Monday, July 06, 2009

Recruitment Strategy Development – Corporate Sourcing

RecruiterGuy has noticed over the years that the words “recruit” and” source” are sometimes used interchangeably. Sourcing is certainly part of the recruiting process, and you may be communicating with candidates during the sourcing process, but it is not “recruiting”. It is the candidate introduction step of the process.

For the purpose of Recruitment Strategy Development we will separate corporate sourcing from third party sourcing. This blog covers corporate sourcing. Depending on the company, its size and resources, corporate sourcing may consist of attacking the sourcing challenge from many sources: a company’s own website, internal referrals, posting positions on the Internet job boards/resources (including Craig’s list, Facebook, and Twitter), radio/cable/TV advertising, association booths/advertising, even advertising in airline magazines and Arts programs. For the sake of your strategy development and budget, please understand that every sourcing method costs something – money or time. This understanding will help you prepare your recruitment budget and tweak it as you add or subtract methods of sourcing for a position. You also need to understand the cost of a position going vacant for a long time, i.e. the revenues lost from a major account sales representative opening that is not filled for a long time. It is wise to ask the hiring manager “What is the cost to the company if this position is not filled near the time it was budgeted?” Asking that question and others like it will also help the recruitment function identify priorities and focus.

What areas of sourcing may be fairly uniform through the sourcing process? Probably any position that the company is willing to post on its website. Therefore, other than executive positions, a company’s website may be a source of candidate referrals and sourcing. It is wise for companies to purchase a .jobs URL that point directly to their job openings. The .jobs websites are scraped by Internet aggregators such as Indeed.com so your new or refreshed job openings are posted on their site and spread to the Internet. It’s a very cost effective way to get your job postings out to the public. Some applicant tracking systems also push your posted positions out to the Internet. It would be wise to create a list of Internet job boards where you have had success and then pick the ones that you will use on each project (a la “Mission Impossible”!). This process will help you develop your recruitment budget for each position. By the way, developing a budget for each position helps executives focus on your recruitment effort and enables them to make educated financial decisions on the viability of recruiting for each position.

From the perspective of strategy development let’s first discuss the highest level positions. Where are these executives hiding? Generally executives are fairly easy to identify, possibly much more so than people who report to them. You may find them on their corporate websites, stories written about them in Zoominfo.com, and simply by Googling their names or their industries or using Broadlook.com and doing an email search on corporate email addresses. Books such as the “Manufacturer’s Register” will generally list the CEO and senior staff. Also go to the Associations where they may belong, possibly to see what presentations they have given. Generally your executives know people they would like to work with and others whom they would never work with (both are important information). This type of sourcing is time consuming but doesn’t cost the company posting or retained fee money. Obviously a senior member of your recruitment team should be focused on executive positions.

Let’s say you decide to source using postings. If you are either willing or able to post your executive opening, where will you post? One option at this level for nationwide searches is The Wall Street Journal. When you post in their paper, you receive an online posting. Other online options include Netshare.com and 6figurejobs.com. Obviously there are a myriad of job boards out there. Netshare.com is free for the companies posting the position; so that is good for your budget and RecruiterGuy has a fair amount of success using Netshare.com.

Sourcing for lower level positions presents numerous opportunities. The mantra during sourcing is to be creative. Think of yourself as a detective hunting down qualified candidates. That attitude makes the process more fun, especially rewarding when you do “recruit” them!

Sourcing doors open and close. For a long time, newspapers were almost the only place to post positions (called “placing ads”) outside of using third party sources. Then in the early to mid-1990’s, the Internet job sites began to form. Initially the Online Career Center (OCC) was formed by a joint venture of technology firms and was quickly followed by Monster.com (who later bought OCC). CareerBuilder was formed by the newspaper companies Knight Ridder and the Chicago Tribune when they saw both the loss of revenues due to Internet postings and the opportunity to create more revenues in this popular space. Many times these job boards will offer companies packages for posting multiple positions online with them. Today companies are establishing a presence on Facebook.com, secondlife.com, and tweeting on Twitter.com in order to capitalize on their popularity among the younger generation.

Where can companies source candidates? Remember that potential candidates are everywhere. They may be your customer. They may be a vendor. They may be the person sitting behind or next to you at a restaurant (I’ve successfully recruited a number of candidates there). They may be the person walking past you at a Career Fair and were too shy to stop and talk (but wanted you to ask them a question – many successful candidates there!). They may be a presenter at a conference or simply the person next to you at that conference (recruited both!). Are you looking for good customer service representatives? Who has given you great service in a store or restaurant? Outside of the Career Fairs, these types of sourcing do not cost money. Honestly they are also more fun because they give you great success stories to tell!

While you are deciding where you will source for this position, remember to add these sources to your recruitment budget spreadsheet. Multiply those posting costs by the number of positions that you intend to post at each board/newspaper/association.

While developing a recruitment strategy sourcing plan, many of your costs for your budget will come from your corporate sourcing.

Next week, we will discuss third party sourcing – contingent, retained or contract recruiters.