourcing team will only get tired if it is always about running behind a running train. Instead, focus on workforce planning and have your team focus on positions that will be open in 6 months. It will allow you to bring-in more efficient and creative solutions: ads campaigns, events, nurturing, etc.
- Your Sourcing Partners are focusing whether on hacks and exotic platforms; or on Linkedin only.
One of the main risks of the Sourcing function is to over-engineer everything. Just like recruiters stopped asking brain teasers during interviews, sourcers shouldn’t spend the majority of their time trying to find candidates on Airbnb or in database leaks. Of course, discovering a new sourcing method makes a cool story that makes you look clever, but I can guarantee that to be trusted by the business, it is way more efficient to close a lot than to close creatively :)
That being said, please don’t go all-in with Linkedin. Please, keep in mind that Linkedin is a platform made for and paid by recruiters; we can’t expect candidates to use it wisely, nor to like it. You’ll find candidates where they are, not where you want them to be. Instead, know your market, the behavior of your candidates, places where they hang out… If I’m looking for an athlete, I would go to an athletism track. If I’m looking for a baker, chances are high that I’ll find it near a nice croissant smell.
And as you may know… The best candidates are past candidates! Focus on silver medalists first, they are already convinced! Dig-in your ATS, people who applied in the past will be more likely to answer positively. Why not even have them target boomerang hires? If your offboarding process is on point, some quitters might figure out that the grass wasn’t greener elsewhere. Sometimes, ego steps-in and prevent them to apply again in your place. Having Sourcing Partners contact them can bring outstanding results.
Moreover, please don’t let your sourcing partners seating at their desks all day. There are many ways of meeting candidates, if you focus solely on the Internet you’re missing so many people. Send them to events related to the field they are hiring for; allow them to expense lunch with candidates, etc.
- You don’t let the Sourcing team influence your hiring decisions.
An efficient sourcing service starts with market intelligence. Your sourcing partners are market experts that you should leverage up front to make decisions on broad subjects such as location, compensation and benefits, requierements…
You are looking for a unicorn? Your Sourcing team will be able to say upfront that the search will fail. You want to create a new C# development team in Geneva? Your Sourcing team will be the one who can tell you that Geneva is rather a Java shop; and that Cluj-Napoca in Romania is one of the place in which you’ll find the best C# devs.
- You don’t have any Employer Branding strategy.
Let’s be honest here: Sourcing, on the convincing part, can be more or less complex depending on the brand image that you’re perceived with.
Start from your EVP, it should be a perfect mix between vision and current state. The perfect sales pitch to candidates is made of both of where you stand, and where you want to go. This sales pitch will be more efficient if it is publicly known, as a consistent company message.
- Your Sourcing team isn’t perceived as a trusted partner.
No magic trick here: in order to gain trust, the easiest is to under-promise and over-deliver. 3 quick solutions:
- Introduce SLAs: duration of a sourcing sprint, deliverable, etc
- Monitor your NPS and hiring manager satisfaction
- Explain what your team job is about: basically no one knows it outside of Talent Acquisition.
Don’t get me wrong, SLAs are not KPIs: SLAs are just a guarantee that the Hiring Managers will know what to expect and what they will get when triggering a sourcing sprint.
- Your Sourcing team doesn’t have all the information to perform.
If you want to have your Sourcing team be efficient and organised, they shouldn’t be spending their time chasing needed pieces of information. Involve them from the start, i.e. before opening any requisition, introduce standardized intake meeting notes, grant them access to your salary grid, etc…
- Your company isn’t mature enough for Sourcing (yet).
Every hiring successes are team successes. If you want to enjoy this, you have to think about Talent Acquisition as a whole. Your Hiring Managers and Interviewers might need some training. Do they know about bias? Do they perform behavioral interviews? Do they deliver feedback to candidates? Do they deal with hiring in a timely manner (when there are thousands of other tasks to perform)? Are they ready to challenge their processes, to take extra good care of sourced candidates? Do you have a fair compensation & benefits policy? Are they trained in Diversity and Inclusion? If you answer no to any of those questions, then you might want to start with it first :)
If you’re interested in sourcing, employer branding, market intelligence and are willing to grow: please get in touch at email@example.com :)
If you want to react, you can also contact me on Linkedin.