the sourcing dilemma: when to standardize and when to think outside of the box

September 2, 2015

Measuring sourcing productivity is mostly about sourcing conversion rate management and the magic one can achieve in increasing sourcing productivity via rigorous process control and measurement. Yes, there is something purely transactional in this sexy sourcing world (and to be frank, this is also a numbers game). And in areas where numbers play a leading role, process rigor becomes the consigliere. (Read more about the efficiencies of shared services).

Process provides the basis for everything. This is the so-called VICES (Vacancy intake – Identification – candidate Connection – candidate Engagement – Submission) cycle that we at Randstad Sourceright use as our standard sourcing delivery model.

Although various positions, candidate markets, countries or multi-countries, and sourcing channels can create a rather different look of delivery, the bottom line of sourcing remains the same. That is the VICES approach that our sourcers always repeats, regardless of how exotic or down-to-earth an assignment is. This is the very minimum but also the very same in everything a sourcer does. This is why we have built all the components and systems — technology, measurement, management, and control — around VICES in our Budapest shared services center.

Not only did we learn how to easily standardize the sourcing procedure but also how to increase productivity and achieve and retain a high degree of quality for a business that was doubling in size on a regular basis.

what you can’t standardize
So this is what you can standardize, but there is the other side of the coin: all the things that you cannot standardize (or should not).

The benefits of a super professional and highly efficient sourcing center come from a standard procedure with transactional and repeatable process elements run by extremely smart individuals. Herein lies the paradox: you build standardization, but you do not let your people become standardized. You rather encourage them to keep their individualism, keep their thoughts, and extend their thinking horizon to challenge the status quo. Sourcing is not a static business because you never know what will happen when you pick up the phone or send an email.

You need to reconsider all you have learned about selection and job requirements when you start building a sourcing operation. Who is a good fit for the job? Is it the experienced recruiter, or the entry-level researcher, or maybe even a graduate that you can shape and form as needed? Is it an “outsider” with work experience who can bring perspective from a different industry? These are all questions you face.

  • High learning capabilities combined with sharp verbal and numerical (analytical) reasoning skills.

  • A desired to learn, otherwise, your sourcer will not be able to quickly adjust to all the technology and methodology changes in the industry. They will live and work by tradition and experience, but recruitment is one the most dynamic fields these days so standing still is not an option.

  • Multi-tasking skills that enable sourcers with a high energy level to embrace new tasks that may be scary and even uncomfortable.

  • Objective decisiveness, one of the most desirable qualities of a superb sourcer. You lose time and quality when a sourcer cannot make a quick decision (for instance, on a profile that contains little information) or when they make subjective judgment.

  • An unbiased perspective because personal interest or preference often hampers the sourcing effort. A good sourcer learns how to start every new assignment with a totally blank mind. You can’t hold rigid assumptions about the market or it will lead you astray.

  • Entrepreneurship and creativity, which are essential to great outcomes. I have seen many brilliant sourcers grow up at #rsrsrc who did not intend to pursue a career in HR/recruiting. However, they exhibited these two characteristics, which helped them to stand out.

Beyond these skills, nothing else really matters. Neither previous experience, background, education, or other traditional requirement makes a real difference. It may sound strange (or maybe way too “modern”) but this is a relatively new profession that came about at the beginning of the 21st century, so our traditional way of thinking just doesn’t apply anymore.


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