Recruiting… A Sourcing Snob By Demand

by The Red Recruiter on April 27, 2009

SnobI stumbled across this great post last week by Boolean Black Belt entitled “Don’t Be A Sourcing Snob“.  The creator of this blog is a highly intelligent individual who has a firm grasp on a variety of pertinent topics… I like his material so much that I subscribe to his site and make it a habit to see what he’s talking about.  Really good stuff!

The main topic of his post was that Job Boards (Monster, Careerbuilder, etc…) have a bad reputation with recruiters.  He points out the fact that some recruiters purposely avoid job boards because of a belief that the candidates within those sites are inferior to the ones who are not. He goes on to discuss the statistical relationship that a job board would have with any candidate pool and his belief that there are plenty of great candidates on the boards, so long as we can find them.  In summary, he is urging recruiters to reconsider their stances on job boards and avoid being Sourcing Snobs.

All in all, I agree with him on a number of points that he makes.  Of course there are good people on job boards.  If there weren’t, we probably wouldn’t see that business model in existence.  So, statistical analysis aside, let’s just look at the reality.

  • A job board industry exists
  • Many candidates utilize these services when they are looking for work
  • There are multiple organizations offerings similar services

So, there is a demand for the service and candidates use the boards.  Organizations pay to have access and the wheels on the bus go round and round.  This totally makes sense.

The Beauty of Dialogue

So, after reading the post, a few people started commenting on Twitter about their thoughts.  Two of those people were Debra Wheatman and Stephanie Lloyd.  It quickly became obvious that this was not just a timely topic, but a hot one!  The three of us, together, decided to formulate independent responses to the post as it’s a topic that requires conversation… well beyond my little post.  You can see what Stephanie and Debra have to say by choosing their articles here:

Commentary: Does it really matter where a great candidate comes from? – Stephanie Lloyd

Don’t be a sourcing snob – Debra Wheatman

Fortunately, we don’t agree on everything, so it won’t feel like swimming laps by reading their posts.  Enjoy!

Why I have to be a Sourcing Snob

So, even though I can be in complete agreement with BBB about the fact that decent candidates exist on the job boards, I feel compelled to elaborate my reasons for not using them.  It’s not all about snobbery or jumping on the bandwagon of recruiters turning their noses up at them as a source.  In reality, it has to do with my demand side.

My clients have certain levels of expectations when they engage me in a search.  First and foremost, the expectation is that I will be able to get something that they could not have acquired on their own.  Specifically, they are asking me to pull on and build new relationships with candidates that would be a potential match for their role.  In many cases, they are trying to plan for an upcoming (confidential) internal departure.  Sometimes, due to business needs, they are planning in advance for expansion.

Secondly, they are not usually looking for someone with just a skill set match for the role.  Often times, they are most eager to see someone from their competition.  Let me repeat that and clarify:

Clients usually want someone who is currently working for their competition.  Someone who has the skill set and the competitive intelligence.

Finally, my demand side has recently started demanding candidates from outside of the job board pool.  Yes, you heard me right… our contracts dictate that the candidate not be an actively listed participant of a job board.  Therefore, as a recruiter, I am rather limited in the who and the where of my search.

The Future of Snobbery

While I agree with a number of points that are made within the BBB post, it’s not something that can be dealt with simply by presenting statistical data.  As recruiters we deal with market forces and constantly changing norms for what a great candidate is.  The clients of the future are going to be more savvy.  The days when an employer didn’t understand LinkedIn or the basic sourcing methods within social media recruiting are rapidly going away.  We, as a recruiting profession, are going to be held accountable to do what we state in our titles… recruit.

What do you think?  How much do you value job boards in your search practice?

Picture thanks to jglsongs on Flickr.

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