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The Creative Sourcing Myth

This article originally appeared on the SourceCon blog.

Herein follows a tale of sourcing woe, like that of Juliet and her Romeo.

Have you ever been in a meeting with a, fill in the blank, and at the end of the meeting the conclusion is, “we need to come up with some creative ways of finding more candidates.” Every time I hear that I wonder, “what does that even mean?”

Do you feel that way too? In this post, I want to share some stories of souring woe, with the objective of clarifying the conversation and helping you identify solutions for a happy ending.

The first part of understanding and dealing with a myth is identifying where it originated. At different points in different companies, operations professionals sat down with recruiters and came to the same conclusion – we don’t have enough qualified applicants applying for our jobs! During these conversations, the answer came from a study of the numbers. At any given time, only a small percentage of the job force is looking for a job. What if we approach people who aren’t actively looking for a job?

After some initial concerns, sourcing was born. A new role was born from the ashes of recruiting: The Sourcer. A person entirely dedicated to the identification, engagement, and submission of prospects into the candidate pipeline that would not have applied otherwise.

At First, Sourcing was a Great Success
Networks like LinkedIn gave sourcers a seemingly endless supply of passive candidates to approach about our jobs. It was a veritable Eden for sourcers and the profession. It was quiet, too quiet. Until something changed, as it always does, and like in all good stories, our time in paradise ended.

We evolved from being seen as opportunity knocking gently on the door into merchants of spam. As the devolution progressed our response rates dropped, our throughput suffered, and we tried to fill the gap with filler instead of substance. Our once standard 50% and above response rates have dwindled down to below 20% and in some cases even 10%.

Like many challenges, this one has evolved. The biggest challenge previously was candidate identification. We simply could not find enough qualified people to fill our open jobs. As a result, the technology of the last 15 years has been focused on identification of talent. Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, LinkedIn, Talent Bin, Entello, and Gild are all tools that are primarily focused on the identification of talent that could be a match for our currently open and available jobs.

Given this pattern, it‘s easy to understand why companies turn to creative sourcing as a solution to the problem of lack of candidate flow. The consequence has been that the tools have allowed more people to contact more prospects in less time. Ironically, as we were able to reach more people, the likelihood of being ignored increased. This created a negative feedback loop.

We have now created a new problem for ourselves.

The new problem talent acquisition professionals face is engagement.

The Creative Sourcing Myth
The myth isn’t about the existence of creative sourcing; it’s about what creative sourcing really is and what it really means. The myth is that creative sourcing is the ability to identify new prospects. When in reality, creative sourcing is the ability to invent creative ways of engaging with prospective candidates we have already identified.

As Albert Einstein famously said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

This means that we need to change the way we think about sourcing. Finding an increasingly shrinking pool of unidentified contacts is not the solution to the problem on lack of candidate flow.

So what IS the solution?
Change the way we think about our internal relationships inside of our company.

The relationship between recruiting and marketing should become analogous to the relationship between Sales and Marketing. These two professions are related and on occasion overlapping, but they are different and distinct.

Improve the Candidate experience
A simple way to improve candidate experience is to keep candidates informed about the process and close the loop with them at the end of the process. Even if they don’t get hired, offer to help them network. This will do two things for you. First it will provide you with an actual network of people you can call on in the future. Second, it can create candidate referrals.

Candidate referrals are a source that no technology can create or compete with.

Learn the Language of Marketing
Understanding your target audience and learning how to engage with them in a way that prompts them to take the desired action is the most important thing you can do for your personal productivity. It is more effective to reach out to 3 prospects and have 1 respond to you than it is to reach out to 30 prospects and have 2 respond to you.

Improve Employer Brand
Work with your employer branding team to learn about the things they are doing to attract prospects to engage. If you don’t have an Employer Branding team, reach out to marketing. View it as an opportunity to increase your skill set. Start small and stay simple. Start by learning about the stories your company tells. If you can’t find them, ask. Ask your hiring managers about what impact their work has on their clients. Ask them to tell you why their work is important. Then, moving forward, share that story with the people you want to engage. You can use social media to share your story but the simplest way to share it is in your approach emails and phone calls with your prospects.

Employer branding at its core is an attempt to increase the rate at which prospective candidates engage with a company. Your effort doesn’t have to span every channel of social media, but it does have to start with one. The first step to a happy ending is having a story to tell that starts with, “Once upon a time.”

 
 
 

How do you manage the expectations of a multigenerational workforce?

Generational Differences

Whatever way you look at it, today’s workforce is multigenerational.

The Boomers, Xers and Millennials all work together in a professional environment with very different life experiences, values and preferences.

But are there really significant differences between the expectations, needs and wants of the different generations at work? It certainly poses a different set of challenges and opportunities for today’s HR and Talent Management teams.

Much has been written about the shift in focus for recruitment and retention initiatives, particularly around diversity and inclusion. But when push comes to shove, doesn’t everyone want meaningful work and the opportunity to progress and personally develop?

Hudson researchers asked over 1,000 professionals about their motivations, aspirations and drivers in the workplace. When we really drilled down into the nitty gritty of the data, what we found were very clear differences in what motivates the different generations.

No surprises there. But, the results certainly bust the myths of what perhaps you might expect for each of these generations.

How to Motivate the Different Generations

Let’s start with the Baby Boomers. Many Boomers will be working transitionally as they phase themselves into retirement. They’ll take with them the experience, insights and capability to work within and lead organizations which have seen tougher times. The mentoring and coaching skills of this generation could be valuable to Gen X and Y. As Boomers wish to transition from the workplace, companies should seize the opportunity to utilize this generation as internal consultants 1-2 days a week, rather than the five.

Generation X is driven by cultural fit. More specifically… is your business the right cultural fit for them? It’s a great time to target this candidate pool as overall the Gen Xers aren’t raving about their companies’ cultures. Only 17% of Gen X surveyed rated their work culture as very positive. To really motivate this group, review how you are positioned through your employer value proposition. Does your workplace culture come through on your website, LinkedIn company page and social media feeds?

Generation Y is ready to move with over half of those surveyed having updated their resume or LinkedIn profile in the last 6 months. Our studies show that over half of employers are failing to develop a social culture, which is not good if you’re trying to attract top talent within this generation. Millennials seek collaborative workspaces where they can network and connect. When this group researches a company they want to work for, the company website is their first port of call.

When thinking about your recruitment and retention strategy for 2016, don’t forget to take generational attitudes into consideration for the talent you seek to attract and retain.

 
 
 

The 8 Most Common Workforce Planning Pitfalls to Avoid

Workforce Planning Pitfalls

Getting Workforce Planning right requires a smart balance of technology tools, scenario planning, advanced analytics and strategic insight.

First and foremost, for Workforce Planning to achieve its purpose, the CHRO/VP of HR either needs to have a seat at the strategy table or be kept informed about important business initiatives at their inception. Executive leadership knows where it wants to grow the business; the CHRO must be perceived as a chief ally in carrying this out.

The goal is to align long-term workforce needs with long-term strategic goals. Senior business leaders typically develop three-year strategic plans; HR and Talent Acquisition need to forecast workforce demands against this projection, identify challenges and ensure that needs are met. Since strategic plans are not static, this process must be dynamic. The evaluation of skill sets in relation to growth initiatives must be continuous.

The 8 Most Common Workforce Planning Pitfalls to Avoid

1. Lack of Commitment – This is not a short-term exercise or one-time event. It’s important to secure the appropriate commitment from the CEO, the business line leaders and the Workforce Planning Team.

2. Going Too Junior – You won’t reach the desired outcome if the Workforce Planning Team consists of junior people. Senior leaders must drive the initiative forward and flag changes in business strategy to alert Talent Acquisition of possible workforce consequences.

3. It’s an “HR Problem” – The CHRO often spearheads Workforce Planning and is a key player, but the business must own the process since it is tied to business strategy.

4. All Or Nothing – If you try to do too much at once, the process will become overwhelming and the team will give up. Start with a manageable pilot and grow from there.

5. Obsessing Over Stats – We’ve seen teams take one year to pull together stats. Use what you’ve got. Sometimes it’s a best guess, but don’t let the data derail the project.

6. Reactive Recruitment – One major advantage of Workforce Planning is that the company moves out of reactive mode. If the recruitment team is still only reactive, something is broken.

7. External-Only Recruitment Focus – Don’t forget the wealth of internal skill sets already in the company. A good process includes internal mobility, succession planning and professional development. Include internal employees in the recruitment plan.

8. No Budget for Training – Part of Workforce Planning involves identifying internal talent you can move into key roles with some basic training. If no training budget exists, this internal talent cannot be leveraged.

Need support with Workforce Planning? Hudson has tools, processes and templates that can help you engage with your business leaders. Contact us

Get Hudson’s step-by-step guide to Strategic Workforce Planning titled “Strategic Workforce Planning: A Critical Differentiator for Businesses.” (No registration required). Click here to download.

 
 
 

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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.