Revenge of the Nerds: The Evolution of the Sourcing Pro

August 1, 2012 6:59 pm Published by Joshua Jones

In 2007, when I first entered the realm of recruiting, I joined a team that lived and breathed by phone sourcing. These professionals were the cool cats, the smooth talkers, the ones that could infiltrate the switchboards of any company, dance past the gatekeeper, and discover and recruit candidates, all while eating at their desk. This was my boot camp. We used the phone book, company org charts and cold calling. Perhaps other organizations were already embracing online sourcing, but our team was a little slow to adopt the strategy. Surfing the web was frowned upon and had to be done on our own time. We were required to find “fresh passive candidates” primarily through phone sourcing.

One day while browsing the web, I came across information regarding Boolean search strings. I read a little, then read more, then began devouring any information I could find on the subject and keeping an eye on trends. Some professionals on my team were receptive to the new frontier in recruiting. Others were not. At times, I felt like I was trying to convince a group of non-believers that the world was round.

New technology is driving recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. In the past, information regarding companies and candidates had to be obtained by making a copious amount of phone calls. Recruiters were required to flex their charisma to quickly establish a rapport. I’m not discounting this practice as useful in some settings. But more and more, we are seeing an evolution in recruiting methods. The boons of success have migrated from those full of bravado and confidence to more (for lack of a better word) “bookish” individuals.

Granted, most sourcers are highly social and definitely able to mingle at a dinner party. But they are also inclined to be comfortable conducting research, staying abreast of current technological trends, and adopting innovative strategies and cutting-edge approaches to extracting data from the web. Networking has become less front-facing and more behind the scenes. The cyber-sleuths are giving the silver-tongued phone sourcers a run for their money – and in many instances, winning.

At the start of my recruiting career, much of my candidate qualifying began and ended on the phone. Now, when I find promising candidates, I immediately investigate their presences online. Do they have consciously completed Facebook and LinkedIn profiles? What do they tweet about? Do they radiate a positive vibe in their online interactions? (I’ve had more than one candidate charm me on the phone, only to discover via social media that he or she has a tendency towards the offensive).

It is a wonderful time to be alive, my friends. The world community is smaller than it has ever been, infinite amounts of data are available at our fingertips via smart phones and tablets, and we are witnessing a substantial shift in how companies do business. Moving forward, networkers are becoming more and more concerned with how many LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends they have and how often their tweets are retweeted. The sourcers of today are perpetually seeking to quantify the range of their online influence, and more and more tools are emerging to provide that data. It’s a time that requires the ability to adapt—to put down the phone and learn how to best leverage the online and social recruiting tools available.

This post appears as part of our HR Expert Blog Series, during which we’ll be bringing you different perspectives from many different players in the social recruiting world. Look out for posts over the next several weeks to stay in the loop!

This post was written by Joshua Jones