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(November 2, 2007)  With a clear picture of the marketplace you are trying to work, sourcing becomes a different beast.  Rather than searching for magic formulas to discover hidden treasures, the search begins with knowing what to look for and where to find it. While this type of sourcing is somewhat less glamorous than fancy internet hunts, it is much more likely to produce the desired results.

If University X supplies you with 10% of your genetic technicians, but only after they've worked somewhere else for five years, it would be sensible to try to sponsor their alumni directory. Other outreach avenues could include networking with professors and alumni to cherry pick the best students and follow them through their careers. Scholarships with essay requirements (perhaps for alumni in pursuit of advanced degrees) will also produce solid leads.

The point here is that Sourcing, when executed strategically, is not a safari in search of big game. Rather, it is a development process in which the right candidates are shepherded into a system that is designed to provide them with value while you get to know them. Finding the right candidate, when done this way, involves picking from a crop of award winners rather than making do with whatever the market has on hand.

Sourcing involves using and managing sources. At the risk of becoming repetitious, it involves delivering value to the pool of prospective candidates. Each interaction with each potential employee must deliver much more value to the candidate than is taken by the communication. It is important to underline the fact that the definition of value has to be the potential employee's, not the company's.

Again, networks are built by giving each network member more value than is required of them. For a network to succeed, each member must be able to take away more than they give. It is the responsibility of the originator of the network to see that these economics are realized. In exchange for investing in value for the members, the originator grows a crop of ready to pick fruit that should, if properly managed, become a sustainable supply for the organization's hiring needs.

- by John Sumser

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