The Future of Sourcing

The Future of Sourcing is an exciting and challenging prospect. It is also something that is dependent on us, as Industry professionals, to lead. As we process an ageing population, a move towards entrepreneurism, economic uncertainties and changing social norms we must recalibrate and assess our talent pools. Here are some of the key trends for the future.

Identify Potential:

A former mentor of mine Kate Woodland has just released ‘Hiring for the Future. How to Increase your Productivity and Prosperity by Hiring and Retaining People Who Fit, Perform and stay.’ As the name may suggest, Kate argues the point that talent mining and psychometric testing are not pre cursers to a successful hire. She believes instead that we should focus more on transferable skills and identifying key behavioral traits that are shared by most high potential employees. Then, right from the job advertisement through to the candidates induction use the language that would attract and appeal to this cohort.
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Look for ‘grit’

In many ways, it is a similar sentiment to Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED Talk on successful people having ‘Grit.’ When it comes to ensuring strong performance from your next hire, look at the potential of the candidate’s behavior and attitude instead of the rudimentary technical skills.




‘If you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the Top 10.” Bill Gates at a tech conference in Saudi Arabia 2010

I am passionate about gender diversity and how positive the results are on company collaboration and profitability. Women make up only 10.1% of all senior leadership in the ASX 200. Yet companies with gender balanced upper leadership outperform those that don’t by 34% (Mckinsey Report). All recruiters and Sourcer’s worth their salt are aware of the push globally to attract more talented women to their organizations but alas the statistics of our hires is still not reflecting the trend.

Utilise the entire talent pool

The future of Sourcing relies on us utilising the entire talent pool- candidates from each nationality, gender, age, sexuality and people with disabilities. It is an exciting time to be in Sourcing. The dynamics are changing to embrace all workers. Attributes that could have been perceived as a ‘barrier’ to top jobs twenty years ago, no longer have negative connotations. As the next generation of ‘leave no stone unturned’ Sourcer’s hit the market, we will see with it a natural acceptance of diversity of thought, diversity of experience and diversity of backgrounds. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg ‘In the future their will be no female leaders, their will just be leaders.’
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I am currently working on filling a role in a bank. When I asked the Hiring Manager why they can’t attract women to the role, they admitted the hours are very long. Sourcing for the future will require us to educate and push back on our Hiring Managers. Our role must evolve to be Industry changers; if we can’t find a man or woman to work 60 hours a week, why don’t we look at getting two candidates that will job share it?

Sourcers of today vs sources of tomorrow

The Sourcer’s of today often look at how to find the talent- instead of how to attract the talent. Recently a senior manager told me that he asked for three months off work after the birth of his second child and the company asked him think about how that would be perceived by the business and CEO. This archaic thinking of the ‘nine to five’ excludes high performing candidates from taking promotions or new roles.

The future of Sourcing relies on us advocating for flexibility for men and women so that candidates see new roles as genuine opportunities that will fit in with their personal and professional needs.

Social Media

In 2009 I was asked in an article that questioned the ROI of social media by Michael Specht ‘Is Social Media is a scam for recruiters’ my thoughts and I stated I made the majority of placements from Facebook. That was true, but I was also hiring predominately short notice temp roles which was easy to put up an update ‘Does anyone have a neighbor/friend/partner/sibling looking for work in CBD Friday, interview tomorrow?’ It was easy and saved on advertising. The candidates that I and most Sourcer’s are trying to find today are highly unlikely to be a friend of mine of Facebook. What I can say is that Linkedin, used effectively, is one of the biggest leads for head hunting. However it is also every company’s biggest lead for headhunting. I was talking to a CEO Friday about the background of a woman I was going to put forward and within a minute he said ‘is It X?’ He then followed up ‘Isn’t Google great?’ Yes it is, but it is also concerning for the IP of Sourcer’s. We are paid to find talent other people can’t, or don’t have time too.
Whilst the future of Sourcing has an element of embracing the online medium, it is such a shared tool that it is only effective when the Sourcer is running groups, has a large network and posts relevant content.

The Future

Our two greatest strengths as Sourcers is our resilience and ability to adapt. We play in a tough, cut throat game that can be overwhelming and under delivering. Yet we stay in it, we keep up skilling ourselves and innovating our service. The future trends of Sourcing are what we decide to create them to be. We stand at the front of Industry hiring and selection (and thereby workforce demographics) yet we are looking backwards to observe the patterns of previous hiring periods. We need to turn our faces to the sun and start taking responsibility for the organisations we represent.
If your company is not hitting its diversity targets, it is your fault for not championing inclusion in the selection process. If you are not hiring highly skilled candidates from LinkedIn, it is your fault for not building your network and referral channels. And if your organisation is not attracting the right talent, it is your fault for not educating your leaders on what benefits appeal to high potential candidates. We control the labourforce demographics of organisations through our role in the selection of new hires, therefore it is our responsibility to lead companies to the place that they want their workforce talent to be at.

Develop your skills as modern day sourcer by attending #SST2015 in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland this November.  Our 6th Sourcing and Social event will bring together the world’s best sourcing innovators and social media experts who will share their best in class methodologies and real world case studies.


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