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Search Methods

(November 01, 2007) There are two ways to begin a search. If you know what you want, its easy. You simply tell the search engine what you want. If you don't know what you want, you search until you find it or until you know what you want.

It sounds simple but it's where much of the waste in the so-called sourcing process takes place.

In all the approaches we've evaluated, only Lean Staffing Methods insist that clear knowledge of what is desired is the starting point. Much of the sourcing training, consulting and service delivery we see, offers techniques for name generation or strategies for resume sifting. Rarely do you hear the truth that sourcing is completely dependent on an adequate description of the candidate requirements from the hiring manager.

In fact, teensy little nuances ("I graduated from Texas A&M, I don't hire UT graduates" or "good coders don't do dorm room crash coding" or a thousand other assumptions) are the difference between a successful sourcing expedition and failure. Most of the methods we witness involve burying the hiring manager in results rather than a disciplined look at the actual requirements of that manager.

It's important to note that this isn't some abstract set of requirements. A hiring manager will always exercise her prerogative because she bears the risk of the hiring decision. While recruiting metrics can pretend to measure something about the recruiting process, the only thing that really matters is effective placement. Did the hiring manager get what she wanted.

Any variation in the theme that restricts hiring manager choice without a thorough and rigorous specification process will just result in turnover. Lots and lots of processes these days are generating great recruiting metrics until you look at organizational productivity, attrition or some real world measure of recruiting success.

I don't think that sourcing has really proven its value yet. It will be necessary for methods to standardize in two areas: the search itself and the way that the search is specified. With those two tools in place, sourcers will have something to crow about.

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